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Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY, JANUARY  15,  2021 - “What a compliment  to all the teams in the country that went back out there and finished this thing! For us to be even talking about a national championship game is remarkable.” Dave Clawson, Wake Forest coach


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


WASHINGTON PRAYING AT VALLEY FORGE

NOW, MORE THAN EVER - PRAY FOR OUR COUNTRY
I truly fear that we're witnessing the death of our wonderful country at the hands of some of the most evil and venal persons to walk the face of this earth. I'm rounding third in the Game of Life, but for the sake of all the people I love whose lives lie ahead of them, I pray that I'm wrong.

NEXT  ZOOM CLINIC - NUMBER 40! - ON TUESDAY JAN  19 at 5 PM PACIFIC, 8 PM EASTERN 

EMAIL ME TO GET ON THE INVITE LIST - coachhw@mac.com


black lion report*********** BLACK LION AWARD EXTENDED TO TEAMS THAT AREN’T PLAYING IN THE FALL!

A coach, whether or not his team is playing a fall season, may now nominate for the  Black Lion Award  a player who has been a demonstrated leader of his teammates in these tough times. That leadership could show itself in a number of different ways and we’re leaving it up to the coach to describe it.

We think that leadership in the work of preparation - made even tougher by virtual learning and assorted state restrictions - is as worthy of recognition as leadership in the actual game, so therefore,  even if his team doesn’t play football this fall, a player can qualify for the Black Lion Award  by demonstrating that he has been willing to lead from the front - to get his teammates to do the things that he knows need to be done.

We ask that the head coach contact us - blacklionaward@mac.com - to register his team by giving us (1) his name and (2) his team’s name and (3)  the address where the award should be sent.

And then we ask the head coach to write the nomination - to “write him up” as if he were recommending the player for a military medal.  We do insist that the letter (an e-mail is best) and what it says honors the player just as much as the Black Lion Award does.

There is never any cost to you or your school to take part in the Black Lion Award program. The Black Lion Award is privately funded and is not in any way a recruitment tool. (I am a football coach and I administer the award.)

(Your player will receive a certificate and a Black Lions "patch," and his name and his letter will become a part of the Annual Report to the patrons of the Black Lion Award. If you nominate a player for his leadership efforts during the preparation period, you may still present a second award for your spring season.)


*********** If I were asked to describe Alabama in one word, I’d say, “Whew.”

Great performance Monday night.  Great job in the playoffs.  Great season.

Great team.  Maybe the greatest ever. I’ve been following football since the 1940s, and I know it’s foolish to compare teams from different eras.  In my case, although I’ve seen many good teams, in fairness, I’ve looked at them over the years through different lenses. Now, looking at this Alabama team through the lens of a longtime coach, I can’t imagine any of the teams from the past staying on the field with them.

There have been other teams just as dominant - Notre Dame and Army in the late 40s come to mind.  In the span of seven seasons from 1943 through 1949, Notre Dame had three Heisman Trophy winners - Bertelli, Lujack and Hart - and four national titles.  Army, especially when the War years gave it an unquestioned recruiting advantage,  won back-to-back national titles in 1945 and 1946, , and its ’46 team placed three players - Glenn Davis, Doc Blanchard and Arnold Tucker - in the top five of the Heisman balloting. Not until this year’s Alabama team, with Smith, Harris and Jones, had that been matched.

Bama did not grind out its wins.  With great talent and an imaginative offensive scheme, the Tide averaged an astonishing 48.5 points per game against a schedule that consisted entirely of conference foes - no “Compass Colleges” - and two of the other three playoff teams.

And they did it the old-fashioned way, with tough, disciplined  players who played hard and gave no quarter - and kept their mouths shut. 

And they did it with players that they recruited and developed.

And with players that stuck around and waited their turn.

*********** My friend Mike Lude admitted to those of us on my Tuesday night Zoom that he had a rooting interest in Monday night’s national championship game.  Well, I guess he did.

As AD at Kent State, Mike hired Don James to be his head coach, and he was the AD when James brought a former player named Nick Saban on as a graduate assistant. In “Chasing the Bear,” Lars Anderson writes, “Detailed, organized and systematic in how he approached everything, James had as large an influence on Saban as any coach other than his father. Even as a player, Saban was constantly in James’ shadow, absorbing how he watched film, how he talked to players, how he dealt with his assistants, how he interacted with the media, how he handled problems.

When James left to become head coach at Washington, his successor, Denny Fitzgerald, told Mike he wanted to hire young Saban full-time as his linebacker coach, and Mike approved. 

*********** For the third or fourth - or was it fifth? - straight year, I watched the championship game on one TV, but listened (and watched) on another TV turned to ESPN’s “Coaches’ Film Room.”

TV setupWho needs the usual BS from Herbie and whoever, and the breathless girls on the sidelines, when you can listen to real, honest-to-God college coaches giving you real, honest-to-God analysis of the game?

Coaches’ Film Room is for the hard core.

This year’s crew was only four - smaller than normal, possibly because of the social distancing crap. In the studio, but socially distancing (but NOT WEARING MASKS!!!) were Gene Chizik, who served as moderator, Hugh Freeze of Liberty, and Dave Clawson of Wake Forest. Tuned in remote was Sam Washington, of North Carolina A & T.  They never told us why Coach Washington wasn’t in the studio, and to a certain extent it did seem to limit his participation.

I enjoyed the coaches perspective on a number of topics, including what you tell your players before a big game like this, and they said things like, “be yourselves,” “we belong here,” and so on, but all of them, to a man, said, “Have fun.” 

I enjoyed their discussion of the coin toss. Bama deferred, and Coach Freeze said he always did, too. Coach Clawson said he did, also, not because he didn’t want the ball, but because he believes more games are won and lost in what he called the "middle eight" - the four minutes before and four minutes after halftime - and how scoring before the half and then coming right back to start the second half with the ball can lead to a "14-point swing."

Being a ball-control coach myself, I want the ball, but it was instructive to hear the thinking, and with the offenses that most college coaches run, it makes sense.

I thought they did an exceptional job of illustrating and explaining how well Bama OC Steve Sarkisian managed to move DeVonta Smith around via formationing and motion making him a moving target and making it impossible for Ohio State to do anything extraordinary to cover him.

Some of the “Return” or “Yoyo” motion that Bama used to flummox the Buckeyes’ defense so impressed the coaches that you could see them say “Wow!” as they watched.

They teased each other about where exactly you start to call a “pick” a “rub,” and they noted the number of times (at least two or three) that Bama linemen were downfield on RPO’s before finally getting called for it. The other coaches accused Coach Washington, a defensive guy, of “calling it in.”  Coach Clawson said that the call probably came from the Ohio State sideline.

As halftime approached and Bama held a 35-17 lead, Coach Chizik brought up the very real possibility that Bama could score again in the minute or so left to play and go in leading 42-17.  He asked what you tell your team in a spot like that.

Coach Freeze told how former Ole Miss coach Billy Brewer addressed this very situation  at halftime of a bowl game,  telling his team, “We can go back out there and play for 60 minutes and be respectable and come back and try to win this thing or we can be on the bus halfway back to home before they know we’re gone!”

They all had a good laugh at that one, but then Coach Clawson observed, “That’s a great metaphor for this season. How many teams probably halfway through the season wanted to get on the bus? What a compliment  to all the teams in the country that went back out there and finished this thing! For us to be even talking about a national championship game is remarkable.”

*********** For many years I’ve wanted to go to the AFCA Convention.  The first one I attended was in 1975, in Washington, DC, and for one reason or another, I haven’t been to one since. Even after I had the money, I never seemed to have the time.

It’s taking place right now.  This year, it’s online, so I ought to be “attending,” right?

Well, guess what?  Crazy as this sounds, I find I still don’t seem to have the time.

*********** Stewart Mandel, in The Athletic wondered,  “What if Rich Rod had taken the Alabama job?”  What if, back in December of 2006, Rich Rodriguez had decided to take the Alabama job? What would have happened at Bama?  What would have happened with Nick Saban?

I’ll answer the first part - the part about Rich Rob.

The Bama job was all his.  The Birmingham paper had already broken the “news” that he’d accepted Bama’s offer.  Instead, though, he crossed ‘em up, and made a last-minute decision to stay at West Virginia.

Hard to say how Rodriguez would have done in Tuscaloosa.  He stayed just one more year at West Virginia, then jumped to Michigan for a ton of money. He left Michigan a failure, both on the field (15-22) and off, accused by the NCAA of numerous violations (the first ever in the long history of Michigan football).

He was hired a few years later by Arizona, where he not only failed to meet on-field expectations (43-35 overall, 24-30 in conference play) but also got hit with a bit of a sex scandal and multimillion-dollar sexual harassment lawsuit by a university employee.

He has since spent a year as OC at Ole Miss, and most recently was hired as OC at Louisiana-Monroe.

Nothing there to indicate that Rich Rod would have coached Alabama to six national titles.

Meanwhile, a month after Rodriguez stiffed him, Bama AD Mal Moore persuaded Nick Saban, who’d already turned him down once, to be the Bama coach. Rumors were that Moore told Saban that if he didn’t come back to Alabama with Saban as his coach, he wasn’t going back - he might as well just go on to Cuba.

Mandel’s part of the answer concerns Saban:  would he have been able to do what he’s done at Bama at some other school?  Mandel says yes:

Saban was light years ahead of the competition in terms of applying an NFL-type personnel operation to college recruiting. We’ve focused a lot lately on his evolution with offenses, but his success starts with the way he’s essentially perfected the art of recruiting. Not so much “selling” recruits — lots of coaches are excellent at that — but identifying and evaluating the right guys and developing them. You would think at some point, one of his annual top-three classes just wouldn’t pan out. It’s yet to happen. And I have no doubt he could have replicated his operation at a school with the resources to let him hire his small army of support staffers.


*********** If I were younger (and qualified) I’d coach in the NFL, but only  for the same reason that veterans of combat in Iraq signed up to work with Blackwater as contractors:  the money’s good. 

Period.

No, I’m not going soft and starting to take an interest in the NFL once again.  I said at the start that I was done with The League as it now exists, except as an object of my scorn.

Which brings up the Philadelphia Eagles. As a native Philadelphian, I continue to be shocked at how quickly they can piss away something that was so long in coming.

Now comes this - a local writer’s claim that at the root of Pederson’s firing is prize QB Carson Wentz, who for all his great promise has won one less Super Bowl than Pederson (just in case the world has forgotten that it was won by a guy named Nick Foles playing QB).

Here’s how the writer, Marcus Hayes, started his story:

Carson Wentz will hire the next coach. It makes sense. After all, he fired the last one.

Jeffrey Lurie made this plain Monday, when he ushered Pederson out the door and patted him on the back with a hand wearing the only Super Bowl ring Lurie’s ever owned. Then again, considering Pederson won him that ring and not Wentz, maybe that hand performed more of a stabbing motion.
The issue seems to be that Wentz' contract runs longer than the coach's, and the genius owner and his toady GM seem to think that Wentz (who really hasn't done that much yet to justify his monster contract) holds the future of the franchise in his hands.

Wow. Fun times in Philly.  Damn shame the guys can’t go down to the local tappie and hash out the Iggles’ problems.  (Which are exceeded in importance  only by the issue of the tap rooms being closed.)

https://www.inquirer.com/eagles/philadelphia-eagles-doug-pederson-jeffrey-lurie-carson-wentz-20210113.html

*********** A Stradivarius is worth millions.  It’s a great piece of work. 

So is a Frank Lloyd Wright home.

So is a painting by Picasso.

In sports, people have long admired the sort of greatness that doesn’t come along every day. In almost any field, they’ve turned out in large numbers to watch the very best perform, whether it be a Secretariat, or a Muhammad Ali. Or the Montreal Canadiens or Boston Celtics of the 1950s.  When I lived in Baltimore in the 1960s, and the Yankees came to town to play the Orioles? Packed house. 

But not today’s people, evidently.  Not even when it’s free.

TV ratings for the championship game were way down, evidently, and although Monday night may not be the best time to broadcast a college game, there’s also some speculation that “Alabama Boredom” may have something to do with it. In other words,  the public, that great mass of unwashed that doesn’t really follow football most of the time, tuning into big games only because they’re events, wants entertainment, not Alabama.

To them, it’s not about the chance to get one last look at one of the greatest college football teams ever.  Greatness be damned.

Ordinarily, I’d say screw those dilettantes, but here’s the problem: fewer viewers translates to less money.  And money, let’s stop kidding ourselves, is why they play college football.

All around us, the world’s been turned upside-down, so I guess it shouldn't  surprise anyone to learn that there’s such a thing as a team’s being too good for its own good.

*********** By the way, after seeing Alabama dispatch a team of the quality of Ohio State, after Ohio State had just sent Clemson packing… can anybody tell me how, exactly,  the Playoff would have been enhanced/improved by the addition of four more teams, meaning one more weekend of blowout games just to get rid of four teams that had no business being in a playoff?

*********** It does seem as though we keep seeing the same five or six teams in the field when it comes time near the end of the season to pick the four playoff semifinalists, but it wasn’t that long ago that things were different.

To show how things can change, look at this, from just 10 years ago:

AP Final Poll - 2010

1. Auburn (14-0)
2. TCU (13-0)
3. Oregon (13-1)
4. Stanford (12-1)

*********** Those of you who remember Reggie Bush’s illegal mansion and the investigation that led to his forfeiting of the Heisman Trophy and USC’s being stripped of a national title will recognize the dishonesty in this sentence in an article about Seattle Seahawks’ General Manager John Schneider:

“Schneider arrived as general manager in 2010 after Carroll had been lured from college football…”

“Lured,” eh? Make me laugh. From Wikipedia...

Wrote Los Angeles Times sportswriter Jerry Crowe, "It's somehow apt that the Trojans were asked to return the Grantland Rice Trophy after being stripped of the 2004 Football Writers Assn. of America national championship... Grantland Rice was the legendary early 20th century sportswriter who wrote, 'When the great scorer comes/to mark against your name/He'll write not 'won' or 'lost'/but how you played the game.'"

Among Carroll's critics in the media was longtime Los Angeles Times sportswriter Bill Plaschke, who said that in one stroke, Carroll went

from a coach who presided over the greatest days in USC football history to one who was in charge of its biggest embarrassment. He goes from saint to scallywag. 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.

Sporting News writer Mike Florio called for the Seahawks to fire Carroll, saying that "justice won't truly be served until the only coaching Carroll ever does entails holding an Xbox controller."
 
On August 26, 2010, the Football Writers Association of America announced it would take back USC's 2004 Grantland Rice Trophy and leave that year's award vacant, the only vacancy in the over half century of the history of the award. The FWAA also said it would not consider USC as a candidate for the award for the 2010 season. New USC athletic director Pat Haden said USC would return the trophy, stating, "While we know that some fans and former student-athletes may be disappointed, our central priority at this time is our overall commitment to compliance and this action is in line with the standards we have set for our entire athletic program."

(I don’t ordinarily like to quote Wikipedia, because it’s a lazy way to go, and because Wikipedia’s sources are often sketchy, but in this case it’s merely quoting reputable writers.)

*********** With Iowa State finally crashing the Top Ten in this year’s final poll, there remain just six (of 65) Power 5 conference teams that have never been ranked in the Top Ten:

NC State
Rutgers
Texas Tech
Vanderbilt
Virginia
Wake Forest

*********** Until this season, Indiana and Iowa State had gone the longest of any Power 5 schools without a ranking in the Top 25. Indiana had gone unranked since 1988, and Iowa State since 2000.

Those who’ve now gone unranked the longest, with their last ranked year in parentheses, and their coach at the time:

Purdue (2003)  Coach Joe Tiller
Virginia (2004)  Coach Al Groh
Wake Forest (2006) Coach Jim Grobe
Rutgers (2006) Coach Greg Schiano
Cal (2006) Coach Jeff Tedford
Illinois (2007) Coach Ron Zook
BC (2007) Coach Jeff Jagodzinski
Kansas (2007) Coach Mark Mangino
Texas Tech (2009) Coach Mike Leach
Pitt (2009) Dave Wannstedt

*********** I ran into one of my former players today.  He’s a cop in town, and naturally we got to talking about, um "current events."  Let’s just say I sure hope there are more cops like him. I’d call him a tough guy, and I’m qualified to say that.  Despite the fact that he wasn’t all that big, he played fullback and linebacker for me, and he was an outstanding wrestler and a catcher on the baseball team. He’s been on the force a while now, and he’s been active in teaching self-defense. 

He says he’s shocked at how few officers nowadays know how to fight.  He meant, how to handle themselves in a physical confrontation, and he attributes it to a general softness overall in new recruits (“a lot of them are wimps”), to the limitations on submission techniques that are placed on officers, and to the fact that self-defense training is one of the first things to go when police departments are forced to trim their budgets.  His theory is that officer-involved shootings often stem from that - that officers who simply are unable physically to subdue bad guys wind up resorting to gunfire.

*********** The former player I was talking to said that he recently visited his dad in Post Falls, Idaho.  Post Falls is just across the border from Spokane, Washington, but it might as well be in another country.  Washington is like Dead State Walking. Idaho, on the other hand, is like America used to be. Idaho’s schools are open, and Idaho had a real high school football season. And get this: in Idaho,  bars and restaurants are open for business. One hundred per cent occupancy allowed, and you don’t have to wear a f—king mask. He especially recommended a place called the Oval Office, owned by a guy who also owns a place up the street called the White House.  Needless to say, I was told, there are a lot of cars in the parking lot with Washington plates. The nerve.  I am tempted to alert our Governor Dipshit so he can have state police meeting them at the border and arresting them as potential Super Spreaders.

*********** Longtime coach Bill Lawlor writes from Palatine, Illinois…

One thing that really jumped out at me this college football season was the large amount of players that did not have their mouthpieces in.  Many times this was so obvious and flagrant but I was under the impression it was a penalty still under NCAA rules.  I know they don't care about knee pads anymore but with the rise of concussions you would think they would enforce this more rather than less?

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

Doug Pederson will be a head coach in the NFL again.  So many HC's at that level get recycled every few years.

My brother-in-law lived in Portland a few years ago.  He recently went back for a meeting.  Told my wife he hardly recognized it.  

Fortunately I have only worked in small Catholic schools.  In our budgets Gatorade was considered a "luxury" item so we used it sparingly. I'm lucky I have never been doused with it.  Just water.

Hewlett-Packard has experienced a lull recently.  Their CEO is one Meg Whitman.  She obviously never learned anything on a football field.

Maybe if Walter Payton were playing in today's NFL he would be considered a trailblazer??

After watching last night's championship game Sark will at least be coming into Austin with more "cred" than Tom Herman did.  Hopefully Sark won't relapse.

Thanks for the advice on how to use a Zoom presentation, especially on a Mac.  God only knows how much we will be needing to know those things from now on.

Echoing those comments about Bill Walsh.  I met him back in his heyday at SF when I was working at USF.  Not a really friendly guy.  As opposed to Bud Wilkinson who obviously was a no-nonsense guy.

Have a good week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** QUIZ ANSWER: No less a judge of talent than Al Davis once called Cookie Gilchrist "the best all-around back in football."
John Madden said he was very possibly “the best blocking running back that ever played the game."

Big (6-2, 250), strong a fast, he set all sorts of rushing records in high school, in western Pennsylvania, and in 1954, straight out of high school, he showed up at the Cleveland Browns’ camp in Hiram, Ohio, asking for a tryout. When his father told Browns’ coach Paul Brown that his son had no interest in going to college, the Browns gave him a look, but they were forbidden by NFL rules to sign any player whose college class had not graduated, and after commissioner Bert Bell’s warning not to sign him, he was off to Canada.

There have been rumors over the years that the Browns actually drafted him while he was still in high school, but Brown in his memoirs made no mention of that.
After leaving the Browns he would stay - and play - in Canada for eight years before returning to the US. He spent two years playing at a lower level, but by  his third year in the North, in his rookie year in the CFL, he was named All-CFL, and would earn that honor for five straight seasons.

In 1962, he signed with the Buffalo Bills of the AFL.

He became the first AFL player to rush for over 1,000 yards, and led the AFL in rushing.  He led the league in rushing twice, and in carries for three times.

He spent three years in Buffalo, and led the league in scoring all three years.  In 1962, he scored 128 points, setting the All-Time AFL record for touchdowns (13) and  - get this -  kicking 14 PAT's and eight field goals.  He was named the AFL’s MVP.

In a 1963 game against the Jets he rushed for 243 yards, then a professional one-game record.

In the Bills’ 1964 AFL title game win over the Chargers, he rushed for 122 yards.

Despite playing only three years in Buffalo, he still ranks ninth among the Bills’ all-time rushers, and his 4.5 yards per carry is second only to a former Bills’ runner named Simpson (yes, O.J.).

But as good as he was, he wore out his welcome in Buffalo. “An athlete should be traded every two or three years," he once said. "It keeps him from becoming complacent." He must never have become complacent, because in his 12-year career he placed for six different teams: Hamilton, Saskatchewan and Toronto in the CFL, and Buffalo, Miami and Denver in the AFL.

Although he was considered the best runner in the AFL, Buffalo coach Lou Saban put him on waivers during the 1964 regular season, and only after team leaders persuaded him to do so did he relent and recall his star. But immediately after winning the championship, Saban traded him to Denver.

In one way he was ahead of his time. By the standards of the times he was considered a difficult player to work with. Today, though, he might not have seemed so unusual.

It didn’t take Broncos' coach Mac Speedie long to grow  tired of him. After learning that he had been traded to Miami, Speedie said,  "For me, Christmas came early.”

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING COOKIE GILCHRIST

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
JOHN GREENBURG - PINELLAS COUNTY, FLORIDA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY


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

Cookie Gilchrist is the man in today's question.

http://www.remembertheafl.com/CookieGilchrist.htm

Greg Koenig
Colorado Springs

*********** QUIZ: A native of Carnegie, Pennsylvania, he played his football at the University of Maryland.

As a split-T quarterback, he led the Terps to an upset over national champion Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl (in the days when the national title was conferred before the bowls were played).

In his senior season of 1953,  he led the Terps to the national championship, but ironically, they were beaten in the bowl game - the 1954 Orange Bowl - by Oklahoma.

He was an All-American and Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, and he finished in fourth pace in the Heisman voting.

He was drafted in the first round by the 49ers, the 11th player taken overall, but he was also drafted by the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL.  Their new coach, Pop Ivy, had been on the Oklahoma staff in the Orange Bowl and saw in him the perfect quarterback for his system in Canada. When the 49ers offered him $9,000 - that was for a whole season - the Eskimos offered $12,500, and at a time when the Canadian dollar was worth more than the US dollar, he was off to Canada.

In his first year in Edmonton he justified the Eskimos faith in him, taking them to the Grey Cup.  He then had to spend two years in the US military, and when he was discharged, he signed as a free agent with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

He had his best years in Hamilton, leading the TiCats to two Grey Cups in his eight years there. The win in 1957 made him the first quarterback to win a Grey Cup for an Eastern team and a Western team. In 1961 he won the Schenley Award, given to the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player, and he was named the Eastern Conference All-Star quarterback five times.

In 1965, he was traded to Montreal, and for his play he was named the winner of the Jeff Russell Memorial Trophy as Most Valuable Player in the East.

He spent one last season with the BC Lions before retiring.

In all, he completed 1,493 passes in 2,876 attempts for 24,264 yards and 153 touchdowns.

He is honored by membership in the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, the Maryland Sports Hall of Fame, the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, the Canada Sports Hall of Fame and the CFL Hall of Fame.

In 2006 he was named one of the Top 50 Players of  the CFL’s modern era.

After retirement he made his home in Hamilton, where he ran a heavy equipment company until his death in 1999 of colon cancer.



Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY, JANUARY  12, 2021 - "I couldn't wait for success, so I went ahead without it."  Jonathan Winters

*********** Yeah, the money's good, but... Seems only yesterday the Eagles finally won a Super Bowl, and the people of Philly  were lining up to kiss Doug Pederson's ring. Actually, it was three years ago.  So what's he done lately? Today, he was fired.  What a terrible existence.

*********** On Saturday my wife and I decided to take a run over to Portland.  It’s just across the Columbia River from Camas, and in light traffic, downtown Portland is only about 30 minutes from where we live. But this was  our first look at it in more than 10 months - since all the China Flu and the Mostly Peaceful Protests started.

In a word, it’s sorry.  The perfect storm of COVID lockdowns, riots and homeless encampments had taken its toll.

Once, a nice Saturday morning would have brought out large numbers of people to shop or just walk around.

But on this nice Saturday morning, there weren’t many places open, nor were there many people walking around. And those we did  see were, I must say, a rather unattractive and bedraggled lot.

We drove around what I would estimate to be a roughly 100-block area of what used to be a vibrant, inviting downtown, stunned by the number of boarded-up storefronts and closed-for-good businesses, most graffiti-covered, many with homeless sleeping in their entryways.

Once away from the downtown, things hadn’t been so affected by the riots, but the restaurants and bars remained pretty much closed.  And the homeless had spread out into nearly every neighborhood.

Downtown businesses are said to be facing a several weeks-long wait to have their plate glass windows replaced.  I don’t know why they’d bother. Even if the flu were to vanish tomorrow, and the governor were to tell restaurants they could reopen for indoor dining at 100 per cent capacity, they’d still have to entice people to come and take their chances with aggressive homeless panhandlers accosting them on the street and anarchists likely to riot on a moment’s notice.

*********** Looking at some old photos,  I saw a lot of shots of coaches being honored after a big win - being carried on the shoulders of their players to the midfield handshake with the losing coach.

Sadly, I contrasted that with the now-mandatory - and degrading -  ritual of the Gatorade bath.

How strange that college coaches continue to allow themselves to be drenched with ice-cold, sticky, “sports drink.”  Are you going to try to tell me that millionaire college coaches, who run their own little fiefdoms with powers that a Roman emperor would envy, can’t order the equipment people to make sure that Gatorade jugs are emptied once the clock hits the five minute mark?  Are you going to try to tell me that players who have to go without their beverage for five minutes or so are going to die of dehydration?

My theory is that this goes hand in glove with coaches becoming increasingly tolerant of all sorts of aberrant behavior, fearing that imposing discipline might get them a reputation that hurts them in recruiting. There’s something smelly about the whole deal - as if it exposes, briefly, the unspoken truth that underneath it all, the players are in control, and the coaches serve at their pleasure.

*********** Michael Malone in the Wall Street Journal called it "the most momentous meeting of the modern world." It took place in the fall of 1930, as two candidates for the same position on the Stanford freshman football team sized each other up. One was the son of a lawyer from Pueblo, Colorado; the other was the son of a San Francisco doctor.

One of them would make the team; the other would be cut after a few days. No matter - they ran into each other again from time to time over the next few years, and by junior year, both engineering majors, they had grown to be close friends. So close that a few years after graduation one of their former professors suggested they form their own company.

This they did, and so, in a one-car garage in Palo Alto - now a California Historical Monument - William Hewlett and David Packard founded Hewlett-Packard, the company which blazed the trail for the growth of America's high-tech industry and the Silicon Valley itself. From the first, the company showed others the way as a progressive employer, becoming, in 1942, the first American corporation to provide medical benefits to its employees.

No matter how large Hewlett-Packard grew - $48 billion in sales and 89,000 employees - the two men maintained a personal interest in their company; the "H-P Way" became the name given to their management philosophy, which included innovations such as "MBWA" - Management by Walking Around - requiring managers to get their butts out of their chairs and go get in touch with what is actually going on.

The two founders donated enormous sums of money to charities, including at least $300 million to their alma mater, Stanford. Mr. Packard died in 1996. Mr. Hewlett passed away in 2001.  It was said that in nearly 70 years of working closely together, no harsh word ever passed between the two men.

And it all started on a football field.

*********** "Another thing that I took from Coach Hill (Bob Hill, his college coach) was how a man should carry himself on the field. I never appreciated the guys who would do little jigs in the end zone and stuff like that. You see guys on television today, they make a five yard gain and they have to do a dance. Or they make one tackle and they all celebrate. That's not football and that's not what you are out there for. I used to watch these guys, disgusted, I'd say, "Look at them, it's all about showing off and stuff like that." It's not about football. I really have a lot of disrespect for players like that. I've never liked it and never understood it."

Walter Payton, from his book, “Never Die Easy”


*********** It will certainly be interesting to see how “rehabilitated” Steve Sarkisian is from his Washington and USC days.  He’d better watch his ass, because  I think he is going to find that in Austin he is in much more of a goldfish bowl than he was in either Seattle or Los Angeles.  Texans have standards, too, and no matter how much he wins, the off-the-field things that turned Huskies and Trojans against him are just as likely to offend Longhorns.  He’s already starting out with two strikes against him: like the previous six coaches at UT, he’s not Darrell Royal.

*********** A coach asked me a few things about making a Zoom presentation, and while I wouldn’t exactly call myself a pro, I would say that with Clinic Number 39 coming up, I’ve learned a few tricks.

I’ve been a Mac guy since the days when only geeks used Macs, and so some things I say may not be useful to non-Mac users.

First of all, the content - which other than the times when you’re a talking head is most likely to be a video or a prepared presentation…

I’ve found that videos embedded in presentation software (PowerPoint, Keynote) work okay when you’re presenting live, but when you’re doing it on Zoom something is lost. Videos just don’t look as good - they seem a bit jerky, I’ve found,  and you don’t have the control - back and forth, stop action, slomo - that you have when you use a separate video player app.

Although that means having to stop your presentation and switch over to the video viewer just to show your video, it may be preferable to  showing  a video that’s jerky and hard to watch.

For my presentations, I use Mac’s own QuickTime player.

I also use it for 90 per cent of my video preparation.  It’s amazingly versatile. Using it, I can easily assemble a number of different  clips into one lengthy video, and if I need to find one special play in a video of an entire game and extract it, I can do that easily, too.

If there’s anything else I need to do beyond simple cut-and-paste editing - such as special effects, slow motion, freeze frame, titles or highlights, zooming in or out, or screen capture - I use a program called Screen Flow. As far as I know, it’s still available only for Mac.  It’s fairly expensive, but it’s really a killer app.

For presentation software, PowerPoint is well known, and of course it’s good, but so is Keynote, Apple’s own presentation app.  I’m beginning to find I like Keynote a little more because it seems a little more stable with my Mac.

In setting up for a presentation, when I have a number of videos to share,I first open them in QuickTime, and then, one by one, click on the yellow “minimize” dot in the upper left hand corner of each of them;  that will keep them open but shrink them to “thumbnail” size and send them to the lower right edge of the dock, where they’ll be arranged in the order in which I minimized them.  Once I’ve got them there, I can grab and arrange them or rearrange them in any order I choose.

I do the same with any other materials I plan on using, such as Keynote presentations. Now, once my “clinic”  is under way and I need to find the next item to show, I know just where to find it.

The last thing you want to be doing when people are waiting to see what you’ve got is trying to find it!

*********** After Bret Bielama’s recent hiring by Illinois, someone commented that it would be an easy job because Illinois people are easily pleased, and got this response…

As a UI alumnus who has lived more than a half century, I always chuckle when people say “Illinois will be content with 6-7 wins per season in football”. Oh, but if it were true! Whenever Illinois football achieves any modicum of significant success (see Mike White taking UI to a Rose Bowl, Ron Turner taking UI to a BCS Bowl, Ron Zook taking UI to a Rose Bowl), the fan base decides “Why not us?” and the fans’ standards change mightily. Good luck, Brett. Perhaps your role model in this job should be John Mackovic. He coached consistently competitive teams, but never reached the heights that would have turned the fickle UI fanbase against him.

*********** Years ago, at a Seattle clinic, I went up to Bill Walsh after he’d finished a presentation, and I asked him a question.  I can’t remember what it was, but I’ll never forget the look he gave me.  It was as if I’d asked him if it was true that the sun rises in the East.  How dare anybody waste the Great Man’s time with a question like that?  Okay, Mr. A$$hole, I said to myself.  You’ll get yours.

So it was with a bit of enjoyment that I read that at least one other person saw Mister Walsh for what he was.

In re-readimg "Manning," by Archie and Peyton Manning, with John Underwood, Archie said…

"About that time (following Peyton's junior season in high school) I ran into Bill Walsh, the former 49ers coach, in New York, and Walsh told me I should send Peyton to his camp at Stanford University in Palo Alto. He said, 'I always pull out the top five or six quarterbacks and we work with them individually every day in the stadium. It's a terrific learning experience.'

"The opportunity was too good to pass up. That summer Peyton got a friend, Walker Jones. another prospect whose father had played at Ole Miss, to go with him... all the way to northern California to learn at the feet of an offensive master. They were there for five days. But the master, Coach Walsh, was there for only one. For pictures. And that was it. He never showed for any of the workouts. Peyton was not happy."

*********** A few years back, Berry Tranel, in The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City’s daily newspaper) passed along a story about legendary Oklahoma Sooners’ coach Bud Wilkinson, told him by Benton O’Neal, one of three brothers who played for Coach Wilkinson in the 1950s.

“After spring practice each year, Coach Wilkinson would schedule a one-on-one individual meeting with each sophomore, junior and senior returning for the next fall. It was an intense meeting. If in his estimation you were not the caliber of player he was looking for at OU, he would tell you that and you were not invited back to the team next fall. If those not invited back were a scholarship player, he would offer them to keep it and complete their degree. Some did; however, most opted to transfer to Division II, NAIA, etc. Word would get around to the ones invited back and they were heartless to the non-invitees by playing some sad song about them losing their saddle.

“He would point out to the players invited back for fall practice, which was about 65 to 70, to work on their weaknesses during the summer. New freshmen were not eligible for the varsity team. Bud knew through injuries, flunkouts, dropouts and normal matriculation that number would drop down to about 55 to 60 sophomores, juniors and seniors after two-a-day practices. Out of this group he would put together five teams capable of playing offense, defense and special teams, being five deep at all positions. That meant five deep at right end, right tackle, right guard, center, left guard, left tackle, left end, quarterback, right halfback, left halfback and fullback.

https://tulsaworld.com/sportsextra/ousportsextra/did-bud-wilkinson-cut-players-from-the-ou-football-team/article_9880134d-8212-5200-9311-a5f9f007d38a.html

***********  Hugh,

We need more Mike Johnsons in colleges PERIOD.

Doc Holliday is likely the best example of the rising cases of age discrimination in college AND high school football.  Not just because he is "only" 63 years old, but because he is "old school" in his approach to coaching.  

The Slot-T (a similar looking offense to the DW) is very much alive and well in Texas.  A number of them can be found spread out around the state, and a number of them played in the state tournament.  Two of them who run it, and run it well, are playing in the two state semi-final games this weekend.  Both from the Austin area.  Unfortunately they will not meet if they win because one is a 6A school and the other a 5A school.  If they did play it would likely be the shortest played game in the history of Texas high school football.

Enjoy the weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Tom Fears was one of the greatest receivers in the history of pro football. He was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, the son of a Mexican mother and an American father who worked as an engineer in Mexico.  He grew up speaking both English and Spanish, and all his life he remained proud of his Mexican heritage.

He played high school football at Los Angeles’ Manual Arts High, then played one season at Santa Clara before being drafted into the Army in World War II.  At that time, his father, who had been working in the Philippines, was being held in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Hoping to become a fighter pilot, he instead wound up serving stateside as a flight instructor while playing service football.

After his discharge, although he had been drafted by the Rams (who had just moved to Los Angeles from Cleveland), he enrolled at UCLA, where he was an All-American in 1946 and 1947. While at UCLA, boosters had managed to get him and some teammates well-paying roles in movies, and when he signed with the Rams in 1948, he joked that to play pro football he had to take a cut in pay.  (For the record, he was the first Mexican-American drafted by an NFL team.)

Although drafted as a defensive back,  he soon was moved to offense, where he was perfect for the Rams’ then-wide open attack.  At 6-2, 215 he had good size, and he had decent speed, but his strength was in running precise routes and, years before there was any thought given to a “five-yard check” rule,  doing so fearlessly.  In his first year, 1948, he led the NFL in receiving and was named Rookie of the Year.

In 1949, he broke the legendary Don Hutson’s single-season record of 73 receptions, when he caught 77 passes.  In his third season, 1950, he caught 84 passes in 12 games, a record that would last for 50 years, until it was broken by Terrell Owens (in 14 games). In one game against the Packers, he caught a then-record 18 passes.

The very next week, against the Bears, he helped the Rams win a spot in the NFL championship game with touchdown receptions of 86, 43 and 27 yards. For his great season, he was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.

His overall performance began to taper off, and he retired after the 1956 season.

He then spent eight years as an assistant in the NFL, including four years at Green Bay from 1962-1965 under Vince Lombardi, before being hired in1967 to coach the expansion New Orleans Saints.  As might have been expected, he won just 13 games in his three seasons there, and found himself out of work.

The most significant thing he accomplished during his time in New Orleans may have been identifying and grooming the receiving talent of Dan Abramowicz, a 17th round draft pick from Xavier who would go on to play 111 games in the NFL, and at the time he retired held the NFL record for most consecutive games catching at least one pass (105).

After leaving the Saints, he took a year off,  spent spent two more years as offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles, then returned to Southern California as head coach of the World Football League Southern California Sun, a position he held for two years until the WFL folded (for the second time).

After that, he held a number of positions in a variety of football operations and leagues, but he never worked in the NFL again.  He claimed that he was blacklisted, after having served as technical advisor in the making of the movie “North Dallas Forty,” whose portrayal of the league and its players the League found objectionable.

Tom Fears' overall career stats of 400 receptions for 5,397 yards and 38 touchdowns, especially coming as they did as the NFL was just beginning to emphasize the pass, were more than enough to earn him a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING TOM FEARS

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA


*********** QUIZ: No less a judge of talent than Al Davis once called him "the best all-around back in football." 

John Madden said he was very possibly “the best blocking running back that ever played the game."

Big (6-2, 250), strong and  fast, he set all sorts of rushing records in high school, in western Pennsylvania, and in 1954, straight out of high school, he showed up at the Cleveland Browns’ camp in Hiram, Ohio, asking for a tryout. When his father told Browns’ coach Paul Brown that his son had no interest in going to college, the Browns gave him a look, but they were forbidden by NFL rules to sign any player whose college class had not graduated, and after commissioner Bert Bell’s warning not to sign him, he was off to Canada.

There have been rumors over the years that the Browns actually drafted him while he was still in high school, but Brown in his memoirs made no mention of that.

After leaving the Browns he would stay - and play - in Canada for eight years before returning to the US. He spent two years playing at a lower level, but by  his third year in the North, in his rookie year in the CFL, he was named All-CFL, and would earn that honor for five straight seasons.

In 1962, he signed with the Buffalo Bills of the AFL.

He became the first AFL player to rush for over 1,000 yards, and led the AFL in rushing.  He led the league in rushing twice, and in carries for three times.

He spent three years in Buffalo, and led the league in scoring all three years.  In 1962, he scored 128 points, setting the All-Time AFL record for touchdowns (13) and  - get this -  kicking 14 PAT's and eight field goals.  He was named the AFL’s MVP.

In a 1963 game against the Jets he rushed for 243 yards, then a professional one-game record.

In the Bills’ 1964 AFL title game win over the Chargers, he rushed for 122 yards.

Despite playing only three years in Buffalo, he still ranks ninth among the Bills’ all-time rushers, and his 4.5 yards per carry is second only to a former Bills’ runner named Simpson (yes, O.J.).

But as good as he was, he wore out his welcome in Buffalo. “An athlete should be traded every two or three years," he once said. "It keeps him from becoming complacent." He must never have become complacent, because in his 12-year career he placed for six different teams: Hamilton, Saskatchewan and Toronto in the CFL, and Buffalo, Miami and Denver in the AFL.

Although he was considered the best runner in the AFL, Buffalo coach Lou Saban put him on waivers during the 1964 regular season, and only after team leaders persuaded him to do so did he relent and recall his star. But immediately after winning the championship, Saban traded him to Denver.

In one way he was ahead of his time. By the standatrds of his day, he was considered a difficult player to work with. By today's standards, though, he might not have seemed so unusual.

It didn’t take Broncos' coach, Mac Speedie, long to get tired of him. After learning that he had been traded to Miami, Speedie said,  "For me, Christmas came early."


Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY, JANUARY  8, 2021 - "One man with courage makes a majority."    Andrew Jackson

*********** How many were the times, just during the bowl season, that we’ve seen coaches have to go onto the field to break up a scuffle?

Mike Johnson
On the other hand, how many times did we we see even one player step in and break up a fight before coaches even had to be called?

Between the many great plays, and the many displays of poor sportsmanship and outright gangster behavior, it’s understandable that we don’t get to see many acts of courageous leadership, so I thought it worthwhile to make note of the actions on one Army football player.  One special Army football player.


His name’s Mike Johnson. He’s a senior from Hinsdale, Illinois, and he’s been a regular at left guard all season, so he's familiar with hard-nosed football. 

In the recent Liberty Bowl game against West Virginia, after a seven-minute-long drive to open the second half resulted in an Army touchdown, he was celebrating, along  with the rest of the Army offense, when a West Virginia player (#9 if you must know) ran from the other side of the line, hitting an Army player in the back and knocking him to the ground. (As if he’d had some experience doing such things, or perhaps because he was ashamed of what he’d just done, Mister 9 turned and slunk away undetected.)

A couple of the Army guys, understandably pissed, got in the faces of a couple of Mountaineers (who quite possibly had no idea what had happened to provoke them).

Here’s where Mike Johnson came in.  He’s the guy at the left in the circle. (Did I mention he’s a team captain?)


army captain after TD

After “suggesting” that a West Virginian back up, he's seen here applying a double horse collar to the two teammates  and pulling them back from the confrontation.

Then, looking around and seeing other teammates showing signs of wanting to get  in on the action, he physically turned them around, and pointing toward the Army sideline, directed them to leave the scene.

Being a West Point Cadet, he led.  And being West Point Cadets, his teammates respected his authority.

It’s pretty dramatic when you look at it, because few are the occasions in today’s society that a guy will take a strong stand for what’s right, even though it might make him unpopular.

That's tough in today's society, where popularity ranks second only to fame in importance.

But that’s what a leader does.  Right is right, and popularity be damned.


*********** Doc Holliday is out at Marshall.

Two weeks ago, he was named Conference-USA Coach of the Year. He earned the honor - his Thundering Herd went 7-3 this year and won its division.  When he took over the program it had had only two winning seasons in the previous seven, and in his 11 years there, he went 85-54. His teams won three division titles, six bowl games and the 2014 Conference-USA championship. 

That might be enough to help him get another job, but he’s 63, and the chances of that are slim.

“Head coach Doc Holliday will not return,” was all the headlines said. Didn’t sound like a retirement to me, though, and sure enough my suspicion was confirmed when Holliday announced that the president would not extend his contact when it expires this summer.

This past season, his Herd was undefeated after seven games and among the top three Group of 5 teams, but then they lost their last three games, including the C-USA championship game.

He did everything right as an article in West Virginia Metro News attests:

Holliday’s time at Marshall was good. He embraced the community and the culture, telling Marshall’s story to anyone who would listen.

He brought the program out of the doldrums it had slipped into following Bob Pruett’s sudden retirement in the spring of 2005. He help shape the lives of the young men who played for him leaving a last impact that went far beyond the football field.

His players, staff and other coaches around the country respected him.

But in the end, all the achievements, the accolades and the admiration of former players weren’t good enough to keep his job.

Yes, and he won. But in the eyes of some obviously influential Marshall fans, HE DIDN’T WIN ENOUGH.

Welcome, Coach Holliday, to the ranks of coaches who’ve been victims of the common delusion that “we can do better.”

And welcome, whoever the next Marshall coach is, to a place where no matter what you do and how well you do it, in the end it won’t be enough.

https://wvmetronews.com/2021/01/05/opinion-hollidays-time-at-marshall-was-good-but-not-good-enough/

***********   At a Georgia Tech football game several years ago, George Morris, a Tech legend from the 1950s, was taking the elevator up to his level when a young man already in the elevator greeted him.

“Aren’t you George Morris?” he asked.

“The same,” Morris replied.

After a brief pause, the young man asked, “Mr. Morris, do you think you could play today?”

The former Tech All-American linebacker was quick to reply.

“I don’t know,” he said.  “I’m 75 years old now.   But if we’ll play without face masks, I’ll give it a try.”

Turning serious, he went on.   “The development of the face mask, and the blocking rules that allow holding - Those two things changed the game more than anything else. It’s a different game with that cage in front of your face.”

*********** Found this in a copy of the July, 1976 edition of a short-lived magazine called Sports Northwest.

In an interview with former Washington Huskies’ quarterback Sonny Sixkiller, he tells about having been snubbed by the Seahawks, and signing instead with the San Diego Chargers, and comments on his competition at the quarterback position.

“They have Dan Fouts and  Jesse Freitas.  I’m as good as Fouts.”

Wrong.

*********** Remember when Sports Ilustrated covered sports, instead of social justice issues?  I’ve got a collection of SI issues (carefully curated by my wife) that goes back to the mid-50’s, and it’s a lot of fun for me to grab an old issue and start leafing through it. Yeah, I know - you can go online to the SI vault and find an awful lot of the major articles from those issues, but you won’t see the ads or the small stuff - quotes, letters to the editor, game stories.

I was just leafing through SI’s college football pre-season issue, from September 24, 1962.  Notice that date? It’s the “Pre-season” issue, and it’s almost October. True, colleges were already a week into the season, but now, college football’s under way before Labor Day. Back then, the season was over by Thanksgiving Day.  And, since Bowls were few (Rose, Sugar, Orange, Cotton, Gator, Sun and a handful of others - not a Cure or a Cheez-it in the bunch), that was it for most schools.  It was not at all unusual for a two-loss team not to get a bowl invitation.

I came across a couple of funny things.

There was this, in the preview of small colleges.
Florida A&M this year may be the best small college team in the South, if not the nation. Showing films to a clinic recently, Coach Jake Gaither observed, “this back runs 9.5. This one runs 9.4.” The other coaches drooled.  “And this one runs 9.2.” Besides world record holder Bob Hayes, halfback, this year’s explosive runners are halfback Bob Paremore, triple threat quarterback Jim Tullis and fullback Hewritt Dixon. “If a back can’t get from his spot into the hole in O.8,” says Gaither, “we make him a lineman.”
The figures Coach Gaither was quoting were his backs’ times in the 100-yard-dash, which at that time were more widely used as a measurement of speed. 10.0 (“Ten flat,” as we would say) was fast. Anything under that was great speed, and 9.2 happened to be the fastest time in the world at that time.

And Florida A & M’s Bob Hayes was, in fact, the World’s Fastest Man, who went on to a Hall-of-Fame career with the Dallas Cowboys.

Bob Paremore played two years with the Cardinals, and three years in the CFL.

Hewritt Dixon, a big man with great speed, played eight years in the AFL-NFL (three with the Broncos and five with the Raiders) and was three-times named All-AFL.  Many people credit him (if “credit” is the right word) with being the first to spike the ball after a touchdown.  As I recall, he called it “Bustin’ the ball.”

And then, in the wrap-up of that week’s college games, there was this review of Miami’s opening-game win over Pitt:
“In the opening game with Miami you’re going to see an all America quarterback,” Pitt quarterback Jim Traficant immodestly informed the locker room after a spectacular practice last spring. “Yeah,“ a teammate retorted laconically. “His name is George Mira.” The name was indeed George Mira as the facile Key Wester led touchdown marches of 97, 73 and 95 yards for a 23-14  Miami victory.
The “immodest” Jim Traficant would attain a certain amount of fame in politics, first as sheriff of Mahoning County, Ohio, and then as a United States congressman for 17 years.  His time in Congress ended when he was convicted on a number of charges, including racketeering. He was expelled from the House of Representatives, and wound up serving seven years in prison.


Among the ads I mentioned, none was more indicative of the way our culture has changed than one suggesting the perfect Christmas gift for Junior:

RAWLINGS FOOTBALL AD

Kids nowadays wouldn’t want a gift like this anyhow because the pants cover the knees.

*********** I had an exchange with a coach who told me that in the newsletter he sends out to parents and players he gave it a little thought and decided to edit out a comment that he felt glorified  hitting, out of concern for the way moms might interpret it.

I totally agree.  I think that if I set out to design football in such a way as to persuade mothers not to let their boys play football (and let’s not kid ourselves - in today’s world, moms, single or not, are the ones making that decision) I couldn’t do a better job than a lot of today’s coaches.

The AFCA to its credit has long recognized the danger of this approach, and has been way ahead of its members for years in discouraging the use of terms like “smashmouth.”

Unfortunately not enough coaches belong to the AFCA, and of those who do, not enough pay enough attention to the importance of those things.

A perfect example of this is the fact that despite the emphasis place on targeting by people who write the rules and officiate the games, its incidence has not decreased. That would seem to indicate that there are way too many coaches who don’t care enough about our sport to actively discourage targeting.

Way too many football coaches seem to think that the garden weeds itself - that football will last forever without their having to do a damn thing to take care of it.  You’d think after the upheaval in so many aspects of our culture in the past 10 months or so that they’d begin to realize that in today’s world nothing is guaranteed permanency.

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

Texas A&M eventually pulled away from North Carolina to win the Orange Bowl.  The same North Carolina team that #4 Notre Dame beat.  The debate will continue as to whether ND or A&M should have been in the playoff.  A&M proved itself worthy of consideration, but to no avail.  ANY #4 team would have been beaten by Alabama.

Alabama SHOULD beat Ohio State (won't hurt my feelings), but at times the Tide has proven it can stumble in big games, but so can OSU. Still...ROLL TIDE!

Some of the best football I watched on TV this past weekend was the Texas high school variety.  Yes, they are still playing.  Class 6A and 5A schools started playing in October.  4A, 3A, 2A, and 6 man started on time in September and have concluded their seasons.  The 6A and 5A regional championships were held this past weekend.  The state semi-finals will be held on Saturday.  Three schools from the Austin area made it to the semis.  Westlake 13-0, Buda Hays 10-3, Cedar Park 12-0, and Liberty Hill 12-0.  Buda Hays and Liberty Hill both run the Texas Slot-T (similar to the DW).  The state championship games will be held the following week.

The eyes of Texas have become blind (Sarkisian), while their hindsight is still blurry (Brown).

I've been coaching in a spread offense for the past couple of years and believe me, not only is HOLDING a pox on the game, it has become acceptable.

Have a great week.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: George Ratterman grew up in a wealthy family in suburban Cincinnati, and was an outstanding athlete and student at St. Xavier High School.

He would spend some of his best football years playing second fiddle behind two of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the game.

Although good enough to play at almost any college in the country, he went to Notre Dame, where he played behind the great Johnny Lujack, winner of the Heisman Trophy in 1947.

Later, in the NFL, he would spent four years in Cleveland as backup to the Browns’ legendary Otto Graham.

At Notre Dame he was the fourth and last student in school history to earn letters in four different sports. (Lujack was the third.) Famed Irish coach Frank Leahy called him “The greatest all-around athlete in Notre Dame’s history.” 

He was relatively unknown to the sports public until the summer after his graduation, 1947, when he led the College All-Stars to an upset win over the defending NFL champion Chicago Bears.

With a bidding war going on between the NFL and the AAFC, he signed with the Buffalo Bills of the new league, and as a 20-year-old rookie, he  threw 22 touchdown passes, which stood as a record for a rookie until Peyton Manning broke it in 1998.

He led the Bills to the AAFC championship game in 1948, and in three years in Buffalo,  he threw 52 touchdown passes.  But he also threw 55 interceptions, an AAFC career record that will never be broken.

When the AAFC and NFL merged in 1950, he became the property of the New York Yanks.

He spent a year with the Yanks, leading the NFL in touchdown passes, then jumped to Montreal in the CFL in  1951. In 1952 he returned to the NFL, this time with the Cleveland Browns, intended to be Otto Graham’s successor.

He took over after Graham retired in 1956, but a serious leg injury four games into the season ended his career.  During that time he attained a measure of fame as the first player to wear a radio receiver in his helmet.  At a time when most quarterbacks called their own plays, Browns’ coach Paul Brown would send plays using what he called “messenger guards,” and after four games, NFL Commisioner Bert Bert outlawed the use of radio.

All the time he had been playing, he had also been attending law school at night and in the off-season, and after graduating with his law degree in 1956 he went into the investment business in Cincinnati.

He was a well-known figure in the Cincinnati area, and in 1961 he was persuaded to run for sheriff of Campbell County, Kentucky, just across the river from Cincinnati. Campaigning on a platform aimed at ending the open gambling and prostitution in the city of Newport, he soon ran afoul of the mob.   In an attempt to blackmail him and force him out of the race, he was slipped a drink with knockout drops in it, and put into bed with a local stripper.  But the plot backfired when it when it was discovered that had happened, and the publicity led to his victory in the race.

In the mi-60s, he served as general counsel for the American Football League Players Association, when Jack Kemp was its president.

After a time as sheriff, he ran unsuccessfully for a couple of other offices.  Offered a position with a Denver investment firm, he moved west and spent the rest of his life in Colorado, where he died in 2007.

A many-talented person, he was so accomplished as a pianist that he once played in a concert with the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra.

He had a reputation as a prankster and a fun lover, often to the consternation of the very serious Paul Brown, and he later wrote a book devoted primarily to the humorous aspects of his career.

From 1970 to 1973 he did color analysis on radio and TV broadcasts of NFL games, and he was Jim Simpson’s partner on the radio broadcast of the very first Super Bowl.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING GEORGE RATTERMAN

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
DAVE KEMMICK - MT. JOY, PENNSYLVANIA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOHN ROTHWELL - CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY

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

George Ratterman isn't a name that I was familiar with, but again I have enjoyed learning about him because of your quiz.

Greg Koenig
Colorado Springs

https://www.nkytribune.com/2020/12/our-rich-history-george-ratterman-1926-2007-football-star-and-reform-sheriff-tackled-newports-cleanup/


*********** As much of an ND fan as I am I had to do some digging on this one!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** After my initial investigation I settled on Frank Tripucka.  The more I read about him the more things didn't line up with your description, though there were similarities.

I am now changing my answer to George Ratterman.  Hard to believe he played for that long and was never the starter in college. I think that is what threw me off for a little.

Dave Kemmick
Mt. Joy, Pennsylvania

*********** I remember reading his book in High School..

Coach Kaz
Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

(The Book, for anyone who is interested, and I confess: I am,  is “Confessions of a Gypsy Quarterback.”)

***********  …and the stripper they threw in bed with George Ratterman? That would be...wait for it..."April Flowers"! (Juanita Jean Hodges).

J. Rothwell, DC
Corpus Christi, Texas


*********** Coach,  Last weekend Shandy and I watched the original Walking Tall. I am not sure if you remember this movie from 1973, but the description of Ratterman cleaning up Newport reminded me of Sheriff Buford Pusser.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

*********** Hugh

I saw this man play quarterback for the Browns. I  can say from watching him play in Cleveland that he was no Otto Graham. It's nothing against George Ratterman, but Paul Brown missed the boat on him. He could not shine Otto Graham's shoes as a quarterback.

Keep those Browns players coming for quizzes.

David Crump
Owensboro, Kentucky

*********** QUIZ: He was one of the greatest receivers in the history of pro football. He was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, the son of a Mexican mother and an American father who worked as an engineer in Mexico.  He grew up speaking both English and Spanish, and all his life he remained proud of his Mexican heritage.

He played high school football at Los Angeles’ Manual Arts High, then played one season at Santa Clara before being drafted into the Army in World War II.  At that time, his father, who had been working in the Philippines, was being held in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Hoping to become a fighter pilot, he instead wound up serving stateside as a flight instructor while playing service football.

After his discharge, although he had been drafted by the Rams (who had just moved to Los Angeles from Cleveland), he enrolled at UCLA, where he was an All-American in 1946 and 1947. While at UCLA, boosters had managed to get him and some teammates well-paying roles in movies, and when he signed with the Rams in 1948, he joked that to play pro football he had to take a cut in pay.  (For the record, he was the first Mexican-American drafted by an NFL team.)

Although drafted as a defensive back,  he soon was moved to offense, where he was perfect for the Rams’ then-wide open attack.  At 6-2, 215 he had good size, and he had decent speed, but his strength was in running precise routes and, years before there was any thought given to a “five-yard check” rule,  doing so fearlessly.  In his first year, 1948, he led the NFL in receiving and was named Rookie of the Year.

In 1949, he broke the legendary Don Hutson’s single-season record of 73 receptions, when he caught 77 passes.  In his third season, 1950, he caught 84 passes in 12 games, a record that would last for 50 years, until it was broken by Terrell Owens (in 14 games). In one game against the Packers, he caught a then-record 18 passes.

The very next week, against the Bears, he helped the Rams win a spot in the NFL championship game with touchdown receptions of 86, 43 and 27 yards. For his great season, he was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.

His overall performance began to taper off, and he retired after the 1956 season.

He then spent eight years as an assistant in the NFL, including four years at Green Bay from 1962-1965 under Vince Lombardi, before being hired in1967 to coach the expansion New Orleans Saints.  As might have been expected, he won just 13 games in his three seasons there, and found himself out of work.

The most significant thing he accomplished during his time in New Orleans may have been identifying and grooming the receiving talent of Dan Abramowicz, a 17th round draft pick from Xavier who would go on to play 111 games in the NFL, and at the time he retired held the NFL record for most consecutive games catching at least one pass (105).

After leaving the Saints, he took a year off,  spent spent two more years as offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles, then returned to Southern California as head coach of the World Football League Southern California Sun, a position he held for two years until the WFL folded (for the second time).

After that, he held a number of positions in a variety of football operations and leagues, but he never worked in the NFL again.  He claimed that he was blacklisted, after having served as technical advisor in the making of the movie “North Dallas Forty,” whose portrayal of the league and its players the League found objectionable.

His overall career stats of 400 receptions for 5,397 yards and 38 touchdowns, especially coming as they did as the NFL was just beginning to emphasize the pass, were more than enough to earn him a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame.



Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY, JANUARY  5, 2021 - “ I am patient with stupidity, but not with those who are proud of it.”   Dame Edith Sitwell

*********** DISCLAIMER - THIS IS NOT IN ANY WAY TO SUGGEST THAT OHIO STATE DID NOT PROVE ITSELF TO BE THE SUPERIOR TEAM IN DEFEATING CLEMSON, OR TO ACCUSE ANYONE ON THE CLEMSON TEAM OF ANY INVOLVEMENT IN ANY SCHEME TO THROW THE GAME. HOWEVER…

When a team well-known for its ability over a period of years to play at a consistently high level suddenly, before a national TV audience, not only loses a big game, but looks bad in doing so, questions are sure to arise in places where professional gamblers gather.

100 years ago this coming June, eight former members of the Chicago White Sox went on trial for conspiring to fix the 1919 World Series, in exchange for payments ranging from what today would be $75,000 to close to $500,000.

Known as the Black Sox Scandal, it rocked the sport of baseball, which at the time was far and away the most popular American sport.

The next major occurrence of professional gamblers’ attempts to fix games came in the late 1940s and early 1950s (I do remember this) when college basketball was hit with BIG “point-shaving” scandals involving top players from several teams. In 1950, CCNY won both the NCA and NIT titles, but after several of its players were found to have taken bribes a year earlier to shave points, the school de-emphasized the sport (and hasn’t been to the NCAA or NIT since). Two Kentucky All-Americans, Ralph Beard and Alex Groza (yes, the brother of Pro Football Hall of Famers Lou Groza), were banned for life from the NBA when their involvement in point sharing became known.

Think it couldn’t happen today?

The ingredients are still there, just as they were 100 years ago and 70 years ago:

(1) Enormous sums of money being bet on sports - a well-known sports-betting guy named Darren Rovell announced on twitter that the Ohio State-Clemson game was “the most bet game in @DKSportsbook history.”  What does that mean? I dunno, but one guy alone is said to have bet $1 million on Ohio State.

(2) Young men who could use a little spending money and know how much money others, including their coaches, are making as a result of their offers.

And now, two relatively new ingredients have been introduced that in my opinion make it even more likely that we will see a repeat, on a very large stage,  of the Black Sox or college point-shaving scandal.  What they do is provide players with the moral justification for “taking peanuts while everybody else (including their own coach) is making millions.”

(3) The enormous sums of money colleges unapologetically throw around, including millions spent as severance packages for fired coaches;

(4) The hue and cry from all corners, including Congress,  about the need to “pay” big-time college players - to compensate them in some way for the part they play in enriching others.

I am NOT saying that anyone involved with Clemson conspired to do anything wrong, nor am I saying that Ohio State didn’t earn its win.

I confess that if I had a million or so (or whatever it would take to fix a football game) I wouldn’t have the faintest idea of how to do it anyway.  Certainly not in such a way as to avoid detection - or keep anyone from talking.

But if I were a professional gambler, the anomaly of a great team playing as poorly as Clemson did, almost to a man, would have me thinking.

This is America in the Twenty-first Century, and only a fool thinks there’s still such a thing as the unthinkable.

*********** Our ambition - my wife and I - for next bowl season is to be invited to a Christmas party at Ree and Ladd Drummond’s ranch outside Pawhuska, Oklahoma.  Don’t know if you’ve ever seen  Ree and Ladd on “The Pioneer Woman” on The Food Network, but we love watching that show, where people are real (men are men and women are women) and even the kids are respectful of others.  I’m reminded of the now much-maligned family life that Americans once appreciated and aspired to - family life  as lived by the Ward and June Cleaver family and the Ossie and Harriet Nelson family.  Of course, elites had to ridicule them, because they were so normal and so considerate of each other that they made people in dysfunctional families feel bad.

*********** Bowl random observations:

*** This past bowl season,  Sean McDonogh and Todd Blackledge were the best announcer team by far. The best, unfortunately, of a sorry lot. Of the rest,  there aren’t many that I wouldn’t classify as morons.

After Miami had a TD called back for holding, Hasselbeck’s genius comment was that the holder “probably didn’t need to.”  Excuse me. There’s a time when he NEEDS TO?

I heard one guy use “trickeration” at least three times in the first half of a game. 

Brian Jones and Dusty Dvoracek must practice their hand gestures in front of a mirror. 

I actually heard that fool Mark Jones excuse trash talking, saying, “It’s not football unless you’re bumpin’ your gums a little bit.” That’s where I have to step in and say, “If you haven’t played the game, Jonesy - and you haven’t - you have no right to talk about it in those terms.” (That was the same Jones who said he didn’t trust cops to protect him.)

ESPN saved money by having one of its Armed Forces Bowl announcers at home in Atlanta and the other at home in Connecticut, which is why they had no idea that a massive brawl had broken out down on the field after they’d signed off.  When they were talking - Cotter and Herzlich were the names - no more than half the time was it about the actual game on the field, and when it was, Cotter was calling it as if he was on the radio and none of us could afford a TV set to watch the game ourselves. 

One of the games - I didn’t make note - was called by two guys talking though masks the entire game.

I bet there’s not a single announcer that knows what a “bell cow” is.

Even Fowler and Herbstreit, who should have been better, did a crummy job, talking too much during Clemson-Ohio State.  Hey, wait a minute - I know Herbstreit’s a pro and all that, but come on - he’s still an Ohio State guy. It just doesn’t look right.

When did they start paying announcers by the word?  Anyone remember the days when we viewers were smart enough to know what we were seeing, without being told?  Remember Ray Scott, who did so many Packers’ games? They’d line up and hand the ball off and he’d say, “This… is… Hornung…”  That’s all.  He didn’t insult us by telling its what we’d seen.

Time to do away with the word “chippy,” which sounds relatively benign, like a couple of junior high mean girls exchanging insults, when it’s actually describing players - teams, even - conducting themselves in ways that could easily metastasize into something very ugly.

“Chip on the shoulder” may be where the term “chippy” derives.  It’s a way-overused cliche.

Mike Golic (Senior, that is) decided to do a game from the booth, and the other guy must have spent 10 minutes kissing his butt, telling him what a legend he is, blah, blah, blah.

They saved the worst for last.  Dan Orlovsky. UNC-Texas A & M. Officially an expert on everything. Had the answer for everything.  Wouldn’t shut up. His partner, Bob Wischusen, needs to step up and talk more so that we don’t have to hear Orlovsky.

*** Miami’s receivers dropped so many passes you had to wonder if they were really on scholarship.

*** Oklahoma State receiver Tylan Wallace  set a brand-new precedent by opting out of the bowl game - at halftime.  Let’s say you’re an NFL coach looking for a receiver you can depend on… hmmm.

*** I was really sorry that USC as a team opted out of a bowl, because that meant that Colorado got the Pac-12’s Alamo Bowl berth against Texas, and the Buffs, who had a nice season, just weren’t yet ready to play at that level.  I was hoping that USC could have played, and gotten the ass-whipping they had coming.

*** The game has been turned upside down.  Somebody needs to tell players and coaches that it’s tackling, not blocking, where you use your hands and arms to grab the other guys.

*** Do the Subway people realize how close they’re coming to reality when they show Deion Sanders stealing a delivery guy’s pizza? (“Did I just get picked off by Deion Sanders?” “No, you fool.  You just got robbed.”)

*** Coaches who stubbornly refuse to get under center on fourth and one are about as smart as Shaquille O’Neal (a career 52.7 per cent free throw shooter) refusing to shoot free throws underhanded.

*** Seven Florida starters opted out “to prepare for the draft.”  They actually showed us the tweet from one of them, Kyle Pitts, wishing “my teammates” good luck.

*** One of the Florida players who decided to bypass the bowl game was that genius, Marco Wilson - the one who threw the shoe that cost the Gators a potential shot at the playoff.

*** After watching Notre Dame and Oklahoma in their bowl games, would you still like to try telling me that ND belonged in the playoff (sorry: “The Playoff”) ahead of OU? 

*** Really dumb of Wisconsin players to drop the “Duke Mayo” bowl trophy while dancing in the locker room post-game. A crystal football, it shattered into a thousand little bits. But very witty of Badgers’ coach Paul Chryst to say “we just wanted everybody to have a piece of the trophy.”

*** Mississippi State has some reprobates that should never step on any college football field again, and their ugly, bare-chested WWE-like pregame confrontation undoubtedly started everything off wrong. But during the Armed Forces Bowl game itself, the Tulsa guys did their share of cheap stuff and trash talking.

*** The post-game brawl between players from Mississippi State and Tulsa - not all of them, it’s important to point out - ought to be a great opportunity for Mike Leach to clean house.  Despite what some people might have thought about his post-game comments, it’s worth remembering that this was his first year, that he recruited very few of those players, and that with the constraints of social distancing in the off-season, coaches’ customary attempts to instill their culture were hampered, to say the least. But now that he’s seen who the perps are and what  harm they’re capable of inflicting on the Mississippi State program, he’d be a fool to think that no matter how talented they might be, they’re  worth the effort to try to civilize them.

*** West Virginia lined up in a version of Lonesome Polecat on a two-point conversion attempt.  Didn’t work.  Guy dropped the pass.

*** Army linebacker Jon Rhattigan didn’t start until  this year, his senior season. But he made the most of his opportunity, and for his play was named second-team All-American.  He is one tough dude, so when it was announced that he was not going to be playing in the Liberty Bowl game against West Virginia, I knew he wasn’t pussing out to prepare for the NFL draft. Nope. If anything, he was getting ready for the Infantry, his branch of choice after graduation.

*** Why don’t they show us players’ home towns any more?

*** Have you noticed how few defensive linemen wear linemen’s numbers any more? Instead, they’re wearing “eligible” numbers. (Unlike on offense, there are no rules prescribing what numbers defensive players have to wear.)  Yes, I know about the fad of giving out single-digit numbers (and of course the look-at-me zeroes) but these are numbers in the teens and twenties. I suspect it’s because defensive linemen consider it beneath them to have to wear real lineman’s numbers, like the grunts on offense.

*** Georgia’s George Pickens is the perfect example of the sort of jerk that teams keep around simply because he’s very talented.  (Remember him sneakily squirting water from a bottle onto the Tennessee quarterback?)  He’ll never change, because nobody will ever give him any reason to, and he’ll move on to the “next level” where he’ll be surrounded by misfits just like him.

*** If you get a chance, watch MIssissippi State’s Malik Heath, Number 4 in the post-game brawl.  He kicked at a Tulsa guy’s face - the guy was on the ground. He missed the face and appeared to hit him in the chest or shoulder .  Then, Mister Courage turned and ran as if he’d had experience running from trouble. Not long afterward,  to show how remorseful he was, he posted an Instagram video of the act, while proudly commenting on it (I confess that I wasn’t able to make out a lot of what he was saying).

*** On the theory that bad PR is better than none at all, is it possible that NIL will entice some guys to be even bigger a&&holes than they are?

*** Would you recruit a kid if you knew that in a few years he would opt out of a bowl game? I think most coaches would say, “Yes,” given that they think they’re such miracle workers that they can take a guy they know has serious character issues and somehow keep him out of trouble for four years, they know they can convince one  to play in a bowl game.

*** Army played West Virginia close, and it was a clean, hard-fought game.

Both teams were tough on defense. The difference, I think, was in how the respective coaches handled their quarterbacks.  I have no idea what was involved in their thinking, but West Virginia’s offense picked up noticeably when Coach Neal Brown pulled his starter.  Similarly, Army’s offense picked up when they pulled their starter and replaced him with a slightly less athletic QB, but one who could run more of the offense - including passing the ball. Then, though, at a key point in what could have been a final, game-winning drive, for some reason they reinserted the starter, and the offense stalled.  The Cadets had to settle for a long, fourth-down field goal attempt, which they missed.

*** The interview with new Auburn coach Brian Harsin just had to take place during the Auburn-Northwestern game, as play went on, didn’t it?  What was wrong with halftime?

*** Came across this one, just as a caution to anyone thinking he can get ‘er done at Auburn: only one coach has stayed at Auburn long enough to retire - and they named the stadium after him.

*** Cincinnati takes great pride in the number of Ohio kids on the roster, but there was one Washington kid in their starting defensive lineup, and he was from (ahem) Aberdeen.  He was Number 41, Joel Dublanko, who you may remember as putting a great hit on the Georgia QB and forcing a forward fumble.  In fairness, I should point out that he only played at Aberdeen through his junior year, before spending a year “prepping” at IMG Academy.

*** Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald was this year’s Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award winner.  Richly deserving.

*** Why is the Playoff Committee kissing teachers’ tuchuses?  Coaches, I can see. Teachers?  Eh.

*** If players aren’t wearing shorts, they’re wearing skirts.  Or both. Seen how many guys insist on wearing tee shirts that come down over their butts?

*** Auburn was being handled by Northwestern, yet at the end, the Auburn players seemed to be handling themselves with class and composure. Isn’t that to the credit of Gus Malzahn?

*** While pussies right and left were “opting out” of bowl games, there was Alabama’s Devonta Smith, a Heisman favorite, running down under a punt with 5:33 left in a game that Alabama was winning, 31-7. And then, with :56 left and Notre Dame onside kicking, there was Devonta Smith again, out on the field to receive.

*** I’m still trying to figure out how Stanford can have a running back and Alabama can have a punter, both of them “graduate transfers” from Air Force. I find this hard to believe when I know what most military academy graduates are doing in the fall after they graduate. (Hint: they’re doing it at places with names like  Fort Sill and Fort Benning.)

*** Hard to believe that coaches, who are responsible for their players’ safety, can’t get a seemingly unquenchable desire to hit people with their helmets out of their systems.  (Actually, it’s not that hard.  High school coaches have been doing it for years.)

*** I have absolutely nothing against Dabo Swinney,  Actually, I like the guy a lot.  And I think he may have come away from his ass-kicking by Ohio State with a couple of hard-earned lessons:

(1) You should at all costs pass on any chance of disrespecting your upcoming opponent.  You may even have to be a bit dishonest, even if that means putting  them a little higher than eleventh on your weekly poll.

(2) You haven’t really coached football until you’ve had an ass whipping.

*** Can you imagine Notre Dame and Alabama having to play that game in an empty Rose Bowl?

*** The Kentucky-North Carolina State game must have set a record for unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

*** In the CFL they use the term “objectionable conduct.”  I like “objectionable” a lot better than “unsportsmanlike,” given that nobody in football seems to understand what sportsmanship is any more.  Besides, our new rulers are probably going to change the word to “sportspersonship” anyhow.

*** The Ole Miss-Indiana game was a good one, and unless I’m mistaken, it looks as if Lane Kiffin made it through the season without saying anything stupid.  His QB, Matt Corral, had a great game and he’s only a sophomore.  I also like the way Kiffin has taken last year’s QB, John Rhys Plumlee, and turned him into a very effective slot back.

*** Football has got to do something about this stupid hook sliding crap.  How can you justify letting a guy run 15 yards downfield, just like any real football player, then magically, in mid-stride, as he’s about to be tackled, put on the red don’t-hit-me jersey that he wears all week in practice?

I originally  said that we should deduct five yards from whatever yardage he gains. Not any more.

Now, I believe that if a guy hook slides, wherever it happens, the ball should come back to the line of scrimmage.  It’s just not football when he’s allowed to gain yardage as if he were a runner then in a flash assume the “defenseless player” position.

*** The Oregon papers’ headlines mentioned all the turnovers, but come on - Iowa State beat them because the Ducks were soft offensively, depending entirely on trickery, while Iowa State, when it had the ball,  just pummeled them.

*** Oregon didn’t convert a single third down.

*** They actually give scholarships to these guys.  An Oregon player blocking downfield on a punt got hit in the back of the head by the ball.

*** What a damn shame that the bowls couldn’t have matched Iowa and Iowa State.

*** I have serious doubts about whether - if ever - the Pac-12 will regain its status as a Power 5 conference.

*** The replays are killing the game. We weren’t three minutes into the UNC-Texas A & M game and there they were, reviewing whether some guy had caught a pass for  a six-yard gain.

*** North Carolina needs to recruit a fullback.  Or two.

*** Sorry, Cincinnati. I was pulling for you. But your lack of an offense turned a first-half argument for - possibly - including you in The Playoff into a second half argument, an even stronger one, against ever even thinking about including a Group of Five team.

*** I think it’s time to take a long look at the way they call false starts.  The officials cut all kinds of corners in calling the rest of the game, but let a guy flinch and that’s it. Five yards.

It’s an easy call for them. An easy pinch.  It’s like the police handing out tickets for not wearing masks while ignoring the thieves that walk the streets.

*********** Holding has become a real pox on our game.  There is so much holding that isn’t called, while at the same time there are so many exciting plays that are being called back.  Maybe the people promoting the 7-on-7 league have something.

*********** Steve Sarkisian most certainly rehabbed himself to some degree while working under Nick Saban, and there’s no question that he can coach.

But given his history of conduct at Washington and at USC, and the scrutiny he’ll be under at Texas, I wonder if maybe instead of reaching for the sky, as Texas people must think they’re doing by paying Tom Herman $15 million to go away, they aren’t digging themselves a hole.

*********** I’m saddened by the death of Floyd Little. He was a New Haven kid, a star at Hillhouse High during much of the time that I was in college there, and I followed his career closely after that. Not only was he a great football player - considered to be a major reason why the Broncos stayed in Denver - but by all accounts he was a gentleman as well.

*********** Just read:

A Marshall spike hit the center’s foot and yet they still stopped the clock. (The rule specifically refers to spiking as throwing the ball “to the ground.”)

Was this not an incomplete pass to an ineligible receiver?

Dennis Metzger


Richmond, Indiana

Seems to me it should have been a penalty for illegal touching.

*********** I know you can't get everybody, but to your baseball list of 2020 losses you could add Phil Niekro, who died just a few days ago at 81. Knuckleballing you way to over 200 wins is in my book a remarkable feat.

Thanks for bringing up the "Short-a-clear," 'cause it's been driving me crazy. How many of those announcers you suppose are conversant with Chaucer?

That face mask on Malik Willis was incredible. One Jeffrey Gunter should've been banished forever. What he did was pretty much how we used to wring chicken's necks.

Despite how bowl matchups got made this year, we'll have some good games. I'm especially interested in the Cincy-Georgia and OK-FL games. But, above all, of course, the Army-WVU game. I couldn't have wanted a more perfect opponent. We respect them, and I think they respect us.

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida

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

Taking Army and the points.

Taking ND and the points.

Taking Clemson and giving the points.

Those are the only games I'll be watching.  I'm opting out of the others.

On that subject...Something has to be done.  The college game is heading in the same direction as college basketball.  And IMHO the NFL, the NBA, and the NCAA are the culprits behind their demise.  It all started with the "one and done" rule in college basketball.  Now it's college football players opting out after only two seasons.  Also the thinking that major college football and major college basketball were one in the same, and had to have a similar playoff structure (aka "greed").  Finally...the NCAA doesn't have the cajones to put a stop to it.  At some point the NCAA has to live up to what the acronym means, National COLLEGIATE Athletic Association, and step up to the plate and stand up to the NFL and NBA.  A college student-athlete MUST either complete their undergraduate degree, or be on track to completion of said degree BEFORE the professional draft of the respective sport they play.

Let the pro sports associations figure out how to "farm" their prospects if they don't like the NCAA rules.  At least the NBA has developmental leagues, MLB has their minor league system, so why couldn't the NFL and "USA" football come up with something similar for those football athletes who are more motivated to be athletes, than motivated to be student-athletes and get their education first. Just like the other sports' minor leagues the athletes would be paid.  Would be interesting to see the percentage of high school seniors choosing to attend college and play football, and the percentage of high school seniors choosing to pursue going pro right away.  

And as far as the football playoffs go expand it to 12 teams instead of 4.  All 10 FBS conference champions qualify (which makes the conference races more important - and eliminates the debate between Power 5 and Group of 5).  The top 2 ranked teams receive first round byes.  They are likely going to be conference champions so the number 2's in those two conferences qualify to play in the first round.  OR, if both #1 and #2 are from the same conference two at-large teams with at least 8 wins qualify to play in the first round.  #1 is placed in the upper bracket, and #2 is placed in the lower bracket.  After that the remaining teams are seeded 3 through 10 - 3 v 10; 4 v 9; 5 v 8; 6 v 7; and those games are played at various regional sites of the higher seeds.  The next round is played at rotating sites (LA, LV, Phoenix, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Detroit, Atlanta) which ALL have a large indoor facility.  Semi-finals and the championship game are rotated using the same cities.

Eliminate bowl tie-ins.  The traditional oldest bowls (Rose, Sun, Sugar, Orange, Cotton) choose the two best teams ranked 11 through 20 to play in their games.  All the remaining bowls (Gator, Citrus, Liberty, Peach, Fiesta, etc. in order of oldest to newest) would invite teams with WINNING records who would be good draws to enhance attendance.  IMHO this would be a win-win situation for college football.

Have a great week of watching college football.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe, after seeing what happened to Notre Dame - a very good team - I think it would be a waste of time, and several potentially good bowl matchups, to bring in more than four teams.  This isn’t the same as basketball, where one team can get cold while another hits every “3” it takes, and a number 15 beats a number two.



*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  Although Penn State had been playing football since 1889,  it wasn’t until 1968 - 79 years later - that Ted Kwalick (KWAH-lick) became  the Nittany Lions’ first two-time All-American.

Born in Pittsburgh, he was All-State at Montour High School in McKees Rocks, and in 1964 was named the Western Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Athletic League’s (WPIAL) Most Valuable Player.  In the summer following his senior year, in the Big 33 All Star game played against Texas, he caught nine passes and scored the only touchdown in the Pennsylvania team’s loss.

With freshmen then ineligible to play varsity ball, his first year of college eligibility was Joe Paterno’s first year as Penn State’s head coach.

In his senior season, 1968, Penn State finished 11-0 - its first undefeated and untied season in 56 years - with an Orange Bowl victory and a Number Two ranking nationally.

In his three-year career, he  caught 86 passes for 1,343 yards and 10 touchdowns.

With the tight end position evolving into what it has become today, at 6-4, 230 pounds he was the sort of tight end that all NFL teams wanted, and the 49ers, with two first-round choices, took him first, the seventh pick overall. (Their second first-round pick was Stanford wide receiver Gene Washington.)

In six years with the 49ers, he made three straight Pro Bowls - 1971-1973. In 1971, his 52 receptions were second in the NFC.  In 1972, he caught nine touchdown passes, and averaged 18.8 yards per catch, extremely high for a tight end.  (For his career, Rob Gronkowski has averaged 15.0 yards per catch.)

1970-71-72 were three very good years for the 49ers, under head coach Dick Nolan. They won division titles all three years, and made it to the NFC championship game in 1970 and 1971.  (After 1972, they would go nine seasons without making it to the playoffs again, until Bill Walsh would take them to a Super Bowl championship.)

After two dismal seasons for the 49ers in 1973 and 1974, he signed to play with the Philadelphia Bell in the World Football League.

But when that league folded, for the second straight year, he returned to the NFL, this time with the Oakland Raiders.

He said that what sealed the deal was when he said, “I want one of those warm Raider jackets for my dad,” and Raiders’ owner Al Davis got on the phone and ordered one.

He played three seasons as a Raider, and in 1976 achieved his dream of winning a Super Bowl ring when the Raiders beat the Vikings.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and of the Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame.

Asked in 2005 how he’d want people to describe his career, he said, “I think I’d want them to say that Ted Kwalick was very fortunate to be in situations where he could work hard, have integrity and be part of organizations where it was important to stress having a common goal.  That’s doing the best you can and winning football games.”

Asked once to describe him, his college coach, Joe Paterno, said, "He's what God had in mind when he made a football player."

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING TED KWALICK

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
MIKE FORISTIERE - TOPEKA, KANSAS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY

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

While I don't remember Ted Kwalick, I enjoyed reading about him. I especially appreciated his recognition of how his parents helped him to develop self-discipline.

http://www.polishsportshof.com/portfolio_page/ted-kwalick/

Greg Koenig
Colorado Springs, Colorado

*********** Fellow WFLer & Pole Thaddeus Kwalick

Coach Kaz
Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa


*********** QUIZ: He grew up in a wealthy family in suburban Cincinnati, and was an outstanding athlete and student at St. Xavier High School.

He would spend some of his best football years playing second fiddle behind two of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the game.

Although good enough to play at almost any college in the country, he went to Notre Dame, where he played behind the great Johnny Lujack, winner of the Heisman Trophy in 1947.

Later, in the NFL, he would spent four years in Cleveland as backup to the Browns’ legendary Otto Graham.

At Notre Dame he was the fourth and last student in school history to earn letters in four different sports. (Lujack was the third.) Famed Irish coach Frank Leahy called him “The greatest all-around athlete in Notre Dame’s history.” 

He was relatively unknown to the sports public until the summer after his graduation, 1947, when he led the College All-Stars to an upset win over the defending NFL champion Chicago Bears.

With a bidding war going on between the NFL and the AAFC, he signed with the Buffalo Bills of the new league, and as a 20-year-old rookie, he  threw 22 touchdown passes, which stood as a record for a rookie until Peyton Manning broke it in 1998.

He led the Bills to the AAFC championship game in 1948, and in three years in Buffalo,  he threw 52 touchdown passes.  But he also threw 55 interceptions, an AAFC career record that will never be broken.

When the AAFC and NFL merged in 1950, he became the property of the New York Yanks.

He spent a year with the Yanks, leading the NFL in touchdown passes, then jumped to Montreal in the CFL in  1951. In 1952 he returned to the NFL, this time with the Cleveland Browns, intended to be Otto Graham’s successor.

He took over after Graham retired in 1956, but a serious leg injury four games into the season ended his career.  During that time he attained a measure of fame as the first player to wear a radio receiver in his helmet.  (At a time when most quarterbacks called their own plays, Browns’ coach Paul Brown would send plays using what he called “messenger guards.”) After four games, NFL Commisioner Bert Bert outlawed the use of radio.

All the time he had been playing, he had also been attending law school at night and in the off-season, and after graduating with his law degree in 1956 he went into the investment business in Cincinnati.

He was a well-known figure in the Cincinnati area, and in 1961 he was persuaded to run for sheriff of Campbell County, Kentucky, just across the river from Cincinnati. Campaigning on a platform aimed at ending the open gambling and prostitution in the city of Newport, he soon ran afoul of the mob.   In an attempt to blackmail him and force him out of the race, he was slipped a drink with knockout drops in it, and put into bed with a local stripper.  But the plot backfired when it when it was discovered that had happened, and the publicity led to his victory in the race.

In the mi-60s, he served as general counsel for the American Football League Players Association, when Jack Kemp was its president.

After a time as sheriff, he ran unsuccessfully for a couple of other offices.  Offered a position with a Denver investment firm, he moved west and spent the rest of his life in Colorado, where he died in 2007.

A many-talented person, he was so accomplished as a pianist that he once played in a concert with the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra.

He had a reputation as a prankster and a fun lover, often to the consternation of the very serious Paul Brown, and he later wrote a book devoted primarily to the humorous aspects of his career.

From 1970 to 1973 he did color analysis on radio and TV broadcasts of NFL games, and he was Jim Simpson’s partner on the radio broadcast of the very first Super Bowl.




Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2020 -- ““When we send the Army into a fight, we don’t send them to ‘participate.’ We don’t send them to ‘try their hardest.’ We send them to win. And you did. Winning matters.”  General James C. McConville, US Army Chief of Staff, addressing the Army team after they beat Air Force

*********** Americans have grown to demand near-perfection in sports officiating, and they expect game officials to make use of all available technology to try to achieve it.

Let just one official in a crew of six or more see a tackle happen in the blink of an eye and, based solely on his snap decision that what he thinks he saw may have constituted targeting, throw a flag. And then on the basis of what that one eyewitness thinks he saw, the game is stopped to review the incident.

Let a player appear to score the winning touchdown, and the play is reviewed, over and over, from every possible angle, to make sure that he did actually score.

Did the player actually fumble? Did the runner stay in bounds? Did the receiver complete the catch?

Let’s find out: “The play is under further review.”

Those who officiate football games have no qualms about stopping football games for review. Why? To do their best to make sure they’ve made the right call.

And so that the game can go on without either party thinking that justice hasn't been done.

Yet despite mounting evidence that “irregularities” may have influenced the outcome of the recent presidential election, and with the future of our nation resting on  making the right call, not a single court in America has been willing to take a look at any of it.

Hmmm.

*********** I read this in an article and I’m only passing it along  because I found it very interesting:

At least a third of all FBS head coaches either played or assisted at the school where they’re now coaching.

I can’t prove it or disprove it but I thought it seemed quite high.

*********** If you aren’t familiar with Jason Whitlock, it’s time you made his acquaintance. In my opinion, he’s a priceless American resource, because at a time when so many people (dishonestly) proclaim that we need an “honest conversation about race,” he seems to be one person with the guts  and intelligence to step up and hold one.

He has a very interesting theory of the effect of the materiarchy that characterizes today’s black society on the relationship between young black men and their coaches.

https://www.outkick.com/whitlock-black-matriarchy-plays-significant-role-in-the-plight-of-black-college-football-coaches/


*********** Longtime coach and friend Steve Jones, a regular on my Tuesday Zoom clinics, said that he was Alabama wide receiver DaVonta (DaVONNtay) Smith’s position coach at Amite (AY-meet) High, in Amite, Louisiana. Coach Jones said in addition to being a great receiver, which any serious football fan knows,  DaVonta is a really good person who is definitely deserving of Heisman consideration.

*********** I was asked by a person from the West Virginia side what I thought about seven points being given Army in the Liberty Bowl (between Army and West Virginia).  Here's my take:

Based on the enormous disparity in strength of schedule and in talent, it could be bad. I think it should be more like 10-12 points, and if I were an impartial bettor I’d take WVU and give the 10-12 points. But I won’t, because of two factors:

1. In Army’s one tough game they did play Cincinnati (on the road) pretty tough.

2. The big question mark is how motivated WVU  will be, because we know Army will be.  If WVU isn’t - if their guys would rather have opted out - it could be a painful experience for them.  Army is very physical on both offense and defense, which doesn’t at all describe the Big 12 style of play. WVU may not be prepared for the Army offense, or for the physicality and intensity of their play.

UPSHOT: Having seen the way so many Big Time schools have been going soft at Bowl Time while Army’s guys were still practicing, simply in the hope of getting to play another game - without any guarantees -  I’d take Army even-up. But as long as I can get seven points, I’ll take them. I’m not stupid.

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

Bryan Harsin's departure from Smurf Turf is somewhat surprising. Let's remember though he spent a couple of years as Texas' OC. The great Beano Cook, a man never at a loss for words, said, "Texas has more money than God" (he also said the same thing about Notre Dame). It is my understanding that Auburn's boosters have an outsized say in the Athletic Department. To them Alabama is all that matters. But Coach Harsin has some experience dealing with deep-pocket boosters.

I grew up in Kentucky, barely, in Covington, born twenty blocks south of the Ohio River. There is an old joke: "A famous Southeastern Conference football coach was on his deathbed. He called his wife over and said, 'Honey, I'm about to die and I'd like to make my last request.' She said, 'What is it, Dear?' 'When I die I want to buried as far away from football as I possibly can.' So where did they bury him? Lexington."

Mark Stoops has done about as good of a job as he can do in Lexington, but I'm afraid he's done about as well as he can. Kentucky has good HS football. There is just not enough of it (Indiana has the same problem). Cincinnati is 85 miles up I-75, but UK is a tough sell against O$U, Michigan, and Notre Dame. Louisville has excellent HS football, but U of L heavily recruits Florida. That tells you something.

As a topic for discussion on NEWS, what should be done with the transfer portal. Urban Meyer calls it "free agency." He's  right, of course.

Merry Christmas!

Jim Franklin
Flora, Indiana

You stir up great memories when you bring up Beano Cook.  Lord, would I like to hear his take on the current mess that college administrators have made of college football. And it's not as if they needed  any help from the Killer Virus.


*********** I think that this “announcer in a can” crap of having games called remote, by announcers at ESPN studios (or even in their own homes) looking at TV screens, is leading to far more motor-mouthing than needed.

And, as usual, no one has told the sideline women that there is a game going on behind them, that that’s why they have the gig in the first place, and that there are actually some people tuned in who would rather they focus on the game than tell us (for two or three minutes while the game goes on) about some player playing despite some family tragedy.

Kelly Stouffer (Cure Bowl - Liberty vs Coastal) seems to know what he’s talking about but he also seems to love listening to himself,  and he needs way too many words - and takes way too long - to make his point.

*********** Right now, the best FBS job open is Boise State. (Actually, it may not be that great, because there are those who will say that Brian Harsin wouldn’t have left for Auburn if the people at Boise had listened to him when he advised them to pull out of the Mountain West.)

Top candidates appear to be three guys who all have Boise State connections:

Kellen Moore, winningest QB in school history, who’s currently Dallas Cowboys’ offensive coordinator;

Andy Avalos, Oregon defensive coordinator;

Jeff Choate, Montana State head coach.

*********** They could just as well have called the New Mexico Bowl the Shirttail Bowl.  There were so many players from both teams with tee shirts sticking out from under their game jerseys and covering their backsides that I began suspecting that it was a requirement. Say this for college athletes - they have absolutely no sense of real style.

*********** I think the dumbest-ass rule change in years was the one allowing guys “ejected” from games for targeting to remain with their teams.

Its intent was not to “stigmatize” the poor ejectee (“hasn’’t he suffered enough?”) but its result has been to mitigate the offense, and to treat him as the poor fish who got caught while all the others continue to swim free.

Which brings me to speculate that there might actually be a perverse incentive to target - a certain cachet attached to it, much in the way a gang member makes his bones.

*********** After his Houston Cougars lost in the New Mexico Bowl Dana Holgorsen is now 7-13 after two seasons (4-8 in 2019, 3-5 in 2020) as head coach of the Cougars.

Holgorsen was hired away from West Virginia after the 2018 season and given a five-year contract worth $20 million.  Try saying that very slowly.

His pay of roughly $4 million a year is at least $1 million more than that of any other Group of Five coach, and more than that of half of all Power Five coaches.

My question: What do coaches have to lose when they sign a contract?  What’s the downside of a coach’s underperforming like this? (For the record, he took over a club that had gone 8-5 under his predecessor, Major Applewhite.)

Unless he gives “cause” for his firing (commits some sort of gross violation), Holgorsen can go oh-fer for the remaining three years, and he’s still going to  collect the entire $20 mil.  When are colleges going to get smart and include clauses requiring paybacks after seasons like the ones Holgorsen’s had in the first two years of his contract?  I’d call it malpractice insurance.

*********** A Marshall spike hit the center’s foot and yet they still stopped the clock. (The rule specifically refers to spiking as throwing the ball “to the ground.”)

*********** Time for coaches to stop trying to show us how clever they are with their time management and playing coy about scoring - or not scoring - touchdowns when they’re down close and time’s running out.

Omigod.  What if we score?  That’ll give them time to go the length of the field and score a touchdown and then go for two and tie it up and take us into overtime! The paranoia is astounding.

So is the delusion on the defensive side: Gee. Maybe if we just flop and let them score - sure, it’ll mean we’ll be down by seven points, but we’ll get ball and move it down the field, and…

We saw enough of this in the Camelia Bowl (Buffalo-Marshall) and the Cure Bowl (Liberty-Coastal Carolina) to convince any coach that when an opponent’s going to offer you a touchdown - take the damn thing.

That stuff, and not the baggage that he carries, is what’s going to keep Hugh Freeze from getting a bigger job. Guy does way too many things that make you go “WTF?”

*********** Coronavirus aside, it was a very tough year for guys like me who once loved baseball and the men who played it: We lost Al Kaline (85) in April… Tom Seaver (75) and Lou Brock (81) in September… Bob Gibson (84), Whitey Ford (91) and Joe Morgan (77) in October.

*********** With no games on the tube Friday night (Christmas night) it was back to watching our old favorite - Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.   But it was actually sad, because as we watched the host, Guy Fieri, visiting  restaurants - in Bakersfield, Charlotte, New York, Summerville, South Carolina, Norwalk, Connecticut and South Philly - we realized that the segments had been shot at least a year ago, and that very few of those places, warm, friendly and appealing, the pride and joy of their owners, will survive the Great Lockdown.

*********** If you attend my Tuesday night Zoom Clinics, you’ll remember my showing the center from Louisiana Lafayette, a kid named Boudreaux, and the horrible time he had snapping the ball against App State.  Well, against UTSA, he not only snapped the ball cleanly but he was the first man downfield and made the tackle on the return man.

*********** Very sad to hear of the death of Ty Jordan, freshman running back from Utah, as a result of an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot.

*********** If you’re like me and you find some amusement in the juvenile antics of the jackasses who infest the NFL, you have to be disappointed in the decision of the Redskins NFL Team That Plays in Laurel Maryland But Says It’s From Washington to waive Dwayne Haskins.  He had such promise.  Not as a player but as a stereotypical clown. But no - the coach, Ron Rivera, had to go and act as if discipline and team play still matter.

*********** Time for Coastal Carolina to knock off the  “SHONT-a-clear” crap.
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6EOa5TFG-c

*********** The clown who called the Liberty-Coastal game tried setting the scene by saying, “These two schools… separated by less than 300 miles… they don’t like each other.”

Give. Me. A. Break.

The guy makes it sound like they're in adjoining counties.

Give or take a few miles, 300 miles is the distance between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Between Chicago and St. Louis. Between Boston and Philadelphia. Between Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, BC. Between Houston and New Orleans.  That's enough. You get the idea.


*********** You telling me that if they're removing a guys' appendix and they discover cancer, they just rake out the appendix and sew the guy up? I think that once football officials  decide to review a play for any reason, they ought to be able to penalize teams for anything else  they happen to find - such as holding - that might have given a team an unfair advantage.

*********** I don’t give a big rat’s ass about the NFL and it wouldn’t bother me if it were to fold today.

But I might change my mind if The League were inhabited, as it once was, by guys like J. J. Watt, who seems to understand who butters his bread.

I said I might. But I lied. Too late now.  F—k em all.

https://twitter.com/adamschefter/status/1343329197561962497?s=21


*********** A helmet came flying off the head of Liberty QB Malik Willis, pulled off by one of the most vicious cases of face masking I’ve ever seen.

And what do you know?  The perpetrator, the grabber of the face mask,  was none other than #94 of Coastal Carolina, one Jeffrey Gunter, who was also the perp of the nasty incident at halftime of the BYU game, in which, without regard for the fact that he was on national TV, he - twice - threw BYU QB Zach Wilson to the ground, then, after the second throw-down, fell on top of him.

Well. Following  the face mask penalty, I decided to concentrate on Mr. Gunter whenever CC was on defense. 

Sheesh. I don’t know how else to say this, but Mister Killer Guy looked soft.  Maybe he was sulking after having his ass reamed for the face mask call, because for the rest of the game he was pretty much MIA.

Whenever he was blocked, he stayed blocked -  no fight, no evasive action, and no hustle to get back into the play.

About the only time he did anything at all noteworthy was at the end of the game when he was in on a fumble recovery at the goal line, and he put on an act - and the camera followed him to the sideline - as if he’d been doing that on every play.

I've since come across a site that raved about Mr. Gunter as an NFL prospect.  Now, I haven’t watched him closely in any other CC games, and so it’s possible that what I saw was not at all characteristic of his play.  But the NFL people are always on the lookout for the telltale signs of players who’ll take a play off here and there and I think that after they watch this game they’ll have seen enough.

https://larrybrownsports.com/college-football/coastal-carolina-jeffrey-gunter-dirty-plays-zach-wilson/569459


*********** Surely SOMEBODY at Sun Belt Conference headquarters had to be watching the BYU-Coastal Carolina game when Coastal defensive end Jeffrey Gunter attacked BYU quarterback Zack Wilson after Wilson had thrown an interception some 40 yards downfield (making him, by rule, a “defenseless player”).

Surely SOMEBODY had to realize that there was something wrong with the officiating when the violation occurred right in front of the referee - and there was no penalty.

And surely SOMEBODY had to realize that you don’t act as if the gross violation of clean football didn’t happen, and go and reward the guy for what he did otherwise by naming him the conference’s Defensive Player of the Week. (They really did.  I am not making this up.)  WTF?

Surely SOMEBODY at conference headquarters has to aspire to being a real, big-time conference that the rest of FBS football takes seriously.

If there even IS a Sun Belt Conference headquarters.

https://www.wmbfnews.com/2020/12/07/ccus-jeffrey-gunter-named-sun-belt-defensive-player-week/

*********** In my opinion the dumbest thing a college that’s really down should do is hire a guy who’s never been a head coach at any level, has no prior connection with the school,  has had 12 different employers  in the last 20 years, and has spent only five of those 20 years in college football - and only one of them in the conference he’s now going to be coaching in.  Yet that’s what Arizona has just done. Go ahead and prove me wrong, Wildcats.

***********  Hugh,

Kudos to Neal Brown and his WVU team for agreeing to playing Army in the Liberty Bowl, and can't think of a better named bowl game for the Army to play in.  

Of all the Power 5 conferences in football the Pac 12 IS the low man on the totem pole.  In fact, there are 2 or 3 Group of Five conferences with teams that are likely much more competitive in football than most teams in the Pac 12.  The ONLY reasons the Pac 12 is regarded as a "Power 5 conference" has more to do with its historic football tradition, and dominance of other sports other than football.

Back to Army...you are spot-on in making the comparisons of Army running the option and high schools that run the Double Wing, and why guys like Monken and Niumatololo aren't at the top of the lists of Power 5 schools who are now looking to fill their vacant head coaching positions.  Unfortunately those of us who utilize the DW offense at the high school level get painted into a corner.  Just because we do doesn't necessarily mean it is the ONLY offensive system we know how to coach.  Same goes for Monken and Niumatololo, Troy Calhoun, and Paul Johnson for that matter.  On the contrary.  What it means is that guys like us likely know MORE about the game, our personnel, and the culture we are part of much more than most other coaches.  We can coach ANY of those other offensive systems.  I guess the question that would beg to be asked is, "Can those spread guys coach the triple option like Johnson, Monken, Niumatololo, and Calhoun?  Could ANY of them coach the DW like a lot of us can?

Glad you took the time to send a note of encouragement to Coach Monken.

Frankly, I think the whole college football divisional setup, conference alignments, bowl system, and playoffs as we know it needs to be blown up, and the NCAA with it.  

I happen to think that Brett Bielema is the right guy for Illinois.  He is the right guy in the Big Ten.  He will recruit huge O Linemen, beasts at RB, QB's that do a good job of managing an offense, physical WR's, and physical defensive players.  Coming in he's a good recruiter (a far cry from Lovie Smith when he first got hired).  If he gets the Illini to average 8 wins per year, compete for division titles periodically, and once in a while win a Big 10 title (a far cry from what they've had in the last 20 years) he'll be an Illini coaching legend.

Wishing you and Connie a very Merry and Blessed Christmas, and a Joyous New Year.  Enjoy the games!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  As head coach at Columbia for 36 years, Lou Little spent most of his career in the seemingly-unfortunate  position of doing a masterful job of teaching and coaching bright, hard-working young men of good character who often, unfortunately, weren't as talented as the people they had to play.

But in his time at Columbia he did win some big ones. Really big ones: in the 1934 Rose Bowl his Lions upset mighty Stanford, and in 1947 they pulled off one of the greatest upsets of the 20th century, ending mighty Army's 32-game unbeaten streak with a 21-20 win.

Born in Boston, the son of an Italian immigrant, Luigi Piccolo was known throughout his career by the anglicized version of his name (Lou Little).  He  was raised in Leominster, Massachusetts, and went on to play tackle at the University of Pennsylvania in 1916. After service in the military in World War I, he returned to Penn and was an All-American in 1919.  Following college,  he played professional football, such as it was in those days, with the Frankford Yellow Jackets, the predecessors of today's Philadelphia Eagles.

From 1924 through 1929,  he was head coach at Georgetown where his record was 41-12-13, and then was offered the job at Columbia. There he stayed, until 1956.

The early years were good, including the Rose Bowl win, brought about by his famous play known as KF-79. But Columbia's emphasis on academics, and the rise of other programs around the country, sent the Lions' fortunes into a tailspin, and in the last 20 years of his career, Columbia had only five winning seasons.

Yet there was never any stir among the alumni to get rid of him - their greatest concern was that he might finally resign in frustration.  It never happened.  In fact, when Yale offered him  its athletic director’s position in 1947, Columbia’s President, Dwight Eisenhower (the same) persuaded him to remain at Columbia.

It was said that his teams were "seldom outthought and never outfought." He insisted his players be sportsmen: he taught them to knock an opponent on his back, then help him up. He was not easy on his players.  Recalled one of them, years later, “He demanded that they play football his way, or not play at all."

And despite Columbia's unbending academic standards, he did come across some very good players, the best known of whom was Sid Luckman, the man whom  Chicago Bears' owner/coach George Halas chose to be his quarterback when he decided to install the T-formation. Luckman would earn lasting fame as the first of pro football's great passing quarterbacks.

"I never met anyone in my life who had such a tremendous influence on me," Luckman once said of his coach.

He was a New York celebrity, enjoying the night life and socializing with mayors , sports figures and entertainers.

To show how popular he was, at the end of his 25th year at Columbia, the New York Football writers, a notoriously  cynical crowd,  showed their respect by doing something they’d never done before for any sports figure,  presenting him with a silver plaque.  They asked Columbia's president,  to make the presentation, and in doing so the president said, "He is not only a great coach. He is a great man."

His final year at Columbia was 1956, the first year of the Ivy League.  His final game was an 18-12 win over Rutgers, a non-league contest.  His 110 wins at Columbia are 68 more than the next-winningest coach there.

In 1960 Lou Little was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.



CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING LOU LITTLE

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY


*********** QUIZ:  Although Penn State had been playing football since 1889,  it wasn’t until 1968 - 79 years later - that he became  the Nittany Lions’ first two-time All-American.

Born in Pittsburgh, he was All-State at Montour High School in McKees Rocks, and in 1964 was named the Western Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Athletic League’s (WPIAL) Most Valuable Player.  In the summer following his senior year, in the Big 33 All Star game played against Texas, he caught nine passes and scored the only touchdown in the Pennsylvania team’s loss.

With freshmen then ineligible to play varsity ball, his first year of college eligibility was Joe Paterno’s first year as Penn State’s head coach.

In his senior season, 1968, Penn State finished 11-0 - its first undefeated and untied season in 56 years - with an Orange Bowl victory and a Number Two ranking nationally.

In his three-year career, he  caught 86 passes for 1,343 yards and 10 touchdowns.

With the tight end position evolving into what it has become today, at 6-4, 230 pounds he was the sort of tight end that all NFL teams wanted, and the 49ers, with two first-round choices, took him first, the seventh pick overall. (Their second first-round pick was Stanford wide receiver Gene Washington.)

In six years with the 49ers, he made three straight Pro Bowls - 1971-1973. In 1971, his 52 receptions were second in the NFC.  In 1972, he caught nine touchdown passes, and averaged 18.8 yards per catch, extremely high for a tight end.  (For his career, Rob Gronkowski has averaged 15.0 yards per catch.)

1970-71-72 were three very good years for the 49ers, under head coach Dick Nolan. They won division titles all three years, and made it to the NFC championship game in 1970 and 1971.  (After 1972, they would go nine seasons without making it to the playoffs again, until Bill Walsh would take them to a Super Bowl championship.)

After two dismal seasons for the 49ers in 1973 and 1974, he signed to play with the Philadelphia Bell in the World Football League.

But when that league folded, for the second straight year, he returned to the NFL, this time with the Oakland Raiders.

He said that what sealed the deal was when he said, “I want one of those warm Raider jackets for my dad,” and Raiders’ owner Al Davis got on the phone and ordered one.

He played three seasons as a Raider, and in 1976 achieved his dream of winning a Super Bowl ring when the Raiders beat the Vikings.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and of the Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame.

Asked in 2005 how he’d want people to describe his career, he said, “I think I’d want them to say that (he) was very fortunate to be in situations where he could work hard, have integrity and be part of organizations where it was important to stress having a common goal.  That’s doing the best you can and winning football games.”

Asked once to describe him, his college coach, Joe Paterno, said, "He's what God had in mind when he made a football player."



Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2020   “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." John Adams

********** MERRY CHRISTMAS - (THE WORDS  "HAPPY HOLIDAYS" WILL NEVER CROSS MY LIPS)

MY ANNUAL CHRISTMAS WISH FOR FOOTBALL COACHES EVERYWHERE (First printed in 2000, and  every Christmas since, with annual revisions as needed):

May you have.... Players' Parents who recognize that you are the football expert; who stand back and let you coach their kids; who know their kids' limitations and don't expect them to start unless in your opinion they're better than the other kids; who don't sit in the stands and openly criticize their kids' teammates; who don't think it's your job to get their kid an athletic scholarship; who schedule their vacations so their kids won't miss any practices; who know that your rules apply to everybody, and are not designed just to pick on their kid...

... A community that can recognize a year when even Vince Lombardi himself would have trouble getting those kids to line up straight... Opponents who are fun to play against; who love and respect the game and its rules as much as you do, and refuse to let their kids act like jerks... Students who want to be in your class and want to learn; who laugh at your jokes and turn their work in on time... who listen carefully, hear everything you say and understand all instructions the first time...Officials who will address you and your kids respectfully; who know and respect the rulebook; who will have as little effect on the game as possible; who will let you step a yard onto the playing field without snarling at you... Newspaper reporters who understand the game, always quote you accurately, and know when not to quote you at all...

A school district that provides you with a budget sufficient to run a competitive program... A superintendent (or principal)  who schedules teachers' workdays so that coaches don't have to miss any practices... An athletic director who has been a coach himself (or herself!) and knows what you need to be successful and knows that one of those things is not another head coach in the AD's office; who can say "No" to the bigger schools that want you on their schedules; who understands deep down that despite Title IX, all sports are not equal... Assistants who love the game as much as you do, buy completely into your philosophy, put in the time in the off-season, and are eager to learn everything they can about what you're doing. And why! And if they disagree with you, will tell you - and nobody else...  A booster club that puts its money back into the sports that earn it, and doesn't demand a voice in your team's operation... A principal who believes that when there's a teachers' position open, the applicant who is qualified to be an assistant coach deserves extra consideration; who doesn't come in to evaluate you on game day; who gives you weight training classes, and makes those  weight-training classes available to football players first, before opening them up to the general student body; who knows that during the season you are very busy, and heads off parent complaints so that you don't have to waste your time dealing with them; who can tell you in the morning in five minutes what took place in yesterday afternoon's two-hour-long faculty meeting that you missed because you had practice... A faculty that will notify you as soon as a player starts screwing off or causing problems in class, and will trust you to handle it without having to notify the administration... A baseball coach who encourages kids to play football and doesn't have them involved in tournaments that are still going on into late August...  A basketball coach who encourages kids to play football and doesn't discourage them from lifting, and doesn't hold "open gym" every night after late-season football practices ... A wrestling coach who encourages kids to play football and doesn't ask your promising 215-pound sophomore guard to wrestle at 178...

A class schedule that gives you and at least your top assistant the same prep period... Doctors that don't automatically tell kids with little aches and pains to stay out of football for two weeks, even when there's nothing seriously wrong with them... Cheerleaders who occasionally turn their backs to the crowd and actually watch the game; who understand the game - and like it... A couple of transfers - move-ins to your district - who play just the positions where you need help... A country that appreciates football and football coaches - and realizes what good it can do for its young men... A chance, like the one I've had, to get to know coaches and friends of football all over the country and find out what great people they are... The wisdom to "Make the Big Time Where You Are" - to stop worrying about the next job and appreciate the one you have ... Children of your own who love, respect and try to bring honor to their family in everything they do... A wife (like mine), who understands how much football means to you... Motivated, disciplined, coachable players who love the game of football and love being around other guys who do, too - players like the ones I've been blessed with....  A nation at peace - a peace that exists thanks to a strong and dedicated military that defends us while we sleep.

For all assistants - A head coach whose values and philosophy you can support

They're the things I've been blessed with  - may you be blessed with them, too.

And one special wish for those coaching brothers who find themselves "between positions" at this time of year - May your Christmas joy not be dimmed by the fact that you're temporarily without a team, and instead be brightened by faith that your next job is just around the corner. (If my experience is any indicator, it will be a far better one than the last one, anyhow!)

FINALLY, FOR THOSE WHO DIDN'T EVEN GET TO PLAY A FALL SEASON  - A governor who won't welsh (my apologies to any Welshmen I might have offended) on the deal he/she made back in August that if you would just be patient you'd be able to play football in "the spring."

MAYBE I'LL SEE YOU HERE NEXT TUESDAY, AND MAYBE I WON'T. (MAYBE TIME FOR A SHORT BREAK)

MAYBE I'LL HAVE A ZOOM NEXT TUESDAY NIGHT AND MAYBE I WONT - BUT EITHER WAY, I'LL EMAIL YOU!
WYATT HOUSE AT CHRISTMAS

                         MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE WYATT HOUSE


*********** Only a year ago, during bowl season,  Pizza Hut was running a commercial, saying, "You can't have a game without the fans..."

Oh, no?

Next they'll tell us you can't broadcast a game from a studio in Bristol, Connecticut.*

*If you didn't know, that's the home of ESPN.

*********** With Army set to play West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl, you'll get no corny, trite hillbilly jokes from me.  First of all, I like West Virginia, the state. Second of all, I appreciate the fact that I haven't heard any bitching from the Mountaineers about having to face that boring Army offense.

Then there's this, from a friend of my son's who went to graduate school at WVU:

One side represents the world’s largest stockpile of firearms. The other is Army.

*********** So far, the bowl games have been a series of duds.  But a bad college game is still better than a good NFL game.

*********** An interesting story about the Kentucky football job, from the article that Greg Koenig sent me a link to:

Curci was head coach at Miami (Fla.), where he'd played quarterback, before he came to Kentucky.

"The Miami board of trustees voted twice to drop football," Curci said. "The Dolphins were 17-0, and we couldn't draw flies. I had Chuck Foreman. I had a bunch of players. It didn't make any difference. I'm saying, 'I'm going to get the hell out of here.' And that's my school. I went to school there.

"So I called up Frank Broyles, Charlie McClendon, Darrell Royal, Ara Parseghian and coach Bryant - five coaches. Every one of them said, 'You go to Kentucky. It's a better deal. It's the SEC.' Except Ara Parseghian. He said, 'It's the northernmost school in the South and southernmost school in the North, and it's just a really difficult place to recruit.'

"And it was. It was hard. But we did OK for a while."

***********  Auburn hired Bryan Harsin away from Boise State.  It shocked most people in the West because he’s a Boise guy - went to high school there, played college ball there, assisted there, and then, after a year as head coach at Arkansas State, took the head coaching job there when Chris Petersen moved on to Washington.

I like the guy and I like the job he’s done at Boise.

But I have my reservations.

He’s never coached - or recruited - in the South, and he’s going to find himself in a completely different world in that regard.

But actually, he’s going to experience major culture shock on any number of levels.

The main thing, I think, is going from being the Alabama of the Mountain West to being a guy whose career now depends on beating the Alabama of the SEC.

Personally, I think what drove him out of Boise was the realization  that after the mess left by the Pac-12 and its leadership there just isn't much opportunity west of the Rockies.

*********** With the hiring by Auburn of Boise State coach Bryan Harsin, Boise remains the last unfilled job.  At the moment.

But there’s still Tennessee. Jeremy Pruitt  just finished a 3-7 season there, and he’s now 16-19 after three seasons. Tennessee fans shouldn’t get that uptight about the record, because the late Johnny Majors was just 16-17-1 after three years in Knoxville.  But he got more time, because he was, after all, one of the great players in Tennessee history, and he finally had a winning record in year five, and he went on to win three SEC championships.  But Jeremy Pruitt is not a Tennessee legend, and on top of all his problems, now comes word that there’s an internal investigation going on into possible recruiting violations and impermissible benefits to athletes.

If the Vols do cut Coach Pruitt loose - and if there are irregularities they could fire him for cause and have to pay him nothing - I don’t think I have to point out to them that there is a guy to the south of them who’s done better against Alabama than any man alive.  That would be Gus Malzahn, fired by Auburn simply because they felt they could do better.  Yet Coach Malzahn was 3-5 against Alabama in his eight years at Auburn.  In that time, the rest of the SEC combined could only beat Bama three times.

Now, here’s the best part: with all the money Auburn has to pay Malzahn - $21.5 million over the next four or five years - he could afford to pay Tennessee to hire him!

*********** This transfer portal sh— may be great for the individual, the kid who doesn’t think he’s getting enough playing time, but in the overall picture  I think it’s going to harm college football.  Big time, in fact.

Watch schools start to load up with talented freshmen who play a season and then move on, like Kentucky basketball players.

I have to laugh at the guy who transferred from Clemson after backing up Trevor Lawrence, then spent this past season year as Duke’s starting QB (not a very good one as a matter of fact) and now he’s off to Appalachian State.

Student-athletes, my ass.




Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2020   “It just doesn't make any sense to me that you can go from wanting to play to not wanting to play in a matter of 12 hours."  Army coach Jeff Monken

AS I WENT TO PRESS… IT WAS ANNOUNCED THAT TENNESSEE HAD TO DROP OUT OF THE LIBERTY BOWL GAME AGAINST WEST VIRGINIA BECAUSE OF COVID CASES, AND IT APPEARS THAT THE LIBERTY BOWL COMMITTEE HAS DONE WHAT IT WAS BEING URGED TO DO - INVITE ARMY.  GREAT PR FOR THE LIBERTY BOWL AND A DESERVED BOWL SPOT FOR ARMY.  WEST VIRGINIA WILL BE FAVORED AND DESERVEDLY SO BUT THEY'D BETTER COME WANTING TO PLAY.  MY ONLY REGRET IS THAT NOW ARMY WON’T HAVE A CHANCE, WHATEVER THE FINAL SCORE, TO DELIVER SOME PUNISHMENT TO SOME  PAC-12 TEAM…

Since we last spoke…

*********** Air Force was leading Army, 7-3 with under nine minutes to play Saturday, and the Zoomies had the ball in Army territory, second-and-two.

For some reason - perhaps because they hadn’t had much of a running game all day - they decided to throw.  Deep.  And the ball was intercepted in the Army end zone.

And then took place a classic Army drive. Starting on their own 20 with 8:23 left to play, they took 15 plays - and seven minutes off the clock - to drive to the Air Force one.  And there, on fourth-and-goal, with 1:13 left to play, 260-pound fullback Jakobi Buchanan punched it in on the closest any college team can come to running a wedge the way we Double-Wingers do it.

Air Force still had time to drive for a field goal (although they’d already missed on two earlier attempts) but their first down pass was deflected by an Army pass rusher and intercepted to seal the win.

The win gave Army possession of the Commander-in-Chief Trophy.

Now, a trip to Shreveport, Louisiana and an appearance in Saturday’s Independence Bowl awaits the Cadets.

But wait… more to come.

*********** The Pac-12 blew up.

It all started when Oregon upset the Conference’s applecart on Friday night. Just a last-minute fill-in for Washington, which had “earned” the right to play USC for the conference championship by slipping out of a head-to-head with the Ducks a week earlier, Oregon beat heavily-favored USC, 31-24.

The Pac-12 was obviously unprepared for this eventuality. The doofus commissioner had, even prior to the game, tried to make an argument for an unbeaten USC’s inclusion in playoff discussions. But at the end of the day, as the cliche goes, USC was no longer unbeaten, and the chaotic, amateurish postgame trophy presentation reflected the fact that the conference poohbahs had clearly been caught off-guard by the result.  The “ceremony” looked as if they’d sent all the conference employees home, and a bunch of guys in Oregon football uniforms had crashed a wedding reception intended for a couple that had made a last-minute decision to elope.

The Pac-12, which could screw up a wet dream, had already messed up big-time, back when it finally decided to start its season, announcing that, despite the NCAA’s one-time-only bowl-eligibility  waiver, it would not permit a conference team with a losing record to play in a bowl game.  This same Pac-12 conference had qualified seven teams for bowls last year, but the geniuses in charge obviously overlooked the fact that this year, with no out-of-conference games to pad its teams’ records, it could be left with just six qualifying teams. And then, as the pandemic protocol and all the contact-tracing crap started to cut into its teams’ rosters, and other teams simply decided that they’d just had enough, on Friday night it appeared that there might be just four teams left to play: Arizona State, Colorado, and of course, the two teams in the title game, Oregon and USC.

Arizona State declared itself out.

That left three teams. Oregon, as conference champion, would play in the Fiesta Bowl,  USC, as runner-up, would go to the Alamo Bowl, and Colorado, the next up, would go to the Independence Bowl (to face Army).

But on Saturday,  USC, which looked like a trashy bunch of junior high kids in taunting UCLA after last week’s last-minute win, did what a bully does when he’s been punched in the eye: run home and hide. 

They were mighty USC, after all, and somehow they’d lost the championship game to those twerps from Oregon, and they weren’t about to come out and have to play another game in some (ick!) Alamo Bowl against somebody who might put a shiner on that other eye.

Oh, they didn’t come right out and say so.  They said it was on the advice of their “medical staff.”  Yeah, like doctors won’t write you a prescription so you can get a handicapped parking permit.  Or bring a service animal on an airplane.

One thing you can make book on: the medical staff wouldn’t have been involved if they’d beaten Oregon and then, by some miracle, been selected by the Playoff Committee.

I’m going to make a prediction that can never be disproved:  I am going to say that if Ohio State had lost to Northwestern, the Buckeyes have enough class and enough respect for others that they would be playing in some bowl, somewhere.

*********** Now, USC and Arizona State having decided not to play in a bowl game, the Pac-12 will be represented by just two teams: Oregon and Colorado.  Colorado, originally headed for the Independence Bowl where it would have made a  good matchup with Army, instead moved up a notch to the Alamo Bowl, where it will be overmatched against Texas.

And that left Army without an opponent. The Independence Bowl has tried its best to find another team but - the story goes - every time Army is mentioned as the other team, prospective opponents say, “No Thanks.”

Somewhat like the recent “election,” there’s “no proof” that the reason that, try as they may, no one can find an opponent to play Army in a bowl game is that damn offense Army runs.  No, the fact that as soon as teams hear that the opponent is “Army,” they decide they didn’t want to play in a bowl after all isn’t proof. 

But you know and I know that that’s the reason.

Why don’t they want to play Army?

Well, duh.  Why don’t people want to play against the Double Wing?

First of all, on the defensive side, having to prepare on short notice for a very physical, drive-blocking, ball-control offense means you could wind up looking bad.  And your players could get beat up.

And on the offensive side, your stars are going to get very frustrated having to stand on the sideline while Army hogs the ball.  And then, when you do get the ball, those same stars are going to fight over who gets his touches.

But even so - would that be enough for coaches to willingly forego their bowl bonuses?

Hmmm. Makes me wonder if, in view of the coronavirus and the cuts in pay that so many coaching staffs have had to take, bowl bonuses have been eliminated. Depending on the bowl, those bonuses typically amount to 1/12 of their salary, and  I can’t picture too many coaches (or their wives) passing on the chance to pick up an extra month’s pay.

But if there’s no extra money involved, with nothing to gained and everything to lose by playing against that Army offense, I can see  some coaches being even more eager to pass on a bowl game than their players.

*********** Matt Fortuna, writing in The Athletic, got some very interesting quotes from Army coach Jeff Monken:

He named USC and Boise State as teams who had expressed a desire to play in New Year's Six bowl games but decided to end their seasons following losses.

"The bottom line is there were enough people who kept saying, 'No, we don't want to play Army, we don't want to play Army,'" Monken told ESPN. "And I'm sure they don't want to have one week to get ready for the option or whatever, but our players, we've got guys on our team that wouldn't be invited as walk-ons to the teams we're getting ready to play.

"It just doesn't make any sense to me that you can go from wanting to play to not wanting to play in a matter of 12 hours."


The Independence Bowl was supposed to feature a Pac-12 team. Problem was, just two Pac-12 teams elected to participate in bowls this year, leaving the Independence Bowl empty-handed. The bowl was canceled. Monken said the bowl worked to find a number of replacement teams, only to be rebuffed each time.

“It’s either, they don’t want to get ready for the option, or maybe they didn’t think we were a good enough opponent. I don’t know,” Monken said. “But there’s teams that they have discussed with us, ‘Hey, we think it’s going to be so and so,’ then all of a sudden they’re in a different bowl game against somebody else. The whole day went like that.”

Army players won’t pack their bags for the holidays just yet, though. The seniors had a closed-door meeting and elected to try to play on, so the Black Knights will have a 1 p.m. practice Monday and continue to prep for a game this week in case their name gets called. The way that Army sees it, more than 100 games have been postponed or canceled this season, which means multiple bowls will inevitably need a replacement team.

And the Black Knights will be ready to go — and follow whatever COVID-19 testing is asked of them — if and when their name is called.

“They’ll say, ‘OK, here’s Army, they’re ready to play,’ and we’ll fly there to play,” Monken said. “And so we’re going to practice and prepare, and like I told these guys from the beginning (of the year): Prepare, don’t plan. Just be a prepared team. And as you’ll do when you’re in the Army, you need to be a prepared Army. You can’t plan for when the battles are going to happen. You can’t plan for when you’re going to go to war. But when it happens, you better be prepared. And so we’ve just taken that attitude, our guys have really embraced it and we’re going to continue to do that this week.”

If nothing surfaces before Thursday, Army will send its players home for Christmas break. Any option that comes open after that self-imposed deadline will create logistical challenges for a roster spread across the country, though Monken says they will do everything they can to make it work if a later bowl game needs a replacement team, too. He welcomed back his roster on May 31, and the West Point, N.Y., campus has been as close to an actual bubble as there is outside of the professional sports ranks.

No one has been allowed to leave campus. No fans or family members are allowed at home games. Some players were able to see their families during Army’s trips to Tulane, UTSA and Cincinnati, but that was it.

The Military Bowl is played in Annapolis, which raises the question: If it were at all possible, would Army be open to playing Navy again?

“We’ll play anybody. We’ll play anybody. Anybody,” Monken said. “Them, it doesn’t matter. We want to go to a bowl game.”

Monken applauded the SEC for continuing to play on, as 12 of that conference’s 14 teams are participating in bowls. (LSU, which has a self-imposed bowl ban, and winless Vanderbilt, which just replaced its head coach, are the only SEC teams staying at home.)

The frustration from Monken’s end stems from those who aren’t playing, causing several bowl games to cancel. The idea of the Black Knights’ seniors playing in their final game Saturday without even knowing it at the time is tough to swallow.

“It was so important that they had these meetings of the minds to get the Big Ten and the Pac-12 to play this fall — ‘We gotta play, gotta play, be relevant’ — and now it doesn’t matter anymore?” Monken said. “That’s what bothers me. When you’ve got kids here that, nobody sacrifices like our kids have. Nobody. The teams, the coaches, the players at civilian schools have no idea, no idea what these guys go through on a daily basis — no idea — and what this bubble really means. Eating in the mess hall every night and every day, and having formations in the morning at 5:30 a.m. They go through all that, and I hear, ‘After all we’ve been through, we’re going to opt out,’ thinking, You’ve got no idea. And that’s what bothers me, and our kids get punished for it.” ****

*********** As just another Army fan, I wrote to Coach Jeff Monken

Coach,

I don’t pretend to know what you’re facing right now, but for what it’s worth...

I got my start in 1970 coaching semi-pro ball, where we didn’t always know who, where or when we’d play - or if we’d play at all. So I have a small idea of what you’re dealing with right now and I admire the way you’re managing the situation.

And then there’s this: for the last 20+ years I’ve been running an offense (the Double Wing) that no one likes and no one wants to play, so I have a small idea of the kind of “offense discrimination” you’re facing, not only in finding an opponent willing to play you but - let’s not kid ourselves - in keeping you from getting “bigger” jobs.

In the latter case, from Army’s point of view, I'm grateful.  Your offensive philosophy is who you are and it’s a major reason why you’ve succeeded at West Point where others have failed.

But even more than the offense, it’s been your leadership, and it’s really showing now.

Hang Tuff.

A-A-A-0*

Hugh Wyatt

*ANYTHING-ANYWHERE-ANYTIME-BAR NOTHING

http://www.facesbeyondthegraves.com/pagina67.html



***********  Let this whole bowl fiasco of teams “not wanting to play” be a lesson to coaches everywhere (those who are still willing to learn): surround yourself with kids who love the game - there are still plenty of them.  And screw the rest, no matter how talented they are. There are way too many kids today who are playing for the all the wrong reasons.  They are playing to build their brand. They are playing to advance themselves as individuals. They are playing for what football will get them, and not because they love to play the game. They've already adopted, at an early age, the pro mentality that infests the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball. It's why USC isn't playing in a "lesser" bowl game. Covid, my ass.

*********** With the so-called Group of Five conferences complaining, with some justification, about being squeezed out of consideration for the Playoff, I think it’s time for conference relegation, based on their performance in bowl games. I just don’t see how the Pac-12 can call itself a “Power Five” conference after putting on the chaotic season that it did and then being represented in the bowls by just two teams.  It had an obligation to bowls and to potential bowl-game opponents, and it simply did not live up to its claimed status.

*********** You know the Pac-12 doesn’t get any respect

When Brad Nessler comes on the broadcast of the Alabama-Florida game and says “We congratulate the winners of the Power 5 championship games… Oklahoma in the Big 12… Ohio State in the Big Ten… and Clemson in the ACC…” and that’s it.

When they assign Beth Mowins to do Stanford at UCLA.

*********** Now, I don’t know squat about this, but is there anything to prevent a team that’s played fewer than the NCAA-allotted maximum number of regular-season games from playing in more than one bowl game?

*********** I admit that I got taken in by Notre Dame.  I picked them to beat Clemson in their rematch.  Clearly, I based my evaluation of the Irish on their performance against lesser competition, and I didn’t fully appreciate how good Trevor Lawrence is.

Anyhow, in defiance of all logic, Notre Dame is in. The best argument that could be made in favor of Notre Dame was its two “big” wins - at home, in two overtimes, against Lawrence-less Clemson, and against a North Carolina team that has lost to Virginia and - get ready for this - Florida State.

It just doesn’t make a damn bit of sense to take a team that’s just lost by 24 points and give it a spot against Alabama, the best college team in the country,  in the first round.

So much for suspense.

F—k the Playoffs.

*********** I think the whole Heisman thing is a bunch of crap, but given that it is what it is, I can’t imagine any more convincing evidence of a guy’s worthiness than the difference in Clemson’s play against Notre Dame, first without him and then with him.

*********** After an abbreviated season in which you could never be sure until the two teams lined up that there would be a game, the Pac-12 sent the “Bush League” meter into the red with its “Conference Championship” game.

It was in historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where some of the greatest events in the history of sport have taken place.  But those events took place in front of enormous crowds, approachng 100,000.  Friday night’s game took place in an empty stadium.

Talk about depressing.

And Fox’s “presentation” was a f—king joke. The pre-game took way too long, and the “introductions" of key players looked like something out of a commercial.

The play-by-play guy, one Joe Davis, looked like a mini-Brady Quinn with his hairdo straight out of a 1930s black and white movie.

There was phony crowd noise, even including booing when a call went against the hometown Trojans.

And the post-game “Trophy Presentation?” Nothing could better say “Bush League.”

*********** All three of Friday night’s conference championship games were won by the underdogs: Oregon over USC in the Pac-12 (once a Power-5 conference); UAB over Marshall in Conference USA; and Ball State over Buffalo in the MAC.

*********** The two-hand chest-passers were back at it again in the “Doctor Pepper” challenge.

But it was even funnier when Matt Leinhart and Reggie Bush went after it, as surrogates for some people at home.

Leinhart made the first nine in a row, and hit 13 of 14.

************* The college transfer portal business is really gaining momentum, especially where quarterbacks are concerned. Urban Meyer rightly said it’s actually free agency.  Soon, instead of listing a guy’s high school in the game program, they’ll list his last college.

*********** I’m not getting soft in my old age.  I think it’s wonderful to see black guys and white guys hugging each other after games.  It gives me hope that we still have a chance against the creatures who would divide us.

*********** Fox just doesn’t know how to put on a sports event. It’s solution is always to treat it like entertainment.  Who else would say, as a team comes onto the field, “Please welcome the Buckeyes,” as if they were making an appearance on a TV show?  Oh, wait…

*********** When Florida State cancelled out on Wake Forest Friday, it was the THIRD time this season they’d cancelled out on an opponent within 24 hours of the kickoff.

*********** When we were looking for a house, our realtor, a New York Irishman named Jerry Foley, advised us to look at every property not just as a buyer, but as a seller - which is what we would be someday.

He extended that to hiring somebody: yeah, he looks great right now, but what’s it going to be like if you ever have to fire the guy?

I don’t think that Illinois was thinking as a seller when they gave Bret Bielema a six-year contract, because I predict that they’re going to wind up having to buy out a couple of years of it when its time to “sell.”

*********** After watching Iowa State’s Matt Campbell going nuts over whether a guy was or was not offsides and whether or not he should have been called, I have seen enough getting-across-and-then-getting-back in college ball to convince me that the high school rule (as in rape, “penetration, however slight…’) is better.

*********** Those of you who watch the weekly Zoom clinics know that I see at least one case a week of a fumble created by a quarterback’s poor mechanis on a ride. It leads me to believe that coaches who decide to “run” the play don’t take the time to learn  how to “teach” the play.

*********** Army’s QB was knocked out of the game by a helmet-to-helmet hit by an Air Force defender but it wasn’t at all a dirty play.  The AF defender came in hard and high and hit him a split second after he’d made a handoff. There was no way he could have avoided making contact the way he did.  Simply an occupational hazard of playing quarterback in an option offense.

*********** One unintended consequence of the injury to Army’s QB was that his replacement, who may not have been as athletic, was still plenty athletic - and because he was more familiar with the overall offense, he was able to run a lot more of it.  As a result - in my opinion - Army was able to run enough of its offense to put on its winning drive.

*********** I’ve been wondering: do teams that puss out of bowl games still get to share in their conference’s bowl revenues?

*********** My boss at Baltimore’s National Brewing Company was a guy named Mike Greene.  Probably the best boss I’ve ever had.  Great sense of humor. Once, after our ad agency had pitched some new commercial, he said we should just cut all the bullsh— about water and barley and hops and get right to the point: we should have some ordinary guy hold up a can of our product and say, “I like National Beer because it makes me drunk.”

I often think of Mike as I watch some of the ads on game day…

Instead of telling us how good an ice-cold Dr. Pepper tastes, Dr. Pepper spends its commercial time telling us how much money it contributes to college scholarships.

Instead of telling us what kick-ass pickup trucks it makes, Ford tells us it pledges to make all of its “iconic vehicles” electric.

Coors doesn’t tell us a damn thing about its Seltzer other than that drinking it “restores river water.”

Sure makes you want to run right out and buy their stuff.

*********** I saw a lot of teams celebrating on Saturday.  They all had only two things in common: they had been  playing “meaningless” games; they won those games.

Watch those Wisconsin kids running around, excited after just winning Paul Bunyan’s Axe, and tell me that the only thing that matters is winning some dumbass “national championship.”

*********** We were told that the Stanford-UCLA game had the first all-black officiating crew in a Pac-12 game.

So?

*********** I had been wondering about this…

Brad Nessler: “I don’t think they’ve had five measurements all year.

Gary Danielson: “They try to put it on the nearest line (to start with) so they don’t have to measure.”

*********** Najee Harris (Alabama RB) is REALLY good.

*********** Florida probably gave Bama a better game than at least two of the other playoff teams will. (Clemson excepted.)  Something for Dan Mullen to contemplate next time he makes excuses for a player’s misconduct.

*********** Unreal turnarounds in the Pac-12:

Stanford went ahead 27-3, then watched UCLA score 31 straight points to go ahead, 34-27.  Stanford came back to tie it up, then  won in two OT’s, 48-47 - when Chip Kelly inexplicably went for two - and failed -  instead of going into another OT.

Halftime score: Washington State 28, Utah 7;  Final score: Utah 45, Washington State 28.  Give new coach Nick Rolovich this much: the Cougs only got to play four games, and he’s already got this “Cougin’ it” thing figured out.

*********** This ought to get Ohio State fired up: Dabo Swinney, whose made no secret of his belief that Ohio State hasn’t played enough games to qualify for the Playoff, had the Buckeyes at Number  11 in this week’s voting for the USA Today Coaches Poll.

*********** Like you, I liked Charlie Pride. His name even appears in my latest, "Packfire." We lost a good guy.

Playing AF in Texas, with a partial payout from Lockheed-Martin, feels too much like a regular season bowl game. I am not for this mercenary move, even if for two years only. Colorado Springs and WP are the only locations for this game. Why not have primary sponsors for every game? Or go full NASCAR and put sponsor logos all over the uniforms? Instead of 25th ID we could have Lay's Potato Chips.

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida

***********  Hugh,

Thank you Sarah Fuller for that monumental announcement.

NOTHING surprises me anymore in a world I have no control.  I EXPECT disappointment.  But I will help fight to save the game I believe we have a say.  There are MANY of us who have coached football games with less than 30 players on our roster, and likely a number of us who have done it with less than 20!

I believe we haven't seen the best offensively from Army's team, but then again neither has the Air Force.  Should be another great game though between two service academies.  I also believe the future Army football schedules have a lot to do with Army's success, and the offense they run.  Power 5 schools aren't interested in taking the time figuring out how to prepare for Army, and aren't willing to take their chances after seeing how the Army has played other "big-time" schools in the last couple of years. 

While the networks appear to manipulate the college rankings I'm not sure why ABC chose to broadcast the ACC championship game at 3 pm.  Can't be because the number 2 and number 3 ranked teams in college football are facing each other in a titanic rematch, AND for an ACC title, AND jockeying for positions in the CFP, AND a historic first (and maybe the only) time one of them will play for a conference championship, AND feature three potential Heisman candidates playing against one another.  Certainly all good reasons for the game to be shown in PRIME TIME on Saturday night.  Hmmm.  Maybe, just maybe, it has something to do with the lack of attendance??  Maybe a lot less expensive for ABC to pay for the sponsors during the 3 pm time slot??  Maybe the ACC still doesn't have the clout of the SEC??  Maybe all of the above??

Enjoy the weekend's games!

Joe

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Fran Curci was an All-American quarterback at Miami, under head coach Andy Gustafson.

After graduation he spent seven years at Miami as an assistant, first under Gustafson and then under Charlie Tate.

As head coach of the University of Tampa - a tiny, private school playing a big-time schedule - he coached three seasons - all of them winning seasons - and left with a record of 25-6 (.806).  In his first year there, his 7-3 record earned him Florida Sports Writers Coach of the Year honors, and in his last season, his 1970 team went 10-1 and was ranked Number One in the small college poll.

He could recruit. Six of his players were named All-American and sixteen of them went on to play professional football. His best-known players were Freddie Solomon and John Matuszak, who was the first pick overall in the 1973 draft.

His 1970 team beat Ole Miss and Miami, and the latter feat was enough to convince Miami to hire him in place of Tate, who had been fired earlier in the season.

Miami was not yet the power that it would become, as “The U,” and he spent just two seasons there, going 9-13 overall, before being hired at Kentucky to replace John Ray, who in four years had won just four SEC games.

At Kentucky, in nine seasons (1973-1981) he won two SEC titles.  His 1976 team finished 8-4, and ranked 18th in country.  To this day it remains Kentucky’s last SEC championship football team. His 1977 team was even better, going 10-1 and ranked Number 6 nationally, but because of sanctions it wasn’t invited to a bowl game and despite going undefeated in SEC play wasn’t eligible to win the  conference championship.

His overall record at Kentucky was 47-51-2, but in SEC play, his teams were - for Kentucky - a very respectable  25-20. In fact, of all the coaches who have coached at Kentucky in the last 100 years, only the legendary Bear Bryant’s .563 (from 1946-1953) in conference play is better than his .455.

His overall college record is 81-71-2.

In 1991, he came out of retirement to coach the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League. In his first year, the Storm went 10-2 and won the AFL championship, and he was named AFL Coach of the Year.

Fran Curci also did some broadcasting of Tampa Bay Buccaneers as well as college games, and  retired as a parks commissioner for the State of Kentucky.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING FRAN CURCI

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY

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

Fran Curci must have been a straight-shooter. I don't know if you've seen this article about why Kentucky struggles in football. Coach Curci didn't pull any punches when he was interviewed. Very interesting.

https://www.al.com/sports/2013/11/why_does_kentucky_struggle_in.html

It’s a GREAT article!

*********** You know, I was going through the 1959 Miami program on your site  and saw his name. I remember Fran. His Tampa Bay Storm team beat us 57-53. His QB was Jay Gruden. They won the Arena league championship that year (1991) by beating Art Schlicter's Detroit Drive.

Pete Porcelli
Watervliet, New York

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

I always enjoy the news, but it is even more enjoyable when you have the answer to the quiz hiding in plain sight in the news! I knew the answer to the quiz without the hidden clue. I looked at the roster for the 1959 Miami team just to see if I knew anyone listed. I came to number 15 Fran Curci and Jim Otto that I knew immediately.

When I got to the new quiz, it was a no brainer. I met coach Curci many times during his time in Lexington. He was probably the best UK coach about beating the bushes of Kentucky looking for talent. He treated the high school  coaches a lot better than John Ray who was a blow hard and not a very good coach.

Coach Curci was a small man, but he was a human dynamo. He could sell an Eskimo a refrigerator. He could recruit. All the coaches in Kentucky that I know really liked and respected him. That includes me.

David Crump
Owensboro, Kentucky

*********** QUIZ:  As head coach at Columbia for 36 years, he spent most of his career in the seemingly-unfortunate  position of doing a masterful job of teaching and coaching bright, hard-working young men of good character who often, unfortunately, weren't as talented as the people they had to play.

But in his time at Columbia he did win some big ones. Really big ones: in the 1934 Rose Bowl his Lions upset mighty Stanford, and in 1947 they pulled off one of the greatest upsets of the 20th century, ending mighty Army's 32-game unbeaten streak with a 21-20 win.

Born in Boston, the son of an Italian immigrant, Luigi Piccolo was known throughout his career by the anglicized version of his name. He  was raised in Leominster, Massachusetts, and went on to play tackle at the University of Pennsylvania in 1916. After service in the military in World War I, he returned to Penn and was an All-American in 1919.  Following college,  he played professional football, such as it was in those days, with the Frankford Yellow Jackets, the predecessors of today's Philadelphia Eagles.

From 1924 through 1929,  he was head coach at Georgetown where his record was 41-12-13, and then was offered the job at Columbia. There he stayed, until 1956.

The early years were good, including the Rose Bowl win, brought about by his famous play known as KF-79. But Columbia's emphasis on academics, and the rise of other programs around the country, sent the Lions' fortunes into a tailspin, and in the last 20 years of his career, Columbia had only five winning seasons.

Yet there was never any stir among the alumni to get rid of him - their greatest concern was that he might finally resign in frustration.  It never happened.  In fact, when Yale offered him  its athletic director’s position in 1947, Columbia’s President, Dwight Eisenhower (the same) persuaded him to remain at Columbia.

It was said that his teams were "seldom outthought and never outfought." He insisted his players be sportsmen: he taught them to knock an opponent on his back, then help him up. He was not easy on his players.  Recalled one of them, years later, “He demanded that they play football his way, or not play at all."

And despite Columbia's unbending academic standards, he did come across some very good players, the best known of whom was Sid Luckman, the man whom  Chicago Bears' owner/coach George Halas chose to be his quarterback when he decided to install the T-formation. Luckman would earn lasting fame as the first of pro football's great passing quarterbacks.

"I never met anyone in my life who had such a tremendous influence on me," Luckman once said of his coach.

He was a New York celebrity, enjoying the night life and socializing with mayors , sports figures and entertainers.

To show how popular he was, at the end of his 25th year at Columbia, the New York Football writers, a notoriously  cynical crowd,  showed their respect by doing something they’d never done before for any sports figure,  presenting him with a silver plaque.  They asked Columbia's president,  to make the presentation, and in doing so the president said, "He is not only a great coach. He is a great man."

His final year at Columbia was 1956, the first year of the Ivy League.  His final game was an 18-12 win over Rutgers, a non-league contest.  His 110 wins at Columbia are 68 more than the next-winningest coach there.

He was inducted in 1960 into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2020   “This country is so race-conscious, so ate-up with colors and pigments. I call it ‘skin hang-ups.’ It’s a disease.”  Charley Pride, who left us recently

*********** “It looks like my time as a football player has come to an end.”  Just like that.  It’s over.

Thus spake Sarah Fuller, and with today’s announcement that the Georgia-Vanderbilt game will not take place this weekend (I’m sure there’s never been any truth to rumors that so many Vanderbilt guys were disgusted by the whole freak show that they’d had enough of football for this year), and her plan to transfer to North Texas next year and play soccer as a graduate, the Sarah Fuller era at Vanderbilt has come to an end.

So, too, has the first winless season in the school’s long history, which is purely coincidental.

I must admit that I was surprised by today’s announcement.  I thought she’d wait until after the Heisman ceremony.

Anyhow, it’s obvious now why the whole freak show started.  It’s all about NIL (Name-Image-Likeness).  As soon as it’s all worked out, that “history-making” female is going to be raking in the money.

Eat your hearts out, all you suckers who worked your asses off.

*********** This whole Covid business of cancelling games willy-nilly because schools “don’t have enough scholarship players” to play (the limit varies by conference, but in the SEC apparently it’s 50) illustrates how bloated we’ve allowed our game to become. 

Below is the roster of the visiting Miami team when it played at Florida State in 1959. It was the Miami traveling squad.  There were 48 players listed.

MIAMI ROSTER 1959

Today’s FBS schools have 85 players on scholarship, plus God knows how many walk-ons, “preferred” and otherwise.  And you mean to tell me they can’t play a game with 49 players? Well, of course not. Not now, when you have offensive players who have never played a down of defense - or defensive players who have never played a down of offense -  from the time they started playing in high school.

It started with the return of one-way football in 1964 - when the NCAA football rules committee began to remove restrictions on substitution.

That permitted a return to “platoon” football. (The concept was invented, it appears, by Fritz Crisler at Michigan, and so impressed by it was Army Coach Earl Blaik that he applied the military term to it.)

Platoon football meant specialization: offense-only and defense-only players.

And that led to further specialization: run-stopping linebackers for early downs, pass-rushing linemen for later downs.

We now have punters and players who do nothing but snap the ball on punts;  schools will often have a place kicker for extra points and field goals and another for kickoffs.

It goes on and on.

But sooner or later, our game is going to have to face the fact that things can’t go on like this. With schools facing budget deficits in the tens of millions of dollars, this can’t continue. You can only lay off so many people in the athletic department.  You can only eliminate so many “minor” sports.

I'm not going to debate whether the quality of play is better with spoecialization.  Of course it is. Or whether unlimited substitution provides more scholarship  opporunities or more jobs for coaches.  Of course it does.

But except at the very highest level of college football, the sport is headed for financial trouble, and something has to be done to save it.

It's inevitable that at some point, college football has to take a hit, and the first place to start is with a return to two-way play, and the reduction of scholarships (and coaching staffs, and recruiting expenses) that would follow.

*********** THE SPARKY AND SPARTY SHOW.
sparky








SOMETHING OLD:  Can’t say it’s the only reason why Arizona State scored 70 points against archival Arizona - the Wildcats’ near-total ineptness had something to do with it - but the return of Sparky the Sun Devil to the ASU helmets had to have something to do with it.












Gruff sparty








SOMETHING NEW: A version of the traditional Michigan State Spartan, called “Gruff Sparty”, appeared on MSU helmets for the first time Saturday against Penn State.  Supposedly Gruff Sparty was very popular with Michigan State fans, so they got what they wanted.  They also got something they didn’t want - a 39-24 loss to Penn State.











*********** As I await Saturday's Army-Air Force game - perhaps the last one ever to be played at West Point...

With  the nation in the clutches of the Deadly Global Worldwide Killer Virus Pandemic - and Democratic governors -  and colleges cancelling their football seasons , it looked as if Army, as an independent, might be left high and dry. Somehow, though,  the West point athletic department came through and did a masterful job of piecing together a schedule.  It wasn’t great, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to allow the Army team to have a season.

Even if there had been no plague, though, the original Army 2020 football schedule was not the stuff of dreams - not exactly a schedule designed to attract potential season ticket purchasers:

Bucknell (FCS)
Oklahoma
Miami (O)
Princeton (FCS)
Buffalo
Air Force

Sure, it would be great to see Oklahoma, making a rare eastern visit.  And you’d want to see Air Force, too.    But otherwise,  considering the effort involved in attending a game at West Point, you might not consider the other games worth the expense.  Or the effort - you’d better get there plenty early, because West Point being an actual military installation, and Michie Stadium being “on post,”  security is tight enough just getting on post.  And then there’s the parking -  if you’re lucky you’re less than a mile from the stadium - did I say that West Point is hilly?

This year,  Oklahoma was a guaranteed sellout, if only because Sooner fans travel well, and many of them had a game at West Point on their bucket list anyhow.   And Air Force, as a service rival, always comes close to a full house.  But as far as demand, that’s it.  The rest of the games would have been attended mostly by parents and friends of players, hardcore alums, a handful of visiting fans, and the Corps of Cadets.

Next year’s home schedule is what I’d call thin gruel - insubstantial and unsatisfying.

2021 ARMY HOME SCHEDULE

Western Kentucky
UConn
Miami (O)
Wake Forest
Bucknell (FCS)
UMass

There’s one Power Five team on there - Wake Forest. And no Air Force - next year, it’s Air Force’s home game. (More about that in a moment.)

If 2021’s home schedule was  thin gruel,  2022’s is tap water.

2022 ARMY HOME SCHEDULE

UTSA
Louisiana Monroe
Georgia State
Colgate (FCS)
UConn

You’re kidding, right? Well, at least there’s Air Force.  Hey, wait - I don’t see Air Force on the schedule!  What the hell happened to the Air Force game? That’s the only reason why I’d buy those g-d season tickets!  Must be a misprint.

Well, no, it’s not a misprint.  There’s only five home games, not a one of which makes your heart skip a beat in anticipation.  Air Force?  They just went and sold that game out from under you.

Today,  Army (and, presumably Air Force) supporters received the ”exciting” news that the next two Army-Air Force games will be played in Arlington, Texas.  In  a f—king baseball park yet.

While we are approaching Saturday's CIC (Commander-In-Chief Trophy) matchup vs. Air Force, mark your calendar for 2021 and 2022!

Army West Point Football will compete in the first college football game at Globe Life Field in Arlington, TX against Air Force in the Lockheed Martin Commanders’ Classic in 2021.

The two-year agreement begins on November 6, 2021 with Air Force as the home team. Army will be the home squad for the return meeting on November 5, 2022. Game times and broadcast information will be announced at a later date.

In order to be seated in the Army sections of the stadium, tickets must be purchased through the Army West Point ticket office. The presale through Army will begin on Tuesday, January 5.

Next year’s game will be the 55th between the two academies. Only three have been played at neutral sites: the first  ever, in 1959 in Yankee Stadium, and the 1963 and 1965 games in Chicago’s Soldier Field. The rest have been played on campus.

Next year’s game will be the first FBS game ever played at Globe Life Field - history on the order of Sarah Fuller’s first kickoff - and officials anticipate a capacity crowd of more than 37,000, including an as-yet undetermined number of cadets.

It’s only a two-year agreement, but I predict that the Army-Air Force game will never return to the respective campuses. Now that the precedent has been set, I fully expect this game to be peddled and sold to the highest bidder - city/stadium/sponsor.

If you like irony, there’s this: not so long ago, the West Point Athletic Department announced the launching of a drive to raise funds to enlarge Michie Stadium.

In view of the news of the move off-campus of the Air Force game, and in view of the unattractive home games that they’ve lined up, the obvious response is - WHY BOTHER?

*********** If you’re satisfied with the way our recent presidential “election” was conducted, you probably didn’t see anything wrong with Florida, which lost to 23-point underdog LSU on Saturday, dropping just one place - to seventh -  in this week’s CFP poll.

If, on the other hand, you’re like me, which means you no longer have faith in anything at all being on the up-and-up, you smell a rat.

Consider: Had Florida been dropped to a more realistic spot - the AP had them in 11th place, which seems about right  - how much interest was there going to be in Saturday’s SEC championship? In an obvious mismatch between unbeaten Alabama and  the 11th-ranked 8-2 Gators, coming off a loss to 4-5 LSU?

But with the Gators in an absurdly unrealistic seventh place, that means that  in the unlikely event they should beat Alabama in this Saturday’s SEC Championship game, they might actually have an outside shot at a spot in The Playoff.  Yes, it would require a few other Saturday games to break in their favor, but it still gives the game a little ”meaning.”

See where this is going?  Instead of another Alabama ass-kicking of another SEC rival, why, folks, we’ve got us a ballgame!  Something we just GOT to watch!

You see, now those Gator players and coaches, who otherwise would have been wondering what bowl game (Cheez-It Bowl, Cure Bowl, Duke’s Mayo Bowl) they’d be playing in after they lose to Alabama, realize that they actually have a chance to go further.  All they have to do is beat the Crimson Tide.

So that means that this week they won’t give star tight end Kyle Pitts the game off, and this week their defensive backs will take a pledge not to act like jackasses. (So, too, with so much on the line, will their head coach.)

Quite possibly, with Florida fired up and on good behavior, Alabama won’t pull away to a 30-point lead by halftime as usual, and that means that viewers will keep on watching a bit longer, which is sure to please  CBS, which has the rights to broadcast the SEC championship game this Saturday, and its advertisers.

Hmmm. You don’t suppose CBS could have tried to influence the CFP rankings?

(NETWORK EXECUTIVE TO MEMBER OF PLAYOFF SELECTION COMMITTEE): Sure, you have to drop Florida after that loss to LSU. Everybody knows that. So how about you make it… say, one spot?

Could a powerful TV network, with millions at stake,  actually have laid its hands on a couple members of the selection committee?

No, you say. This is America, where we believe in fair play.

I say yes.  Compared  to rigging a presidential election, a simple fix like this would be, in the words of our 45th President, “small potatoes.”

*********** You see the damnedest things in obituaries these days, and this  week I came across this one in our local paper (I have changed names):

“Billy Joe is survived by his brothers, Bob and Jim; daughter, Wendy; son, Tim; and possibly several more spread across this great world of ours.”

Hmmm.

*********** KC Smith, of Walpole, Massachusetts, gave me and my wife our best laugh of the week with this one:

Coach, Merry Christmas....just received this text message from a buddy. Yes, 2020 cannot end soon enough.

"You haven't really enjoyed all surround sound has to offer until you hear Beth Mowins calling a girls basketball game WHILE WEARING A MASK!"


*********** I was very sad to hear of the death of Country Charley Pride - a great singer and a great guy.   Also, I once read, a pretty good baseball player.

You have to admire any person who takes the Road Less Travelled, as Charley Pride did, a black man in the otherwise very white world of Country and Western Music.

I especially admired him because he never made race an issue. With him it was all about his music and as a result, so far as I was ever able to tell, he was loved and accepted by C & W fans as one of them.

In 1992 he told the Dallas Morning News, “They used to ask me how it feels to be the ‘first colored country singer.’ Then it was ‘first Negro country singer.’ Then ‘first black country singer,’ Now I’m the ‘first African American country singer.’ That’s about the only thing that’s changed. This country is so race-conscious, so ate-up with colors and pigments. I call it ‘skin hang-ups.’ It’s a disease.”

*********** Andy Gustafson deserves most of the credit for establishing Miami football, but if he were alive today he would certainly have wanted to share the credit with Walt Kichefski.

For 30 years “Coach Ski” was Miami’s indispensible Man - the glue - the unsung guy at the heart of the program. The Gator Hater.

A native of Rhinelander, in far northern Wisconsin, he played football at Miami, where he played offensive and defensive end and was captain his senior year. After playing pro football during the war years with the Steelers and then the Card-Pitt combine of the Chicago and Pittsburgh teams, he became an assistant coach at his alma mater.

He would stay there for 30 years, as an assistant under five different coaches.

When Gustafson retired, Kichefski thought he might have a shot at the head job himself, but when Charlie Tate got the job instead, he stayed on as an assistant to Tate.

A Miami guy to the core, he took over as interim head coach when Tate was let go early in the 1970 season, and although the best he could do the rest of the way was finish 2-7, he is revered among Miami people for the way his team came off a 56-16 thumping by Syracuse to beat Florida (whom he always referred to  in the singular as “The Gator”), 14-13, in The Swamp.

In the days when he coached there, Miami was not yet recruiting black athletes, and as a result, the Hurricanes had to go far and wide for players.

I was looking recently at a Miami roster from their 1959 game at Florida State. Of the 45 players listed, only 17 were from Florida.  There were 11 other states represented, only two of them southern states.  That Florida sunshine sure was attractive to northern kids.

His Wisconsin background came in handy. He recruited extensively in the Midwest, and there was always a Wisconsin player or two - or three - on the Hurricanes’ roster, the most famous of whom by far was a kid from Wausau named Jim Otto.

dan mullen discount















*********** An upscale  Baton Rouge men’s store is offering a “Dan Mullen discount” this week: 20 per cent off on all shoes.


















*********** COLLEGE FOOTBALL THIS WEEKEND

SO MANY OF THSE GAMES ARE AT NEUTRAL SITES - DISREGARDS THE "ATS"

FRIDAY NIGHT

UAB AT MARSHALL
BALL STATE AT BUFFALO
NEBRASKA 
AT RUTGERS
OREGON AT USC - USC'S WR DRAKE LONDON IS ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING ATHLETES I'VE EVER SEEN

SATURDAY

NORTHWESTERN AT OHIO STATE
TEXAS A & M
AT TENNESSEE
OKLAHOMA  AT IOWA STATE
FLORIDA STATE AT WAKE FOREST
WASHINGTON  STATE AT UTAH
AIR FORCE AT ARMY
LOUISIANA
AT COASTAL CAROLINA
OLE MISS AT LSU
MISSOURI
AT MISS STATE
CLEMSON AT NOTRE DAME
MINNESOTA AT WISCONSIN
BOISE STATE
AT SAN JOSE STATE
ILLINOIS AT PENN STATE
STANFORD  AT UCLA
MICHIGAN STATE
AT MARYLAND
ALABAMA AT FLORIDA
TULSA AT CINCINNATI
ARIZONA STATE
AT OREGON STATE


*********** Hi Coach - hope all is well with you and yours through these crazy times!

It was @ 20 years ago that I saw the Cadets march into Amon Carter Stadium to play TCU. It's impressive at ground-level too!

I definitely got chill bumps. It was awesome. Powerful.

For a few years, I went to a semi-military academy in Harriman, less than 20 miles from West Point.

Our uniforms were based on West Point’s.

I agree on the thuggish, really CLOWNISH behavior during LSU/Florida.

...and I think I heard that Dan Gable's digs were liberally landscaped with hawthorne - really, quite pretty!

J. Rothwell, DC
Corpus Christi, Texas

***********  Hugh,

College Game Day was at West Point last Saturday.  They spent a lot of time talking about the traditions of both academies, BUT, they spent a lot more time on West Point and the Army cadets which apparently didn't sit well with Navy coach Ken Niumatololo.  During a Face Time interview Niumatololo (half joking, half not) let the boys on set know he was "pissed" at how they were glorifying the Army, and not the Navy.  Not the first time the Navy coach has grumbled about the way his team has been treated.  

For the first time I can remember BOTH teams, Army and Navy, appeared to be a bit testy and chippy with one another after the game.

Still on the topic of Army-Navy.  Head coach Jeff Monken's name was floated around for the Vandy job, and possibly one or two other recent Power 5 coaching jobs.  I'm afraid the offensive state of the game around the country will keep Monken at Army.  That's fine with me.  

Breaking:  Clark Lea, ND DC was named the new head coach at Vanderbilt.  He has a Vandy pedigree, with coaching experience at ND and Wake Forest, so recruiting outstanding student-athletes shouldn't be foreign to him.  He may be the right fit for the Commodores.  He has told the team at ND he will be coaching them through the ACC championship game and playoffs.

Used to be when we watched a college football game we would at least get to see one of the team's bands (usually the home team) perform a little at halftime, and with a press box view!  Now, it's all about the talking heads.  After all they have to have the air time in order to justify being paid what they get paid.

Don't get me started on the prima donnas.  We only have ourselves to blame for their rise.  They are selfish and only think of themselves because we allowed them to grow up with the "everyone gets a trophy" mindset, and molly-coddling them during their growth years.  Being part of the TEAM, and playing for the TEAM, and standing by the TEAM has vanished with Bo Schembechler.  

Although he wasn't a football coach John Wooden was one of the greatest basketball coaches to ever coach the game.  If he had been a football coach he would've still been a great coach.  He identified his prima donnas early, and made no bones about where they stood with him.  Just ask Bill Walton.  Unfortunately, I don't see many, if any, John Woodens out there anymore.

Gus Malzahn is a solid football coach.  Someone will be lucky to have him.

Another name being "floated" around...Art Briles.  He just resigned as HC at Mount Vernon HS in Texas.

Frankly, if the PAC 12 doesn't play another game it's likely no one west of Boulder will give a s**t.

Steve Sarkisian is a west coast guy.  Expect Arizona to go all out for him.

I have a coaching friend in Chicago who tells me Lovie Smith's departure at Illinois is a step in the right direction.

The "shoe" incident in the LSU-Florida game has already been cause for a name change...L S Shoe.

Have a great week!  See you tonight!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

The more I see and hear of Coach Ken these days, the less I care for him.  I think he’s lost his mojo and his act is wearing thin.


*********** QUIZ ANSWER: A native of Aurora, Illinois,  Andy Gustafson played at Pitt from 1923 through 1925, under two coaching legends - first, Pop Warner, and then Jock Sutherland.

Straight out of college, Gustafson took the head coaching job at VPI (now Virginia Tech) where in four years he was 22-13-1.

In 1930 he was hired back at Pitt by Sutherland, and in 1933, after Earl Blaik was hired at Dartmouth, he was hired away to be Blaik’s backfield coach.

He would stay with Blaik as his backfield coach, following him to West Point in 1941, first running the Sutherland single wing, then making the changeover to the T-formation.

He would stay with Blaik through the 1947 season, the longest any assistant was to serve under Blaik, before accepting the head coaching job at Miami. At that time, before jet travel, Miami was considered remote. The “U” itself (as it would come to be known) was just 23 years old.

He remains the longest-serving coach in Miami football history, and he’s really the person who put Miami football on the map.  Coaching there for 16 years from 1948 through 1963, he posted a record of 93-65-3.

He was an early proponent of what he called the Drive Series but which came to be called the Belly Series, and during a nine-year stretch from 1954 through 1962, playing anybody willing to come to Miami, he ran it well, going  55-36-3 with just one losing season.

He earned a certain amount of immortality when Blaik gave him credit for deciding not to have his now-famous Lonesome End, Bill Carpenter, go into the huddle with the rest of the team.  As Blaik later told it in his memoirs, “You Have to Pay the Price,” he met with Gustafson at the 1958 College All-Star game in Chicago, and after he explained  his plan to split Carpenter out (as what he originally called a“far flanker”),  Gustafson cautioned him against running Carpenter in and out of the huddle: “Earl,” he said, “You’ll run him into the ground.”

And so was born the mystery of the far flanker - soon to be given its famous nickname by a New York sportswriter - and how he got his signals from the quarterback. (At that time, quarterbacks had to call their own plays.)

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING ANDY GUSTAFSON

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY


*********** QUIZ: He was an All-American quarterback at Miami, under head coach Andy Gustafson.

After graduation he spent seven years at Miami as an assistant, first under Gustafson and then under Charlie Tate.

As head coach of the University of Tampa - a tiny, private school playing a big-time schedule - he coached three seasons - all of them winning seasons - and left with a record of 25-6 (.806).  In his first year there, his 7-3 record earned him Florida Sports Writers Coach of the Year honors, and in his last season, his 1970 team went 10-1 and was ranked Number One in the small college poll.

He could recruit. Six of his players were named All-American and sixteen of them went on to play professional football. Tampa's best-known players were Freddie Solomon and John Matuszak, who was the first pick overall in the 1973 draft.

His 1970 team beat Ole Miss and Miami, and the latter feat was enough to convince Miami to hire him in place of Tate, who had been fired earlier in the season.

Miami was not yet the power that it would become, as “The U,” and he spent just two seasons there, going 9-13 overall, before being hired at Kentucky to replace John Ray, who in four years had won just four SEC games.

At Kentucky, in nine seasons (1973-1981) he won two SEC titles.  His 1976 team finished 8-4, and ranked 18th in country.  To this day it remains Kentucky’s last SEC championship football team. His 1977 team was even better, going 10-1 and ranked Number 6 nationally, but because of sanctions it wasn’t invited to a bowl game and despite going undefeated in SEC play it wasn’t eligible to win the  conference championship.

His overall record at Kentucky was 47-51-2, but in SEC play, his teams were - for Kentucky - a very respectable  25-20. In fact, of all the coaches who have coached at Kentucky in the last 100 years, only the legendary Bear Bryant’s .563 (from 1946-1953) in conference play is better than his .455.

His overall college record is 81-71-2.

In 1991, he came out of retirement to coach the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League. In his first year, the Storm went 10-2 and won the AFL championship, and he was named AFL Coach of the Year.

He also did some broadcasting of Tampa Bay Buccaneers as well as college games, and  retired as a parks commissioner for the State of Kentucky.


Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2020  “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

***********  Army sang second, after defeating  Navy, 15-0.

Unless you’d suffered through the 14 years of losses to the Middies from 2002 through 2015, you wouldn’t appreciate how much the win,  the third time in the last four years, meant to Army’s followers.

It was Army’s first shutout of Navy since 1969 and only its second since 1947.

It was also Army’s first win over Navy on its home field, Michie Stadium (the only previous game played there was in 1943, during World War II), and its first ever at West Point - two other games were played there in 1890 and 1892.

By the standards of those football fans brought up on Madden and the NFL, it was probably an  ugly game. But to lovers of hard-hitting football and hard-earned yardage, it was a thing of beauty. Put me in the latter category.

I don’t know when I’ve seen a harder-hitting game.

With neither team able or willing to stick its neck out offensively, the game was won on the defensive side, and that’s where Army shone.

With Navy trailing 3-0 early in the third quarter, Middie QB Xavier Arline broke loose on a 54-yard run to the Army one - closer even than that, actually - where he was finally dragged down by Army defender Cedrick Cunningham, from Cassatt, South Carolina.

And then, in a series that will live as long as Army football people talk about Army-Navy games, after four straight plays Navy still hadn’t crossed the Army goal line.

That would prove to be the high water mark for the Middies.

It was still 3-0 less than a minute into the fourth period when Army recovered a bobbled Navy pitch and after a short drive, Army QB Tyhier Tyler scored from the three on a keeper.

Another field goal, and a safety when a Navy receiver  wound up being tackled in the end zone on a reverse gone bad, and that was the scoring for the day.

Defense, did I say? Army had eight first downs to Navy’s four.

I suppose if I didn’t have an intense rooting interest I might even have turned my attention to another game.  But for me, this one was riveting.

On, Brave Old Army Team.


*********** I can’t think of many sports events whose stands are more than half full two hours before the start of the actual event, especially an outdoor event in a cold, northern city in December. 

But it’s true of the Army-Navy game, and if you’ve ever been fortunate enough to attend one, you know why.  You know that part of the spectacle is the “March-on” - the entry into the stadium of the student bodies of the competing academies.  Some 9,000 of America’s finest young people, Cadets of the Military Academy and Midshipmen of the Naval Academy, enter the stadium in precise military manner. (In the best tradition of service rivalry, Army people scoff at the attempt of future sailors to march with the same precision in which ground soldiers have long taken pride).

The best way to see the March-On is also the best way to see a great college marching band - from high in the upper reaches of a great stadium. (I might have said “cheap seats,” but at an Army-Navy game there are no such things.)

The worst way to see it is down on the floor of the stadium, which, unfortunately,  just happens to be where any network showing its viewers the March-on (or a marching band) always places its cameras.

The result, instead showing us the mesmerizing effect of watching thousands of human pieces of a giant puzzle coming together before our eyes, is a bewildering array of closeups - a look into the ears of a trumpet player here, a tight shot of the nostril hair on a drummer - one quick cut after another.

Totally lost is the idea that a band, like a team,  is a lot more than its component parts. In the music it makes, the sound of any individual instrument melts into the overall sound of the band, and - with the exception of the lucky lone sousaphonist who gets to dot the “i” in the famed script Ohio - the marching of any individual is no more than a single piece in that giant puzzle.  Yet it’s the individuals that they choose to show us.

(I’m just ranting because I set my damn DVR to record Saturday’s march on and all I got was nostril hairs.)

*********** Damn shame about those Navy helmets. Somebody should have take the time to paint them.

***********(Full disclosure: I go back a long way with Gary Danielson. he was in our office in downtown Portland, ready to sign on to play the rest of the season for us, when we were making the announcement that the World Football League had gone out of business.  He seemed like a really good guy.)

I think that Gary Danielson is the best in the business at his job as a game analyst.  He knows his stuff and he does his homework, and then he’s able to explain things clearly and in as few words as possible. A few examples from Saturday’s Army-Navy game:

Explaining why an Army linebacker was able to blow up a Navy play so quickly: “You can’t read it that fast -that one’s on the defensive coordinator for making the call.”
    *    He was the first commentator all year to know that Navy - and now Army, too - is not running the triple option
    *    Discussing the damage of losing yards on first down: “Passing team? No problem. But in this offense?”
    *    Explaining why Navy and Army, with  inexperienced freshmen playing quarterback, weren’t running any triple option: “How do you run a triple option without a quarterback?”

*********** WTF? Army’s OC was wearing a mask - in the press box.

*********** Anybody who's ever coached high school ball and had his kids beg off having to play a final-week game that some ADs went ahead and scheduled without asking anybody will understand that there's more than Covid involved in a lot of these end-of-season cancellations.  And we knew, didn't we, that after the Sarah Fuller stunt and the rumors of Vandy players threatening not to go to Georgia, that postponed Vandy-Georgia game would never be played?

*********** Gus Malzahn was let go at Auburn, after eight years. 

Makes you wonder what Auburn, a school that in almost any other state would be top rooster, expects.

Coach Malzahn was 68-35. In conference play, he was 39-27.

Those are both pretty high bars for any new guy to get over.

And then, consider: Gus Malzahn was 3-5 against Alabama.  I’m sorry, but I don’t think that Bill Belichick would do any better.

And there’s this: in the eight years he was at Auburn, Nick Saban at Alabama lost only six SEC games.  Three of those six losses were to Gus Malzahn and Auburn.

Gus Malzahn is going to be well compensated for his work.  He’s due a $21.5 million buyout.  And half of that is due 30 days from this past Sunday. You read that right. 

And if you’re in the market for an agent, you might want to take a look at Jimmy Sexton.  He was Malzahn’s agent and he got the coach this contract extension a few years ago when somebody (maybe Jimmy Sexton?) spread the word that with the Arkansas job open, Malzahn might be interested. 

It gets better: if Malzahn were to take the Arkansas job, the thinking went, that could mean that South Carolina coach Will Muschamp would be interested in the Auburn job, so just to make sure he stayed at Carolina, they locked him up with a nice, fat contract extension. (Muschamp’s agent? Thought you’d never ask: Jimmy Sexton.)

But money be damned,  I still feel for Coach Malzahn, because he’s a coach - and a good one -  and no coach is happy when someone takes his coaching job from him.

At 55 he’s young enough to be attractive to someone who can present him with a good opportunity. But for sure, he can be picky now. He’s got his  f—k you money.

Oh, well.  Whoever’s coming in at Auburn knows he’s going to be well paid.  Extremely well paid. During and after his stay there.

*********** On the one hand, college ADs tell us that the pandemic has cost them millions in lost revenues, and left them wondering how they’re going to balance their departments’ budgets.  They’ve already cut sports, laid off employees, and asked those still on the job to take pay cuts.

And yet, as if to say, “What pandemic?” they’re still going ahead and firing football coaches,  despite the enormous sums they’re committed to pay for the years remaining on the coaches’ contracts.

Coaching jobs open:

South Carolina* (owes Will Muschamp $15 million)
Auburn (owes Gus Malzahn $21.5 million, with 50 per cent of it due within 30 days of Sunday, the day he was fired.)
Illinois (owes Lovie Smith $2 million)
Arizona (owes Kevin Sumlin $7.5 million)
Vanderbilt (as a private school, Vanderbilt does not disclose this information, but it’s safe to assume that Derek Mason is owed in excess of $1 million)
* No longer open; South Carolina has already hired Muschamp’s replacement

Jobs that could  come open:

Michigan (would owe Harbaugh $8 million)
Virginia Tech (would owe Justin Fuente $10 million - $2.5 million after Tuesday)
Tennessee (would owe Jeremy Pruitt $12.5 million)

A BIG Job that might have come open but didn’t:
Texas (Would have owed Tom Herman $15 million)

In addition to all of those buyout figures, you still have to add substantial sums due other members of the coaches’ staffs, plus any buyout that may be due to the next coach’s current employer.

Like me, you might find yourself asking, “WTF is wrong with today’s athletic directors, that they enter into arrangements like this?”

Andy Staples, in The Athletic, offers one explanation:

Agent Jimmy Sexton is responsible for that glorious gob of legalese that will get Malzahn paid so handsomely by Auburn. And Sexton also is responsible for South Carolina’s big payouts to Muschamp, and those two things are related. In late 2017, as Malzahn was leading Auburn to the SEC West title, Arkansas fired Bret Bielema. Sexton used the Arkansas opening as leverage to extract more from Auburn. Then, as Muschamp coached the Gamecocks to a nine-win season, South Carolina’s administration grew worried that if Malzahn did indeed leave for Arkansas, the Tigers might try to snap up Muschamp. And that, boys and girls, is how two clients get paid a fortune to not work.

Now, here’s my question:

Question: Wouldn’t you rather see all that money being paid to coaches used instead to help reduce huge budget deficits at Power 5 schools?

Answer: NO.  If you gave it to them, they’d just throw it away on more coaches’ buyouts.  I trust the fired coaches to spend the money more wisely than college ADs.


*********** I was sorry to hear of Lovie Smith’s firing because since Red Grange turned pro at the end of the 1925 season, Illinois has never exactly been a power.

The Illini have had their brief stretches of success, but for the most part, they’ve been in the bottom half of Big Ten standings. It’s hard for me to understand why the only public Power 5 program in the nation’s fifth most populous state has been so unsuccessful.

I did, however, see one very disconcerting fact that might explain why Lovie Smith did not succeed.

I’ve personally spent some time coaching in the Chicago area, and I’m well aware of the coaching and playing talent that’s there and in the rest of the state. (Anyone heard of East St. Louis?)

Now, get this, from Matt Fortuna in The Athletic:

Illinois has more than 414,000 living alumni in the state, according to the school’s data. More than 188,000 of those alums are in Cook County, which is home to one of the most underrated high school football scenes in the country.

Now contrast that data with this not-so-fun fact: The Illini did not sign a single in-state player in the 2020 class.

Not one.

Why? It appears that, for whatever reason, Coach Smith did not make much of an effort to reach out to state coaches.   One example: in a recent virtual  clinic for state coaches, Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald (a Chicago-area guy) and Maryland’s Mike Locksley both presented, but Smith evidently declined.

So what is it?  Is Illinois a sleeping giant?  Or a chronic loser?

*********** Georgia Tech’s Geoff Collins was pissed after his team’s 34-30 loss last Thursday night to Pitt.  Really pissed.

You could tell he was pissed because in the post-game coaches’ “handshake” he pulled his hand out of Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi’s and, without ever making eye contact, whirled and turned his back on Narduzzi and walked away.

What you couldn’t tell was why he was pissed.  I watched the game and I couldn’t tell.  I still don’t know.  Couldn’t be because Tech lost.  They’d done that six times before.  They even lost to Syracuse, so it couldn’t have been losing to Pitt that set him off.

All I was able to see was his team allowing an opponent that had been averaging 104.5 yards a game rushing put up 317 yards rushing against them. Oh - and a Pitt running back named Vincent Johnson, whose  top previous rushing game had been 69 yards, surpassed that on the very first snap by going 74 yards.  For the night, he rushed 25 times for 247 yards (9.9 yards per carry).

Maybe he was pissed at his own offense, which Tech fans were led to believe was going to be a lot more exciting than Paul Johnson’s triple option. Maybe there was some excitement there that I missed,  but all I could see was that it didn’t produce a lot of points.

Collins afterward came up with some lameass reason for his hurried “handshake,” something like “I had to get over to the band to celebrate” (celebrate what?) and I also read someplace else where he said that he didn’t even remember the handshake.  Hmmm. Has dementia suddenly become acceptable among our leaders?

And for sh— like this they canned Paul Johnson?

Oh - and for the second straight home game, the lights went out.  Briefly, to be sure, because this is, after all, the finest technical school in the South.

The following video is done by a Georgia fan, but Collins brought it on himself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kc7wC7OJdEg

*********** I’m still trying to find out what the Utah State president said that was so horrifying that the players just couldn’t bring themselves to play another football game, or whether they were just tired of getting their asses kicked, week after week, and they couldn’t bear the thought of losing to Colorado State.


*********** How many of you would agree to put ten men on the field against your opponents’ 11? 

I didn’t think so. Then why, no matter how well they can kick,  aren’t your kickers practicing tackling with your defensive backs?

No, wait.  Check that.  From what I see in today’s game,  it often looks as if the defensive backs have been practicing tackling with the kickers.


*********** Maryland looked good in the Boomer uniforms - the way they looked when Bobby Ross was their coach and Boomer Esiason was their QB.

*********** How screwed up is a conference when it will make a team travel 900 miles only to find out its game’s been cancelled - 90 MINUTES before kickoff?  Yet that’s what happened to Cal Saturday in Pullman, Washington, when on the bus to the stadium it learned that ONE player had tested positive. ONE PLAYER.  Yet, because of “contact tracing,” several other Cal players were ruled ineligible, leaving the Bears without enough scholarship players to play.

(As a high school coach who once went through an entire season with 19 players - 18, actually,  after one of them moved away - I am having trouble with this one.)

*********** Heard someone on ESPN Game Day say the Pac-12 has slipped behind the AAC.  Can’t disagree.  Is it maybe time to talk about relegation., as they do in European “football,” except in the case to relegate conferences?  What the hell - the American Athletic, the Sun Belt and Conference USA all stepped up and played, while the Puss-12 fiddled away.

*********** In OT of the Rutgers-Maryland game, a crucial face mask penalty was called - against the RUNNER.

*********** How much of a difference has Greg Schiano made at Rutgers?  Last year, the Scarlet Knights were 0-9 in Big Ten play, and one of their losses was to Maryland, 48-7. This year, they won three Big Ten games - on the road - and on Saturday they tied Maryland  at the end of regulation and then won in OT, 27-24.


*********** Other than maybe Urban Meyer, I’m not sure I can name coaches who’ve managed to enjoy great success by kissing the butts of star players. Three recent examples of programs that have been hurt by such players:

*** Remember those long-gone days when players decided to pass on their teams’ bowl games?  Now they’re bailing on the last game or two of their junior season.

Chuba Hubbard of Oklahoma State is latest to bail, and I can’t say I was unhappy to hear the news.

It’s been about six months since Hubbard played his BLM card and got his 15 minutes of fame by announcing how offended he was when his coach, while on a fishing trip, was photographed wearing an OAN tee shirt. OMG.  Might as well have been a Klan sheet.  Hubbard said he was as good as outta there.

But after a lot of ass-kissing and humble “I am so sorry, I am not worthy” apologizing by the coach, the diva decided to stay and play.

Karma?  After a great 2019 season, the diva didn’t exactly set the Big-12 on fire this season. He’d been slowed by injuries, and with his production less than 1/3 that of last year, he finally decided he’d had enough - said he was packing it in on this season to get ready for the NFL draft.

I wonder, after all that the one time superstar Chuba Hubbard put coach Mike Gundy through, if Gundy doesn’t wish, in retrospect, that he’d told the prima donna to shove off.

But it’s not too late.

My advice: get him out of Stillwater on the next bus to Tulsa.  (All in the interest of disease prevention, you understand.  Can’t be too careful.)

*** Kevin Sumlin was fired, and Arizona fans have Khalil Tate to thank.

Back in early 2017, when word slipped out that Arizona might be considering Navy coach Ken Niumatololo to replace fired Rich Rodriguez, Tate, coming off a decent sophomore season as the Wildcat’s QB, announced to the world, via Twitter, “I didn’t come to Arizona to play the Triple Option.”

Well.  If there was any chance that Arizona might have actually considered Coach Ken (sources tell me they never did), that was the end of that.

So ‘Zona hired Kevin Sumlin.  Seemed a good enough hire - he’d done a good job at Houston, and a decent job at Texas A & M.

But for what its worth, in Tate’s two years as QB, Arizona went 8-14.  With a triple option coach - Tate having moved on, as quarterback’s now do - would the Wildcats have done any worse?

As it was, all Tate really did was put Sumlin on the hot seat for this season, which proved to be his last in Tucson.

*** Marco Wilson, a Florida senior described by some as a “team leader,” helped make a third-down stop that almost surely meant LSU would have to punt the ball and give Florida an opportunity - and time - to break a 34-34 tie. He celebrated his accomplishment by yanking off the shoe of the LSU man he’d helped tackle and sailing it downfield (at least 20 yards, they tell me).

He was penalized, and LSU, given a first down, drove far enough that their kicker had a chance to kick a 57-yard field goal.  He made it, and Florida lost the game, 37-34, and with it any chance to make it into the Playoff should they beat Alabama in the SEC title game.

Listen to his coach explain the talk he had with his player, and listen to the excuse-making:
“Obviously, I know he’s disappointed but, you know, I mean it’s a shame. I went back to watch the play and he made the tackle and, I mean, part of the football move the kid’s shoe was in his hand and he kind of threw it and jumped and celebrated with his teammates. So it’s pretty unfortunate.

“In that situation, you know, I don’t think there was any intent to taunt and there wasn’t he didn’t throw you know it was like it was thrown at their sideline or doing any of that. It was a huge play, he thought possibly a game-winning play and kind of threw a shoe and went to celebrate with his teammates. I think that stuff, really, an unfortunate situation more than, you know, a mistake instead of somebody really trying to disrespect the game or talking to the opponent or anything of that nature.”

See, he just kind of threw it… I don’t think there was any intent to taunt… he kind of threw a shoe and went to celebrate with his teammates… it was a mistake, instead of somebody really trying to disrespect the game.”

Now tell me those aren’t the words of a man who tolerates this kind of stuff… as long as the player’s good enough.

*********** I’m coming to the conclusion, after watching LSU-Florida and then the aftermath of USC and UCLA, that I’m glad I got to play football when I did, before it was taken over by undisciplined, selfish, thuggish types,  and the overpaid coaches who are afraid to try to control them.

*********** I watched the Turkey Bowl between LSU and Florida and I realized what a travesty so much of college football has become, so infested with the NFL and its look-at-me culture that I’m starting to dislike so much of our game.

Disgusted by the trash talk and jackass antics of LSU and Florida, I reflected on Army-Navy and what I had watched, and wondered how many of the players for LSU or Florida could have even made it onto that playing field at West Point, where…
No one on the field had ever been arrested
Every player on the field had a real major
Every player attended class every day
More than 90 per cent of the players will graduate
Few of them will play a professional sport
Most of them, on graduation, will serve their country
They will know how to lead
They will know how to take orders
They can be counted on to carry out an assignment
They can accomplish difficult assignments  under difficult conditions
They will not let fatigue or lack of sleep prevent them from doing so
They will know how to work with others
They will be gentlemen first
They will know how to treat everyone they meet with respect
And just in case there are those who think any of this is a sign of weakness…

If they ever had to, they could kill a man with their bare hands


*********** I no sooner finished writing about those among us who’ll accept the challenge and follow a legend than the news came  that Ray Perkins died.  Coach Perkins dared to follow Coach Bryant at Alabama.

*********** On the subject of following a legend, Charlie Wilson, of Crystal River, Florida, writes:

You state:

"There’s a moral there and we all know what it is, yet in spite of what we know about the danger of following legends, who among us, if offered the bait, is wise enough to refuse?"


Wann Smith, Wishbone, ISBN 978-0-8061-4217-3, p. 76:

"In the spring of 1964, John Tatum decided to leave the university [of Oklahoma] and went to [Gomer] Jones's office...and asked him if he had any advice to give me.  "He replied, "Yes I do.  Go find a place that hasn't won in a long time because you'll only have one way to go and that's upward.  You'll be able to build the program the way you want to and look good in the process.  

Gomer Jones, longtime assistant to the great Bud Wilkinson, dared to try to succeed Coach Wilkinson.  It didn’t go well.  He was 9-11-1 in two years as he’d coach of the Sooners.

*********** The two broadcast guys at Stanford-Oregon State were wearing masks - and sounded like it.

*********** F-king useless basketball game on ESPN2 had 5 minutes left to play when I tuned in to Stanford-Cal.  Do you realize how long it takes to play five minutes of college basketball?  Do you realize how long it takes to play ONE minute?

Hey ESPN - some of us set our recorders to the time YOU say an event will start, so how about you make the basketball game move to ESPNews or whatever, instead of us, and let us watch our game from the beginning?

*********** I have yet to see targeting called against a runner, but Saturday night I saw an Oregon State runner drop his head and deliver a blow to a tackler’s head with the crown of his helmet. The tackler staggered off, and there was no review.

*********** Oh, and did I mention that Sarah Fuller made history again?


*********** THIS WEEKEND’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL  (PICKS IN BOLD)

WINNERS- 27   LOSERS - 8  (77%)

Friday, December 11

W - UTEP at North Texas
W - Arizona State at Arizona
W - Nevada vs. San Jose State(in Las Vegas)
Charlotte at Marshall (Canceled)
Marshall at Florida International (Canceled)

Saturday, December 12

W - Alabama at Arkansas
W
- Illinois at Northwestern
W - Georgia at Missouri
W - Michigan State at Penn State
W - Utah at Colorado
L - Wake Forest at Louisville
L - Minnesota at Nebraska
L - Rutgers at Maryland
W - Western Michigan at Ball State
W - Northern Illinois at Eastern Michigan
W - UAB at Rice
W - Akron at Buffalo
W - Navy at ARMY!!!!
W - Coastal Carolina at Troy
W - Central Michigan at Toledo
L - Houston at Memphis
L - North Carolina at Miami
W - Wisconsin at Iowa
Cal at Washington State
W - Duke at Florida State
W - Tennessee at Vanderbilt
W - Boise State
at Wyoming
W - Appalachian State at Georgia Southern
L -
LSU at Florida
W - Louisiana Tech at TCU
W - Oklahoma State
at Baylor
W - USC at UCLA
W - Auburn at Mississippi State
L - Virginia at Virginia Tech
Utah State at Colorado State
W - San Diego State at BYU
W - Stanford at Oregon State
L - Fresno State at New Mexico
W - UNLV at Hawaii
Cincinnati at Tulsa (Canceled)
Incarnate Word at Arkansas State (Canceled)
Miami of Ohio at Bowling Green (Canceled)
Michigan at Ohio State (Canceled)
Ohio at Kent State (Canceled)
Oklahoma at West Virginia (Canceled)
Ole Miss at Texas A&M (Postponed)
Purdue at Indiana (Canceled)
Texas at Kansas (Canceled)
Washington at Oregon (Canceled)


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

Actually, the loss of some of those bowl games brings us closer to what "bowl season" truly meant to us "old guys."  Successful teams with WINNING records (more wins than 7) were invited to participate in one of a few bowl games as a reward for their regular season's accomplishments.  However, I was disappointed to see that one of the most "traditional" bowl games, the Sun Bowl, won't be played, and one of the more traditionally exciting bowl games, the Holiday Bowl, has been cancelled.

Wow, after making it through that meat grinder (aka: WWII), and then to reach his 100th birthday...Mr. Eliasof has truly been blessed.

After living here in Austin for 10 years now I have been able to meet a number of former Longhorn players who played for Darrell Royal.  Of course all of them have tremendous respect for Coach Royal (they still call him "Coach" Royal), but many of them have also spoken as highly of Fred Akers as they did Coach Royal.  (speaking of Coach Royal...I thoroughly enjoyed your zoom clinic this past Tuesday).

Enjoy the weekend, and GO ARMY!  BEAT NAVY!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: A guy has to be something special to get me to depart - just this once - from the sport of football in selecting a Quiz subject, and Dan Gable is indeed special.  To the best of my knowledge, he never played or coached our sport. But I unapologetically put him out there because as both a competitor  and a coach in wrestling - a sport whose demands on its athletes are at least on a par with those of football - he made it to the very top.  Many, many times.

He is a native of Waterloo, Iowa, and in his high school wrestling career he never lost a match.

At Iowa State, he was 117-1,  including two NCAA national championships. His only loss (his first loss ever) came in his last collegiate match -  the NCAA finals his senior year -  and he used that defeat to motivate himself to win an Olympic gold medal.

In the 1972 Munich Olympics, he did just that, winning six matches without giving up a single point.

In 22 seasons as head coach at Iowa State’s instate rival - Iowa - his teams won 15 national titles, including nine straight from 1978-1986, the longest run of national titles by a single school in any sport.

He had an overall record of 355-21-5 (.932) and coached 45 national champions, 106 Big Ten champions, 152 All-Americans, and 12 Olympians.

He also coached three US Olympic teams.

This week,  for his achievements as a competitor and a coach,  Dan Gable was awarded  the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DAN GABLE

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN IRION - GRANVILLE, NEW YORK
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY

*********** Gable’s only loss - in the NCAA finals - was to the guy from Washington. Go Huskies!!!!

Ossie Osmundson
Woodland, Washigton

***********  So glad you selected Dan Gable for special mention. His biggest problem was his failure to understand little concepts like determination, grit, perseverance, and hard work. Some might even call him a slacker. Nope, he is ne plus ultra with respect to all those qualities. I remember many years ago when he first came to my attention. How could any kid involved in sports not have been motivated by his example? Quite a man, this Dan Gable. Did he rear seven Gables in his house?

John Vermillion                    
St Petersburg, Florida

(Any readers out there who got John V’s joke?)

*********** Dan Gable and his life story is amazing.   Pure guts.

John Irion
Granville, New York

*********** Despite him receiving the Medal of Freedom from President Trump, the media found a way to focus their attention - and venom - on how quickly the President left the ceremony.  Maybe it was because he had to sign yet another Middle East peace treaty??

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** The epitome of greatness, Dan Gable. My older brother Mike wrestled for Iowa State.

Pete Porcelli
Watervliet, New York

*********** Kinda easy for us Hawkeyes...Dan Gable...Spoke once a year at the Davenport IA QB club...Made sure I'd attend when he spoke...My favorite time was when he shared a hilarious story of his vetting a beau seeking a 1st date with one of his daughters

Coach Kaz
Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

*********** No research on this one, but for anyone who wrestled in the 80’s this name was said with reverence.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

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

I really like this choice for the quiz. He is not a football guy, but he would have been a good one if he played our game. I picture him as a very quick nose tackle. Myself as a former center would not want Dan Gable lined up across from me in a football game. As tenacious as he was he would have been hell to block.

I watched our president place the medal around his neck on television that day. I was very happy that the president honored him. Dan deserves that recognition.

David Crump
Owensboro, Kentucky


*********** QUIZ: A native of Aurora, Illinois,  he played at Pitt from 1923 through 1925, under two coaching legends - first, Pop Warner, and then Jock Sutherland.

Straight out of college, he took the head coaching job at VPI (now Virginia Tech) where in four years he was 22-13-1.

In 1930 he was hired back at Pitt by Sutherland, and in 1933, after Earl Blaik was hired at Dartmouth, he was hired away to be Blaik’s backfield coach.

He would stay with Blaik as his backfield coach, following him to West Point in 1941, first running the Sutherland single wing, then making the changeover to the T-formation.

He would stay with Blaik through the 1947 season, the longest any assistant was to serve under Blaik, before accepting the head coaching job at Miami. At that time, before jet travel, Miami was considered remote. The “U” itself (as it would come to be known) was just 23 years old.

He remains the longest-serving coach in Miami football history, and he’s really the person who put Miami football on the map.  Coaching there for 16 years from 1948 through 1963, he posted a record of 93-65-3.

He was an early proponent of what he called the Drive Series but which came to be called the Belly Series, and during a nine-year stretch from 1954 through 1962, playing anybody willing to come to Miami, he ran it well, going  55-36-3 with just one losing season.

He earned a certain amount of immortality when Blaik gave him credit for deciding not to have his now-famous Lonesome End go into the huddle with the rest of the team.  As Blaik later told it in his memoirs, “You Have to Pay the Price,” he met with his former assistant at the 1958 College All-Star game in Chicago, and after he explained his plan to split one end (as what he called his “far flanker”),  the assistant cautioned him about running him in and out of the huddle: “Earl,” he said, “You’ll run him into the ground.”

And so was born the mystery of the far flanker - soon to be given its famous nickname by a New York sportswriter - and how he got his signals from the quarterback. (At that time, quarterbacks had to call their own plays.)




Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2020   “Wrestling’s not for everyone - but it should be.” Dan Gable

*********** Go Army!  Beat Navy!

As a  kid growing up in Philadelphia, where most Army-Navy games have been played, I was introduced to big-time football by the Army-Navy game. And at about the time I began to understand what football was all about, Army and its Blanchard-and-Davis teams was as good as it could get, so I became an Army fan quite early.

Saturday’s game won’t be played in Philadelphia, as originally scheduled. Instead, it will be played at West Point for the first time since 1943 -  and only the second time since 1893. (Almost from the beginning, the game became such an attraction that neither team’s home stadium was able to handle the demand for tickets.)

In 1942, with World War II going on, by order of President Roosevelt the Army-Navy game was played at Annapolis. With no West Point cadets permitted to attend, half the brigade of  Navy Midshipmen was ordered to cheer for Army. (This is a true story. It was a different America then, kids - they did.)

The following year, 1943, the game was played at West Point, and this time, with no Navy midshipmen in attendance, half the Corps of Cadets was ordered to cheer for Navy.  That they did, even going so far as to wear white sailor’s caps.

This year’s game with be attended by both the Corps of Cadets and the Brigade of Midshipmen, each about 4,000 strong. And, except for others essential to the game, that’s it.  I have no idea whatsoever how they plan to get 4,000 midshipmen and the assorted officers who accompany them to West Point and back in one day, because there’s no way to quarter them on post at West Point, and I can’t imagine them being put up at area hotels.

One Army-Navy tradition that you might not be familiar with is the singing of the respective academy alma maters immediately following the game.  Since protocol calls for the losing team to sing first, “Sing Second!” has become a familiar rallying cry at both academies.

*********** THIS WEEKEND’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL  (PICKS IN BOLD)

Friday, December 11

UTEP at North Texas
Arizona State at Arizona
Nevada vs. San Jose State(in Las Vegas)
Charlotte at Marshall (Canceled)
Marshall at Florida International (Canceled)

Saturday, December 12

Alabama at Arkansas
Illinois at Northwestern
Georgia at Missouri
Michigan State at Penn State
Utah at Colorado
Wake Forest at Louisville
Minnesota at Nebraska
Rutgers at Maryland
Western Michigan at Ball State
Northern Illinois at Eastern Michigan
UAB at Rice
Akron at Buffalo
Navy at ARMY!!!!
Coastal Carolina at Troy
Central Michigan at Toledo
Houston at Memphis
North Carolina at Miami
Wisconsin at Iowa
Cal at Washington State
Duke at Florida State
Tennessee at Vanderbilt
Boise State
at Wyoming
Appalachian State at Georgia Southern
LSU at Florida
Louisiana Tech at TCU
Oklahoma State
at Baylor
USC at UCLA
Auburn at Mississippi State
Virginia at Virginia Tech
Utah State at Colorado State
San Diego State at BYU
Stanford at Oregon State
Fresno State at New Mexico
UNLV at Hawaii
Cincinnati at Tulsa (Canceled)
Incarnate Word at Arkansas State (Canceled)
Miami of Ohio at Bowling Green (Canceled)
Michigan at Ohio State (Canceled)
Ohio at Kent State (Canceled)
Oklahoma at West Virginia (Canceled)
Ole Miss at Texas A&M (Postponed)
Purdue at Indiana (Canceled)
Texas at Kansas (Canceled)
Washington at Oregon (Canceled)


*********** Boston College has decided to say “to hell with a bowl” game and shut ‘er down.   Call it a season.  The decision was left to the players, and I can’t say I blame them for the decision.   (For those of you who never knew the days before money ruled everything in college sports, there once was a time when coaches actually left the decision to go to a bowl game up to the players. Honest to God.)

Because few of you subscribe to The Athletic, I’m sharing some of Nicole Auerbach’s article:

Once the final decision had been made, Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley let redshirt senior linebacker Max Richardson deliver the news.

Richardson stood up and told his teammates that they would not be playing in a bowl game this year, meaning the most challenging season of their football-playing careers was over.

“When Max told the team that they were going to go home and see their families, there was an uproar of excitement,” Hafley said. “It was emotional for me because, at that moment, I knew 100 percent that this was the right decision.”

To Richardson, it was, too. He and his teammates could go home for the holidays after six months spent under arguably the strictest protocols of any college football program. They could finally hug their dads, kiss their moms and play with their nieces and nephews. Richardson felt that the Eagles had done a good job appreciating the journey and everything they endured in a season they weren’t sure they’d get to play. Because they had approached each day and week that way, “everybody was content with how they’d handled themselves in this difficult year,” he said. “As a team, we came to our senses.” He was part of the team’s leadership group that helped Hafley make the call.

Boston College’s choice to call it a season and forgo postseason opportunities was not easy, but it was absolutely understandable. The Eagles may be the first team to make this call — LSU’s self-imposed bowl ban this week amid an NCAA investigation has different factors at play — but they probably won’t be the last. As one Power 5 athletic director put it in a text message to The Athletic on Thursday, “If everyone was being honest with themselves, they would move on.”

Athletes, coaches and support staff have been under a tremendous amount of stress since they returned to campus in June. They have sacrificed so much in order to play this football season. Some coaches, including Penn State’s James Franklin, lived apart from their families to mitigate risk. These 18- to 22-year-olds have been asked to avoid just about every aspect of the traditional college experience, taking classes virtually and spending time alone in their dorm rooms or apartments when they’re not at the football facilities. Going out to dinner or bars with friends or hugging their parents after home games are now decisions that, if the school permits them at all, come with some anxious uncertainty.

***********  Where else but America can you test positive for the flu and come out ahead?

Washington had to cancel this weekend’s game against Oregon.

The game is considered “no contest” by the Pac-12.

So Washington, at 3-1, will go to the Pac-12 conference championship game next week, without having to beat Oregon (2-2). No muss, no fuss.

Is this a great country, or what?

Actually, the Huskies aren’t in just yet: King County, in which the University of Washington is located,  is still using the 14-day quarantine period for contact tracing rather than  the CDC’s revised 10-day period or seven days with a negative test.

*********** Freddy Akers died Monday.

He was a good coach, but he had to try to step into the shoes of a giant.

He followed a Legend, Darrell Royal, at Texas.  He’d been an assistant under Coach Royal for nine years, then went off to be head coach at Wyoming for two years before taking over at UT after Royal stepped down.

He got off to a great start - 11-1 and a conference championship - but when he lost in the Cotton Bowl at the end of the season, that started it with the Longhorn fans. Freddy just ain’t no Darrell Royal.

He won - his overall record in ten years at Texas was 86-31-2, enough to get a guy a statue outside the stadium at most places - but, see,  he never won no national titles.

And then he went and lost four straight bowl  games… and he lost to them damn Aggies three straight times…

And then, in his tenth year at UT, the Horns went 5-6, their first losing season in 30 years. That just don’t happen in Austin.

And he was gone.  And there followed a succession of coaches, some good, some not so good, but all of them with one thing in common - they wasn’t Darrell Royal - and sooner or latter, they had to go.

Freddy Akers jumped at the Purdue job on the rebound,  but Purdue’s traditionally been a tough place to win, and after four losing seasons there, he was done as a head coach.  For his career, he was 108-75-3.  Not bad at all by most standards.

There’s a moral there and we all know what it is, yet in spite of what we know about the danger of following legends, who among us, if offered the bait, is wise enough to refuse?

Rest in peace, Coach Akers.

*********** I am looking for a book suggestion. I want to get my son a book about leadership/football (preferable quarterbacking) for Christmas. I will have all of the people who have coached him sign it and leave a message. I am going to be under a time crunch, but I think it is a neat idea.

Can you suggest a book that would have these qualities, but would still be engaging enough of a read that a teenager would read it for pleasure?

manningIt’s dated, but the first thing that came to mind is “Manning.”  It’s about dad, Archie, and his boys.  Archie was a great quarterback - and (still is) a very good man - and he and his wife raised three outstanding sons, two of whom became NFL quarterbacks. There’s a lot in the book about football and football history, quarterbacking, and life. It’s well told and well written.  I think it would be readable and inspirational.  Hope you can find a copy.

Archie’s grandson, Arch, is a soph in HS in New Orleans and is already  considered one of the best QB prospects in the country.

I started reading the book myself  - for the second time - and it seems to me that it would be a great book for you both to read and discuss as you go along.  There are just so many things in there that enable a dad to have some real meaningful talks with his son.



*********** There may not be enough great QBs to go around, but there’s certainly no shortage of good ones, and believe it or not, despite the fact that they can be an arrogant, narcissistic lot, I feel sorry for today’s QBs. They are being treated like disposable razors.

Personal coaches and 7 on 7 competition creates a ton of pretty good passers and puts them on display, and colleges stock up on them. Then, once the colleges decide on their one starter,  the rest of them are as useful as yesterday’s paper.

Not that the starters are that secure.  The head coaches might not come and go so frequently, but at the level where offenses - and the starters - are decided on, there’s quite bit of turnover,  and as soon as there’s a change in QB coaches or OCs the starter might as well start looking around, too, because the new coaches have their own ideas, and last year’s starter might not fit into next year’s plan.  What these kids really need is agents.

I recently read a great article in The Athletic - it’s subscription only - about Nick Starkel, the current QB at San Jose State. He started out at Texas A & M, started five games last year at Arkansas, and didn’t see any future in having to sell himself to the new coaching staff. With him as their QB, SJSU is now 5-0 for the first time since 1939.

https://theathletic.com/1594645/2020/02/10/talking-to-nick-starkel-arkansas-san-jose-state/

*********** I find that one of the biggest failings of broadcasters who call games from locations other than the game site, besides a tendency to chat like two guys watching a game on TV (which they are), is their having a tough time calling the spot of the ball - and whether a guy has made a first down - accurately.


*********** Big Ten Athletic Directors: Well, Buckeyes, you’ll be pleased to know it’s unanimous.  We’ve just voted to eliminate that stupid rule we made back at the start of the season that said you had to play six games in order to qualify for the Conference Championship Game. How were we to know that it might keep Ohio State out?  How were we to know you’d only get to play five games?

So good Luck against Northwestern in the championship game, and just to make sure that you beat the Wildcats and get us that spot in the College Football Playoff - which means a ton of money for all the rest of us conference members - we’ve decided  (just for this one game) to let you have five downs to make ten yards. You might not need that fifth down, but you never know when you might, so just in case…

Oh - and for this game only - in view of our commitment to fighting the pandemic and preventing unnecessary exposure of our players to the Deadly Corona Virus,  and because everyone knows that the only reason we’re even playing this game is so that you can get that spot in The Playoff, our officials will be instructed to automatically end the game (“out of an abundance of caution”) at any point that you lead by 14 points or more. (Obviously, this provision will not apply to Northwestern.)

Ohio State: Thanks a lot. We expected it. One question: after our win over Northwestern, can we get a bye straight to the National Championship game or are we going to have to  play in some stupid Semi-Final?


*********** Coach of the Year Awards
Coach of the Year

Tom Allen, Indiana - Hands down.

First-Year Category

Three-way Tie

Eliah Drinkwitz - Missouri
Karl Dorrell - Colorado
Sam Pittman - Arkansas

*********** At the start of the season, there were 43 FBS bowl games scheduled. As of this past Monday, there are now 33. 

Gone is the distinction between the “regular season” and the “bowl season”:

First one up is the  Frisco Bowl,  on December 19, which also happens to be the last Saturday of the “regular season” for some teams, and conference championship Saturday for others.

To show how screwed up this bowl season is, the New Mexico Bowl will be played - it just won’t be played in New Mexico.  Instead - in case you were planning on going - it’s going to be played in Frisco, Texas.

The two College Football Playoff semifinal games are still scheduled for New Year’s Day, 2021, in the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. The  National Championship game is scheduled for January 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in suburban Miami. 

2020-21 bowl games that have been canceled (so far):

Bahamas Bowl (C-USA vs. MAC)

Celebration Bowl (MEAC vs. SWAC)

Fenway Bowl (AAC vs. ACC)

Hawaii Bowl (AAC vs. Mountain West)

Holiday Bowl (ACC vs. Pac-12)

Las Vegas Bowl (Pac-12 vs. SEC)

Los Angeles Bowl (Pac-12 vs. Mountain West)

Pinstripe Bowl (ACC vs. Big Ten)

Quick Lane Bowl (ACC, Big Ten, MAC)

Redbox Bowl (Big Ten vs. Pac-12)

Sun Bowl (ACC vs. Pac-12)

*********** The NCAA may have waived bowl-eligibility requirements for college programs because of the pandemic, but that didn’t mean that the Pac-12 had to go along. For some reason, its athletic directors decided that their conference’s teams still must be .500 or better to be eligible.

It probably doesn’t matter anyhow, because with the cancellation of five of their bowl games,  they’re running out of games to play in.

The Red Bowl bowl (WTF?) is no more. Neither are the Holiday, Sun and Las Vegas Bowls, with the Los Angeles Bowl the latest to join them.

But the conference did manage to add a spot in the Armed Forces Bowl (against an SEC opponent).

*********** God rest Chuck Yeager, a man’s man and then some.  I’d think about him whenever  I flew and  the captain would come on and say, “Folks…” in a casual, calming drawl imitative of Chuck Yeager, “I’m gonna have to turn the seat belt light on…”

He was the real deal.  The first man to break the sound barrier.  I’d love to have heard his opinion on safe spaces.

*********** “Madden” (the video game) may have done “some”  good in helping to teach “some” inside football to millions of people.  But in terms of the coaching profession, it has been a disaster.

Simply as it pertains to coaching, Madden has deluded its players into thinking  that coaching football is just a matter of designing plays - plays ready to be run to near-perfection,  by players already proficient at playing the game.

Madden skips right over the harsh reality behind making those plays work. Madden players design a play and - whaddaya know? - somebody has already taught the blockers how to block, the passers how to throw, and the receivers how to run routes and catch passes!

To people in need of instant gratification, that’s the beauty of Madden - it enables the “coach” to bypass the tedious process of conditioning players, teaching them techniques and skills, and painstakingly choreographing the efforts of eleven of them to accomplish their mission despite the efforts of opponents - who are doing their damnedest to stop them.

It’s very difficult convincing a young coach brought up on Madden that he doesn’t have all the answers, and that before anybody - let alone him - can start thinking  about running all those plays that worked so well on Madden, there’s a whole lot of work to be done.

And a lot of it is drudgery. Not at all like a video game.

*********** Happy birthday to Mike Eliasof.

It was 11 years ago, in Green Bay, that I last saw Mike, but we manage to talk once a month or so. 

Mike, is a World War II Black Lion,   veteran of the battle of the Huertgen Forest, one of the bloodiest of the war. In 2003 Mike was featured in the documentary “On Common Ground,” the story of the battlefield reunion, 55 years later, of soldiers from both sides of the fighting.

Mike’s is a great American story. Born in New York, the son of Greek immigrant parents, he served his country in wartime, and then became a success as a businessman and as a husband and family man. For a time, he served as Mayor of Closter, New Jersey, consistently voted one of the top places to live in New Jersey.

On Wednesday, Mike celebrated his 100th birthday.
green Bay Lions
 

2009 - Black Lions and guests on the floor of Lambeau Field: Front row (L to R): Guest Joel Stephens, Little Rock, Arkansas; Guest Don Kovach, Franklin, New Jersey; Black Lion Jim Shelton, Englewood, Florida; WW II Black Lion Mike Eliasof, Singer Island, Florida; Back row (L to R) Honorary Black Lion David Maraniss, Madison, Wisconsin and Washington, DC; Honorary Black Lion George Crume, Houston, Texas; Black Lion Joe Costello, Utica, New York; Black Lion Dave Berry, Sacramento, California; Black Lion Steve Goodman, Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Black Lion Woody Woodward, Huntsville, Alabama; Black Lion Tom Grady, Bluffton, South Carolina; Honorary Black Lion Hugh Wyatt, Camas, Washington; Black Lion Tom Hinger, Winter Haven, Florida

*********** Speaking of Pearl Harbor Day…

Can’t use the gym as a PE teacher , so I do supervising. Half of the kids are with classroom teacher other half switch in afternoon. I made sure they understood what Dec 7th meant and what exactly happened. I know they are only 4th graders but they need to know. Found a good kid friendly video on it.

Can't learn any of our history if they are too busy with social media

Pete  Porcelli
Watervliet, New York

***********  I just read a great article that appeared in our local paper today by Cal Thomas about Dr. Walter Williams.  It is rare for a conservative writer to get published on our editorial page in Owensboro.  There was no mention in the paper about his passing last week.  The only reason that I knew of it was reading about it in your news. It is a wonderful tribute to professor Williams from a fellow conservative. I hope that you can find it on line somewhere. I am very sad that we have lost him.

Tuesday night  was great.  Hearing coach Royal teaching the wishbone offense brought back fond memories of trying to defend that great offense. When you and I spoke after the clinic, I forgot to mention that several prominent state football powers in Kentucky ran it for well over thirty years. One notable school in western Kentucky won 15 or 16 state championships running the wishbone. They only went to a spread offense in the last 10 to 12 years. They have not been as successful since they changed to the spread offense.

See you Tuesday.

David Crump
Owensboro, Kentucky

*********** My option friends are jealous of me seeing the Royal video.

John Bothe
Oregon, Illinois

At Tuesday’s Zoom I showed Darrell Royal’s explanation of the Wishbone T.  The film is 50 years old, but it’s still one of the best “how-to” football films I’ve ever seen.

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

Only one news network made mention of the "date that will live in infamy."  Not surprising.  Many youngsters today don't know much about 9/11 either and that was less than 20 years ago.

Just about every college football team today has its hooligans, and I certainly don't condone what the Coastal players did to the BYU QB just before the half.  However, despite the foolishness, IMHO Coastal is still the feel good story of this zany college football season.  They were predicted to finish last in the Sun Belt.  Oops!

The CFP committee only cares about the top 6 teams that have a chance at the playoff.  Everyone else is an after-thought.  Evidenced by how they rank the also-rans.

Apparently it wasn't the first time that Texas high school football player was in trouble.  He must have some "issues", but since he's a player maybe we can help him work through those issues.  Yeah, right.

The rules people changed the rule of covering the snapper.  Well...instead of rushing through the snapper let's rush through the guard or tackle!  It won't surprise me that they eventually DO allow the O Line to fire out and cut block!

It's weird watching any college football game being played in an empty stadium without any fans.  But, at least "some" schools don't! When Notre Dame beat Clemson and the students rushed the field for a moment we caught a glimpse of "the good old days.”

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  Although he was born in Oakland, John Ralston went to high school in Norway, Michigan, which makes him a Yooper.

At 17, he joined the Marines, and served three years,  much of it in the South Pacific during World War II.  After his discharge he entered the University of California, where he played linebacker under the legendary Pappy Waldorf, and played in two Rose Bowls.

After graduation he coached high school ball in the Bay Area for two years, then assisted Waldorf and his successor, Pete Elliott, at Cal for three seasons. He was on the Cal staff when the Bears last played in the Rose Bowl, in 1959.

Following the Rose Bowl, he was hired, at the age of 31, as head coach at Utah State.

In four years at Logan, he went 31-11-1, good enough to get him the head job at Stanford. In nine years on The Farm, his record was 55-36-3, and following back-to-back Rose Bowl wins over undefeated Big Ten teams (first Ohio State and then Michigan), he was hired as head coach by the Denver Broncos.

In his second season in Denver he led the Broncos to their first ever winning season - for which he was named AFC Coach of the Year - and in five years there he compiled an overall record of 34-33-2.  But he could never beat the Raiders in the AFC West - he finished second in the AFC West four straight years - and despite a 9-5 record in 1976, he was fired.

After that, he assisted in the NFL in Philadelphia and San Francisco, and in Toronto of the CFL.  He was head coach of the Oakland Invaders of the USFL,  and coached the Dutch national team to third place in the European championships.

In 1993, at the age of 66, he signed on as head coach at San Jose State, and in four years posted a record of 11-34 before retiring for good.

His honors were many.

In 1991 he was named Stanford’s “Coach of the Century” for having taken  the Cardinal (then the Indians) to two straight Rose Bowl appearances - and two wins.

He coached Heisman Trophy winner and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Plunkett at Stanford, and he coached future Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive lineman Merlin Olsen at Utah State.

HIs coaching tree includes Bill Walsh, Dick Vermeil,  Jim Mora, Sr., Mike White, Rod Rust,  Jack Christiansen, Roger Theder and Tony Knap.

He is in the College Football Hall of Fame, the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame, the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame, the San Jose State Sports Hall of Fame, the Stanford Hall of Fame and the Utah State Hall of Fame.

At the time of his death in September, 2019 at the age of 92, John Ralston was the oldest living coach in the College Football Hall of Fame.



CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOHN  RALSTON

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOHN IRION - GRANVILLE, NEW YORK
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY


*********** Ears perked up when I saw Yooper – John Ralston.

Norway is just outside of Iron Mountain, the home of Tom Izzo and Steve Mariucci.

Adam Wesoloski
Pulaski, WI

He and Mooch knew each other!


https://www.ironmountaindailynews.com/news/local-news/2019/09/a-class-act-norway-grad-john-ralston-college-and-nfl-coach-dies


*********** Prior to making my sojourn through football as a coach I was a journalism major.  When an injury ended my football playing days my high school coach convinced me to come back and help coach the freshman football team.  I was hooked.  But back then (early 70's) most coaches were PE majors.  I immediately changed my major to Physical Education.  The very first football book I read, and helped me to become a better football coach, was co-authored by Coach Ralston and Coach Mike White when they were coaches at Stanford.  "Coaching Today's Athlete" (A Football Textbook) copyright 1971 by National Press Books / Palo Alto / California was in fact the "textbook" we used in my football class while a student at Fresno State.  I used that book as a reference for many years.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

It’s a very good book, and purely by the luck of the alphabet it’s on my shelf right next to another great coaching text book, Bob Reade’s “Coaching Football Successfully.”


*********** He coached at more places than I realized.

John Irion
Granville, New York

*********** "Say Ah to da UP dere!"

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

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

In his bio, it also said he coached his Dutch team to the 1991 European Championships held in Helsinki. Weren’t you coaching in Finland in 1991?

That year, I was coaching a Division II team about 2 hours east of Helsinki, near the Russian border.  The European championships were held after our season (about mid-May to August ) ended and most of us coaches went back to our real jobs in the US.  Countries would then typically hire ex-NFL coaches to coach their national teams.


*********** QUIZ: A guy has to be something special to get me to depart - just this once - from the sport of football in selecting a Quiz subject, and this guy is indeed special.  To the best of my knowledge, he never played or coached our sport. But I unapologetically put him out there because as both a competitor  and a coach in wrestling - a sport whose demands on its athletes are at least on a par with those of football - he made it to the very top.  Many, many times.

He is a native of Waterloo, Iowa, and in his high school wrestling career he never lost a match.

At Iowa State, he was 117-1,  including two NCAA national championships. His only loss (his first loss ever) came in his last collegiate match -  the NCAA finals his senior year -  and he used that defeat to motivate himself to win an Olympic gold medal.

In the 1972 Munich Olympics, he did just that, winning six matches without giving up a single point.

In 22 seasons as head coach at Iowa State’s instate rival - Iowa - his teams won 15 national titles, including nine straight from 1978-1986, the longest run of national titles by a single school in any sport.

He had an overall record of 355-21-5 (.932) and coached 45 national champions, 106 Big Ten champions, 152 All-Americans, and 12 Olympians.

He also coached three US Olympic teams.

This week,  for his achievements as a competitor and a coach,  he was awarded  the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2020   "Football is one of our great American games. It is the duty and responsibility of each of us to see that it is kept in its proper perspective, and that it is protected. We should see that it is used to attain the objectives that mean so much to our way of life."  Bobby Dodd

*********** Did anyone mention that Monday, December 7 - “a date that will live in infamy” - was  Pearl Harbor Day? 

Does anyone care any more?

Are our schools now teaching our kids that America had it coming?


*********** I became a Coastal Carolina follower right from the start - their opening-game win over Kansas.

I marked them early as a team to watch. I’ve watched every one of their games, and I’ve studied their offense pretty carefully.

They are fun to watch, and I have to admit that as they continued to win, I got caught up in the Cinderella-type story of a school that’s only in its fourth year of competing at the FBS level. I was as excited as anyone else when they and much better-known BYU were able to arrange a game on short notice.  I liked both teams so I really didn’t have a strong rooting interest either way.

But all that changed at the end of the first half, when I saw a side of Coastal that I hadn’t seen before, an ugly one more befitting a trashy bunch of sandlotters than a feel-good Cinderella team.

On the last play of the first half, with nothing to lose, BYU’s Zach Wilson cut loose and  threw a Hail Mary.  Threw the hell out of it, 70 yards in the air  to the goal line, where it was intercepted. (A BYU receiver there was being tackled, but the officials can’t see everything.) Wilson was standing upfield, on his own 30 yard line, watching what was taking place at the goal line - 70 yards away -  when he was set upon by first one, and then two Coastal players.  Double-teamed, he was road-graded to the ground, and then, after he got up, was thrown to the ground a second time, and then pounced on.  No way around it, it was dirty football.

Despite what some yahoos who don’t know the rules might think, the QB is not fair game after he throws an interception:

FROM THE NCAA RULE BOOK
Defenseless Player

ARTICLE 14. A defenseless player is one who because of his physical position
and focus of concentration is especially vulnerable to injury. When in question,
a player is defenseless. Examples of defenseless players include but are not limited
to:
a. A player in the act of or just after throwing a pass.
b. A receiver attempting to catch a forward pass or in position to receive a
backward pass, or one who has completed a catch and has not had time to
protect himself or has not clearly become a ball carrier.
c. A kicker in the act of or just after kicking a ball, or during the kick or the
return.
d. A kick returner attempting to catch or recover a kick, or one who has
completed a catch or recovery and has not had time to protect himself or
has not clearly become a ball carrier..
e. A player on the ground.
f. A player obviously out of the play.
g. A player who receives a blind-side block.
h. A ball carrier already in the grasp of an opponent and whose forward
progress has been stopped.
i. A quarterback any time after a change of possession.
j. A ball carrier who has obviously given himself up and is sliding feet-first.

All this took place right in front of an official, who despite the rules of the game, did nothing. There was no ejection. There wasn’t even a penalty.

And the fool doing color on the broadcast didn’t seem to think that it was that big a deal.

But it almost was a big deal. A VERY big deal.  The two teams milled together briefly in the middle of the field but were pulled apart before anything ugly could happen.

I later heard some commentator - no doubt a recent pro player - chastising the BYU offensive linemen for not coming to the aid of their QB.

I would respond to that guy by saying (1) they were downfield covering the interception return, but (2) more important, they were disciplined.

Anyway,  congratulations, Chanticleers. You got the win and you earned it.

But you lost me. As the first half ended, so, for me, did all the feel-good stuff surrounding your story.

You'll be meeting Lousiana again in the Sun Belt championship game. on the 19th. Last time you met,  you beat them by three points.

Go Cajuns.

https://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/sec-football/coastal-carolina-byu-zach-wilson-cheap-shot-video-incredible-2020/


*********** Thanks a lot, ESPN… Thanks for the bonus.  Sure was nice of you to let us see the end of a 112-65 women’s college basketball game before showing us the Louisiana-App State football game that we tuned in to see (and set the DVR to record).

*********** Jim Mora, Junior revealed an astonishing ignorance of the college football season when he said, “Nobody knows Coastal Carolina.” Nope.  Just the people who’ve been paying attention. (And reading this site and attending my Zoom clinics.)

*********** Louisiana beat App State in a thriller Friday night, and the  Cajuns are now 8-1.  They have a 17-point win over Iowa State to their credit, and their only loss was by three points to Coastal Carolina.  Yet this week’s CFP ranking has them in 25th place. 

Meanwhile BYU, which is good but unlike Louisiana doesn’t have a single strong win to its credit - and which lost to Coastal by five points - is ranked 13th, ahead of both Louisiana AND Coastal (at 18th).

Also ranked ahead of unbeaten Coastal Carolina are Oklahoma State (now  6-3 after being upset by TCU) at 15th, and Wisconsin (2-2 and fresh off a thumping by Indiana) at 16th.

These brilliant rankings are brought to us by the CFP Committee, the people responsible for selecting  the four teams for “The Playoff.”  It makes you wonder if the committee knows about anything other than the top five or six teams. In fact, it really makes you wonder if it knows anything about them.

*********** Allison Williams, who in my misogynistic earlier days I might have referred to as a “sideline bimbo,” has been promoted from “sideline reporter” to “sideline analyst.”  If you can see any difference, let me know.

*********** On College Football Game Day, they still had to force-feed us a feature on the “historic” performance last week of Sarah Fuller.  That’s how you know there’s a movie in the making.

*********** A kid in a South Texas playoff game was ejected,  then responded in true “you can’t do that to me” fashion by charging back onto the field and barreling into the referee from behind, leveling the man.

The kid, who evidently was a pretty good football player, has been charged with assault, and last I heard was being held on $10,000 bail. 

His team did go on to win, but the school district did what I consider the right thing and withdrew the team from the playoffs.

An act like that is an assault on the game of football, and can’t be tolerated or excused in any way.  It must be treated as taboo.

Want to know what really pisses me off, though?  It’s that that kid, blessed by living in a place where he could get to play an entire season of football, had no sense of appreciation for it.  Meanwhile, in blue states there are tens of thousands of high school kids who have yet to be allowed to play football, who’ve been led on by being told they’ll be able to play football in the spring - but  aren’t even allowed on their practice fields yet.

*********** Fun Fact: In the Big Ten West, in three years Northwestern has gone from First to Worst to First again.

*********** The Targeting Toll continues to rise. Most of what I see are cowardly shots, sucker punches timed to deliver punishing blows to the head area of defenseless receivers by defensive backs and linebackers who take great care to protect themselves from injury or pain. Tucking their arms to their sides and hunching their shoulders, they turn themselves into human missiles.

One such defender, Missouri linebacker Nick Bolton was ejected Saturday for a head shot on an Arkansas receiver, and the announcers, sounding as if they were interns at a defense attorney firm, had to show us us two or three times during the game what they considered the injustice of ejecting “one of the best defensive players in America.”

To which I would say, if he’s THAT f—king good, then I bet he could learn to tackle correctly - especially if they would change the rules so that a first offense  would mean a three-game suspension.

*********** In just the past two weeks I’ve seen NC State block a Liberty field goal, Missouri block an Arkansas PAT, and one Stanford player alone - defensive end Thomas Booker - block a Cal PAT a week ago and a Washington PAT on Saturday.

All of those blocks had two things in common - they were blocked by players lined up between the tackles, and they were blocked by the forearms of players extending their arms high in the air.

What it means, I think, is that kickers - and their coaches - have grown lazy.

I remember the arrival of the Gogolaks (look it up) and the early days of soccer style kicking. One of the advantages of the old-style “toe-punch” kick was that the ball took off at a much steeper “angle of attack,” and soccer-style kicks were blocked more often.

Obviously, the soccer-stylers overcame the problem, to the extent that nowadays one never sees a toe-punch place kick.  But it could be that a whole new generation of soccer stylers has grown up unconcerned about the importance of that angle of attack, and the guys who coach the kick-block teams have become wise to that.

What’s next - aggressive, fire-out low blocking by the kicking team so that defenders have to keep their hands down?

*********** If there’s one thing dumber than not allowing anybody in to watch the Rose Bowl game, it’s knowing that and still going ahead and playing the game in such a damn fool state.  Imagine - one of the college playoff semifinal games will be taking place in an empty stadium.

*********** D.J. Shockley, color guy on the Arkansas-Missouri broadcast, is not easy to listen to.  Three times (I checked and double-checked) I heard him say that a player was a “stalemate” on the offensive line.  (I think he meant “stalwart.”)  I have to admit that I have some doubts about the University of Georgia after reading that he was an honors student there as a “speech communications” major.

*********** I’ve read enough of those “if the bricks used were stacked one on top of the other,” or “if the  two-by-fours used were placed end-to-end” references to know a good one when I see one.

But this one, that I found in a Notre Dame football program (October 18, 1980) referring to Notre Dame’s Stadium, has to beat them all:

If the 400 tons of steel used in its construction were converted into bullets, each weighing 2 ounces, the total production would be almost 6,500,000 bullets. If these were fed steadily into a machine gun shooting 100 per minute, the trigger would remain depressed for 44 days and 10 hours before exhausting the supply.

*********** Despite high hopes going into this season, Louisville has pretty much sucked.

Then came word last week that their coach, Scott Satterfield, with a game left to play in his second season there, had, uh, “looked into” the job at South Carolina.

Not a great idea at a place that’s  been jilted by Bobby Petrino, who after his first year there diddled with a booster from Auburn - while Tommy Tuberville was still the Tigers’ coach - and then, less than a year after signing a huge 10-year contract, dumped them to become the Atlanta Falcons’ coach.

Then, as if the South Carolina dalliance hadn’t caused bruised feelings,  at a press conference, Satterfield made the tone-deaf suggestion that commitment on the part of the coaches and commitment on the part of the players are two different things:

"As players, it's a little bit different than coaches," he said. "Sometimes we like to lump coaches in with players. As a player, you're there for three to four years and then you're done. As players, you don't have a family. It's just you. As coaches … and I'm just thinking in general terms here … coaches have wives and kids. At a job, are they going to be a job at 40 years? There are a lot of different things that are involved in coaching. With players, like I said, it's three to four years, and they have to be all in."

https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/college-football-power-rankings-alabama-retakes-no-1-as-usc-coastal-carolina-get-some-respect/

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

I want to get your opinion.  I was watching Navy against Tulsa Yesterday and the announcer was raving how Navy adapted its option offense to fit its freshman QB by going direct snap since he's been a direct snap throughout his career. 

I saw two plays where it was the dive portion and the first gained about 1 yard and the 2nd gained 3-4 yards now it is 4th down and punt time.  (I think they passed on 1st down)  I started installing veer with my 8 man team this year and its selling point is that the dive mesh point is at the line of scrimmage.  So now I'm thinking if they ran their base option with the mesh point at the LOS they would have gained 3 yards on the first play and 5 or 6  on the 2nd play now they either get the 1st or now it's 4th and less than 1 which is their basis of the offense. 

My rambling is that they limit their base by going shotgun and  second you are asking linemen who are smaller than your usual college lineman to hold the block longer so the dive back can get past the LOS which basically defeats the purpose why Navy runs the Triple out of flexbone.

Army Navy this week.  Personally I think that Army has looked really good but their level of competition is nowhere on par with that of Navy's.   Only common opponent was Tulane.  Army didn't look too good against Tulane neither did Navy especially the 1st half and Navy was lucky to win that game.  However in this game basically both teams are 0 - 0.  Navy should be pretty upset after losing their first senior day game in 17 years, but what will the home field do for Army?  Well as usual it will be a great game.

As a retired Marine I will sign off with a rousing GO NAVY BEAT ARMY!!!!


I think that the announcers didn’t do their homework because they have no idea what Navy is doing. In fairness, Navy doesn’t seem to have an idea what they’re doing, either.

Probably because they don’t have the personnel - the fullback or the QB - they are not running triple option. In fact, they are scarcely running any option at all. They still put the freshman QB under center and they also line him up in shotgun - but he is not reading anything. They relied so much on their B Back against Memphis - mostly traps and dives - that Tulsa was probably ready for him - which meant having the QB run more this week. To be honest, Navy seems to be struggling to find something - anything - they can do on offense right now. But they’ll find a way and they’ll be tough as always on Saturday.


*********** If the Pac-12 was smart (it’s not) it would give up on its stupid idea of divisional play and just have the teams with the two best records play for its championship.

As it is, USC (4-0) and Colorado (3-0) are both unbeaten in the South, while first place in the North will be the winner of this weekend’s game between Oregon (3-2) and Washington (3-1). Problem is, if Oregon should win, it would mean nobody in the North would have fewer than two losses. (Stanford, which beat Washington this past Saturday, has two losses, one of which came against Oregon after a false test required them to play without their starting QB.)



*********** THIS PAST WEEKEND - 25 W's - 15 L's
FRIDAY

L - Louisiana Lafayette at Appalachian State - Cajuns overcame some disastrous center snaps
Boise State at UNLV (Canceled)
Southern Miss at UTEP (Canceled)


SATURDAY

W- Ohio State at Michigan State
W - Texas at Kansas State - Whew. Texas was over 60 after three quarters!
W - Texas A&M at Auburn
L - Oklahoma State at TCU
W - Penn State at Rutgers
W - Arkansas at Missouri - An absolutely incredible finish between two of the country's most-improved teams
L - Nebraska at Purdue
W - Kansas at Texas Tech
L --  Rice at Marshal - Rice, 24-point underdog, wins. In terms of the spread, it was  biggest upset of the season
W - Toledo at Northern Illinois
Western Carolina at North Carolina
L - Eastern Michigan at Western Michigan
L - Ball State at Central Michigan
L - Bowling Green at Akron - Akron ended a 21-game losing streak
W- Troy at South Alabama
Syracuse at Notre Dame
Louisiana Monroe at Arkansas State
W - Florida at Tennessee - six straight losses for Vols
L - Indiana at Wisconsin - Indiana is now 3-0 over Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin for the first time ever
W - Iowa at Illinois
W - Buffalo at Ohio
W - Tulsa at Navy - Navy is plenty tough on defense but can't get it into the end zone
L - Boston College at Virginia
W - West Virginia at Iowa State
W- Georgia Tech at NC State
Vanderbilt at Georgia
L - Stanford at Washington - Stanford played power football like the old Cardinal teams
L - BYU at Coastal Carolina
W - Florida Atlantic at Georgia Southern
L - San Jose State at Hawaii - SJSU is now 5-0 for the first time since 1939
W - Colorado at Arizona - Buffs may have played a soft schedule, but they're still unbeaten
W - Colorado State at San Diego State
L - Oregon at Cal - Cal's first win; Oregon looked soft and coughed up two big fumbles
W - Clemson at Virginia Tech
W - South Carolina at Kentucky
W - Alabama at LSU - Hard to watch unless you're a huge Bama fan
W - Baylor at Oklahoma
W - Miami at Duke
L - Fresno State at Nevada
W - Oregon State at Utah
W - UCLA at Arizona State - Bruins fell behind then rallied to pull it out in the end and finally put Chip Kelly over .500
L - Wyoming vs. New Mexico (in Las Vegas) - Lobos ended 14-game losing  streak


SUNDAY

Western Kentucky at Charlotte
W - Washington State at USC


*********** Coach,
Watched Louisiana tech and North Texas game.   I was amazed at when they used shot gun they missed lots of 3rd and 4th and short situations.   L Tech then used under center and 3 close T backs and it seemed to do everything that you'd want on short yardage.  You've said it so many times but I will never understand it.   Actually I think Tech should have used it even with some variation more.  Texas had trouble with it.  Tech's #22 was good, though.

 Just again I want you to know how much doing these has been fantastic.  VERY much appreciated.   

Now I'm going to watch the AF-Utah State game I taped.   I went to USU for my first 2 years of college and played there.  Started as a long snapper-my only claim to fame.  Played with Eric Hipple,  Rulon Jones, Rich Parros,  Center Jim Hough who took over for Tinglehoff. 

THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John Irion
Granville, New York

*********** The 6G play has been a nice little addition to our single wing the past couple of seasons. It allows us to use the Blocking Back as a decoy to break defensive keys. We either have him go "wrong" or align him somewhere else in the formation. In fact we scored a 95-yard TD in the playoffs last year when we ran a G to the left (strong side) and aligned the BB on the weak side flank. The defense had three sets of eyes on the BB including the play side LB.

Adam Wesoloski
Pulaski, Wisconsin

*********** I've long loved Water Williams and Thomas Sowell...my fictional versions of them are thinly veiled. I appreciate your tribute, Coach.

So...how ya doin'? 'So" drives me 'so' crazy too.

We could come up with 50 such words in a few minutes. Another is 'resonate,' which I'm sure resonates wich chu.

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida

*********** And by the way, Michigan is not above sitting out "The Game" in order to deny O$U a chance at the Big Ten Championship game and the playoffs. Glenn "Bo" Schembechler, a man of the highest integrity, is no longer coaching Those People Up North. Let the loudest whiners in all of college football continue to whine. Can you imagine Indiana vs. Northwestern for the Big Ten trophy? It just may happen.

Jim Franklin
Flora, Indiana

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

Dr. Walter Williams and Dr. Thomas Sowell.  Two great men who many young people would be better off LISTENING TO than the rabble they TALK ABOUT.

While I am an unabashed fan of Notre Dame football, I had to disagree with the ACC's "cancel culture" decision to cancel the make-up game with Wake Forest.  Yes, ND will likely play for a conference championship for the first time ever, and yes, will likely face Clemson again in the championship game.  Call me old school, but some of that game's luster has been tarnished in the manner it was pre-determined by the ACC instead of allowing both teams to play their seasons out and EARN their way in.

In a pretend situation where I am the AD at Vandy I wouldn't have hesitated to have already offered Jeff Monken the head football coaching job.  I doubt he would turn it down, but if he did I would reach out to Paul Johnson for sure, or possibly Ken Niumatololo.  Word around Austin is that Texas coach Tom Herman will be let go after the Kansas game.  Texas brass has already targeted Urban Meyer as their next coach, and rumor has it they flew out to meet with him.  If that's true it has to be one of the more classless moves I've heard of. I hope not.

Years ago when I was living in Columbus Ohio State fans stopped loving Herbie because of how he would go out of his way to remain neutral in his reporting.  It got so bad for Herbie he moved his family away from Columbus to Nashville.  Just one of many reasons why I am NOT a Buckeye fan (or an Urban Meyer fan for that matter).

Coastal Carolina made out like a bandit replacing Liberty with BYU.  Turns out to be a much bigger game now than before.  Conway wins big with Game Day there, Coastal wins big playing in such a big game, and BYU wins big by improving their playoff chances.

Offensively many high school coaches (including yours truly) have taught both the under center snap and the shotgun snap.  I did for the expressed reason to take advantage of the strengths of my centers.  Some were better at under center, some better at the shotgun.  On occasion I had centers that did both well which allowed me to take advantage of the skills of my QB's.  Just seemed to make a lot of sense to me to have my offense prepared for anything (like clapping defenses??).

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas



*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  In terms of the number of people who have heard his name, John Madden  has to be the best known coach in the history of football.

He was born in Austin, Minnesota, but moved with his family to Daly City, California when he was five.

After high school in Daly City, he spent a year at a JC - College of San Mateo - before going to the University of Oregon. There, he injured his knee and spent a year as a redshirt, before playing another year of JC ball at Grays Harbor College in ABERDEEN, WASHINGTON. (Ahem.)

In 1957 he transferred to Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo) where he played for two years.

He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles but after suffering a knee injury before seeing any action, he decided to get into coaching.

After four years coaching at the JC level, two as an assistant and two as head coach, he was hired by Don Coryell at San Diego State to be his defensive coordinator.

In 1967 he was hired by the Oakland Raiders as linebackers coach, and two years later, when head coach John Rauch left to become head coach at Buffalo, he was named head coach. He was 32 years old.

In his very first season, he was 12-1-1, and won the AFC West championship. But he lost in the AFL title game to the Chiefs - who would go on to win the Super Bowl over the Vikings.

He would continue to have great success in the regular season, but after getting to the AFL/AFC championship game five times - and losing five times - he had begun to be seen as one of the coaches who couldn’t win “The Big One.”

Finally, on his sixth try, he not only won the AFC championship, but went on to win the Super Bowl as well.

Two years later, after failing to finish first in the AFC West for only the third time in ten years (he finished second), he retired. He was only 42, but the strain of coaching - he was suffering from an ulcer - had taken its toll.

His record was outstanding. The youngest coach to reach 100 regular season wins, he never won won fewer than eight games in a (14 game) regular season.  In six of his ten seasons, he won 10 games or more and in seven of his ten seasons, when only the first-place team in its division made it to the playoffs, his Raiders finished first.

His overall record, including playoffs, was 112-32-7.   His regular-season record of 103-32-7 works out to .759 - the best of any coach in modern NFL history. (For the record, Lombardi is next best at .739.

Following his coaching career he got into broadcasting, and as a former coach who was familiar with the players, he brought viewers a unique perspective on the game.  For 30 years he did color commentary on NFL games, growing increasingly popular to the point where he became a commercial spokesman for a wide variety of products, and appeared in some movies as well.

For all his accomplishments on the field and in the broadcast booth, he’s now best known for having allowed EA Sports to use his name and voice in the popular series of football-based video games it introduced in 1988.

Millions of people worldwide play the Madden games. Maybe a half-dozen or so of them know that the guy it’s named for was a real coach.  A damned good one.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOHN MADDEN

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS
JIM FRANKLIN, FLORA, INDIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
MAT HEDGER - LANGDON, NORTH DAKOTA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

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

I hated the Raiders when they beat my Vikings (physically beat them up while beating them on the scoreboard) in the Super Bowl, but John Madden was an outstanding coach. His teams were as tough as they come, and they were well-coached and tough to beat.

Greg Koenig
Colorado Springs

*********** Could it be that John Madden retired at age 42 because he worked for ... Al Davis?

Jim Franklin
Flora, Indiana

*********** Friday’s answer is John Madden!  Boom!

I remember a few of the characters he coached-Otis Sistrunk (University of Mars), John Matuszak, Fred Biletnikoff, and Ken Stabler.

Mike Framke
Green Bay, Wisconsin

***********  He was THE VOICE

Pete Porcelli
Watervliet,  New York

*********** Wap!  Boom!  Bang!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, texas

*********** The guy could coach.

John Bothe
Oregon, Illinois

*********** I have a sentimental view of Madden because he was almost like a grandpa doing football commentary when I was watching as a young kid.  He was genuine and honest and I often enjoyed listening to him more than I enjoyed whatever game was on.  I've pretty much given up the NFL because there aren't more guys like him around.  I remember once when he was doing commentary the TV production geniuses ran an old clip of JM from when he was still coaching.  Of course it was a profanity laced tirade directed at the players on the field.  You could tell that Madden was embarrassed when they went back live to the commentary booth, I felt bad for him after the TV guys did that to him.

Mat Hedger
Langdon, North Dakota

*********** Most of my players think the last name is a game.

Tom Davis
San Carlos, California

*********** Almost feel guilty taking that low hanging fruit- John Madden. The stats about his winning percentages were a useful reminder that he was more than a media creation. Can we still blame him for all kids who think they are coaches ?:)

Tom Davis
Winnipeg, Manitoba

*********** .Read 3 of his books and loved them..."Hey Wait a Minute, I wrote a Book"..."One knee Equals Two Feet"..."One Size Doesn't Fit All”

Coach Kaz
Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

*********** I really enjoyed his years working with Pat Summerall. They were great together.

David Crump
Owensboro, Kentucky


*********** QUIZ: Although he was born in Oakland, he went to high school in Norway, Michigan, which makes him a Yooper.

At 17, he joined the Marines, and served three years,  much of it in the South Pacific during World War II.  After his discharge he entered the University of California, where he played linebacker under the legendary Pappy Waldorf, and played in two Rose Bowls.

After graduation he coached high school ball in the Bay Area for two years, then assisted Waldorf and his successor, Pete Elliott, at Cal for three seasons. He was on the Cal staff when the Bears last played in the Rose Bowl, in 1959.

Following the Rose Bowl, he was hired, at the age of 31, as head coach at Utah State.

In four years at Logan, he went 31-11-1, good enough to get him the head job at Stanford. In nine years on The Farm, his record was 55-36-3, and following back-to-back Rose Bowl wins over undefeated Big Ten teams (first Ohio State and then Michigan), he was hired as head coach by the Denver Broncos.

In his second season in Denver he led the Broncos to their first ever winning season - for which he was named AFC Coach of the Year - and in five years there he compiled an overall record of 34-33-2.  But he could never beat the Raiders in the AFC West - he finished second in the AFC West four straight years - and despite a 9-5 record in 1976, he was fired.

After that, he assisted in the NFL in Philadelphia and San Francisco, and in Toronto of the CFL.  He was head coach of the Oakland Invaders of the USFL,  and coached the Dutch national team to this place in the European championships.

In 1993, at the age of 66, he signed on as head coach at San Jose State, and in four years posted a record of 11-34 before retiring for good.

His honors were many.

In 1991 he was named Stanford’s “Coach of the Century” for having taken  the Cardinal (then the Indians) to two straight Rose Bowl appearances - and two wins.

He coached Heisman Trophy winner and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Plunkett at Stanford, and he coached future Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive lineman Merlin Olsen at Utah State.

HIs coaching tree includes Bill Walsh, Dick Vermeil,  Jim Mora, Sr., Mike White, Rod Rust,  Jack Christiansen, Roger Theder and Tony Knap.

He is in the College Football Hall of Fame, the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame, the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame, the San Jose State Sports Hall of Fame, the Stanford Hall of Fame and the Utah State Hall of Fame.

At the time of his death in September, 2019 at the age of 92, he was the oldest living coach in the College Football Hall of Fame.


Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2020   “I am not very smart, but I recognize that I am not very smart.”   Woody Hayes

*********** Americans who appreciate learned men and realize how scarce such people are will realize how much we've lost with the death of Dr. Walter Williams. No man is indispensable, but Dr. Williams is irreplaceable.

A living refutation of the now-common belief that a black person can’t rise from poverty, he became a respected economist with a wealth of wisdom hich he was more than willing to share with his fellow Americans.

His greatest worry was that Americans were ignorant of economics - and of our history.  During this past election, every time I heard some “expert” expound on “democracy this” or “democracy that,” in reference to America, I thought of Dr. Williams, who said, “America isn’t a democracy.  In fact, the founders feared democracy.”

He had a great sense of humor, and the frequent target of his wit was the race hustlers and the virtue-signaling whites who were their prey.  I loved the way he dealt with the subject of white guilt by issuing a “Proclamation of Amnesty and Pardon” to “All Persons of European Descent.”
dr williams amnesty and pardon

God bless you and keep you, Dr. Williams.  Your life and your teachings have been a great inspiration to so many of us.

Learn more about this amazing American (a fellow Philadelphian, if I may say so).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_E._Williams


*********** Dr. Walter E. Williams and Dr. Thomas Sowell are two of the men I most respect and admire.  They are brilliant men.  They are educated men.  They are eloquent men.  They  came from humble backgrounds to achieve success in their fields - and to become  no-BS conservatives.

I don’t refer to them as “black economists,” as if they belong in a special category. They are economists. Period.

They were longtime friends, and I can’t think of a better person to eulogize Dr. Williams than his friend, Dr. Thomas Sowell

https://townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/2020/12/02/walter-e-williams-19362020-n2580965

HEAR THESE TWO REMARKABLE MEN,  DR. WILLIAMS AND DR. SOWELL…

DR. WILLIAMS:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZGvQcxoAPg

DR. SOWELL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mS5WYp5xmvI


*********** Congratulations to Lou Holtz on receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


THE WEEKEND’S GAMES

FRIDAY

Louisiana Lafayette at Appalachian State
Boise State at UNLV (Canceled)
Southern Miss at UTEP (Canceled)


SATURDAY

Ohio State at Michigan State
Texas at Kansas State
Texas A&M at Auburn
Oklahoma State at TCU
Penn State at Rutgers
Arkansas at Missouri
Nebraska at Purdue
Kansas at Texas Tech
Memphis at Tulane
Rice at Marshal
Toledo at Northern Illinois
Western Carolina at North Carolina
Eastern Michigan at Western Michigan
Ball State at Central Michigan
Bowling Green at Akron
Troy at South Alabama
Syracuse at Notre Dame
Louisiana Monroe at Arkansas State
Florida at Tennessee
Indiana at Wisconsin
Iowa at Illinois
Buffalo at Ohio
Tulsa at Navy
Boston College at Virginia
West Virginia at Iowa State
Georgia Tech at NC State
Vanderbilt at Georgia
Stanford at Washington
BYU at Coastal Carolina
Florida Atlantic at Georgia Southern
San Jose State at Hawaii
Colorado at Arizona
Colorado State at San Diego State
Oregon at Cal
Clemson at Virginia Tech
South Carolina at Kentucky
Alabama at LSU
Baylor at Oklahoma
Miami at Duke
Fresno State at Nevada
Oregon State at Utah
UCLA at Arizona State
Wyoming vs. New Mexico (in Las Vegas)


SUNDAY

Western Kentucky at Charlotte
Washington State at USC


*********** It sure seems to me that Kirk Herbstreit has crossed the line. Yes, Herbie is an Ohio State guy, but as a broadcast pro he’s been rather impartial, I think, whenever the conversation has turned to the Buckeyes. In fact, he’s caught a lot of hell over the years from Ohio State fans who’ve thought he was insufficiently supportive of his alma mater.

But with Ohio State now concerned that they may not be able to play enough games to qualify for the Big Ten title game, let alone the Playoff,  his recent suggestion that OSU’s ancient rival Michigan, now shut down by the virus, might go so far as to use that as an excuse not to  play their game next week has Michigan people really pissed.

*********** On my Zoom Tuesday night, we talked a bit about the Vanderbilt   coaching situation.  As you may know, Derek Mason’s reward for playing along with the “Making History” stunt was his next-day dismissal as Vandy’s head coach.  Not sure what the hurry was, when Vandy has a  female AD who’s new on the job and (if she’s smart) is going to farm out the job search anyhow.

She has gone on record as saying that she wants an offense-minded coach if possible, somebody who’ll bring some excitement, and all I could think when I read that was, here we go again.  The damn program is 0-8 this year. It was 3-9 last year. (1-7 in the SEC.) And you’re thinking exciting? 

Good Lord, woman - your team sucks, and so does your program’s image. So do your facilities and amenities. On top of that, you have by far the toughest admissions standards in the SEC - and still, in talking “excitement,” that must mean you think that you can compete for the same athletes that the rest of the conference members are going after.

Steve Spurrier once explained why, when everybody else was running the ball, he chose to throw it: you can do what everybody else is doing, but that means that you’re going to have to have better athletes than everybody else if you’re going to win; or, you can do something different from everybody else.

That, to anybody who understands the situation, is the choice Vandy faces.  And if they choose Door Number One, the one with “EXCITEMENT” stencilled on it, they’re simply not going to be able to recruit those better athletes.

In case you wondered, I’m proposing that they hire Jeff Monken from Army.  Good coach.  Hate to see him go.  But Army can’t afford to pay him what an SEC school can.

He has shown that he can build a sound program at a place where it’s hard to win.  Before Army, he did the same thing at Georgia Southern. In 2013, he took his team into the Swamp and beat Florida, 26-20.

He can recruit in the South and he can recruit nationally. He can find the kids who can qualify academically.

Most important of all, he runs an offense that he can recruit talent for, an offense that will give the rest of the SEC fits.

Before you throw Paul Johnson and Georgia Tech at me - I’ve done my homework.  Coach Johnson was at Tech for 11 years, and during that time he had three losing seasons.  How do you think that woud sound to Vanderbilt alums?

His overall record was 82-61, and his in-conference record was 51-37. How would those numbers  appeal to Vanderbilt people?

Consider Vanderbilt: since 1934, not one Vanderbilt coach left Nashville with a winning record against SEC competition.  The great Red Sanders went 15-20-2 in the 1940s.  That was good enough to get him the UCLA job, where he became a legend. Steve Sloan posted an overall winning record at Vandy in 1973 and 1974, going 12-9-2.  That was good enough to get him the job at Texas Tech, which evidently didn’t notice that his two-year SEC record was only 3-8-1.  The closest any Vanderbilt coach in the last 85 years has come to compiling an overall winning SEC record was when James Franklin, now at Penn State, went 11-13 in three seasons (2011-2013).

There is a great difference in expectations between Tech and Vandy. The Tech people are still living in the 1950s, when Bobby Dodd’s Tech teams were killing people, and they really believe that in today’s world they should be dominating the Miamis and Clemsons and Virginia Techs and the Florida States (the Seminoles are not going to be down forever).

Triple option football not exciting?  I don’t know.  How exciting is 0-8?  How’s that passing game been working out for you?

Come to think of it, if Jeff Monken isn’t interested, maybe Paul Johnson’s got another rodeo left in him.

*********** God knows the virus has visited enough pain and suffering on mankind, so it’s only fair that it might do a little good, even if it’s something as trivial as giving us a football game worth watching.

Let’s start in little Conway, South Carolina, where unbeaten Coastal Carolina prepared to host once-beaten Liberty in the biggest game ever played there. To make the game even bigger, ESPN has announced that Conway - Conway, for pete’s sake! - was going to be the site for Saturday’s College Game Day!

And then - wham! Liberty had issues with the virus, and on Wednesday Coastal Carolina - and ESPN — found themselves looking for an opponent.

It just so happened that some 2200 miles away, there was another unbeaten team, one in need of an opportunity to show the people responsible for the polls that it was worthy of a higher ranking than 13th place. And it had an open date Saturday.

And so it came about that BYU and Coastal Carolina arranged to meet Saturday - in Conway! - in a game that suddenly has become  the best matchup of the day, and one that could enable the winner to earn a place among the New Year’s Six.

https://www.deseret.com/sports/2020/12/3/22150164/byu-football-coastal-carolina-tom-holmoe-liberty-football-ian-mccaw-college-football-playoff

*********** For two years, part of my job in the WFL was making travel arrangements for a pro football team.  Take my word for it, with all the moving parts and all the things that can go wrong, it’s not an easy job.

But my job was cake compared to what the people in Stanford's athletics department  are being faced with.

When Santa Clara County, California, in which Stanford is located, banned any contact sports until at least December 21, Stanford had to move its home game against Oregon State scheduled for December 12 to Oregon State.

Stanford is set to play at Washington this weekend, but traveling back to Stanford after the game would mean having to quarantine, so they’ve had to move, lock stock and barrel to the Seattle area for this week’s game, after which they’ll move 200-some miles south to Corvallis, Oregon and spend next week there preparing to play the Beavers next Saturday.

(Assuming, that is, that the virus can’t find them,  up in the Northwest.)

*********** You’ve probably noticed that shotgun teams use a variety of methods for “calling”  their snap count, frequently snapping the ball on the clap of the quarterback’s hands.

Now, we all know - or should know - that it’s not kosher for defenses to try to screw up offenses by calling out things that might interfere with called signals, but does that also apply to clapping?

Nebraska’s Scott Frost seemed to think so…

https://www.huskermax.com/monday-morning-quarterback-should-iowa-be-penalized-for-clapgate-or-is-it-more-of-a-case-of-no-more-husker-excuses/


*********** If clapping somehow interrupts your "cadence" perhaps it is time to change your cadence?

I'm no genius, but there is clapping at EVERY game...seems like the idiots should change their cadence.

Huskers v Hawks is not a rivalry...Huskers are just bad.
Texas wins if Ehrlinger does not take the sack he did...
Campbell (at Iowa State) is as good as out...someone will throw a boatload of money at him, and my guess is he will fail...not sure I "trust" him.  Reminds me of a less annoying PJ "Row The Boat" Fleck (who  it seems needs to first get the damn water out of his boat as it s leaking...badly.

Brad Knight
Clarinda, Iowa


*********** Two abominations have made their way into everyday speech, and I pray for the power to be able singlehandedly to make them cease.

One is “please know.” It’s a pompous-ass, bureaucratic way of saying, “trust me on this,” or “take my word for it,” neither of which should be necessary unless the people you’re writing to have reason to be suspicious of your motives.

The other is “So…” at the start of a sentence.  Once it was used to explain a choice you made, having been given a few options: “We heard that the Freeway was faster, so we went that way.” But in recent years it became a somewhat affected way to answer a question, as though the person using it had a choice of answers and decided to give you the one he did: “So I work for IBM.” You find yourself thinking, “Was there supposed to be a sentence before that, that I missed?”

Now, “so” has become such a sentence worm that people use it unthinkingly, without even being asked a question. “I think I’ll make a ham sandwich” becomes “So I think I’ll make a ham sandwich.”

Please know that I care about the English language.

*********** There are many reasons why I still hold out hope that the nation will come to realize what has happened in the recent “election,” and insist that, whatever the outcome, we have another election - under more stringent controls.

A major reason is that I would like to see the mainstream news media exposed for what it is - an arm of the Democrat Party that makes a mockery of the so-called “Freedom of the Press.”  I take special aim at the AP  - the Associated Press (or, as some people joke, American Pravda).

What makes the AP so insidious is that, as newspapers large and small continue to pare their staffs, it is basically the “nation’s reporter,” writing the national news for every newspaper in the country except, perhaps, the giants - the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post.

This gives the AP enormous power to shape the narrative of virtually any story, and the worst part of that is that it makes no pretense of being impartial. It is unapologetically anti-Trump.

As an example, in a recent article about President Trump’s claims that the election was less than honest, the two writers of the article (the AP for some reason assigns two writers to almost every story and, in especially big ones, three) went out of their way to inject their biased opinions into the story. Here are some examples of the way they described the President and his speech:
Increasingly detached from reality
unspooling one misstatement after another
his baseless claim that he really won
litany of misinformation
unsubstantiated allegations
futile pushback against the election
his baseless claims
undermining public faith in the integrity of U.S. elections
a random baseless attack on the entire election
In this manner, they write opinion pieces fit only for op-ed pages, yet pass them off as news stories.  Why? Because they can.

And you can tell the way the mush-minded readers lap it all up by the way those phrases show up in their letters to the editor.

*********** As most of you know, after the NFL chose to cast me aside, The League has been dead to me.

But I’m well aware that the NFL remains important to people whom I care about, and I know that not all of its coaches and players are overpaid parasites - well, at least they’re not all parasites, but the overpaid part holds - so when a true feel-good story comes out of the NFL, it’s worth mentioning.

Last Sunday, despite the Broncos’ having no quarterbacks medically cleared to play, the NFL in its infinite  wisdom said, “Play Anyway.”

That put the quarterbacking duties in the hands of a rookie free agent wide receiver from Wake Forest named Kendall Hinton.

Now, I know a little something about Kendall Hinton.  He’s from Durham, North Carolina, and so is my grandson, Connor Love, who happened to be a classmate at Wake. They got to know each other there, and I recall Connor telling me on a couple of occasions about his friend, Kendall, and what a good guy he was.

He had played QB in high school and he played QB for three years at Wake (even led the Deacons to a win over Army) before being moved to slot receiver as a senior.

That evidently was enough to hand him the near-impossible assignment of stepping in on VERY short notice and playing quarterback in an NFL game.

Not long after the Broncos announced that Kendall Hinton would be their QB, I got an email from Coach Dave Potter, who’s something of a legend in the Durham area as a coach at several levels, and especially as coach of the always-powerful Durham Eagles youth team.  Kendall Hinton had been one of his Durham Eagles, and although Coach Potter, like me, is no NFL fan, he couldn’t conceal his pride in one of his guys.

https://www.si.com/nfl/broncos/news/drew-lock-dishes-on-unique-encounter-with-kendall-hinton-following-broncos-week-12-mission-impossible

*********** On Tuesday night’s Zoom clinic, I posed a mock election for SEC Special Teams Player of the Week. (As you may know, this past weekend’s real SEC Award was shared by a Florida punt returner who went 50 yards for a touchdown just before halftime to give the Gators the lead, and a Vanderbilt kicker whose one kickoff attempt went a little more than 30 yards and gave Missouri the ball on it 35).

In my balloting, #1 was the punt returner and #2 was the kicker. (Did I mention that #2 was a female?)

Only two coaches cast votes:

*** Coach Wyatt,

Another great clinic last night.  As for the Special Teams player of the week vote, my apologies to #2 (the Vandy kicker who provided the amazing 30-yard kick-off), but I'm voting for #1. 

Dave Potter
Cary, North Carolina

*** Coach,  my vote is for the woman. I don’t want to be in re education Biden camp.

Kidding.  Great fake he did a great job. There are not many cojones left nowadays they have even deballed football. Shame. Way to keep coaching.

Regards,

Armando Castro
Roanoke, Virginia

Here I went to bed thinking that the return man had won, 2-0, and  while I slept, someone hacked into my Web site and cast 185,378 votes for the kicker from Vanderbilt.


*********** I  enjoyed Tuesday night's Zoom. Special teams has always been one area of the game that I have always emphasized wherever I was coaching. Even at the highest levels of our game, coaches continue to lose games because they are more concerned with offense and defense. Tuesday night was a prime example of this as you clearly demonstrated for all to see.

See you Tuesday.

David Crump
Owensboro, Kentucky

*********** I enjoyed the last session's clips of “coaches gone bad.” With that in mind, I would like to make a suggestion.

I think a lot of us would benefit from a Zoom session (or part of one each week) on the art/science of coaching football. Talk to us about things that have worked and not worked for you over the years. One of the most effective (and simple) techniques I use came from you - the handshake.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

*********** Excellent coach.    You are cathartic for me.   I had shoulder replacement 2 weeks ago and it is "soothing" to watch your zooms.  (5th joint replacement in12 years-yuk)

I always use your advice about making special teams simple to reduce losing by doing something dumb.  I still absolutely hate to punt.    Last year we only punted 8 times all season.  Quick kick formation then.  We are supposed to have a shorter, non playoff season starting March 1st.   Unlikely I feel.  Feel bad for my seniors if we don't.

John Irion
Granville, New York

*********** Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the Sarah Fuller episode. I appreciate your honesty and the courage it takes to publicly share the truth. Keep fighting the good fight.

Greg Koenig
Colorado Springs

*********** I'd thought about emailing you concerning the Sarah Fuller thing (I won't call it a story). The newspaper here carried a headline that read, "The SEC Makes Progress." Progressive indeed. Then I had to read what you reported, to wit, that she did this for all the girls out there, to let them understand they can do anything they set their minds to. Really? I am so tired of reading that, maybe the biggest of all lies. In any case, I'm happy not to have written, knowing you would be all over the 'event' and cover it better than anyone in America. Thanks.

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida

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

RE:  Sarah Fuller.  Ditto.  Ditto.  Ditto.  Ditto.

RE:  Vanderbilt.  Derek Mason is out of a job.

RE:  Notre Dame.  Ditto.  They ARE pretty good!

This week's games of note:

Coastal Carolina vs. Liberty (the ONLY game worth watching, and where College Game Day should set up shop).

Just saw the uniforms Army unveiled for the annual Army-Navy game honoring the 25th Infantry "Tropic Lightning" wolfhounds who fought so bravely during the Korean War.  Very "Army" looking.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** QUIZ ANSWER:   James Van Fleet  graduated in the Class of 1915 at West Point. So many members of that class would go on to become generals that it’s known in West Point lore as “the class the stars fell on.”

Along with two of  his classmates, Dwight Eisenhower and Omar Bradley, he would rise to the rank of four-star general. (Eisenhower and Bradley would both retire with five stars.)

Straight out of West Point, he fought in the expedition against Pancho Villa.

In World War I, he was commander of a machine gun battalion, and was wounded in action only a week before the Armistice.

Between the wars, he served in a variety of assignments.

In World War II,  he led the 8th Infantry Regiment for three years,  taking part in the D-Day landing on Utah Beach. For his distinguished combat leadership there, he was awarded the  Distinguished Service Cross.

The highest award the Army can bestow short of the Medal of Honor, it was the first of three he would receive.

Following the War, he was assigned by President Truman to provide military and financial assistance to the Greek government, in its successful fight to put down an attempted Communist overthrow.

From 1951 until the truce was declared in Korea, he was in command of US Army and United Nations forces there. Sadly, his only son and namesake, an Air Force captain and bomber pilot, was MIA/KIA in Korea.

President Truman called him “The greatest General we have ever had.”

He earned three Distinguished Service Crosses, three Silver Stars, three Bronze Stars, three Purple Hearts (for wounds received in combat), and - what he considered his most prized possession—the Combat Infantryman's Badge of the common foot soldier.

So what’s this got to do with football?

He played football for four years at West Point, and was fullback on the undefeated 1914 Army team.  The first undefeated team in Army history, it beat Notre Dame, 20-7 and Navy, 20-0, giving up just three touchdowns all season and shutting out six opponents.

Playing end on that team was a sophomore from Texas named Bob Neyland - the same man who as General Robert Neyland would one day dominate southern football as the legendary head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers.

Between the two World Wars, while serving in the ROTC program at Kansas State, he served as an assistant coach there, and then, after being named head of the University of Florida’s ROTC program, he assisted there as well. Named head coach of the Gators in 1923, his 1923 team went 6-1-2, and his 1924 team went 6-2-2.  (That’s 12-3-4 - .737. Not bad.)

In 1976 he was honored with the National Football Foundation’s Distinguished American Award.

He is a member of the Florida Sports Hall of Fame and  the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame.  The University of Florida’s Military Sciences Building is named in his honor.

In 1998, he was listed as one of the 50 most important Floridians of the 20th Century.

General Van Fleet died in Bartow, Florida in 1992 at the age of 100, and he is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JAMES VAN FLEET

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

************ My friend Tom "Doc" Hinger lives in Winter Haven, Florida, not far from Bartow, where General Van Fleet grew up and then lived after he retired from the service, and Doc was on hand when the community celebrated  the General's 100th birthday. On hand as well were some Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. It is customary for any soldier, regardless of rank, to salute a Medal of Honor Winner, and Doc said he will never forget seeing General Van Fleet, by now confined to a wheelchair, greeting one of the MOH winners and using his left hand  to lift his paralyzed right arm to salute.


*********** After reading your description, and reading another I found, it was apparent to me that this man was  accomplished at EVERYTHING he attempted, and likely would have been good at ANYTHING else if he so chose!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** QUIZ: In terms of the number of people who have heard his name, he has to be the best known coach in the history of football.

He was born in Austin, Minnesota, but moved with his family to Daly City, California when he was five.

After high school in Daly City, he spent a year at a JC - College of San Mateo - before going to the University of Oregon. There, he injured his knee and spent a year as a redshirt, before playing another year of JC ball at Grays Harbor College in ABERDEEN, WASHINGTON. (Ahem.)

In 1957 he transferred to Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo) where he played for two years.

He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles but after suffering a knee injury before seeing any action, he decided to get into coaching.

After four years coaching at the JC level, two as an assistant and two as head coach, he was hired by Don Coryell at San Diego State to be his defensive coordinator.

In 1967 he was hired by the Oakland Raiders as linebackers coach, and two years later, when head coach John Rauch left to become head coach at Buffalo, he was named head coach. He was 32 years old.

In his very first season, he was 12-1-1, and won the AFC West championship. But he lost in the AFL title game to the Chiefs - who would go on to win the Super Bowl over the Vikings.

He would continue to have great success in the regular season, but after getting to the AFL/AFC championship game five times - and losing five times - he had begun to be seen as one of the coaches who couldn’t win “The Big One.”

Finally, on his sixth try, he not only won the AFC championship, but went on to win the Super Bowl as well.

Two years later, after failing to finish first in the AFC West for only the third time in ten years (he finished second), he retired. He was only 42, but the strain of coaching - he was suffering from an ulcer - had taken its toll.

His record was outstanding. The youngest coach to reach 100 regular season wins, he never won won fewer than eight games in a (14 game) regular season.  In six of his ten seasons, he won 10 games or more and in seven of his ten seasons, when only the first-place team in its division made it to the playoffs, his Raiders finished first.

His overall record, including playoffs, was 112-32-7.   His regular-season record of 103-32-7 works out to .759 - the best of any coach in modern NFL history. (For the record, Lombardi is next best at .739.

Following his coaching career he got into broadcasting, and as a former coach who was familiar with the players, he brought viewers a unique perspective on the game.  For 30 years he did color commentary on NFL games, growing increasingly popular to the point where he became a commercial spokesman for a wide variety of products, and appeared in some movies as well.

For all his accomplishments on the field and in the broadcast booth, he’s now best known for having allowed EA Sports to use his name and voice in the popular series of football-based video games it introduced in 1988.

Millions of people worldwide play the games. Maybe a half-dozen or so of them know that the guy it’s named for was a real coach.  A damned good one.


Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2020   “Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people.” John Adams

SARAH FULLER - WHAT ELSE? - TOOK UP MOST OF MY TIME AND MY PAGE TODAY

SARAH FULLER KICKING
Shouldn't someone have told Sarah that the ball is  centered from the three-yard-line, not kicked from there?

*********** To me, the Sarah Fuller farce was a combination of Geraldo Rivera and Eddie Gaedel.

Many years ago, Geraldo drew a huge television audience with his promise to open Al Capone’s never-before-opened vault and show us what was inside.  Would it be machine guns?  Bootleg whiskey? Decomposed bodies of enemies?

After an enormous  buildup,  the big moment came. We all looked inside, along with Geraldo, and saw -  nothing. 

Like the Geraldo stunt, after all the panting and oohing and aahing, all the public got from Sarah Fuller was a pathetic low, 30-yard (including the bounce) kick that allowed Ms. Fuller to slip off the field unscathed, without in any way engaging in the actual game of football.

Eddie Gaedel was 3 feet, seven inches tall.  A little person.  They were once called midgets or dwarfs.  As a promotion, Bill Veeck, owner of the St. Louis Browns, one of the most forlorn teams in baseball history, signed him to a contract to pinch-hit in a major league game and - under strict orders not to take the bat off his shoulder - draw a walk.  That he did, and he was promptly pulled for a pinch runner.  The very next day, claiming that Veeck had “made a mockery of the game,” Will Harridge, the Commissioner of the American League, voided Gaedel’s contract.

As with Sarah Fuller, Eddie Gaedel’s appearance in an actual game made a mockery of the sport. But unlike Ms. Fuller, Eddie Gaedel’s appearance was never passed off as anything other than a stunt. Further, unlike the breathless promotion of Sarah Fuller’s appearance as “history about to be made” Gaedel’s was unannounced - typical of Veeck’s “what will that guy think up next?” approach to promotion.

And finally, unlike Ms. Fuller, Eddie Gaedel delivered.

*********** Full disclosure: there are those who might call me a male chauvinist pig.  So call me that.  I sleep well.

I’ve been married to the same woman for 61 years.  I’m the proud father of three daughters (a son, too, but that’s not important right now in establishing my credentials) and the proud grandfather of four granddaughters. All but one are college graduates (the one who’s not is a freshman). They are teachers, business people, and engineers. 

I couldn’t be prouder.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not a chauvinist, by today’s ever-changing definitions.

And if any one of them were to ask me what I think about a woman playing football (they wouldn’t ask - they already know) I’d tell them that unless they’re playing on a women’s team that plays against other women’s teams, I’m against it.

I’m against it because just as I feel that there are aspects of our society that should be female-only, so should there be places reserved for men only. Football is one of them, an almost uniquely American institution that provides  a rare opportunity to mold boys into young men and young men into grown men, capable of holding jobs, loving their country and respecting its laws, respecting and marrying women, and raising good kids.

*********** Full disclosure: Four of my grandkids graduated from Vanderbilt. They love the school and their parents love it, and that’s good enough for me.  I support Vanderbilt and Vanderbilt football, something which isn’t always easy to do.  Especially now.

Not after Vanderbilt, whose football ineptitude is at least understandable if not desirable, chose to push its program across the line into Laughingstock City by concocting some story about needing a placekicker - really, really needing a placekicker - and solving the problem by asking the soccer team’s goalie to give football a shot.  That would be the women’s soccer team goalie.

Since then, it has been a carnival of excitement with the “historic” move being greeted, as expected in these days of political correctness,  by unanimous media approval.

Reading from the media list of talking points, one heard them say such things as: Everybody is pulling for Sarah Fuller… Women belong in the game… I get chills… History is about to be made… What a day in college football… Congratulations to Derek Mason for making that happen… She absolutely did it… And on and on.

And true to our new Cancel Culture tradition, there was absolutely zero dissent.  Say it’s wonderful or you die.

*********** I appreciate the problems that Derek Mason faces as Vanderbilt’s coach.  Vandy is an expensive private school, which means that it’s hard to attract walk-ons, and it’s a selective school with high admissions standards, which prevents him from recruiting athletes who could get into any other SEC school.

I understand that, and as a result I cut him a lot of slack. But there is one hard and fast rule I have always taken with me to any job. (They’re always “bad” jobs - they wouldn’t have been in the market for a new coach if things were hunky-dory.) That hard and fast rule is: when your team sucks (and Vanderbilt’s surely does) your first order of business, your sole mission, has to be to STOP SUCKING.

That’s Job One. And Job Two. And Job Three.  It has to take all of your attention.

So what would possess a coach who’s getting his brains beaten in to get the bright idea that bringing in a female placekicker is going to do a damn thing to stop the sucking?  Even if she could kick a little, finding a better kicker when you’re 0-7 is like sticking a finger in the side of the Titanic. You’ve got far bigger problems that need your attention.

*********** True to America’s youth soccer-inspired Trophies for Everybody tradition, The honors start to pour in… For her “effort” in Vanderbilt’s 41-0 loss to Missouri Saturday, Sarah Fuller was named SEC co-player of the week, sharing the honor with a Florida player who returned a punt 50 yards for a score against Kentucky.

Is it too late for me to change my Heisman vote to Sarah Fuller?

*********** There have been a few occasions in the course of my coaching career - mostly when it was too windy to keep the ball upright on the tee - that we've had to have a holder on kickoffs. But what was Vanderbilt's reason for doing it Saturday?  Was it for emotional support?  Did you see how fast the kicker got off the field once she'd kicked the ball? 

*********** Sarah Fuller “made history,” they tried to tell us.  Right.

First of all, this is coming from members of a generation that can’t tell you what happened last year, and can’t tell you whether World War I or World War II came first. A generation that has shown almost universal scorn for and ignorance of real history - except when it serves their purposes (oh look - it says here that when he was eight he once got in a fight with a kid of color).

Second of all,  I have - literally - hundreds of books dealing with one aspect or another of football history. Real football history. Ms. Fullers’ “accomplishment,” meagre and unexceptional as it was, would scarcely rate a sentence in any of them.

Real football history was made by the scores of black players who blazed trails at colleges throughout America - men who certainly weren’t invited and weren’t welcomed, who definitely weren’t treated right from the start like Lady Astor’s pet horse, men who often endured slights and hardships, asking only for the chance to prove themselves. Men whose real on-the-field accomplishments made it possible for others to follow in their footsteps.

*********** A kid from Buffalo named Jaret Patterson - a Maryland kid, I should add, as a one-time Marylander myself - rushed 36 times for 409 yards and EIGHT TDs against Kent State Saturday, and I haven’t read a thing about that in any newspaper. Maybe it’ll rate a line in some record book. But let a female kick a ball 30 yards, and - that’s HISTORY.

*********** One of my grandsons said he was going after the rights to The Sarah Fuller Story.

I hated to disappoint him, but I said, guess what?

The story has already been written. It’s in a binder on a shelf at Disney.

Against all odds, despite enormous obstacles and people saying it couldn’t be done a (handicapped/female/person of color/LGBTQ person) tries, succeeds, and serves as an example to others just like (him/her/them) that you can do anything you want if you just put your mind to it.

They’ve just been waiting for the right incident that gets enough attention and then off they go, “inspired by a true story.”

All they need to do is change a few dates, places and people.  And facts.

In the movie, Sarah will make a field goal - her fourth of the game - as time expires to defeat Alabama and put undefeated Vanderbilt in the national championship game against Clemson. There, when Vandy loses all three of its quarterbacks to injury, Sarah sidles up to Coach Mason and tells him that she once played quarterback when she was in seventh grade… but I don’t want to spoil it for you.

I tell you this from experience, as the person who signed Vince Papale to a professional contract in the World Football League in 1974.  That was two years before the Eagles signed him, after having seen him play two seasons in the WFL. In other words, he was talented, they knew talent,  and they believed that he could help them. They weren’t stupid. But in the movie “Invincible,” it made a better story to ignore his two years in the WFL and portray him instead as a down-on-his-luck bartender  who’d never played any football other than street ball with his buddies.

*********** My wife’s take: I am so mad. As a coach’s wife, I can’t believe there weren’t 40 Vanderbilt players who couldn’t have kicked off better than that - and not needed the ball held. As a woman, I’m upset that she embarrassed us by not being even competent. Does the coach really think this stunt would save his job?

*********** I have often referred to things like women playing football as a freak show, and it just occurred to me that I might be using a reference that people younger than I wouldn’t understand. Freak shows are gone from the scene but until the second half of the last century, when television began to provide in-home entertainment, freak shows were considered a legitimate form of entertainment.

The public paid money to go to traveling shows to see people who for one reason or another - maybe it was a physical deformity or mental retardation, or unusually great or small size, maybe it was a “tattooed lady”  - were unlike anything they would see in their everyday lives.

Sometimes the freak show was part of the sideshow at circuses, and sometimes it was a show unto itself, but it was a form of show business.

We like to pride ourselves on the way we’ve improved in our attitudes toward people different from ourselves - hell, now we even get served in restaurants by tattooed ladies - but the way people jumped on the Sarah Fuller story shows that in addition to the great number of people who really did see her as advancing the cause of women, there were a great many others who just wanted to see something they’d never seen before.

*********** I have no reason to believe that Sarah Fuller is not a nice young woman but I do have to say that in interviews she sounded a bit full of herself and of the supposed importance of her “history-making” performance.

With other players putting various messages on the backs of their helmets, she had to go and  wear one that said, “PLAY LIKE A GIRL.” I could go for the cheap laugh and say, “Well, can't say she didn’t do  just that.” But I won’t.

She talked about the influence she would have on little girls - “I can represent the little girls out there” - like wow, we sure do want them banging on our doors, asking for a chance to kick.

She preached the Great Untruth that I suspect has ruined the lives of more than a few young people: “You can do anything you want to do.” (You realize how many people live empty lives because they really thought they could play in the NBA?)

*********** Biff Jones was the football coach at LSU from 1932 through 1934, and he was a damn good one - his record was 20-5-6.  In the final game of the 1934 season, upset with the Tigers trailing at halftime, Senator Huey P. Long, the most powerful and influential man in Louisiana politics, insisted on talking to the team.

Jones, a West Pointer, refused him admission.  An argument took place with the Senator saying “You’d better win this game,” and  Jones finally telling Long, “Win, lose or draw, I’m through!”

LSU won the game, 14-13. And Jones resigned.

I use that to illustrate that fact that to a football coach, the locker room, especially on game day, is sacred.  Nobody comes in without the coach’s approval.  Most coaches I know are very, very careful about who they let in, and even more so about who talks to their players.

So I have to say that for me the most alarming thing about this whole Sarah Fuller fiasco was hearing her say - not sure when it was, but it had to be after halftime - that she had spoken with the team. I heard her say “I wanted more energy on the sidelines.”

Asked if she had been asked to talk or if she had asked to do so, she said “I asked to talk.” And she said that whoever she approached had said, “Oh, yeah - go ahead.”

Are you shi—ing me? For the last few days, the media has been obsessed with the idea of this person who’s never played a down of football, never been in a football locker room - and she’s going to tell players who have paid with their sweat and blood to be in that locker room how they should act?

Seems to me that this is a serious problem, in a culture of child worship in which the right to speak doesn’t have to be earned by merit or seniority - that everyone has some God-given right to be heard, regardless of where they are who they are, or who(m) they’re talking to.

Derek Mason, obviously, is no Biff Jones.

For what it’s worth, Ms. Jones’ talk must have helped. Some. The halftime score was 21-0.  The final score was 41-0.  The talk might have been worth the one-point difference.

*********** The talking heads have positively salivated over this whole Sarah Fuller farce. I d hoped that there might  be just one of them with the cojones to say what he really thought. But no, their paychecks are coming from the same people who told them to push the BLM story - which as we know  they obediently did.

Talk about cancel culture. Not one of them had the courage to say that the emperor wasn’t wearing any clothes.

Desmond Howard did express a bit of skepticism - well-deserved, I’d say, in view of how things would turn out - and he got ripped for it.  Bad, Desmond, bad.  Go to your room.

Just as it was with those shy Trump voters, real dissent, in this case,  has had to go underground.  To find out what real people are thinking - no, not the pussies who call the games - get on some site that still allows comments on its stories.

Until, like all the big guys, it has to shut down its comments.  Or shut down its site.

*********** The Sarah Fuller incident brings to the forefront another factor that’s come into play in our society in the last generation or two, and that’s our transformation into a matriarchal society.  For good or bad (I happen to think its bad, but that doesn’t make me right), it does appear that it’s becoming more and more a society of “female good, male bad.”  If it advances the cause of females, it’s automatically good, regardless of the effect it might have on men.  I refer to Title IX, and its having to balance male-female sports participation through a vile combination of contrived female sports and eliminated male sports.

The idea that it’s so wonderful that a woman is making the world better merely by kicking a damn ball - and not well at that - almost makes me want to support transgenders playing female sports. Almost.
 
*********** For seven seasons, I coached football in Finland.  American football.  Tackle football. On the order of semi-pro football in the US - big guys playing for the hell of it - except that many of those big guys had never played football before.

Many were the guys, big and strong and tough, who thought that all they had to do was show up in a uniform and - voila! - they could “play football.”

Few were the guys who stuck around long enough to actually play in a game.

Why?

Because it’s a hard game to learn to play.  Damn hard.

Players need a grounding in the fundamentals,  of course.  And it takes time to learn them well enough to put them to use. The key word there is “time.” In wrestling, they say there’s no substitute for “mat time.” In football, I don’t know what it’s called, but most coaches know that it’s a rare kid who comes to him without any experience who in his first season can do the team much good at any position other than, if he’s really athletic, receiver. There’s simply too much to learn, which is a shame in today’s instant-gratification society, where kids frequently give up when they don’t have quick success.

I don’t include a kicker as playing a position, and I’ve made it a point, because of my respect for the game of football, never to have a guy on my team who did nothing other than kick. In my thinking, kicker or not, if you’re on the football team. you play football!

Did you hear that, Sarah?

*********** You want a good laugh? Derek Mason said Sarah Fuller kicked the ball exactly where he wanted it to go.

(1)  He’s lying. He's  covering for the people who put him up to the stunt.

(2) He’s telling the truth, but expecting us to ignore the fact that he undoubtedly had at least a dozen or so players on his team - and probably more than that in the Vanderbilt student body - who could have kicked it 30 yards (including the bounce).

(3) He’s telling the truth because he knew that if she kicked it so that Mizzou could return it, she might find out that she got more than she bargained for, and he’d have to answer for putting her in harm’s way.

*********** If I were the Missouri defensive coordinator, I would have challenged my defense not to let Vanderbilt into a position where we could “go down in history” as the team that Sarah Fuller kicked the field goal (or extra point) against.  Maybe that’s why Vandy never got closer than the  Mizzou 32 yard line.

***********
THE WEEKEND'S  GAMES - 25-10 on picks, if I counted correctly

FRIDAY

L - Iowa State at Texas - Horns barely missed a FG at the end

Massachusetts at Liberty

W - Nebraska at Iowa - Iowa's sixth straight over the Huskers

L - Notre Dame at North Carolina - ND is really good.

W - UCF at South Florida - This damn game went almost 4-1/2 hours and cut into the start of the Oregon-Oregon State game.

W - Stanford at Cal - Stanford returns to power football to win the Axe - See the end on Tuesday's Zoom

W - Wyoming at UNLV

L - Oregon at Oregon State - A game for the ages! - See the great ending on Tuesday's Zoom

SATURDAY

L - Penn State at Michigan

W - Texas Tech at Oklahoma State

W - Kentucky at Florida

W -
Maryland at Indiana - Indiana played well considering they were wearing their pajamas

Ohio State at Illinois

W - Kent State at Buffalo

W - Bowling Green at Ohio

W - Northern Illinois at Western Michigan

L - SMU at East Carolina

W - Vanderbilt at Missouri

L - Georgia Southern at Georgia State

W - Ball State at Toledo

W - Miami of Ohio at Akron

UTEP at Rice

Florida Atlantic at Middle Tennessee

North Texas at UTSA

W - Coastal Carolina at Texas State

South Alabama at Arkansas State

W - Auburn at Alabama

Colorado at USC

W - Pitt at Clemson

L - Northwestern
at Michigan State - Fortunately for "STATE" they played a lot better than they looked

W - Rutgers at Purdue

W - Louisville at Boston College

W - Mississippi State at Ole Miss

Central Michigan at Eastern Michigan

San Jose State at Boise State


Louisiana Lafayette at Louisiana Monroe

W - LSU at Texas A&M - Ed Orgeron really went off on his freshman QB. On national TV. Not a good look at all.

L - Kansas State at Baylor

W - Memphis at Navy - at least on defense, Middies looked the toughest they've looked all year

L - Duke
at Georgia Tech - Tune in to Tuesday night's Zoom to see how Duke pissed this one away

W - Georgia at South Carolina

W - Utah at Washington - Down 21-0 at the half, Huskies win at the end, 24-21

W - Arizona at UCLA

W - Troy at Appalachian State

W - TCU at Kansas - If all games were this easy to pick nobody would watch

Virginia at Florida State

L - Nevada at Hawaii


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

Tanner Ingle, the NC State player ejected in the Liberty game has only played in one game this year (Pitt).  He was injured the previous three games, and returned for the Liberty game.  After being tossed he tweeted from the locker room (and I'm paraphrasing) how soft the game has become, but deleted it later.  Apparently it's not the first time in his career he's been ejected for targeting.  And this guy is a team Captain??

I wonder what Walt Ehmer would have to say about us now having one of the worst examples of a "political freeloader" who has NEVER held a REAL JOB, or threatened to have his livelihood taken away from him, possibly becoming the "leader" of our country.  But worse, and what's even scarier is the fact that many Americans voted (and THAT'S debatable) this pretender into office.

Those sideline signs and posters are the result of "tempo" spread offenses trying to communicate late audibles changing the original play.  And YES, some are distractions, and YES, there is a group of players (backup QB's) and coaches (GA's) whose job it is during the week to prepare them for the game. 

Two best college games on TV today:

Iowa State at Texas
Notre Dame at North Carolina

Enjoy your weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Marion Mottley was born in Leesburg, Georgia, but he grew up in Canton, Ohio, where he was a two-sport star at Canton McKinley High. Canton McKinley went 25-3 during his football career,  its only losses coming to archrival Massillon, then coached by a bright young man named Paul Brown.

After high school, he went to all-black South Carolina State but was enticed to transfer to Nevada by its coach, Jim Aiken, who had coached at Canton McKinley a few years before our guy’s arrival there, and knew him well.

He had two  good years at Nevada before injuring his knee, and after  returning to Canton,  with World War II going on, he enlisted in the Navy.

There, he would be rediscovered by former rival Brown, who by then had moved on to Ohio State as its head coach, and then, during wartime, was coaching the football team at Great Lakes Naval Training Station, north of Chicago.  There, Brown built a powerhouse team, and our guy, said Brown, was “the cornerstone.”

He was a fullback and linebacker.  He was big and fast.  At a time when there will still 220-pounders playing on the line in pro football, he weighed more than 230 pounds.

At Great Lakes, Brown used his speed and power on traps and on a play he had developed - a delayed handoff which has since become known as the draw play.

Brown’s advice to his powerful fullback, once he got past the line on those plays: “Don’t get fancy. If there is someone in front of you, just run in one end of him and out the other.”

The highlight of Brown’s - and his fullback’s - time at Great Lakes was a stunning 39-7 defeat of a very good Notre Dame team whose only other loss had been to National Champion Army.

While coaching at Great Lakes, in a secondary role Brown was also in the process of building a professional football team in a new league - the AAFC -  formed to compete with the National Football League. Between his Ohio and Great Lakes connections, he would assemble one of the great dynasties in the history of pro football, the mighty Cleveland Browns.

Because Brown’s policy was “to win football games with the best people possible,” he broke the color line that had existed in pro football for years.  "I never considered football players black or white," Brown wrote later, " nor did I keep or cut a player just because of his color. In our first meeting before training camp every year, I told the players that they made our teams only if they were good enough."

With the signing of our player and Bill Willis, the Cleveland Browns became the first truly integrated team in all of professional sports.  

In 1946 - a year before  Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color line - the two Browns’ players - along with Kenny Washington and Woody Strode of the Los Angeles Rams - would be the first four black men to play professional football in the modern era. And while Washington and Strode had short careers, the two Browns’ players would both make it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

With the AAFC long gone, he will live forever as its all-time rushing leader. He led NFL in rushing in the Browns’ first season in the NFL (in 1950, when they won the title), and in one game that year, against the Steelers,  he rushed for 188 yards on just 11 carries -  an average 17.1 yards per carry.

In nine seasons, he rushed for 4,720 yards on 828 carries -  5.7 yards per carry. He also played linebacker on occasion.

He was selected to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time team, and in 1968 he became the second black player - after Emlen Tunnell -to be  inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Brown, in his autobiography, “PB,” called him, “our greatest fullback ever, because not only was he a great runner, but also no one ever blocked better - and no one ever cared more about his team and whether it won or lost, no matter how many yards he gained or where he was asked to run…Marion's tremendous running ability also was what made our trap and draw plays so effective.  When he ran off tackle, people seemed to fly off him in all directions. He possessed tremendous speed for a big man, and he could run away from linebackers and defensive backs when he got into the open - if he didn't trample them first. I've always believed that  Marion could have gone into the Hall of Fame solely as a linebacker if we had used him only at that position. He was as good as our great ones."

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING MARION MOTTLEY

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY


*********** Saw some archived footage of him playing for the Browns, all I can say is "WOW". I would have hated trying to tackle that bruiser!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

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

Marion Motley is the great fullback in your quiz.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5IuZlImP-o  

Greg Koenig
Colorado Springs

*********** Marion Motley was a great choice. He was a pioneer for all black athletes wanting to play in the NFL. I remember seeing him play in the later part of his career in Cleveland. Keep those Cleveland Browns coming in the quizzes.

See you Tuesday.

David Crump
Owensboro, Kentucky


*********** QUIZ:  He graduated in the Class of 1915 at West Point. So many members of that class would go on to become generals that it’s known in West Point lore as “the class the stars fell on.”

Along with two of  his classmates, Dwight Eisenhower and Omar Bradley, he would rise to the rank of four-star general. (Eisenhower and Bradley would both retire with five stars.)

Straight out of West Point, he fought in the expedition against Pancho Villa.

In World War I, he was commander of a machine gun battalion, and was wounded in action only a week before the Armistice.

Between the wars, he served in a variety of assignments.

In World War II,  he led the 8th Infantry Regiment for three years,  taking part in the D-Day landing on Utah Beach. For his distinguished combat leadership there, he was awarded the  Distinguished Service Cross.

The highest award the Army can bestow short of the Medal of Honor, it was the first of three he would receive.

Following the War, he was assigned by President Truman to provide military and financial assistance to the Greek government, in its successful fight to put down an attempted Communist overthrow.

From 1951 until the truce was declared in Korea, he was in command of US Army and United Nations forces there. Sadly, his only son and namesake, an Air Force captain and bomber pilot, was MIA/KIA in Korea.

President Truman called him “The greatest General we have ever had.”

He earned three Distinguished Service Crosses, three Silver Stars, three Bronze Stars, three Purple Hearts (for wounds received in combat), and - what he considered his most prized possession—the Combat Infantryman's Badge of the common foot soldier.

So what’s this got to do with football?

He played football for four years at West Point, and was fullback on the undefeated 1914 Army team.  The first undefeated team in Army history, it beat Notre Dame, 20-7 and Navy, 20-0, giving up just three touchdowns all season and shutting out six opponents.

Playing end on that team was a sophomore from Texas named Bob Neyland - the same man who as General Robert Neyland would one day dominate southern football as the legendary head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers.

Between the two World Wars, while serving in the ROTC program at Kansas State, he served as an assistant coach there, and then, after being named head of the University of Florida’s ROTC program, he assisted there as well. Named head coach of the Gators in 1923, his 1923 team went 6-1-2, and his 1924 team went 6-2-2.  (That’s 12-3-4 - .737. Not bad.)

In 1976 he was honored with the National Football Foundation’s Distinguished American Award.

He is a member of the Florida Sports Hall of Fame and  the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame.  The University of Florida’s Military Sciences Building is named in his honor.

In 1998, he was listed as one of the 50 most important Floridians of the 20th Century.

He died in Bartow, Florida in 1992 at the age of 100, and he is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.



Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2020   "A star can win any game; a team can win every game."  Jack Ramsay, Hall of Fame basketball coach


FRIDAY'S GAMES

Iowa State at Texas

Massachusetts at Liberty

Nebraska at Iowa

Notre Dame at North Carolina

UCF at South Florida

Stanford at Cal

Wyoming at UNLV

Oregon at Oregon State

SATURDAY'S GAMES -

Penn State at Michigan

Texas Tech at Oklahoma State

Kentucky at Florida

Maryland at Indiana

Ohio State at Illinois

Kent State at Buffalo

Bowling Green at Ohio

Northern Illinois at Western Michigan

SMU at East Carolina

Vanderbilt at Missouri

Georgia Southern at Georgia State

Ball State at Toledo

Miami of Ohio at Akron

UTEP at Rice

Florida Atlantic at Middle Tennessee

North Texas at UTSA

Coastal Carolina at Texas State

South Alabama at Arkansas State

Auburn at Alabama

Colorado at USC

Pitt at Clemson

Northwestern
at Michigan State

Rutgers at Purdue

Louisville at Boston College

Mississippi State at Ole Miss

Central Michigan at Eastern Michigan

San Jose State at Boise State


Louisiana Lafayette at Louisiana Monroe

LSU at Texas A&M

Kansas State at Baylor

Memphis at Navy

Duke
at Georgia Tech

Georgia at South Carolina

Utah at Washington

Arizona at UCLA

Troy at Appalachian State

TCU at Kansas

Virginia at Florida State

Nevada at Hawaii

+++++++++++

SICK BAY

Colorado State at Air Force (Cancelled)
San Diego State at Fresno State (Cancelled)
Southern Miss at UAB (Cancelled)
Washington at Washington State (Cancelled)
Arkansas at Missouri (Postponed)
Cincinnati at Temple (Cancelled)
Louisiana Tech at Florida International (Cancelled)
Miami at Wake Forest (Postponed)
Minnesota at Wisconsin (Cancelled)
Oklahoma at West Virginia (Postponed)
Tennessee at Vanderbilt (Postponed)
Tulsa at Houston (Postponed)


*** In Saturday’s NC State-Liberty game, an NC State player was ejected for targeting - for his second time this year.  I don’t know about the first offense, but this was dirty play - easily the dirtiest I’ve seen this year - a vicious blow, struck at a man who was not only defenseless but out of the play. 

It had nothing to do with the game, no more than if he had come out of the stands with a baseball bat and hit a player standing on the sidelines.

I screamed at the TV, I was so pissed.

If it happened anywhere else but on a football field, it would be assault.  And if it were to wind up in a courtroom - as one of these days such an occurrence will - I would have to testify, if called,  that I had seen an awful lot of football, and this wasn’t football. No, it looked to me like a deliberate attempt to injure.  How could it be anything else?

And then, rather than show disapproval, right there on the sideline for a national TV audience to see, was a coach with his arm around the offender’s shoulder. (“Huggin’ him up.” the announcer called it.)  Yeah, right.  There, there.  Everything’s going to be okay.

In fact, to show how unconcerned the coach seemed to be about his player’s actions - the guy had the team captain’s “C” on his shirt!  Some captain.

No, coach, everything’s NOT going to be okay. Not unless you and others in a position to do something about it take strong steps to put an absolute end to this brutality.

I really think we’re at a point similar to where our sport was in 1905 when President Theodore Roosevelt told the presidents of major football-playing schools to clean up the sport or he would abolish it by executive order.

Except that this time, the abolition of football, if it happens, will take place, not from the top down, but from the bottom up - from parents deciding they don’t want their kids to play our game.  It’s already happening.  The numbers bear it out.

We coaches all know that football’s a rough game, and that it has its risks. We don’t apologize for that, because we sincerely believe that taking part in our sport has a lot of benefits that offset the risks, and we tell parents that. But what do we tell parents when they say that they don’t want their kids to be harmed for life by someone whose intent is to injure them.

What do we tell our own wives when they don’t want their sons playing our game because we’ve allowed it to become brutal?

I personally wouldn’t want a son or grandson playing a “sport” in which people were allowed, in acts unrelated to the purpose of the game, to deliver blows that could injure them for life.

They put our game in jeopardy, yet all they face is a one-game suspension, and their coaches? They face no consequences other than the loss of a player’s services.  Maybe a nice lawsuit would do the job.  Any personal injury lawyers reading this? 

Football rules people - you HAVE to do something about this sh—.  Participation in the sport is declining. People are already holding their kids out of the game. The game is tough enough as it is, without subjecting a kid to injury deliberately inflicted on him.


*********** Walt Ehmer, the CEO of Waffle House, didn’t sound too happy about some of our politicians when he was speaking recently with Business Insider:

"None of the people who make the decisions to shut down businesses and impact people's livelihoods ever have their own livelihood impacted,” he said.

Waffle House, which has spread from its beginnings in the South into 25 states, was forced in several states to shut down some 700 restaurants, putting close to 28,000 of its hourly employees out of work.

I believe that this guy has a right to be pissed. I read something really impressive about Waffle House in the Wall Street Journal - that Waffle House management makes it a point to get out and visit its restaurants, and if one of them, no matter how big a position he holds, should happen in and see thaT they are unusually busy, or short of help, he will pitch in.  Even if that might mean washing dishes.

That’s leadership.  That’s what’s meant by “whatever it takes.”

I once gave a graduation speech whose main point was “clean the toilets.” I was inspired by a guy named Mark Hemstreet, who founded Shiloh Inns,  a chain of hotels in the West.  He was a legend among his employees because he was known to visit Shiloh locations and inspect the premises, and, if necessary, clean a toilet.

The point, to me, is that where accomplishing a mission is concerned, nothing should be beneath us.

And that’s why I get pissed when I hear of an assistant coach who insists on only coaching a certain position, or one who ducks out of the dirty work.


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

Do you have any idea as to how the collegiate teams are using those sign boards (Homer Simpson/Rubber Duck/John Wayne/Hamburger, etc.) to signal in their plays?  Our header is interested in finding out how that can be done.  Any insight would be appreciated.  Thank you.

Sincerely,
Dave



Hi Dave-

The sideline sign boards are primarily offshoots of the no-huddle craze and the need to communicate from the sidelines with the QB while maintaining security.

Teams use them in different ways, to communicate one or more of several things:
Play
Personnel Grouping
Formation/motion
Pace

But you’ve probably noticed that teams also have two or three guys on the sidelines giving hand signals.

In some cases, the sign board is used to show which of the guys flashing the hand signals is “live,” and in some cases it’s simply a diversion - it doesn’t mean anything at all and simply distracts from the real signal.

The coding behind this can be quite inventive, and schools are understandably unwilling to disclose the meaning of their  symbols. Usually, though, there’s not a direct translation between the symbol and the play it represents. For example, John Wayne might translate as “Duke,” which because it sounds like “Deuce,” could mean a 2 x 2 set.

In my opinion, though, it is so far removed from what most high schools are capable of doing that it is a fool’s errand at our level  I think that any benefits from doing it would be more than offset by the work, time, manpower and teaching required to implement it.

First of all, its chief purpose is to convey our intentions to our players without their being intercepted by the opponents, right? Hell, I can already do that with play cards on wristbands. Yes, they take work to prepare, but I think they’re every bit as effective as sign boards. Not as showy, no. (Come to think of it, maybe that’s the reason.)

Sometimes we get so paranoid that we give opponents way too much credit, when realistically, I could just shout out the plays by name and the information wouldn’t do opponents any good.

Sure, opposing coaches may make the effort to learn our system and our terminology, but how fast and how well can they teach it to their players?

You telling me they  have nothing better to do during their week of preparing for us than teaching their players the ins and outs of our play-calling terminology?

Not that I’d ever actually call out plays by their real name anyhow: after  several weeks of hearing a play called mostly by its address on their play card and not by its actual name, the address itself usually becomes far more familiar to the players than the play name itself. So if, instead of, say, “40-2” (a play’s location on the card) I were to call out “West Criss Cross 47-C,” it’s possible some of our own guys  wouldn’t know what they were supposed to do.

(Since you asked.)


*********** A youth coach mentioned to me that under the rules of his organization, teams are allowed to have a coach on the field during games, but the coaches must not say anything once the offense has broken its huddle. He said he happened to hear the opposing coach's play call, and, knowing what it meant, arranged his kids to stop it - all before the offense left the huddle. Now, he is wondering: did he cross the line of ethical conduct?

Here's what I told him: There’s a clear line between scouting and spying - or "skunking" as spying is sometimes known in the coaching profession.

Skunking includes watching another team's practice. It is unethical.

Stealing signs is somewhat different. It is akin to hearing the opposing coach shout something, and then acting on what you've heard. Use of signs is an attempt to get around shouting - people are using that particular form of communication to give themselves an edge. One of the dangers of using signs is that they will be intercepted and used against you, but it's even more dangerous to call out instructions.

So there's nothing inherently unethical about stealing signs, provided you confine yourself to normal methods of detection. It seems to me that in your case, if you are standing on your side of the line of scrimmage, as you have a right to do,  and you happen inadvertently to hear the other team's play call, you have every right to take advantage of their carelessness.

If, on the other hand, you're actively trying to listen in on their huddle, you've crossed the line.

A few years ago, we lost a playoff game at a neutral site. Only afterwards  did we learn that our coaches’ booth in the press box was, unbeknownst to us, separated from the opponents’ coaches’ booth by just a thin plywood partition, enabling them to listen in on all our calls.  (Why we couldn’t hear theirs, I can’t say.) The kindly clock operator, who’d been provided by the stadium owner, was nice enough to tell us about it afterward - but he said he didn’t know if it was his place to let us know at the time. Thanks a lot.

*********** For those who watched my Zoom on Tuesday or happened to watch the Army-Georgia Southern game, you are aware of what happened  at the end. Georgia Southern,  out of time outs and with the clock running, tried to run off a play, then hustle to get set and spike the ball so they could attempt a field  goal. They didn't make it. The ball hit the ground at just about the same time that the clock read 0:00. I say "just about," because it appeared to me on slo-mo replay that there was still :01 on the clock when the ball hit the ground. No matter. They said the game was over, and that was that. Georgia Southern never got that chance to try for the winning field goal.

Reader John Vermillion wrote me about it -
During last Sat's Army game,  neither announcer said anything about what I thought was a spiking rule, to wit, the practice is disallowed with three seconds or fewer remaining in a CFB game. Moreover, the refs didn't cite the rule either.  As you were showing the video last night, I asked the question on my phone. I wasn't at all sure I was correct. What came back was that the rule changed in 2013 to prohibit spiking with under three seconds left in the game. If this is true, wouldn't the game have ended whether there was a tenth of second remaining?

Wow.  Heck of a point . That sent me to the NCAA Rule Book, and boy, is it unclear. Any Congressman would be proud to have written this...

RULE 3, SECTION 2 , ARTICLE 5
Late in a quarter Team A, out of timeouts, makes a first down, stopping
the clock which reads 0:03. Team A intends to spike the ball and run an
additional play. The referee appropriately blows his whistle and signals, which
starts the game clock. The quarterback takes the snap and raises the ball high
over his head before throwing it directly to the ground. The game clock
shows 0:00. RULING: Time in the quarter has expired. Although there
were 3 seconds on the game clock when the referee signaled it to start, there
is no guarantee of enough time to run an additional play other than spiking
the ball. The offense must execute the spike in a timely manner.


I think the issue here may have been that the clock was running when the fustercluck was taking place.

And the rule as written does allow wiggle room. The clock may have shown 0:00, but not, according to the slo-mo camera, at the precise time the ball hit the ground.

It seems to imply that there could still be enough time, in saying “there is no guarantee of enough time” to run an additional play…”

And then there's this: “The offense must execute the spike in a  timely manner?” Does that suggest it’s still possible to do this if there’s :03 on the clock when the play starts?


Hats off to Coach Vermillion - he's earned the honorary title -  for bringing up this extremely  important rule , one that, as he said,  went unmentioned by both announcer and officials. (And me.)


Either way, if you want a good laugh - when was the last time you saw a quarterback "raise the ball high over his head” before spiking it?

*********** My wife and I both heard the announcer in the Ohio State-Indiana game refer to a “Hail Murray” pass. The Virgin Murray? Obviously not a Catholic."

I heard that, too!  I figured the "Hail Murray" was probably a tribute to some great cab driver.

Dave Potter
Cary, North Carolina

***********  I always enjoy your comments about the football games' announcers. Question that I have been wondering about is it seems like the color commentators are all ex-players these days. When I was a kid I seem to remember more ex-coaches doing them. Were they better than the players? Why are there less ex-coaches now? More money to be in studio? So many of the ex-players are motormouths like you pointed out. Recently the Packers game was done by Chris Myers, Greg Jennings, Brock Huard and I remembered thinking there may not be enough oxygen in the booth with Huard in there.

P.S.S. Badgers fell at Northwestern again. Both played great defense. Wildcats defense made WI's star QB looked like a freshman. Referees struggled in the first half but made some nice halftime adjustments.


Adam Wesoloski

Pulaski, Wisconsin


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

I enjoyed reading those two articles from the WSJ.  Vermont Royster's take on the pulse of America was even more relative today as it was back then.  However, in today's world of technology, gaming, and social media I'm afraid the eyes, ears, and minds of the young people who SHOULD read it would miss the point completely, and the cancel culture would find a way to tear it down.  BUT, like you and Connie, my wife and I are forever grateful to have had the privilege of being born and raised in this wonderful country, experience its bounty, and that God saw fit for us to raise our own family in such a land.

Can't speak for the rest of the country, but here in Texas we were reminded of that fateful day in Dallas when JFK was taken from us.

Didn't see the Minnesota-Purdue game last Friday night (we were busy getting pummeled) but I did see the replay of that phantom PI call against Purdue.  Could be that the official threw the flag out of pity for Minnesota's defense for allowing something like that to happen at home in front of all those people??

Fresno State-San Jose State never got off the ground, and neither will the Bulldogs game against San Diego State, and with both of those games being called so has Fresno's slim chances of making an appearance in the MWC championship game, and a possible bowl berth.  The Bulldogs will not be the only team in the country to have their promising season derailed by Covid.

Army vs. GA Southern...what were they thinking???

Some good college games on tap for this Thanksgiving weekend.  Kicks off Friday with:

Iowa State at Texas
Notre Dame at North Carolina
Oregon at Oregon State (Civil War, I still call it that)
Washington at Washington State (Apple Cup, maybe)

Saturday:

Minnesota at Wisconsin (rivalry game, that's all)
Auburn at Alabama (rivalry game)
And a whole host of other interesting matchups

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  Joe Kapp's mother was of Mexican descent, and that, combined with his aggressive play as a quarterback - he once said,  “I’ve been called one half of a collision looking for the other” - caused Sports Illustrated to call him “The Toughest Chicano.”

He remains the only quarterback to play in the Rose Bowl, the Super Bowl and the Grey Cup.

He was Cal’s quarterback the last time they played in the Rose Bowl.

He led the B.C. Lions to their first-ever Grey Cup win.

He led the Minnesota Vikings to their first-ever playoff appearance and their first Super Bowl appearance.

Although he was named the team MVP, he refused the award, saying “There’s no one most valuable Viking. There are 40 most valuable Vikings.”

He left the Vikings after just three seasons and they got nothing for him.

After one season with the Boston Patriots - a very bad team at the time - he walked off and never played again.

He reappeared as coach at Cal - despite having no coaching experience - and in his first season, he was the Cal coach when “The Play” beat Stanford.  That year’s Golden Bears went 7-4 and he was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year.

That would be his last winning season, and after five seasons, with a 20-34-1 record - and an embarrassing incident or two along the way - he was let go.

One such incident took place during the post-game press conference following a 50-18 loss to Washington, when he responded to a question he didn’t like by unzipping his fly. He zipped it right back up, but the damage was done.

“It was bad enough to lose the ballgame,” he said with regret, “But I had to lose the post-game interview, too.”

He appeared in a number of movies, including "The Longest Yard."


In his final game at Cal his Bears pulled off a tremendous upset and beat Stanford in the Big Game, and his players, knowing that he’d already been fired, carried him off on their shoulders.

“To the best of my recollection,” Kapp said afterward, “It’s the first time I’ve ever been carried off the field - hurt or otherwise.”



CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOE KAPP

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
BRAD KNIGHT - CLARINDA, IOWA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK - Longest Yard  - "not today boy"
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON - One of my favorite players
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA

*********** I don't know the exact details, but I do know that there was a time in the 50s when some of the West Coast schools did away with spring football. Instead, their football players played rugby. And so it was that in the spring of my freshman year at Yale, Cal's rugby team, on an eastern swing, stopped by New Haven. And that's where I first saw Joe Kapp. I was a spectator, although I played rugby as an upperclassman. All I can say is that I saw the same Joe Kapp that you all saw years later, except I saw him without pads. No difference, though. Sucker was big, and strong, and fast - and he ran and  hit like hell.  I was VERY impressed.

I did find this, in an article about the 1958 Cal football team, when coach Pete Elliott, going into his second year there, decided to go to the split-T offense. Check out what no less of an expert than John Ralston had to say about Joe Kapp.
"Every day we practiced handoffs," said Kapp. "I got real good at it, but then I kept saying, 'When can we practice passing?' When I got to pro football, I saw quarterbacks who didn't know how to hand off. I sure did."

The coaches knew Kapp was their asset, and they wanted to get the ball in his hands and keep it there as often as they could. "Joe Kapp could have started at all 22 positions for any Division I team in the country," said John Ralston, an assistant to Elliott who would, of course, coach Stanford to consecutive Rose Bowls in 1970-71.

Kapp finished the season with 616 rushing yards, which not only led the team, it led the Pacific Coast Conference.
I also remember a huge Cal player named Bob Chiappone (pronounced "chip-PONY") who would become an All-American lineman on their football team, and just for the hell of it, prompted by my research on Joe Kapp, I googled his name. Sounds like a very interesting guy.

https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/sfgate/obituary.aspx?n=robert-carl-chiappone&pid=91134482


*********** Several years ago, at a  CFL Alumni luncheon in Vancouver, 70-something Joe Kapp, always a fighter, got into it with 70-something Angelo Mosca, legendary CFL defensive lineman and professional wrestler. Kapp had evidently harbored a grudge against Mosca for something that had happened in a Grey Cup game  in 1963 - 48 years before - and when he jokingly offered Mosca a flower, Mosca told him to "stick it up his ass."  Things went downhill from there..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyoEcbk3EP0

A few years later, Kapp talked about the incident...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnWgoXfgu8A

And so did Mosca

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtJgETZi4c4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_p0INNw2Z0

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

Joe Kapp was one tough dude.

Greg Koenig
Colorado Springs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiVlcjWBj00

*********** And who among us wouldn't love to answer a stupid question in a post game or half time interview by taking a leak on a reporters' shoes?

Brad Knight
Clarinda, Iowa

*********** QUIZ: He was born in Leesburg, Georgia, but he grew up in Canton, Ohio, where he was a two-sport star at Canton McKinley High. Canton McKinley went 25-3 during his football career,  its only losses coming to archrival Massillon, then coached by a bright young man named Paul Brown.

After high school, he went to all-black South Carolina State but was enticed to transfer to Nevada by its coach, Jim Aiken, who had coached at Canton McKinley a few years before our guy’s arrival there, and knew him well.

He had two  good years at Nevada before injuring his knee, and after  returning to Canton,  with World War II going on, he enlisted in the Navy.

There, he would be rediscovered by former rival Brown, who by then had moved on to Ohio State as its head coach, and then, during wartime, was coaching the football team at Great Lakes Naval Training Station, north of Chicago.  There, Brown built a powerhouse team, and our guy, said Brown, was “the cornerstone.”

He was a fullback and linebacker.  He was big and fast.  At a time when there will still 220-pounders playing on the line in pro football, he weighed more than 230 pounds.

At Great Lakes, Brown used his speed and power on traps and on a play he had developed - a delayed handoff which has since become known as the draw play.

Brown’s advice to his powerful fullback, once he got past the line on those plays: “Don’t get fancy. If there is someone in front of you, just run in one end of him and out the other.”

The highlight of Brown’s - and his fullback’s - time at Great Lakes was a stunning 39-7 defeat of a very good Notre Dame team whose only other loss had been to National Champion Army.

While coaching at Great Lakes, in a secondary role Brown was also in the process of building a professional football team in a new league - the AAFC -  formed to compete with the National Football League. Between his Ohio and Great Lakes connections, he would assemble one of the great dynasties in the history of pro football, the mighty Cleveland Browns.

Because Brown’s policy was “to win football games with the best people possible,” he broke the color line that had existed in pro football for years.  "I never considered football players black or white," Brown wrote later, " nor did I keep or cut a player just because of his color. In our first meeting before training camp every year, I told the players that they made our teams only if they were good enough."

With the signing of our player and Bill Willis, the Cleveland Browns became the first truly integrated team in all of professional sports.  

In 1946 - a year before  Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color line - the two Browns’ players - along with Kenny Washington and Woody Strode of the Los Angeles Rams - would be the first four black men to play professional football in the modern era. And while Washington and Strode had short careers, the two Browns’ players would both make it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

With the AAFC long gone, he will live forever as its all-time rushing leader. He led NFL in rushing in the Browns’ first season in the NFL (in 1950, when they won the title), and in one game that year, against the Steelers,  he rushed for 188 yards on just 11 carries -  an average 17.1 yards per carry.

In nine seasons, he rushed for 4,720 yards on 828 carries -  5.7 yards per carry. He also played linebacker on occasion.

He was selected to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time team, and in 1968 he became the second black player - after Emlen Tunnell -to be  inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Brown, in his autobiography, “PB,” called him, “our greatest fullback ever, because not only was he a great runner, but also no one ever blocked better - and no one ever cared more about his team and whether it won or lost, no matter how many yards he gained or where he was asked to run…(his) tremendous running ability also was what made our trap and draw plays so effective.  When he ran off tackle, people seemed to fly off him in all directions. He possessed tremendous speed for a big man, and he could run away from linebackers and defensive backs when he got into the open - if he didn't trample them first. I've always believed that (he) could have gone into the Hall of Fame solely as a linebacker if we had used him only at that position. He was as good as our great ones."



Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2020   “The entire aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed and, hence, clamorous to be led, by an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”   H.L. Mencken

*********** This week, as it has done every Thanksgiving since 1961, the Wall Street Journal  will publish two pieces:

First, “The Desolate Wilderness,”  an account of the Pilgrims’ journey to America

Then, “And the Fair Land,” written by Vermont Royster,  who held many positions at the the WSJ including  editor from 1959 to 1971, during which time he started the annual tradition of publishing the two pieces on Thanksgiving.

Mr. Royster was more than a “journalist.” During World War II, he was captain of a US Navy destroyer in the Pacific. After engaging in combat, in September 1945, he was among the first Americans to see first-hand the results of the atomic bomb that hit Nagasaki.

Back at the  WSJ in 1953, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing, and in 1984, he received another Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.

A native North Carolinian, he retired from the WSJ in 1996  and  became Kenan Professor of Journalism and Public Affairs at the University of North Carolina.

Every year, I consider a re-reading of these two writings to be an essential part of my Thanksgiving.


The Desolate Wilderness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Fair Land

Any one whose labors take him into the far reaches of the country, as ours lately have done, is bound to mark how the years have made the land grow fruitful.
This is indeed a big country, a rich country, in a way no array of figures can measure and so in a way past belief of those who have not seen it. Even those who journey through its Northeastern complex, into the Southern lands, across the central plains and to its Western slopes can only glimpse a measure of the bounty of America.
And a traveler cannot but be struck on his journey by the thought that this country, one day, can be even greater. America, though many know it not, is one of the great underdeveloped countries of the world; what it reaches for exceeds by far what it has grasped.

So the visitor returns thankful for much of what he has seen, and, in spite of everything, an optimist about what his country might be. Yet the visitor, if he is to make an honest report, must also note the air of unease that hangs everywhere.

For the traveler, as travelers have been always, is as much questioned as questioning. And for all the abundance he sees, he finds the questions put to him ask where men may repair for succor from the troubles that beset them.

His countrymen cannot forget the savage face of war. Too often they have been asked to fight in strange and distant places, for no clear purpose they could see and for no accomplishment they can measure. Their spirits are not quieted by the thought that the good and pleasant bounty that surrounds them can be destroyed in an instant by a single bomb. Yet they find no escape, for their survival and comfort now depend on unpredictable strangers in far-off corners of the globe.

How can they turn from melancholy when at home they see young arrayed against old, black against white, neighbor against neighbor, so that they stand in peril of social discord. Or not despair when they see that the cities and countryside are in need of repair, yet find themselves threatened by scarcities of the resources that sustain their way of life. Or when, in the face of these challenges, they turn for leadership to men in high places—only to find those men as frail as any others.

So sometimes the traveler is asked whence will come their succor. What is to preserve their abundance, or even their civility? How can they pass on to their children a nation as strong and free as the one they inherited from their forefathers? How is their country to endure these cruel storms that beset it from without and from within?

Of course the stranger cannot quiet their spirits. For it is true that everywhere men turn their eyes today much of the world has a truly wild and savage hue. No man, if he be truthful, can say that the specter of war is banished. Nor can he say that when men or communities are put upon their own resources they are sure of solace; nor be sure that men of diverse kinds and diverse views can live peaceably together in a time of troubles.

But we can all remind ourselves that the richness of this country was not born in the resources of the earth, though they be plentiful, but in the men that took its measure. For that reminder is everywhere—in the cities, towns, farms, roads, factories, homes, hospitals, schools that spread everywhere over that wilderness.

We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators. Being so, we are the marvel and the mystery of the world, for that enduring liberty is no less a blessing than the abundance of the earth.

And we might remind ourselves also, that if those men setting out from Delftshaven had been daunted by the troubles they saw around them, then we could not this autumn be thankful for a fair land.

*********** At this time of Thanksgiving, I'm thankful...

That I was able to grow up in the most wonderful country imaginable. I was born during the Depression, and when I started school, World War II was still going on, but I was blessed to spend most of my life in a nation of great  promise - the nation that America once was…

For  parents, teachers and coaches who must have seen something better in me than a hyperactive kid who couldn’t stay out of trouble…

That I met and married a girl who loved me for who I was and simply by being herself motivated me to try to become as good a person as she was…

For the unforgettable experience of seeing our children grow into good responsible adults, for seeing them marry and bring wonderful people into our family, and for seeing and knowing the eleven wonderful grandchildren they’ve given us…

For the way  events conspired to allow me to spend the last 50 years in my dream job as a football coach , and as a result meet so many great people I wouldn't have met otherwise…

That the God who watched over the Pilgrims still watches over us all.


*********** Maybe it was just me, or maybe it  was part of the left’s plan to erase any history that doesn’t advance their agenda, but I’m sure as I can be that this past November 22 was the first time since 1963 that the day came and went without any significant mention in any of the papers of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. For many of us who lived through that awful event, it was the first in  a series of events in the 1960s that would change our country forever - and not for the better.

***********THIS PAST WEEKEND’S GAMES (15-9 IS NOT WHAT I'D CALL GREAT PICKING)
          
FRIDAY NIGHT

   
W - Syracuse at Louisville
       
L - Purdue at Minnesota (This result is under review and I expect the decision to be reversed)
       
UMass at Florida Atlantic
     
New Mexico     at Air Force (Nothing like  a visit from winless New Mexico to chase the Coronavirus away)

SATURDAY

   
W - #9 Indiana at #3 Ohio State  

#4 Clemson at Florida State   Hey, FSU - Many's the time I would have welcomed a case of the virus
   
W - #6 Florida
at Vanderbilt
     
L - Appalachian State at #15 Coastal Carolina
      
Stephen F. Austin at Memphis
       
L - Illinois at Nebraska      
      
W - East Carolina at Temple
     
L - Georgia Southern at Army
      
L - LSU at Arkansas
       
Arkansas State at Texas State
      
Florida International at Western Kentucky
 
Rice at North Texas
      
North Alabama at #8 BYU
       
UTSA     at  Southern Mississippi
   
W - #7 Cincinnati at UCF
       
L - #10 Wisconsin at #19 Northwestern
     
W - UCLA      at #11 Oregon
     
Middle Tennessee at Troy
      
W - Iowa at Penn State 
   
L - San Diego State at Nevada
      
W - California at Oregon State
      
Kentucky  at #1 Alabama
      
W - Kansas State  at #17 Iowa State
      
Abilene Christian at Virginia
      
L - Virginia Tech     at Pitt  

Georgia State at South Alabama      

W -
Tennessee at #23 Auburn   
    
San Josť State at Fresno State
      
Mississippi State  at #13 Georgia   

W - #14 Oklahoma State at #18 Oklahoma

L - #21 Liberty at NC State
   
Missouri at South Carolina
      
W - Michigan at Rutgers
      
W - Arizona at Washington
       
W - #20 USC
at Utah
   
Washington State
at Stanford
       
W - Boise State at Hawai'i
       
+++++++++
              

GAMES THAT I MADE SURE TO AT LEAST TAKE A LOOK AT


#9 Indiana at #3 Ohio State - Hoosiers are the real deal. Take back that Heisman that you already gave Fields - Penix, the Indiana QB,outplayed him

Appalachian State at #15 Coastal Carolina - Chanticleers had it when they needed it - their first win ever over App State

Georgia Southern at Army - Army overcame first-time starter QB's jitters and a monster of a clock-management goof

LSU at Arkansas - Tigers' winning drive was greatly assisted by the absolute worst targeting call I've ever seen, against an Arkansas DB who hit a receiver in the shoulder - with his hip.

#7 Cincinnati at UCF - Cincinnati did a masterful job of ball control to seal the win - then nearly blew it.
       
#10 Wisconsin at #19 Northwestern - How good is Northwestern, anyhow? VERY good. But Wisconsin's FIVE turovers didn't help the Badgers' cause.
       
UCLA      at #11 Oregon - Chip Kelly was missing nine players, including his starting QB, and still nearly beat the Ducks - in Eugene, where that isn't done often

Iowa at Penn State - From 1939 to 2000, Penn State never had a losing season. Now they're 0-5.  Is Coach Franklin humble yet?
   
California at Oregon State - Cal can't run the ball and the Beavers can. OSU's Jermar Jefferson went 75 yards for a TD on the game's first play.
   
Kansas State  at #17 Iowa State - EMAW (Every man a Wildcat). But I'm afraid the Cyclones are just better.  I was right.
   
Virginia Tech     at Pitt -  Pitt killed the Hokies. VT's problem must be on defense. Paging Bud Foster...

Tennessee at #23 Auburn - Auburn is just a lot better.
     
San Josť State at Fresno State - Damn.  Game called.
     
#14 Oklahoma State at #18 Oklahoma - OSU's Gundy has put some very good teams on the field, but he's now 2-14 against OU and last beat the Sooners in 2014.

#21 Liberty at NC State - Liberty  put the game completely in the hands of QB Malik Willis, who wound up just 13 of 32 (40.6 %) for 172 yards and 2 TDs - but THREE interceptions.  He rushed for only 44 yards - less than half his average coming into the game.
   
Missouri at South Carolina - MIzzou nipped the Gamecocks by one touchdown. I liked the bright gold MIzzou helmets.
       
Michigan at Rutgers - It took three OT's until Rutgers finally ran out of gas. Michigan, meanwhile, found  a QB in Cade McNamara, a sophomore from Reno.
       
Arizona at Washington - This one was a good old-fashioned ass-whipping
       
#20 USC at Utah - Utah’s opener - It was the Utes' first game and it looked it. But it was also the Trojans' best game so far.

Washington State at Stanford - We'll never know - Pac-12 started late and left no room for makeups


RANDOM OBSERVATIONS FROM THE WEEKEND’S GAMES:


*** Thursday night's Tulane-Tulsa game ending was insane. Watch this week's ZOOM if you missed it.

Tulsa, down 14-0, had to bring in their #3 QB, a kid named Davis Brin, who wound up completing 18 of 26 for 266 for 2 TDs. And he ran for a third!

*** Give. Me. A. Break. Every player on the Minnesota team wore END RACISM on the back of his shirt.  Like there’s this huge bloc of people in favor of it.  What’s next - STOP DEATH?

*** Purdue got screwed by a phantom offensive P-I call that cost  them the winning touchdown.

*** The Minnesota-Purdue game was truly representative of the over-officiating that’s been going on when there was an “officlal replay” before they’d even run a play from scrimmage.

*** MIchael Golic, Jr. is a loud mouth and a motormouth.  Bad combination in a bar, even worse in the broadcast booth. Thinks he knows more than any coaches.

*** Why do some announcers feel the need to tell us how much time remains on the play clock when it’s right there on the screen for us to see?

*** The New Mexico Lobos, unable to play in their own state, have been spending the season in Las Vegas.

*** You can understand why Clemson was pissed at Florida State's last-minute decision not to play, when the Tigers could have pulled the Covid copout with Notre Dame - and didn’t - after learning they’d have to go to South Bend without the services of one of the country’s best quarterbacks.

*** Don’t know who the announcer was, but his comment, as a guy lay on the field, was priceless: “Something’s bothering him.”

*** Now  I’ve seen everything, - an Army player got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taking a swing at a guy.

*** No, NOW I’ve seen everything. UCLA - Chip Kelly’s team - was running a bit of option.

*** UCLA had to play with their backup QB - and for my money, he’s much better than the starter.  The kid, a redshirt freshman from Hutto, Texas named Chase Griffin, playing because  for some reason touted starter Dorian Thompson-Robinson couldn’t play, did an exceptional job in nearly leading the Bruins to an upset of Oregon.

*** UCLA’s Demetric Felton is definitely one of the best runners on the country.

*** Florida didn’t dress in the small Vanderbilt locker rooms, and didn’t go inside at halftime.  It almost looked like some high school games I’ve been in.

*** Coastal Carolina beat App State for the first time, as QB Grayson McCall was 12/21/200 and 2 TDs - and he ran 62 yards for a third score.

*** Penn State missed a field goal when the holder tilted the ball forward.

*** Oregon’s uniforms, we were told, took Nike a couple of years to design and their purpose was to honor Samoan culture.  I don’t know - maybe also to help them recruit Samoan players?

*** Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz won his 100th Big Ten game by beating Penn State. He now ranks fourth behind Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler and Amos Alonzo Stagg.

*** Up 36-33 and time running out, Cincinnati chose not to score a TD, thereby angering some gambler somewhere.

*** Washington Huskies came out in all black, raising the question - in my mind, at least - at a time when an athletic department is “furloughing” people, cutting sports, and asking the rest of the staff to take pay cuts, where is the money coming from for these one-game-only dress-ups?

*** Great name: Auburn player who returned an INT 100 yards against Tennessee - Smoke Monday. 

*** Liberty must have been trying to showcase their QB, Malik Willis, who is certainly good, but not good enough to invest the entire game in him. This was a departure from other Liberty games I’ve seen, and it was disappointing. As it was, Liberty had its chances, but Willis was only 40 per cent on his passing, and he threw three interceptions. 

Postgame, one of the announcers said “(Until today) Nobody could find a way to beat a Hugh Freeze team, including two ACC teams (Syracuse and Virginia Tech).”

Hugh Freeze found a way.

*** Time of possession is important and all that,  but so is what you do with that time.  Yes, Arkansas lost to LSU by three points, and yes, the Hogs lost the Time of Possession battle, 41 to 19.  But take a look at their scoring drives:

92 yards in 4 plays
75 yards in 3 plays
95 yards in 6 plays
88 yards in 7 plays

I once heard Mouse Davis say that one problem with the Run and Shoot is that “sometimes you score too fast.”  I didn’t understand at the time.  I thought he was joking.

But it is possible that Arkansas’ defense wore down.

*** My wife and I both heard the announcer in the Ohio State-Indiana game refer to a “Hail Murray” pass. The Virgin Murray? Obviously not a Catholic.

*** Oregon State QB Tristan Gebbia (pronounced JEBB-ee-ya) threw a touchdown pass, caught a touchdown pass, and ran for a touchdown against Cal. It's not as unusual as it sounds - in the Pac-12 alone, it' s been done 11 times since 1996. My guess is that most of those who did it were running backs who could throw a little.

*** With 19 seconds left in the half, the UCLA QB ran and was tackled, and that should have been that., as time ran out. 
But the Oregon tackler stood over him, straddling him, while  getting  off slowly - very slowly, as if walking over the man’s prostrate body, preventing him from getting up.   To the surprise of the announcers - and me - the perp was called not for unsportsmanlike conduct, but for delay of game, but either way, the penalty stopped the clock, with :06 remaining. Choosing to take the penalty - and one more down - UCLA attempted a pass. The QB was hit as he threw, and the resulting blooper was intercepted by a Duck defender, who returned it all the way for a score. Sometimes, crime does pay.

*********** Hugh

Knowing your connection to Bill Snyder and K-State it was a no brainer for me. I appreciate his work with the army like you do.

I enjoyed Tuesday nights clinic on the kicking game. Very interesting. I remember our discussion on this subject at the clinic in North Carolina the other year.

I really enjoyed your piece about Rick Barry and under hand free throw shooting. The reference to shooting this way reminded me of my mother. She came outside one November day  when I was shooting on my goal. I was trying to make the 7th grade basketball team at my school. I had been shooting free throws. I had 15 feet marked off on our patio. I was shooting one handed and clanking about 50 percent of my shots. She asked if she could shoot a few free throws. I didn't know if she had ever shot a basketball in her life. She made 67 in a row shooting two hand under handed. The only reason she missed the 68th was because of a gust of November wind. She shot two more and made both and stopped because she had to go in to take dinner out of the oven. Needless to say, I was dumbfounded. Over dinner I asked her where she learned to shoot like that. She played high school basketball and I never knew that she did. She later showed me the two hand set shot. She was very good at that shot also.

That reference to Rick Barry brought back that wonderful memory of her from many November's ago. She certainly amazed her son that day!

See you Tuesday.

David Crump
Owensboro, Kentucky

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

The boat the Gophers are rowing isn't the same one they rowed last year.  This one needs a bunch of "Flex Seal".

The Fresno State - San Jose State game winner takes a giant step to a berth in the MWC championship, and the game is also a longtime fierce rivalry which will be played in Fresno this year.  In "normal" years this game would have a crazy overflow crowd at Bulldog Stadium, and add to the importance of the game.  Unfortunately, in this Covid year there won't be any fans in attendance to watch it.

You're absolutely spot-on about Army.  I think their new TE's coach (Drinkall) has influenced OC (Davis) to incorporate some of his own high-scoring offense into what the Cadets are doing.  On its own merit that offense produced a lot of points when Drinkall was the HC at Kansas Wesleyan.  However, Army doesn't play in the NAIA, and the experiment doesn't appear to be blending well the Army offense we all know and love.  Hopefully Coach Monken will put his foot down and get back to things as they should be.

Both Cincinnati and BYU have what it takes to make the playoff.  I don't think either will get in.  BUT...what a bowl game that matchup would be!!

All the eyes of Texas will be on "Bedlam". 

A legitimate question to ask would be...would Rick Barry make a starting lineup in TODAY'S NBA???

Enjoy the weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  Bill Snyder is often credited with bringing about the greatest turnaround of a program in the history of college football.

BEFORE:

In 1989, he took over as head coach at a school that in its 93 years of football had a record of 299 wins and 509 losses, dead last - by a large margin -  in both wins and losses among America’s major football colleges.

In its 93 years, it had had 32 coaches - an average stay of less than three years per coach.

It had won only one conference championship in its history.

Since World War II (1945) it had had only four winning seasons.

It had been to only one bowl game (and lost it).

He took over a team that had gone 27 games without a win. In the previous two seasons, it had gone  0-10-1 in 1987 and 0-11 in 1988.   His predecessor had gone 2-30-1.

When he was hired, he was 50 years old, fresh off Hayden Fry’s Iowa staff where he had been  offensive coordinator.  This was his first head coaching job.

The AD told him, “You may have heard it's one of the toughest jobs in the country. It's not. It's the toughest.”

A Sports Illustrated article at the time referred to the school as “Futility U.”

AFTER:

He would coach at the school for a total of 27 years in two terms - from 1989 through 2005, when he first retired, and then, after being brought back again, from 2009 through 2018, when he retired a second time, this time for good.

In his first year, he broke the long losing streak. But that was the only game they won.

His second year saw five wins.

His third year - a 7-4 record, including four conference wins.

In his fifth year - 1993 - the team won nine games for the first time since 1910, and earned a bowl bid, the first of what would be eleven straight bowl game appearances.  (1993 would also start an eight year run in which they would win at least nine games a season.)

In his sixth year, they again won nine, and they did the once-unthinkable, beating Oklahoma in Norman.

In his seventh year, 1995, they would win 10 games, including a win in the Holiday Bowl, and earn a #7 ranking nationally.

In 1997, his ninth year, they won 11 games, and would do so for four straight years.

In 1998,  they would finish the regular season unbeaten, with their  first win over Nebraska in 30 years. Only a loss in the Big 12 Championship Game kept them from going to the first-ever BCS national championship game.

In his first term - the 17 years from 1989 through 2005 -  they went to 11 bowl games.
 
In his second - the  10 years from 2009 through  2018 -  they went to eight straight bowl games.

Not bad for a team that had only been to one bowl game in its entire 93-year history prior to his hiring.

His overall record was 215-117-1.  The 215 wins were just 84 short of the total number of wins the school had accumulated in the 93 years prior to his arrival.

He was three times named Big Eight Coach of the Year, and four times Big 12 Coach of the Year.

In 1998, he was AP, Walter Camp and Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year.

In 2011 he was Sporting News and Woody Hayes Coach of the Year.

Seven of his former assistants became FBS head coaches .

No less a coach than Barry Switzer, with three National Championships and a Super Bowl to his credit, said “Bill Snyder isn’t the Coach of the Year, and he isn’t the Coach of the Decade.  He’s the Coach of the Century.”

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BILL SNYDER

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA

DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY



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

I was pretty sure that Bill Snyder was the answer after the first sentence of your quiz. One of the best parts of our 15 years in Kansas was the opportunity to become familiar with the program at K-State. I'm guessing that you have read Bill Snyder: They Said It Couldn't Be Done. It is a great read for any football coach. I was very fortunate to meet Coach Snyder on a few occasions. He is a first-class gentleman. A game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium is a great experience, and his stamp on the program is still evident in many ways.

We have a lot of work to do at Ellicott, but I have often thought about Coach Snyder's initial press conference at K-State, when he said that they had the opportunity for the greatest turnaround in college football. That encourages me every time that I think about the opportunity that we have at Ellicott.

By the way, what a staff Coach Snyder was part of at Iowa, and what a staff he built at K-State.

Greg Koenig
Colorado Springs
(Formerly Colby, Beloit and Cimarron, Kansas)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrg0mhzszTI

https://themercury.com/k_state_sports/bill-snyder-the-late-hayden-fry-a-quality-caring-person/article_87b35ef4-c5d3-511b-9eee-8c6000a4e598.html#:~:text=Kansas%20State%20head%20football%20coach,taking%20over%20at%20K%2DState.

*********** The quiz answer is Bill Snyder. This is an indicator of how long I have been reading your page. I had the answer in the second sentence.

Two years ago I coached a travel football team that would regularly bring in professionals as guest coaches. This was rarely a positive experience as they were never easy to work with. They typically insisted in doing things their own way. The exception was a Blue Bomber named Jamerce Jones. He was a huge offensive tackle. After being introduced, I asked him where he was from, and he said that he had played at Virginia, but also worked as a grad assistant at Kansas. My eyes lit up and I asked, “Did you work with Bill Snyder?” He smiled and said yes in his last year. I was star struck. We both got along, he liked how the tackle got to run the circle and I was constantly peppering him with questions about Bill Snyder. When the season concluded he gave me this, (see attachment). Kansas players and staff started each day reviewing and speaking about one of the 16 goals for success. Today this would be called a mission statement.  I use it as a book mark in Football: Principals and Play.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

THESE ARE
BILL SNYDER'S 16 GOALS FOR SUCCESS THAT COACH WALLS REFERS TO:

https://www.kstatesports.com/news/2015/11/20/564f2d86e4b0f7efb032e7a1_131478255140346557.aspx



*********** QUIZ: His mother was of Mexican descent, and that, combined with his aggressive play as a quarterback - he once said,  “I’ve been called one half of a collision looking for the other” - caused Sports Illustrated to call him “The Toughest Chicano.”

He remains the only quarterback to play in the Rose Bowl, the Super Bowl and the Grey Cup.

He was Cal’s quarterback the last time they played in the Rose Bowl.

He led the B.C. Lions to their first-ever Grey Cup win.

He led the Minnesota Vikings to their first-ever playoff appearance and their first Super Bowl appearance.

Although he was named the team MVP, he refused the award, saying “There’s no one most valuable Viking. There are 40 most valuable Vikings.”

He left the Vikings after just three seasons and they got nothing for him.

After one season with the Boston Patriots - a very bad team at the time - he walked off and never played again.

He reappeared as coach at Cal - despite having no coaching experience - and in his first season, he was the Cal coach when “The Play” beat Stanford.  That year’s Golden Bears went 7-4 and he was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year.

That would be his last winning season, and after five seasons, with a 20-34-1 record - and an embarrassing incident or two along the way - he was let go.

One such incident took place during the post-game press conference following a 50-18 loss to Washington, when he responded to a question he didn’t like by unzipping his fly. He zipped it right back up, but the damage was done.

“It was bad enough to lose the ballgame,” he said with regret, “But I had to lose the post-game interview, too.”

He appeared in a number of movies, including "The Longest Yard."


In his final game at Cal his Bears pulled off a tremendous upset and beat Stanford in the Big Game, and his players, knowing that he’d already been fired, carried him off on their shoulders.

“To the best of my recollection,” he said afterward, “It’s the first time I’ve ever been carried off the field - hurt or otherwise.”





Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2020   "The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself...  Almost inevitably, he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable."  H. L. Mencken

*********** 
THIS WEEKEND’S GAMES

       
       
FRIDAY NIGHT

   
Syracuse at Louisville
       
Purdue at Minnesota
       
UMass at Florida Atlantic
     
New Mexico     at Air Force



       
Saturday, November 21

   
#9 Indiana at #3 Ohio State  

#4 Clemson at Florida State
   
#6 Florida
at Vanderbilt
     
Appalachian State at #15 Coastal Carolina
      
Stephen F. Austin at Memphis
       
Illinois at Nebraska      
      
East Carolina at Temple
     
Georgia Southern at Army
      
LSU at Arkansas
       
Arkansas State at Texas State
      
Florida International at Western Kentucky
 
Rice at North Texas
      
North Alabama at #8 BYU
       
UTSA     at  Southern Mississippi
   
#7 Cincinnati at UCF
       
#10 Wisconsin at #19 Northwestern
     
UCLA      at #11 Oregon
     
Middle Tennessee at Troy
      
Iowa at Penn State 
   
San Diego State at Nevada
      
California at Oregon State
      
Kentucky  at #1 Alabama
      
Kansas State  at #17 Iowa State
      
Abilene Christian at Virginia
      
Virginia Tech     at Pitt  

Georgia State at South Alabama      

Tennessee at #23 Auburn   
    
San Josť State at Fresno State
      
Mississippi State  at #13 Georgia   

#14 Oklahoma State at #18 Oklahoma

#21 Liberty at NC State
   
Missouri at South Carolina
      
Michigan at Rutgers
      
Arizona at Washington
       
#20 USC
at Utah
   
Washington State
at Stanford
       
Boise State at Hawai'i
       
++++++++++

CANCELLATIONS AND POSTPONEMENTS
(Sure would be interesting to know how often it’s the underdog that cops the Covid plea)

UAB   at   UTEP       

Utah State at Wyoming
   
Ole Miss at #5 Texas A&M
               
Georgia Tech at #12 Miami

Michigan State at Maryland
           
Charlotte at #15 Marshall
           
#22 Texas at Kansas
           
Central Arkansas at #24 Louisiana
               
Wake Forest  at Duke
           
Houston at SMU
           
UL Monroe at Louisiana Tech
               
UNLV at Colorado State
               
Navy at South Florida
               
Arizona State at Colorado
               


GAMES THAT I’M SURE TO TAKE AN EARLY LOOK AT


#9 Indiana at #3 Ohio State - Just to see how long the Hoosiers can hang with them

Appalachian State at #15 Coastal Carolina - Coastal’s biggest test so far

Georgia Southern at Army - Will Army get back to running its offense?

LSU at Arkansas - Bad sh— going on at LSU -  and I’m not talking about Covid19

#7 Cincinnati at UCF - Cincinnati still has an outside shot at a playoff spot
       
#10 Wisconsin at #19 Northwestern - How good is Northwestern, anyhow?
       
UCLA      at #11 Oregon - I just like watching Oregon’s new offense

Iowa at Penn State - Why do I find myself not liking Penn State?
   
California at Oregon State - Cal didn’t impress me against UCLA. Beavs could have beaten Washington.
   
Kansas State  at #17 Iowa State - EMAW (Every man a Wildcat). But I'm afraid the Cyclones are just better
   
Virginia Tech     at Pitt - I like I lot of stuff VT does.  Why can’t they win?

Tennessee at #23 Auburn - I like Gus Malzahn’s offense
     
San Josť State at Fresno State - Two of the best Mountain West teams
     
#14 Oklahoma State at #18 Oklahoma - Cowboys are the Big 12’s best shot at a playoff spot. But they have to win - in Norman.

#21 Liberty at NC State - State is favored but I like Liberty.
   
Missouri at South Carolina - Gamecocks’ interim head coach Mike Bobo gets his  first shot
       
Michigan at Rutgers - Has Michigan dropped this far? Michgian will win because Michigan has better athletes.
       
Arizona at Washington - Zona could have beaten USC; Huskies could have lost to Oregon State.
       
#20 USC at Utah - Utah’s opener - Utes are the last FBS team to play.  USC has won a couple that could easily have been losses.

Washington State at Stanford - Cougs' freshman QB Jayden DeLaura is GOOD.

  
*********** Rick Barry is the only person who led the NCAA, the ABA and the NBA in scoring. He’s been named one of the 50 greatest all-time NBA players. And among NBA players he remains fourth-best all time in free throw shooting percentage (89.98).

With the NBA’s overall percentage considerably lower than that - around 75 per cent - and numerous big-name stars shooting below 70 per cent, you’d think that they would be interested in some help from Rick Barry.

But you’d be wrong.  Despite offers to help, he’s never had any takers.

Why?

rick barrySimple: the major reason for Barry’s success - besides his all-around basketball skills - was his underhanded free throw shooting technique.  When I was a kid, we were taught it as the only way to shoot free throws. But the “one-hand push” method took hold, and by the time Rick Barry was playing in the NBA - 1979-1985 - he was the only living tie to an earlier day. He was the best in the business at shooting free throws, because he dared to defy convention.

And he was ridiculed.

Not a single one of the NBA’s style-over-substance stars would be seen dead shooting a free throw underhanded.  Not even if they could be convinced that it would improve their performance - and their team’s. Nope.  Form over function.

Said Barry.

“The bottom line is, they have an aversion to wanting to try the underhanded free throw. I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t try anything to try to get better and I don’t think your personal pride should come into play.”

Where I’m headed with this is football coaches, who for the same reason wouldn’t be caught dead running an old-fashioned offense - or teaching an old-fashioned method of blocking.

Success, I've discovered over the years, is secondary in importance to many coaches to membership in the In Crowd, which in today’s football means spreading it out and throwing the ball.

It’s been my experience that for every football coach who would dare adopt an old-fashioned but proven way of playing football that might give his kids the best chance for success, there are 100 others who choose the conventional way of doing things, seeking the safety and security of membership in the pack, even if it means a greater risk of losing.

*********** Charlie Wilson, of Crystal River, Florida recently put me onto “Do Your Job,” NFL Films’ treatment of the Patriots’ 2014 season.

It’s a great look, I think, at all that went into that Super-Bowl-winning season, and a good look at Belichick the coach.  I know, I know - “Belicheat,” blah, blah, blah.  But I admire the guy as a coach and as a historian of the game, and I have no reason to dislike him as a person.

Charlie  asked me about the big play of the Super Bowl - maybe of the entire season - in which the Patriots’ Malcolm Butler intercepted Russell Wilson’s pass  (from the ONE YARD LINE) to seal the Pats’ 28-24 win.

The film went into some detail as to how the Patriots anticipated such a play and how they would defend it - exactly, it turns out, as they did.   But, since this was about the Patriots, the film didn’t deal with the sheer idiocy of the Seahawks’ call, which is where I come in.

It was second down and the Seahawks, trailing by four points, were on the Patriots’ one.  There were 27 seconds left. They had one timeout remaining.

And, most significant of all, they had Marshawn Lynch, at that time probably the toughest runner in all of football, in the backfield.

So,  it being the NFL, they chose to throw.  From the one.

Yes, from the standpoint of the Patriots and of anybody else in the  world who thought that doing anything other than giving the ball to  Lynch was smart football, I guess it was a great defensive play. That’s how the film told it,

But I saw it - still do - as a bonehead call of historic proportions.

I think of Wrong Way Riegels and Bill Buckner and Merkel’s Boner and all the guys through the years the rest of whose lives were defined by one egregious mistake, and I marvel at the fact that Smilin’ Pete, whose ”mistake” was carefully thought out and easily avoided, and took place on a far larger stage than that of any of those other guys, is such a media darling that he’s never really had to answer for it.  It’s as if his first name was Hunter.

*********** If, like me,  you haven’t been watching the NFL, this us what you’ve been missing:

Field goals.  Long ones. Lots of them.  In other words, if you’ve been watching golf, or bowling - curling, even - you’ve been watching something more exciting.

Amazingly,   so far this season there have been 102 field goal attempts of at least 50 yards.  Even more amazingly, 71 per cent of them have been successful. That’s a 69.6 per cent success rate.

You talk about suspense:  “will he make it or will he miss?”

No suspense at all, really: 69.6 per cent success is almost exactly the same as the rate at which college basketball players make free throws, which has never exceeded 70 per cent.

*********** Akron’s mascot, I read, is Zippy, a kangaroo. A female kangaroo.

I read that she is one of only eight female college mascots. Evidently one is the Delaware Blue Hen. I don’t know whether Shasta, the Houston Cougar is still alive, and if so whether PETA still allows her to work. But beyond that, you got me.


*********** Is there anyone old enough to remember when Joe Namath was the Playboy of the Western World who doesn’t marvel at the absurd irony of his shilling for Medicare benefits on TV commercials?

*********** Top pathologist Dr. Roger Hodkinson told government officials in Alberta (Canada) during a zoom conference call that the current coronavirus crisis is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on an unsuspecting public.”

Dispute this as you wish.  Please bring facts.

And while you’re at it,  tell me again, would you please, what the vast majority of the American people have to fear from the Wuhan Virus that has justified depriving Americans of their God-given (not man-given) liberties?

https://summit.news/2020/11/18/top-pathologist-claims-coronavirus-is-the-greatest-hoax-ever-perpetrated-on-an-unsuspecting-public/

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

I appreciated your quote from John Adams about physical education. I've worked hard during our two quarantines this fall to motivate my students to continue working out. Several have let me know that the workouts that I am sharing with them are helping them to feel better, getting them moving and away from the computer screens, and helping with their general well-being. I've said for years that every high school student should be in a Strength and Conditioning class. I believe that we would see improved self-esteem, academic performance, self-discipline, and well-being.

Greg Koenig
Colorado Springs, Colorado

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

Our season ended with a 34-14 loss to Summerfield which was a team we beat three weeks ago.   In the end we started 7 Freshman and 5 Sophomores with 2 Healthy Seniors we have lots to look forward too in future years.   Our Seniors did a great job leading and embracing the younger kids in our program.   Overall I was really proud of this. 

Quiz answer Don Nehlen....   Michigan ties always help me!

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

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

It’s been a while since I read your news. Reading a bit today made me realize how much I missed all the info you share.

Hope all is well with you. Stay safe and healthy.

Russ Meyers
Southern High School
Harwood, Maryland

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

I really enjoyed last night’s zoom on the kicking game. Looking at the college recaps is fun, but the actual clinic like description of things you have found successful is particularly useful.

Special teams does seem to be something that coaches overcomplicate and spend too much time on scheme and not enough on fundamentals. This may be because it is commonly given to an inexperienced staff member. My first varsity job was as a special teams coach. I was more concerned with setting up a punt return wall than teaching kids not to leave their feet when attempting to block a kick. A VHS by Frank Beamer (1980s shorts and all) solved that.

I also wanted to comment on the conversations that go on when you finish. I am not a big fan of making statements in the form of a question (pet peeve during faculty meetings) so do not take my silence for passivity. It was good to hear that other coaches were fearful of not having a spring season. I am apprehensive for my 14 seniors and with our program having just finished its inaugural year, I am fearful of losing momentum and not being able to field a team in 2022. Hence, why I stuck around so late yesterday. Hearing other coaches say similar things was helpful. Doesn’t solve the problem, but it was good to know I wasn’t alone.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

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

We put together our most complete game of the season last night winning 35-12.  First district win in two years, and believe it or not put us into the playoffs.  Our kids have improved a bunch since game 1, and are playing with a lot of confidence right now.  Just in time, and at the right time.  Our state association had to rearrange the Division II playoff bracket when six schools opted out from Covid.  Since our district has the most schools (8) they put 7 of us in the playoffs.  

For our first-round playoff we will travel to Forth Worth on Friday to play Fort Worth Christian.  They have also won only 2 games this year, but their 2 wins came in district play.  Last Friday they beat the number 2 team in their district (7-2 overall). That team elected to play most of their backups and JV kids against FWC.  Apparently that opponent has a first round bye, and will play the winner of a first-round game in their bracket that will likely have a .500 record.  In this Covid year it is very apparent that team's coach is playing the odds.

Anyway, FWC is almost a virtual mirror image of us.  Should be a great game!  Good news is we have a legitimate shot.  Bad news is win or lose we'll get back to school around 3 am, and after getting things put away, I'll likely get home and in bed near 4 am.  Of course winning the doggone game will make it all better!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas



*********** QUIZ ANSWER:   Don Nehlen is without a doubt the greatest coach in the history of the University of West Virginia.  He set the standard by which anyone who coaches there will be measured.

Overall, at Bowling Green and West Virginia, his record was 202-128-8.  He was just the 17th coach in major college history to win 200 games.

A native of Mansfield, Ohio, he played quarterback at Bowling Green.

He began as a high school coach, at Mansfield and at perennial Ohio power Canton McKinley, then assisted at Cincinnati and Bowling Green.

He became head coach at Bowling Green, and in nine seasons there had just one losing season. His overall record was 53-35-4.

In 1977, Bo Schembechler hired him to coach the Michigan quarterbacks.

At WVU, in 1980 he took over a program that hadn’t had a winning season in four years, and when he retired after 21 seasons in Morgantown, he’d had 17 winning seasons and taken the Montaineers to 13 bowl games.  His overall record  there was 149-93-8.

He had two teams that went unbeaten in the regular season, and one of them, his 1993 team, was ranked number one before losing to Notre Dame in what was then considered the national title game.

In 1988 he was named the Walter Camp, Bobby Dodd and AFCA coach of the year in and in 1993 he was named the Kodak coach of the year.

Arriving at West Virginia after three years on Schembechler’s staff, the Michigan influence on his approach was evident from the start in the offense, in defense, and in the  uniforms (a new, Michigan shade of blue and a more yellow gold than the drab old-gold that they had been wearing).  One of his motivators, he said,  was the fact that when he first began to look at film, he could never tell which team was West Virginia.

Along with the brighter colors came the new logo for the helmets.  Now known as the “Flying W,” it combined the two letters, W and V, in a way suggestive of the mountains for which the state is known, and it has become known far and wide as a symbol of the university and, for that matter, the entire state.

Not only did he introduce West Virginia fans to a whole new uniform look, but his first game as their coach was also their first game in their new stadium. They won it.

In his first year,  the Mountaineers went 6-6.

In his second season, they were 8-3 and played in the Peach Bowl, where they whipped heavily-favored Florida.

In his third season, West Virginia beat ninth-ranked Oklahoma.  In Norman.

By his fifth year, they had beaten Penn State - something they hadn’t done since 1955 - and ended a seven-year losing streak to Pitt.

In his final game, his Mountaineers defeated Ole Miss in the Music City Bowl.

80 of his players went on to play in the NFL. One of them, Jeff Hostetler, a quarterback who went on to a solid pro career, married his daughter.

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

Bobby Bowden, who left West Virginia partly because he felt that the fans weren’t sufficiently appreciative of what he’d done, knew better than anybody how much this coach had accomplished.

“Don did an amazing job,” Bowden said. “Number  1, he had that Michigan background.  He used to coach at Michigan when he was an assistant coach and he was used to being big-time all the way,  so when he comes to West Virginia he just assumes he’s going to do the same thing here. He changed the uniforms to even look like Michigan. Don Nehlen is one of the best coaches ever, in my opinion.”

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DON NEHLEN

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS
RUSS MEYERS - HARWOOD, MARYLAND
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JASON MENSING - WHITEFORD, MICHIGAN
JOHN NOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON



*********** Don Nehlen is one of my favorite college football coaches. I had the pleasure of hearing him speak over the years and I liked his philosophy of coaching and teaching football.

David Crump
Owensboro, Kentucky

*********** We were just talking about Don Nehlen  in the coach's office the other day...How he's overlooked when talking about great coaches...What a great motivator!

Coach Kaz
Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa


*********** It is interesting to note how a change in uniform can lead to a winning culture. I have also seen the opposite. It would be interesting to read a history of uniforms in football. Maybe I can propose it as a post grad thesis.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba


*********** THE LEGEND OF WEST VIRGINIA’S “FLYING W” LOGO

https://magazine.wvu.edu/stories/2015/05/18/the-legend-of-the-flying-wv


*********** QUIZ:  He is often credited with bringing about the greatest turnaround of a program in the history of college football.

BEFORE:

In 1989, he took over as head coach at a school that in its 93 years of football had a record of 299 wins and 509 losses, dead last - by a large margin -  in both wins and losses among America’s major football colleges.

In its 93 years, it had had 32 coaches - an average stay of less than three years per coach.

It had won only one conference championship in its history.

Since World War II (1945) it had had only four winning seasons.

It had been to only one bowl game (and lost it).

He took over a team that had gone 27 games without a win. In the previous two seasons, it had gone  0-10-1 in 1987 and 0-11 in 1988.   His predecessor had gone 2-30-1.

When he was hired, he was 50 years old, fresh off Hayden Fry’s Iowa staff where he had been  offensive coordinator.  This was his first head coaching job.

The AD told him, “You may have heard it's one of the toughest jobs in the country. It's not. It's the toughest.”

A Sports Illustrated article at the time referred to the school as “Futility U.”

AFTER:

He would coach at the school for a total of 27 years in two terms - from 1989 through 2005, when he first retired, and then, after being brought back again, from 2009 through 2018, when he retired a second time, this time for good.

In his first year, he broke the long losing streak. But that was the only game then won.

His second year saw five wins.

His third year - a 7-4 record, including four conference wins.

In his fifth year - 1993 - the team won nine games for the first time since 1910, and earned a bowl bid, the first of what would be eleven straight bowl game appearances.  (1993 would also start an eight year run in which they would win at least nine games a season.)

In his sixth year, they again won nine, and they did the once-unthinkable, beating Oklahoma in Norman.

In his seventh year, 1995, they would win 10 games, including a win in the Holiday Bowl, and earn a #7 ranking nationally.

In 1997, his ninth year, they won 11 games, and would do so for four straight years.

In 1998,  they would finish the regular season unbeaten, with their  first win over Nebraska in 30 years. Only a loss in the Big 12 Championship Game kept them from going to the first-ever BCS national championship game.

In his first term - the 17 years from 1989 through 2005 -  they went to 11 bowl games.
 
In his second - the  10 years from 2009 through  2018 -  they went to eight straight bowl games.

Not bad for a team that had only been to one bowl game in its entire 93-year history prior to his hiring.

His overall record was 215-117-1.  The 215 wins were just 84 short of the total number of wins the school had accumulated in the 93 years prior to his arrival.

He was three times named Big Eight Coach of the Year, and four times Big 12 Coach of the Year.

In 1998, he was AP, Walter Camp and Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year.

In 2011 he was Sporting News and Woody Hayes Coach of the Year.

Seven of his former assistants became FBS head coaches .

No less a coach than Barry Switzer, with three National Championships and a Super Bowl to his credit, said “(He) isn’t the Coach of the Year, and he isn’t the Coach of the Decade.  He’s the Coach of the Century.”



Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2020   “Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.” John Adams

*********** WHEN I DON'T PUBLISH - WHICH ISN’T OFTEN - I ALWAYS PRINT SOMETHING ON HERE STATING AS MUCH.  UNLESS I CAN’T.  SO IF EVER MY PAGE ISN’T PUBLISHED AND THERE’S NO MENTION OF IT ON HERE, SIMPLY ASSUME THAT I’M HAVING TECHNICAL PROBLEMS*, AND KEEP TRYING.
* OR THE DREADED COVID19 HAS FINALLY CAUGHT UP WITH ME


***********  Saturday mornings in football season when I’ve got DISH and an array of TVs are like Christmas morning when I was a little kid.  I’d see all those packages and I’d open them, one by one, full of expectation but never knowing what was going to be inside. Some of them turned out to have  great things inside.  But even the ones that didn’t still had good things inside. Now, instead of packages, I get to open games.  And even the ones that aren’t great are still pretty damn good.

*********** GAMES I SAID I WOULD START OUT WATCHING…

ARMY AT TULANE - Total bummer. Give credit to Tulane, but once I saw that Army was not starting the freshman QB who’s led them to the last two wins, I knew they were in trouble. And they were.

MIAMI AT VIRGINIA TECH - Very good game. VT does some great stuff on offense but they just  can’t win.

COASTAL CAROLINA AT TROY - COVID CANCELLATION

PENN STATE AT NEBRASKA - Good Lord. Penn State is 0-4. Can’t think that a little humility won’t do Coach Franklin some good.

WAKE FOREST AT NORTH CAROLINA - Incredible game. One for the ages. Sam H, from Charlotte, completed 61 of 90 for 979 yards and 10 TDs, with only one interception. Wake Forest’s Sam H - Sam Hartman (from Charlotte) was 29/45/429/4.  UNC’s Sam H - Sam Howell (also from Charlotte) was 32/45/550/6. But he wasn’t perfect.  He did throw one interception.

NOTRE DAME AT BOSTON COLLEGE - BC gave them a game for a while, but Notre Dame is too good. Ian Book keeps getting better, and Northwestern transfer Ben Skowronek is a great receiver. And the Irish defense is tough.

ARKANSAS AT FLORIDA - Could Kyle Trask really throw four TD passes for the sixth time in six games?  How ‘bout he did it in the first half?

OREGON AT WASHINGTON STATE - Cougs and their freshman QB Jayden DeLaura threw a scare in the Ducks, and after kicking a field goal, led 19-7, with 20 seconds left in the half. But the Ducks returned the kick off (should I have said “ensuing?”) to their own 40,  completed a pass to the WSU three, and punched it in with :08 left. 19-14 is a lot better than 19-7, and the Ducks came out and showed off an exciting new offense (thanks to new OC Joe Moorhead) that took advantage of their skills and speed, scoring 22 points in the fourth quarter to win 43-29.

WISCONSIN AT MICHIGAN - Wisconsin did it the old fashioned Wisconsin way, with power football and play action passing.  Hard to believe this, but they toyed with the Wolverines.

NORTHWESTERN AT PURDUE - Great game. Wildcats are really good.

CAL AT ARIZONA STATE - ASU couldn’t play because of the - gasp! - killer virus, so Cal played a hastily-scheduled game against UCLA (whose game with Utah was also cancelled) - at 9 AM Sunday. Cal looked surprisingly bad for a team that had been picked to finish in the upper half of the Pac-12 South. UCLA looked a lot better than the team that lost to Colorado (which, by the way, may be for real).

***********
FRIDAY'S GAMES (THE WINNERS - OF THE ONES THAT I CHOSE TO CALL - ARE IN BOLD)

W- Iowa at Minnesota
Florida Atlantic at FIU
East Carolina at No. 7 Cincinnati

SATURDAY'S GAMES

W -No. 9 Miami (FL) at Virginia Tech
W - No. 10 Indiana at Michigan State
L- Illinois at Rutgers
No. 15 Coastal Carolina at Troy
Western Carolina at No. 22 Liberty
W - Penn State at Nebraska
L - Wake Forest at North Carolina - UPSET PICK
Vanderbilt at Kentucky
W - TCU at West Virginia
L - Army at Tulane
Gardner-Webb at Charlotte
Middle Tennessee at No. 16 Marshall
W - South Alabama at No. 25 Louisiana
W - Georgia State at Appalachian State
W - Fresno State at Utah State
UTEP at UTSA
W - South Florida at Houston
North Texas at UAB
W - No. 2 Notre Dame at Boston College
W - No. 20 USC at Arizona
Rice at Louisiana Tech
W - Texas State at Georgia Southern
W - Colorado at Stanford
W - Louisville at Virginia
Southern Miss at Western Kentucky
L - Baylor at Texas Tech
W - Hawai'i at San Diego State
W - Nevada at New Mexico
W - Arkansas at No. 6 Florida
W - No. 19 SMU at Tulsa - ANOTHER UPSET
Pitt at Georgia Tech
W - No. 11 Oregon at Washington State
W - No. 13 Wisconsin at Michigan
W - Florida State at NC State
W - South Carolina at Ole Miss
L - No. 23 Northwestern at Purdue
W -Temple at UCF
Cal at Arizona State
UNLV at San Jose State
Utah at UCLA
L - Oregon State at Washington - AND YET ANOTHER UPSET


23 W'S - 6 L'S  - I really like not having to pick against the spread. Maybe I'm becoming a money line guy.

*********** And they tell us to trust the science…

I read this on Friday:

Stanford quarterback Davis Mills, defensive lineman Trey LaBounty and receiver Connor Wedington will be available Saturday, a week after the Pac-12 admitted a third-party coronavirus testing protocol error sidelined them for the 35-14 loss at Oregon. In a statement Friday morning, the conference said: “We apologize to the Stanford football team and its supporters, and especially to the student-athletes who were held out of the game as a result of the testing protocol errors. We are working with our game day testing partner to ensure this type of error does not occur in the future.”

Can you believe that sh—?

Sorry about that, coach.

And you players, who’d been working out for months in the hope that you might at least get to play the half-dozen games your betters finally said you can play, and then got cheated out of one of them because of a “testing protocol error?”  Our bad.

And for crap like this, we’re supposed to let Thanksgiving and Christmas go the way of Easter?


*********** If ever there was a chance for ESPN to do something good it was holding last Saturday’s College Game Day in Huntington, West Virginia, on the 50th anniversary of the horrible plane crash that wiped out the Marshall football program. 75 people - players, coaches, boosters and crew - were killed as they returned from a game at East Carolina. (It was 1970, my first year coaching, and I vividly remember coming home after a game and learning the terrible news. One of my player-coaches, Ron Hawkins, had played at Virginia Tech with Marshall head coach Ricky Tolley, who died in the crash.)

What a nice gesture  it would have been for the small city of Huntington, West Virginia, the people of Marshall, those of us who were alive at the time and suffered with them, and the millions who know the story - sort of - from the movie, “We Are Marshall.”

But no. This was ESPN’s chance to maybe someday wrest the broadcast rights to the Masters away from CBS, which has had them since 1956. This was their chance to get an in, hosting College Game Day - make that College Golf Day - from Augusta National Golf Club, in Augusta, Georgia.

Screw Huntington. Screw Marshall. Screw College Football. ESPN passed on this marvelous opportunity in order to suck up to the big money people behind the Masters.  They tried their damnedest to rationalize what they did, but the explanation was simple: they’re whores.


*********** Steve Beuerlein… Todd Blackledge… Gary Danielson… Tim Hasselbeck… Kirk Herbstreit… Joel Klatt… Greg McElroy… Dan Orlovsky… Brady Quinn… Andre Ware…

They’re all former quarterbacks and they’re now working as college game analysts.  There are more of them than representatives of all other positions combined.
 
Most of them are good, but it’s clear that they  weren’t all chosen for their knowledge of the game and their ability to use it to add to our enjoyment of a broadcast.

Maybe it’s because of name recognition, or because they do tend to be self-confident guys with a lot to say, but some of them are rather full of sh— as well as full of themselves. Yes, they can tell you what a pass play is supposed to do, but they’re not necessarily any better qualified than lots of other players and, for that matter, plenty of laymen, to comment on the numerous other aspects of the game. 

I thought of this while watching the Iowa-Minnesota game Friday night, and listening to former Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn blather on about how - after we’d just seen an offensive lineman grab hold of an edge defender, allowing a runner to get outside him - there was “not enough” there to justify a holding call.  His broadcast partner  (or perhaps it was the network’s rules guy) could have been speaking for me when he said  “Brady’s played too much quarterback.”

At another point Quinn shared his great store of knowledge with us by noting that you don’t see many three-point set-ups by quarterbacks these days, saying that it was because of all the RPO’s that people were throwing now.

He failed to explain the real reason: the three-step drop is used only by a quarterback who’s under center, a breed that’s rapidly becoming as dead as the dodo. But thanks all the same for the expertise, Brady.


*********** Heard an announcer this weekend say of an Australian punter that the first football game he ever saw was the first one he played in.

Well, duh.  In Australia,  “gridiron” (what we call football) is just not that big a deal. Its population is just a bit more than that of Florida,  yet its people play at least four different types (“codes,” they say) of football - Australian Rules, Rugby Union, Rugby League and soccer.  There simply aren’t many athletes left over to play gridiron.

Yes, there are a few teams that “give it a go” on  a club scale, somewhat akin to that of our semi-pro ball, but that’s it.

But as fans, Aussies love their sports, and they like them rough, and there is quite a bit of interest Down Under in American football - especially the college game, which because of the International Date Line, is played on their Sunday.

Since many Australian kids grow up playing Aussie Rules, which places great emphasis on the ability to catch and punt a ball, that combination  - and the fact that those kids are used to rough play -  hasn’t gone unnoticed by American coaches looking for punters, or by Australian entrepreneurs willing and able to help Australian kids develop into American punters.

One such entrepreneur is a former Aussie Rules Footballer named Nathan Chapman, whose organization,  ProKick Australia (PKA), has produced punters for every major conference, and 17 All-American punters. PKA’s punters have already won five Ray Guy Awards.

Check out its site - and scroll down and check out the videos - especially “WATCH PKA ESPN STORY.”

https://www.prokickaustralia.com/#nathan-chapman


*********** I’m already tired of this Number Zero “Look at Me” crap. I  assume that this was allowed as just another  way for coach/panderers to try satisfy the vanity of their star players, and I sure wish when the idea was proposed that  there were more coaches with the stones to say “enough.”


*********** Watching Iowa pound Minnesota was like watching a team that had prepared by playing Madden and found itself up against an opponent that played Big Boy Football.


*********** I played on a college team whose coach was hesitant to substitute even when we were way in front late in the game.  I was a sub and I know how it feels to stand and watch after you’ve busted your ass all week, just like the starters.


So I’m beginning to wonder about this P.J. Fleck character.  You know, Mister Row the Boat.  Well, there sure were an awful lot of spare oarsmen standing on the Minnesota sideline as Fleck, with the Gophers down 35-0 in the fourth, still had his starters in there, determined to get just one little score.  Because… why?

Well, whoopee-doo. He finally got it.  With :14 left to play.  The touchdown was scored by Number Zero.  I’ll bet that symbolizes about where team morale is right now.

Funny thing was, he seemed pissed during that last drive when Iowa (who didn’t have their starters in) called for a review on a questionable catch.  What the hell - didn’t they have just as much right to a shutout as he had to a score?
kentucky tribute

*********** Kentucky paid an emotional tribute to John Schlarman, their offensive line coach and a  former Wildcat All-SEC lineman who died Tuesday at 45 after a two-year fight with cancer.

On their first offensive play, the Wildcats lined up without a player at left guard, the position Coach Schlarman played.  They didn’t run a play, and in accordance with the rules, they were charged with a delay of game penalty - which opponent Vanderbilt graciously declined.

Then regular left guard Landon Young entered the game - wearing 65, which had been Schlarman’s number - instead of his usual 67.

https://www.kentucky.com/sports/college/kentucky-sports/uk-football/article247188526.html

https://www.kentucky.com/sports/college/kentucky-sports/uk-football/article246807462.html


*********** Just as it became impossible to watch the NFL and  distinguish between sport and entertainment, so is it becoming difficult, with endless reviews, to distinguish between college football and the American legal system.


*********** I like Virginia’s Bronco Mendenhall, an Oregon State guy originally, but I thought he blew a huge chance to teach a kid something about life.  One of his freshman receivers caught a pass then stood, posturing, over a fallen defender until he drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty - and damned if he wasn’t still in the game on the next play.  I’ve got news - little sideline chats about how we don’t do things that way aren’t going to teach a kid lesson the way a little bench time will.


*********** Worst measurement ever: Oregon State, down just a touchdown,  had driven inside the Washington 10, and with a fourth-and-a-foot, went for it. The runner appeared to have made the necessary yardage with plenty to spare, we all agreed - me, my wife, and the announcers. But they measured - ever notice how seldom they measure nowadays? - and the Beavers were still a foot short.  Impossible. 


*********** Saw a couple of fumbles caused by bad QB rides in both the Notre Dame and Oregon games. 


*********** Oregon’s new OC Joe Moorhead showed in the Ducks' win over Washington State that he’s everything the Ducks’ fans hoped he’d be. He’s fresh off the job as head coach at Mississippi State (ask Mike Leach what it’s like coaching there), and before that he was OC at Penn State. He’s got some very clever ideas and some talent to work with, and this Oregon team’s going to be fun to watch.  Damn shame the Pac-12 started so late.


*********** In my bitching about teams needing to be able to get under center,  I guess I should have made myself clearer. I meant so that when they needed a yard they could run a quarterback sneak, not give it to a running back lined up seven yards deep.


*********** This week’s name that could make you wonder why you decided to become a broadcaster: Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman, Northwestern.


*********** Not since Michigan Stadium opened  - in 1927 - had a Michigan team been behind at halftime by a score as big as the 28-0 by which it trailed Wisconsin Saturday.


*********** Wisconsin TE Jake Ferguson - kid’s good - is the grandson of Barry Alvarez, former Badgers’ head coach and currently their AD.


*********** This Year’s Heisman presentation is going to be virtual.  (There’s no truth to the rumor that it’s because they polled all the likely candidates and couldn’t find three willing to come to New York.)


*********** The Ivy League has just announced it was cancelling its winter sports season. I swear I read where one of the league executives said they didn’t know whether this meant that the league wouldn’t be receiving its cut of the NCAA basketball tournament money.


In the meantime, is there someone reading this who can tell me what this means for the Ivy League football season that its players and coaches were told would take place in the spring?


*********** The NCAA announced this morning that the entire men’s NCAA Tournament will be played in one geographic region — with Indianapolis being the preferred and most likely spot — as a way to limit exposure to the coronavirus. You can find out all the reasons why in the video below.

The plan remains to have the tournament be comprised of 68 teams.

The tournament plan will not be an isolated single bubble at one location, an NCAA official said, but rather it would be close to that type of scenario spread out in one region to help keep everyone safe.

“We have had initial discussions with the state of Indiana, with the city of Indianapolis to see if it’s feasible to run the entirety of the championship in the metropolitan area,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball.

https://pittsburghsportsnow.com/2020/11/16/breaking-entire-ncaa-tournament-will-be-played-in-one-region-most-likely-indianapolis/


FOR TWO REASONS, I’M CARRYING THE QUIZ OVER:

(1)    It takes me a little time to do the research, and I blew the better part of a day Friday trying to deal with my server problems (believe it or not, the latent paranoia in my was leading me to think that the higher powers in left-wing tech were out to silence me and my highly-influential Web site).

(2) My site wasn’t up on time, which meant that some readers didn’t see it at their usual time, and didn’t get to see the question



*********** QUIZ: He is without a doubt the greatest coach in the history of the University of West Virginia.  He set the standard by which anyone who coaches there will be measured.

Overall, at Bowling Green and West Virginia, his record was 202-128-8.  He was just the 17th coach in major college history to win 200 games.

A native of Mansfield, Ohio, he played quarterback at Bowling Green.

He began as a high school coach, at Mansfield and at perennial Ohio power Canton McKinley, then assisted at Cincinnati and Bowling Green.

He became head coach at Bowling Green, and in nine seasons there had just one losing season. His overall record was 53-35-4.

In 1977, Bo Schembechler hired him to coach the Michigan quarterbacks.


At WVU, in 1980 he took over a program that hadn’t had a winning season in four years, and when he retired after 21 seasons in Morgantown, he’d had 17 winning seasons and taken the Montaineers to 13 bowl games.  His overall record  there was 149-93-8.

He had two teams that went unbeaten in the regular season, and one of them, his 1993 team, was ranked number one before losing to Notre Dame in what was then considered the national title game.

In 1988 he was named the Walter Camp, Bobby Dodd and AFCA coach of the year in and in 1993 he was named the Kodak coach of the year.

Arriving at West Virginia after three years on Schembechler’s staff, the Michigan influence on his approach was evident from the start in the offense, in defense, and in the  uniforms (a new, Michigan shade of blue and a more yellow gold than the drab old-gold that they had been wearing).  One of his motivators, he said,  was the fact that when he first began to look at film, he could never tell which team was West Virginia.

Along with the brighter colors came the new logo for the helmets.  Now known as the “Flying W,” it combined the two letters, W and V, in a way suggestive of the mountains for which the state is known, and it has become known far and wide as a symbol of the university and, for that matter, the entire state.

Not only did he introduce West Virginia fans to a whole new uniform look, but his first game as their coach was also their first game in their new stadium. They won it.

In his first year,  the Mountaineers went 6-6.

In his second season, they were 8-3 and played in the Peach Bowl, where they whipped heavily-favored Florida.

In his third season, West Virginia beat ninth-ranked Oklahoma.  In Norman.

By his fifth year, they had beaten Penn State - something they hadn’t done since 1955 - and ended a seven-year losing streak to Pitt.

In his final game, his Mountaineers defeated Ole Miss in the Music City Bowl.

80 of his players went on to play in the NFL. One of them, a quarterback who went on to a solid pro career, married his daughter.

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

Bobby Bowden, who left West Virginia partly because he felt that the fans weren’t sufficiently appreciative of what he’d done, knew better than anybody how much this coach had accomplished.

“(He) did an amazing job,” Bowden said. “Number  1, he had that Michigan background.  He used to coach at Michigan when he was an assistant coach and he was used to being big-time all the way,  so when he comes to West Virginia he just assumes he’s going to do the same thing here. He changed the uniforms to even look like Michigan. (He) is one of the best coaches ever, in my opinion.”




Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2020 “Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions.” Mark Twain

***********
FRIDAY'S GAMES (THE WINNERS - OF THE ONES THAT I CHOSE TO CALL - ARE IN BOLD)

Iowa at Minnesota
Florida Atlantic at FIU
East Carolina at No. 7 Cincinnati

SATURDAY'S GAMES
No. 9 Miami (FL) at Virginia Tech
No. 10 Indiana at Michigan State
Illinois at Rutgers
No. 15 Coastal Carolina at Troy
Western Carolina at No. 22 Liberty
Penn State at Nebraska
Wake Forest at North Carolina - UPSET PICK
Vanderbilt at Kentucky
TCU at West Virginia
Army at Tulane
Gardner-Webb at Charlotte
Middle Tennessee at No. 16 Marshall
South Alabama at No. 25 Louisiana
Georgia State at Appalachian State
Fresno State at Utah State
UTEP at UTSA
South Florida at Houston
North Texas at UAB
No. 2 Notre Dame at Boston College
No. 20 USC at Arizona
Rice at Louisiana Tech
Texas State at Georgia Southern
Colorado at Stanford
Louisville at Virginia
Southern Miss at Western Kentucky
Baylor at Texas Tech
Hawai'i at San Diego State
Nevada at New Mexico
Arkansas at No. 6 Florida
No. 19 SMU at Tulsa - ANOTHER UPSET
Pitt at Georgia Tech
No. 11 Oregon at Washington State
No. 13 Wisconsin at Michigan
Florida State at NC State
South Carolina at Ole Miss
No. 23 Northwestern at Purdue
Temple at UCF
Cal at Arizona State
UNLV at San Jose State
Utah at UCLA
Oregon State at Washington - AND YET ANOTHER UPSET

POSTPONED/CANCELLED

No. 1 Alabama at LSU
No. 3 Ohio State at Maryland
No. 5 Texas A&M at Tennessee
No. 12 Georgia at Missouri
No. 24 Auburn at Mississippi State
UL Monroe at Arkansas State
Air Force at Wyoming
Memphis at Navy

*********** GAMES I WILL DEFINITELY START OUT WATCHING…

ARMY AT TULANE - It’s on ESPN+, so I’ll have to watch it on my iPad
MIAMI AT VIRGINIA TECH - For some reason VT is favored
COASTAL CAROLINA AT TROY - I’ve become a big fan of the Chanticleers
PENN STATE AT NEBRASKA - Can Jim the Genius finally get the Lions a win?
WAKE FOREST AT NORTH CAROLINA - Tar Heels should win, but I like the stuff Wake does on offense
NOTRE DAME AT BOSTON COLLEGE - The Catholic Championship. BC always plays the Irish tough.  They already showed they could play with Clemson.
ARKANSAS AT FLORIDA - Mainly to see if Kyle Trask can throw four TD passes for the SIXTH week in a row.  Tough game for the Hogs to be without their coach.
OREGON AT WASHINGTON STATE - Ducks always have trouble winning in the Palouse. WSU’s freshman QB, Jayden DeLaura, has got a cannon for an arm.
WISCONSIN AT MICHIGAN - All sorts of ways to look at this one, when two pre-season favorites - one that hasn’t played in three weeks, the other that hasn’t won in three weeks - meet.
NORTHWESTERN AT PURDUE - Believe it or not, this is for first place in the Big Ten West.
CAL AT ARIZONA STATE - CAL hasn’t played yet. ASU played well enough to beat USC - but didn’t.

*********** Man! College football every night from Tuesday through Saturday. Thank you, Mac!  We enjoyed the Buffalo-Miami game on Tuesday night, and last night (Wednesday) we really enjoyed the Ball State- Eastern Michigan game.

I like the Mac players and the coaches.  It’s high quality football that hasn’t been tainted with the pre-professionalism that infests so much of the Power 5 game.

There’s not a team that we don’t like and can’t root for, but I tend to lean toward Ball State, because it’s Jason Whitlock’s school, and so we watched Ball State-Eastern Michigan last night.

Ball State scored at the buzzer to beat Eastern Michigan, 38-31.  I was especially impressed by Ball State running back Caleb Huntley, a 5-10, 230 pound chunk of power  who rushed 34 times for 204 yards.

I sure would like to line him up at tailback and see how long it took defenses to get tired of tackling him.

And then we watched the recording of the  Toledo and Western Michigan. Western, down by 10 points, scored two TDs in the last minute of play to win, 41-38. The last score came at the very end, with time running out and the Broncos hustling up to the line so they could spike it. They quickly lined up and the QB spiked it.  (But actually,  as the Toledo defense waited for him to spike it, he faked the spike, then pulled up and threw to a wide open receiver in the end zone for the winning score.)

*********** In the process of putting together a little something about special teams play for next Tuesday’s Zoom clinic, I had to include a punt by Oregon State’s Caleb Lightbourn against Washington State  Saturday night.

He was punting out of his own end of the field, and the snap was high. Really high.  He’s 6-3 and he had to jump and still wasn’t able to catch it. He tried to pick it up and bumbled around a bit before doing so and then he managed to escape the lone WSU rusher - they must have had a return on - and scramble to his left.

And then, as more rushers bore in on him, he managed to get off  a left-footed punt (he’s a right-footed kicker) that wound up going 21 yards past the line of scrimmage.

Considering how far back of the line he was when he kicked it, it had to have travelled close to 40 yards in the air.

Needless to say, I had to find out whether he was an Aussie - they can all kick with either foot - or whether there was some soccer in his background.

Turns out the kid’s a transfer from Nebraska. Played three years there and then spent a year of transfer ineligibility at Oregon State.

He did play some soccer  as well as football in high school.  In
(boy, am I embarrassed) Camas, Washington.


*********** At least a right-footed punter can scramble to his left and maybe get off a left-footed punt, as Oregon State’s Caleb Lightbourn was able to do Saturday night against Washington State.

But right handed passers?  Not too many of them can throw left-handed. (Oregon State’s Terry Baker, who won the Heisman in 1962, was the rare one who could).  So maybe somebody can tell me why right-handed passers seem so often to scramble to the left when they get in trouble…

*********** After months of Americans being treated like inmates in many states, of families being warned not to get together for Thanksgiving, of religious groups being warned not to hold services, of people not even being able to honor the dead at funerals,  I have to admit that it pissed me off no end to see the thousands of precious young Notre Dame students storm the field Saturday night.  But, because they were really conscious of not spreading the Deadly Virus That Will Kill Us ALL, most of them were wearing masks.

*********** I can definitely see the day coming when revenue-hungry states will require a license in order to hold any gathering of any size, the fee to be based on the attendance.

Who would argue?  After all, it’s in the interest of public safety. Naturally, there’ll be inspections and all the usual stuff.

But who’s kidding who? It’s going to be a major source of revenue. I’m sure they’ve dreamed of a scheme like this for a long time but never had the nerve to propose it because the people weren’t submissive enough.  But now, all they’ll have to do is say that it’s to fight the Deadly Killer Virus, and Americans will roll right over.  Well, about half of them.

The other half?

Sounds suspiciously like the Stamp Act, the Brits’ clever way of getting revenue from the American colonies by taxing damn near every legal transaction.

We all know how that turned out.

*********** Founding Father John Adams’ pitch for physical education…

“Human nature with all its infirmities and depravation is still capable of great things. It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. . . . But their bodies must be hardened, as well as their souls exalted. Without strength and activity and vigor of body, the brightest mental excellencies will be eclipsed and obscured.”

*********** The death of former Celtics player, coach and broadcaster Tom Heinsohn marks the passing of one of the great legends of one of the great legendary teams in pro sports.  He had a green light to shoot, and I loved what former teammate - and fellow Holy Cross alum - Bob Cousy had to say about him: “In his behalf, he never took a shot unless he had the ball.”

*********** Miami has its Turnover Chain - a gaudy piece of bling that’s awarded to a player who causes a turnover. Oregon State, deep in timber country, has a Turnover Chain Saw.

*********** It’s one of those “Not from around here, are ya, fella?" town names, and CBSSN’s Ben Holden bit on it when he said that Eastern Michigan’s place kicker was “The pride of LEB-uh-nonn, (Lebanon) Pennsylvania.”  I guess it’s an attempt to sound sophisticated, like OR-uh-gonn, but it ain’t right.  Fortunately, Holden’s broadcast partner, Ross Tucker, bailed him out very diplomatically, saying, “He’s a LEBB-a-nin guy.  That’s about 25 miles from where I grew up (Wyomissing, Pennsylvania - just outside Reading - pronounced REDD-ing).”

I’m getting to like Tucker.  He and Holden do most of the Army games on CBSSN, and he knows his football.  And unlike most former retired pro linemen, he’s not a John Madden WHAM! BAM! type.  I especially like the way he got excited when he saw Eastern Michigan pull a couple of linemen on a running play, saying that he played on a wing-T team in high school, and when he pulled out that was the only time his mom ever saw him do anything.

***********
Pat and Mrs. Frank

The Army Goes Rolling Along…

I first got to know Pat Frank in 2008, when he was Lieutenant Colonel Frank, stationed in Fort Riley, Kansas, where he was Battalion Commander of the 2nd Battalion of the 28th Infantry Brigade - the Black Lions.

His idea was to work together with the football program at nearby Kansas State in such things as having his soldiers  - Black Lions - and K-State football players take part in joint physical training exercises.

Thanks in large part to his efforts, the Fort Riley-KSU bond has remained strong in the years since.

As I got to know Pat better, it became apparent to me that this was the sort of guy you’d like to think our entire officer corps is made up of.

When he and the Black Lions were deployed to fight in the Middle East, he asked me if we could round up  DVDs to send to his wife, Jennifer, who would then see that they got to his troops.

(I would find, over the years, what a great team he and Mrs. Frank make.)

As the years went on, as he advanced in rank and moved from post to post, including The Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and Fort Drum, New York, with the 10th Mountain Division, we remained in touch.

(New York State is home to him.  He’s a native of the small western New York town of Cuba, and an ROTC graduate of St. Bonaventure University.  He has a graduate degree from Syracuse. And he’s a long-time fan of the Buffalo Bills.)

Three years ago,  then Colonel Pat Frank was promoted to Brigadier General, and assigned to Fort Polk Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) in Louisiana as Commanding General.

Fort Polk JRTC is the next step before the Real Thing.  It’s as “boots on the ground” as you can get without being in actual combat - where units about to be deployed  (including troops from friendly allied countries) are prepared for conflict.

Back in April of this year, the Army assigned him as Chief of Staff at CENTCOM, the United States Central Command, with responsibility for all US military operations in the Middle East, at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida.

That meant leaving Fort Polk, and recently, my wife and I were fortunate to be able to attend (virtually) the Change of Command ceremony at Fort Polk, in which General Frank turned over command of the post to his successor.

And it was quite a thrill to me when it was announced that Pat Frank had been promoted to Major General, and to see Mrs. Frank present him with his second star.

In his brief speech, he acknowledged her as “my best friend.”

I wrote him to tell him how, as a “coaching couple,” we appreciated the shout-out he gave to his "best friend,” and how impressed we were by the Army’s obvious respect for and recognition of the role wives play in enabling their husbands to best serve their troops.

So many of our institutions were established at a time when wives would automatically be expected to support their husbands’ careers but in these times that often requires a woman with a career of her own to conduct quite a balancing act.  In the case of Jennifer Frank, she has managed to balance a career as a lawyer with the many relocations and responsibilities required of an officer’s wife.

Pat wrote me, “you know the tough times we have experienced in combat with the Black Lions and the Spartans - tough, tough fighting. Back in the States, it was Jennifer attending the Memorial Services with the Families - more difficult than what we do in theater, as we are immediately back in the fight, and we are surrounded by Soldiers.  And the Family is in the States.  She has been committed to the Army.”

Pat and Jennifer Frank are the best. God bless America.

https://www.msjdn.org/our-staff/jennifer-frank/

*********** If only…

What if the NCAA rules makers had listened to Frank Broyles.

Check out what the longtime Arkansas coach and AD had to say in a 1986 interview in Scholastic Coach Magazine…

Since I retired in 1976, the trend has moved more toward the passing game and more and more sophisticated styles of defense. Much of this was brought about by the change in blocking rules that allowed the offensive linemen to use their hands. This has tipped the scales toward the offense.

Up until then the rules-makers had kept a balance between offense and defense on the premise that since the defense did not know the snap count or whether the play would be a run or a pass, they should be allowed to use their hands – thus maintaining the desired balance.

But the new rule has shifted the balance toward offense and I do not approve of it.

Q. Is there any real change you’d like the NCAA to adopt?

The only real change I would recommend would be a penalty of 10 yards and a loss of down for offensive holding.  If a rule cannot be administered, as the officials claim, then the penalty should be made greater.

*********** The Ivy League just announced the cancellation of its basketball season.  What a fun place to be.  What do you think of the chances of their actually playing that spring football season?

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

Wore my patriotic "hawaiian" style shirt in honor of Veterans Day and was complimented by a younger woman saying how much she liked the shirt, but asked, "Wouldn't it be better for me to wear it on the Fourth of July?"

Well...apparently the Army-Navy game WILL be for all the marbles again.  Thank you for that explanation.

Hoping and praying that Notre Dame and Clemson won't suffer any ill effects from the Irish fans' celebration after the Irish beat the Tigers in South Bend on Saturday night.  Also, with BC on deck the Irish better brush up on their football history.  

P.J. Fleck read to his Golden Gophers the book "Everything Poops".  Apparently San Jose State has also read the book.

Speaking of high school playoff structures.  Because of Covid issues our state association for private schools (TAPPS) was forced to restructure their playoff brackets for football.  In our division (Division II) just prior to the start of the season a number of schools chose to either opt out of playing football this year, or, they chose to play 6 man football.  Because of that three of the four districts that make up Division II lost schools and were affected in the initial bracketing set-up.  Two weeks ago TAPPS readjusted the brackets for our Division and guess what?  All eight schools in our district are eligible for the playoffs.  We will play the 3rd seed of District 1 next Friday in the first round.  Crazy.  



Have a great week, and see you again tonight!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  This is the amazing story of a man who was a good football player. Not a great one. He might have become a great football player, but fate took him in other directions, to a life almost indescribable.

Joe Savoldi was born Giuseppe Antonio Savoldi in Italy in 1908, and came to the United States with his family when he was 11. The family settled in the town of Three Oaks, Michigan, in the southwest corner of the state, almost on the Indiana line. Changing his name Giuseppe to the more American “Joe,” he became a high school star in four sports, and so proficient in the English language and so free of an accent that he delivered the valedictory at his graduation.

He was recruited by Michigan, but his family’s being Catholic gave Notre Dame the edge, and although he quit once when Irish coach Knute Rockne moved him to the line, he returned and earned a spot in the backfield.

In his junior season, 1929, he was a standout as the Irish, playing all their games on the road while their new stadium was under construction, went 9-0. Powerfully built at 5-11 and 215, he was fast and quite agile, and after flying through the air to score against Carnegie Tech, he earned the nickname  - “Jumping Joe” - that would follow him though life.

In 1930, he returned an SMU kickoff to score the very first touchdown in the new stadium (the same one, with alterations over the years, that they play in today).

With the Irish 5-0, they travelled to Philadelphia to play once-beaten Penn in front of more than 80,000 spectators - the largest crowd ever to watch a football game in the city - and the Irish won, 60-40, as he rushed for 84 yards and scored a touchdown, his seventh of the season.

But it would be his last game as a Notre Damer.

When was revealed that he had been married to a Protestant and then, on top of it, had been divorced - breaking firm rules of the Catholic school against both mixed marriage and divorce - not even Rockne’s power could save him, and at his coach’s advice, he chose to withdraw from school before he could be expelled.

The Green Bay Packers swooped in and signed him to a contract, but the Bears’ George Halas, citing the “Red Grange Rule” against signing players until their college class had graduated, forced the Packers let him go, whereupon Halas, in defiance of the same rule, signed him to play for the Bears. The league commissioner allowed him to play for the Bears, provided they pay the league a $1,000 “fine” for every  game he played in.

He was paid a grand sum of $12,000 for the three games he played, but he found that he was resented by his teammates, most of whom were making $50 a game.

“I didn’t have 11 enemies. I had 21,” he said years later. “After a while, I just got the ball and held it and stood there and said, ‘Come on.’ Pretty soon, I was riding the bench. Then I quit pro football.”

He played one more game, an All-Star game in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum between his former Notre Dame teammates and an aggregation called the West-South All-Stars, in which he scored three touchdowns in the 20-7 Irish victory.

After the game, two representatives of professional wrestling approached him and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. (Pro wrestling was big even then, and at least as popular as the NFL)

In February of 1931, he was paid $3,500 for his first match.  It took him just 13 minutes to win it.

As he progressed in the sport, he became famous for a trademark move he developed - the dropkick, jumping into the air as he kicked an opponent in the chest with both feet, while landing on his own  back.  He became one of the great attraction in the sport, in one year wrestling 100 matches, and making anywhere from $12,000 to $24,000 a match.

And then along came World War II, and with Italy one of our enemies, he was approached by a newly-formed government agency -  the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of today’s CIA, created by an executive order by President Roosevelt in June 1942.

The  OSS was in need of a person with his fluency in Italian and his fighting ability to go under cover  behind enemy lines.

In June of 1943 he signed on for $400 a month, and after training, pretty much disappeared to those who knew him. To them, he  was touring Europe, entertaining troops by giving wrestling exhibitions.  But in reality, he was leading a double life under the alias Joseph DeLeo, performing feats of bravery behind enemy lines  that few would ever know about. His monthly paychecks were mailed in plain envelopes to his wife,  and not until the publication of  OSS Director Michael Burke’s book  in 1984 - ten years after his death - did she learn the true nature of his work. The entire time he was away, his family would receive periodic letters from the OSS telling them he was “well … and in fine spirits.”

After the War, he told no one of his exploits. His best wrestling days were over, but he did train and develop Bobo Brazil, who became the first black heavyweight wrestling champion.

Settling in Henderson, Kentucky to be near his wife’s mother, he went back to school at nearby Evansville University to finish his college degree, then spent his remaining years as  a science teacher at Henderson County High School.  True to the OSS code of secrecy, his students never knew of the things he’d seen and done. 

Jumping Joe Savoldi died in 1974 at 65.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JUMPING JOE SAVOLDI

SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON
(FOR SUGGESTING JUMPING JOE SAVOLDI)
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
DAVE KEMMICK - MT. JOY, PENNSYLVANIA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA


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

First of all, this is a great analogy that you shared: "Watching the unseemly mainstream media race to “declare” Joe Biden the “winner” of the Presidency, as if that were enough to make it so, I was reminded of the way football teams hurry to run the next play in order to eliminate the possibility of a review that could go against them."

The answer to the quiz today is Jumping Joe Savoldi. Thank you for sharing his story. It is amazing.

https://www.inquirer.com/sports/a/notre-dame-football-wwe-oss-penn-quakers-joe-savoldi-20190911.html

Joe Savoldi
*********** Found the attached PDF about the 1930 ND football team.  P.S. The roster included a player from my hometown too.

Adam Wesoloski
Pulaski, Wisconsin

(For you Domers out there: Notre Dame has an incredibly rich football history, and Coach Wesoloski was kind enough to send me in pdf form the “Review” of the 1930 Notre Dame team in which I found the picture and article on Joe Savoldi. . If you would like a copy, email me and I’ll send it to you.)

***********  What an amazing story!  While I did hear of his wrestling career, not even this Italian knew about his "secret" exploits.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** You certainly won’t be hearing the sobriquet “The Walloping W-p” today!

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

(That’s only printed because it’s a historic fact that that’s what some sportswriters called him! Frank Sinatra, playing “Maggio” in “From Here to Eternity,” let the whole world know when he slugged a guy, saying, “Only my friends call me w-p.”  To show how the world has changed, in 1885, when Washington was still a territory, its legislature established a school for children with disabilities.  They named it the Washington School for Defective Youth.)


*********** That was a great read. I remember a few teachers who had exciting past lives that they never talked about. That was back when not making your private life public was the norm.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Yeah. Imagine Joe Savoldi if they had Facebook then:

“This is me behind enemy lines trying to attach an explosive device to a destroyer.”



*********** QUIZ: He is without a doubt the greatest coach in the history of the University of West Virginia.  He set the standard by which anyone who coaches there will be measured.

Overall, at Bowling Green and West Virginia, his record was 202-128-8.  He was just the 17th coach in major college history to win 200 games.

A native of Mansfield, Ohio, he played quarterback at Bowling Green.

He began as a high school coach, at Mansfield and at perennial Ohio power Canton McKinley, then assisted at Cincinnati and Bowling Green.

He became head coach at Bowling Green, and in nine seasons there had just one losing season. His overall record was 53-35-4.

In 1977, Bo Schembechler hired him to coach the Michigan quarterbacks.


At WVU, in 1980 he took over a program that hadn’t had a winning season in four years, and when he retired after 21 seasons in Morgantown, he’d had 17 winning seasons and taken the Montaineers to 13 bowl games.  His overall record  there was 149-93-8.

He had two teams that went unbeaten in the regular season, and one of them, his 1993 team, was ranked number one before losing to Notre Dame in what was then considered the national title game.

In 1988 he was named the Walter Camp, Bobby Dodd and AFCA coach of the year in and in 1993 he was named the Kodak coach of the year.

Arriving at West Virginia after three years on Schembechler’s staff, the Michigan influence on his approach was evident from the start in the offense, in defense, and in the  uniforms (a new, Michigan shade of blue and a more yellow gold than the drab old-gold that they had been wearing).  One of his motivators, he said,  was the fact that when he first began to look at film, he could never tell which team was West Virginia.

Along with the brighter colors came the new logo for the helmets.  Now known as the “Flying W,” it combined the two letters, W and V, in a way suggestive of the mountains for which the state is known, and it has become known far and wide as a symbol of the university and, for that matter, the entire state.

Not only did he introduce West Virginia fans to a whole new uniform look, but his first game as their coach was also their first game in their new stadium. They won it.

In his first year,  the Mountaineers went 6-6.

In his second season, they were 8-3 and played in the Peach Bowl, where they whipped heavily-favored Florida.

In his third season, West Virginia beat ninth-ranked Oklahoma.  In Norman.

By his fifth year, they had beaten Penn State - something they hadn’t done since 1955 - and ended a seven-year losing streak to Pitt.

In his final game, his Mountaineers defeated Ole Miss in the Music City Bowl.

80 of his players went on to play in the NFL. One of them, a quarterback who went on to a solid pro career, married his daughter.

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

Bobby Bowden, who left West Virginia partly because he felt that the fans weren’t sufficiently appreciative of what he’d done, knew better than anybody how much this coach had accomplished.

“(He) did an amazing job,” Bowden said. “Number  1, he had that Michigan background.  He used to coach at Michigan when he was an assistant coach and he was used to being big-time all the way,  so when he comes to West Virginia he just assumes he’s going to do the same thing here. He changed the uniforms to even look like Michigan. (He) is one of the best coaches ever, in my opinion.”


Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2020 "The people of these United States are the rightful masters of both congresses and courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert that Constitution.” Abraham Lincoln

HONOR VETERANS ON VETERANS DAY

*********** Honor America’s veterans on Veterans Day.  And at a time like this, when the freedoms we’ve all taken for granted may not be so secure as we always thought they were, we should thank God that we had people who spent the best years of their lives - many of them losing those lives in the process - fighting so that we could even make it to this point.  The least we can do for them, after all they’ve done for us,  is not let them down.

*********** Our first veterans…

In 1776, when there was no assurance that the American rebels would be successful in their battle for independence, and in fact there was plenty of reason to be discouraged, George Washington - who had more to lose than most - had this inspirational message, from a pamphlet by Tom Paine, read aloud to his troops:

These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like Hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.

*********** When Colorado State beat Wyoming for the first time in five years Friday night, the CSU Rams celebrated their win by  holding high the Bronze Boot, the trophy that goes to the winner.

The Trophy dates to 1968, when the ROTC units of the two schools had it made from a boot worn in Vietnam by an Army officer who had been an ROTC instructor at Colorado State.

It is an extension of the long  tradition that every year the game ball is delivered to the home field by a relay of ROTC cadets, with the visiting team’s cadets carrying it from their school to the state line, and the home team’s cadets carrying it from the border to the stadium.

*********** Like most Army fans, I was pissed when the news broke on  Thursday that Air Force would not be coming to Army to play.  We Army folks all have our suspicions - I won’t voice mine - but it seems as though it stems from a decision that was made to allow a large number of Air Force’s senior football players to drop out of the Academy for a semester, so that they could return next fall with a season of eligibility left, and still graduate in December.

The decision was made when the WAC announced that it was not going to play this fall, and Air Force chose to play what amounted to a two-game season - against Navy and Army - for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, awarded to the winner of the competition among the three service academies.

At that time,  Air Force gave its football players the option of playing the short season, or preserving their last year of eligibility for next season by not playing. The problem was that there was no way they could graduate from the Academy in June and come back in the fall as - what?

Graduate students?  No such thing at a service academy.

Redshirts? No such thing at a service academy as getting an extra semester free, much less a year  - not at a place where the US taxpayers are picking up the tab.

Nope.  The only way it could be done would be for those players to become “turnouts” - to drop out of the Academy for this fall semester, then return for the second semester, and then (after playing football next fall) graduate next December. That way, they’d still graduate in the Class of 2021.

That’s what some 40 of them - many of them starters or potential starters - chose to do.

And then the WAC threw them a curve, deciding in September that it would play its season after all.  The problem was, those Air Force turnouts had already dropped out of school, and they were no longer academically eligible.

So now there’s Air Force, its roster already depleted by the turnouts, now - possibly  - beset with injuries.  And then, of course, there’s what’s becoming the Get-Out-Of-Anything-Free card - the positive Covid test.  Or, at least, the contact tracing bit.

So there’s no game, and little likelihood of its being played.

Couple of thoughts here:

First of all, service academies have no 85-scholarship limit, like other college programs. That’s because every single cadet or midshipman is on full scholarship, so there is no “under the required number of players on scholarship” excuse that applies to other schools. And besides  those recruited football players, a substantial number of cadets (and midshipmen) have played high school football, so it’s not as if there aren’t enough strong, healthy bodies.

Second of all, the purpose of a service academy is to prepare officers to lead our troops in defense of our country.  It is not to produce football players or to win football games. And in my opinion it is unseemly for an academy to game the system so blatantly as to allow cadets to drop out for what appears to be for the purpose of preserving athletic eligibility.

*********** Watching the mainstream media race to “declare” Joe Biden the “winner” of the Presidency, as if that were enough to make it so, I was reminded of the way football teams hurry to run the next play in order to eliminate the possibility of  a review that could go against them.

*********** In the true spirit of American politics  that says if you can’t win, change the rules,  I decided this past weekend to pick winners without regard to point spread. Since I picked 68 per cent of games successfully this way, and since I haven’t (yet) been caught fixing results, you can expect me to continue.

FRIDAY
W - MIAMI over NC State
L - SAN DIEGO STATE over San Jose State
L - BOISE STATE over BYU
SATURDAY
X - ARMY over Air Force
W - INDIANA over Michigan
W - SMU over Temple
L - ARIZONA STATE over USC
W - TEXAS over West Virginia
L - VIRGINIA TECH over Liberty
W - MEMPHIS over South Florida
L - EAST CAROLINA over Tulane
X - TULSA over Navy
W - NORTH CAROLINA over Duke
W - NORTHWESTERN over Nebraska
W - IOWA over Michigan State
W - LOUISIANA over Arkansas State
W - BOSTON COLLEGE over Syracuse
W - FLORIDA over Georgia
W - CINCINNATI over Houston
L - PENN STATE over Maryland
W - MINNESOTA over Illinois
W - MISSISSIPPI STATE over Vanderbilt
W - OKLAHOMA STATE over Kansas State
X - UTAH over Arizona
L - FLORIDA STATE over Pitt
W - TEXAS A & M over South Carolina
W - IOWA STATE over Baylor
L - UCLA over Colorado
L - CLEMSON over Notre Dame
W - OREGON over Stanford
W - ARKANSAS over Tennessee
W - COASTAL CAROLINA over South Alabama
L - OREGON STATE over Washington State
X - CAL over Washington
W - HAWAII over New Mexico

21 WINNERS - 10 LOSERS

MAYBE IT’S THE CORONAVIRUS, BUT IF  THAT’S THE REASON WHY THIS HAS BEEN SUCH A WILDLY EXCITING AND UNPREDICTABLE SEASON, THEN PLEASE, PFIZER, HOLD OFF ON THE VACCINE UNTIL AFTER THE BOWL GAMES.

BEST/MOST INTERESTING GAMES OF THE WEEKEND:

BYU OVER BOISE STATE - When Boise State’s QB - originally their backup -  had to leave early in the game (he got hit in the head on a quarterback sneak!) there went their offense.  But that still leaves the matter of stopping BYU.

USC OVER ARIZONA STATE - USC, down by 13 with under four minutes, finally comes alive. But they still had to recover an onside kick.

SAN JOSE STATE OVER SAN DIEGO STATE - When was the last time THAT happened?

INDIANA OVER MICHIGAN - It’s official: Indiana beat Michigan because Indiana is better than Michigan.

LIBERTY OVER VIRGINIA TECH - An unbelievable ending. Watch my Zoom Tuesday night if you didn’t see the game.

NORTHWESTERN OVER NEBRASKA - It all started back when you Huskers thought you could fire  Frank Solich and you’d automatically keep winning nine or ten games a year.

IOWA OVER MICHIGAN STATE - Hawkeyes crushed the Spartans, who last week beat Michigan.

FLORIDA OVER GEORGIA - Gators took an early punch - fell behind 14-0 in the first three minutes of play - but got back up and took it to the Bulldogs.

MARYLAND OVER PENN STATE - for only the third time in their long history. My son called it the Beano Cook Bowl, in honor of the late, great football expert who once explained his selection in the  Penn State-Maryland game in a year when the Terps were unusually strong: “Penn State will beat Maryland… Because Penn State ALWAYS beats Maryland.”

MISSISSIPPI STATE OVER VANDERBILT - In the battle of the winless, somebody HAD to win.

OKLAHOMA STATE OVER KANSAS STATE - Just a good, tough game that went down to the wire.

COLORADO OVER UCLA - Where did THIS  Buffs’ team come from?

NOTRE DAME OVER CLEMSON - For the second week in a row Clemson tried to give a game away, but this week they were playing a team that was  good enough to beat them.

*********** OBSERVATIONS FROM A WEEKEND OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL

*** In almost a f—k you to the rulesmakers, I’m seeing pants that now barely cover thigh pads, let alone the knees.

*** The San Jose State QB had to leave the game when he was tackled and his head whiplashed and hit the ground. Could that have been prevented with a stronger neck?

*** “Holiday Season” has already started in the advertising.  That would be what we once called the “Christmas” Holiday,  Thanksgiving now having been all but eliminated by Democratic governors and the Little Doctor.

*** Maybe nobody else will say it, but I will: I don’t care how good a quarterback Trevor Lawerence is. Looking at him with his helmet off gives me the creeps.

*** If I tune in to a Fox channel one more time to watch a football game and they’re interviewing drivers from a race that’s just finished and the announcer says, “College football coming up - as soon as we’re finished here…” and it goes on for fifteen minutes…

*** Just like they do with holding, which occurs on every offensive play, maybe they should just allow a certain amount of blocking in the back on all kickoffs.

*** A San Diego State punt return man bobbled the catch,  and then those a&&holes on TV showed the kid on the sidelines FIVE different times.  The only thing missing was some sort of caption identifying him and giving everybody his cell phone number.

*** If you want to know who’s announcing the game you’re watching, go to awfulannouncing.com

*** Joel Klatt talks too much.  So does Brock Huard.

*** With so many of the talking heads, it’s as if they are working to fit the game into their chatter, rather than having something intelligent and concise  to say between plays.

*** Tony Dungy is really good. He’s calm and measured, and says a lot by saying little.

*** If you have to hire female play-by-play announcers (I disagree) could you at least hire ones that don’t have shrill, harsh voices?

*** So much of offensive football “strategy”  is becoming like basketball used to be, when four guys would just get out of the way and the star would go one-on-one with his defender.  Now, when a football team gets down close,  it’s a game of  split out the great receiver and throw it up there.

*** USC’s Drake London is really a good receiver.

*** USC had a flyover for a TD, and one of the announcers said it was reminiscent of Spencer Tillman.  The other mentioned Marcus Allen.  Not a word about Sam Cunningham, who did it three times in the Rose Bowl Game. But that’s ancient history.

*** Wish people would be a little more specific about what they want people to do when they throw around phrases like “It takes all of us.”

*** It looked as if the postgame meeting between Dino Babers and Jeff Healey might have been less than cordial, but I can’t be sure and I hope that wasn’t the case.

*** Penn State punched in a useless TD in against Maryland’s JVs with 11 seconds to play to make the score 35-19.  And then they went for two.  And didn’t make it. Sorry, Lions. You can't fool us.  For those of us who saw it, the  real score was 35-13.

*** Analyst Matt Millen, a Penn Stater, tried to put a nice spin on the Penn State defeat, their worst in years: “Maryland is a much better team than they were a year ago.”

*** I can’t stand the “boys will be boys” attitude of so many announcers as they wink at a case of holding when they see one. Either ignore it or deplore it, because it’s against the rules and it gives the perp an unfair advantage.  But don’t, for God’s sake, act as if it’s just a prank.

*** Thanks to a certain pretender to the presidency and his “acceptance” speech, we had to change channels for both Notre Dame-Clemson and Oregon-Stanford.

*********** Evidently NBA basketballers are up in arms over the league’s decision to bring them back to start play in December.

The irony here is that there was a time in their lives when they - all of them - played basketball around the clock, non-stop.  For nothing.

But now that they’re getting paid millions to play the game…

*********** Hey - maybe there’s something to this virtual classroom stuff!  (Sorry if you don’t know me personally, because if you did you’d recognize that as sarcasm.)
Why, the two biggest school districts in our area, with four conventional high schools each, plus an assortment of specialty schools of one sort or another,  announced breathlessly that they’d achieved a 90 per cent graduation rate for the Class of 2020.

This from one of the principals: “As the state has allowed students to demonstrate mastery of a subject in a variety of different assessment options rather than just taking one type of test, more students are finding a path to graduation. “

You have to sort of know what you’re reading to figure out the game.

***********  Back in August, the Washington state high school association (WIAA) decided to move the entire fall sports season to a niche (from mid-February to late April) between shortened winter and spring seasons.

But in recognizing the fact that Covid19 still lurks, ready to wipe out our entire nation on a moment’s notice,  it made provisions for the possibility that different parts of the state might be affected differently.

It divided the state into three regions: one, west of the Cascades (which rather neatly divide Washington) and running from Seattle north to the Canadian border; another, west of the Cascades and running from south of Seattle to the Columbia River and the border with Oregon; and the third, all of the state east of the Cascades.

Then, it was determined that whether or not football can be played at all in a region will depend on whether at least 50 percent of its teams “meet the metrics” in their counties that would allow teams to play.  In the case that a region might not be able to play, the state will give that region the option of moving football to the spring season.

Here’s where it gets interesting.  Following regular season play, there would be time for just two rounds of post-season play. That would hardly do to determine a champion in the usual manner, so for this season only, each region will have its own final four and two weeks to determine its champion.  And - for this season only -  the three regional champions would each be designated  “state champions.”

Now, despite what you might think, I have no problem with this. I don’t see it as a feel-good,  “Trophies for Everybody” scheme.

First of all, I never have been in favor of the notion,  foisted on us by the pros,  that we have to hold loser-out playoffs, week after week after week, until only one team goes home happy. For that same reason,  I don’t favor a college playoff. With the bowl system, half the players in America ended their seasons with a win.

Then there’s this: With Washington’s population just under 7,900,000, the population of each of the three regions would be around 2,600,000.  That’s larger than the populations of 14 states and the District of Columbia, which all have their championships.   Are you going to tell me that the champion of Idaho, or Nebraska, or West Virginia - all states with fewer people than one of Washington’s three regions - is not a true state champion?

*********** Witnessed a game with a power outage a couple of years. A friend of mine coaches at Peshtigo, WI (bigger fire the same day as the one in Chicago) and as it got close to dark and halftime they flipped on the lights but they didn't work. Instead of waiting until the next day -- the other time was from well over an hour away -- they packed everything up and went 6 miles to Marinette (who must have been on the road that night) for the rest of game.

Adam Wesoloski
Pulaski, Wisconsin


*********** Greg Koenig writes from Colorado Springs…

Check out the list below from Colorado Preps. This is a list of Colorado high school teams that, as of Wednesday evening, had to cancel their games this week because of Covid (positive cases or quarantine issues) or not having enough players. At least one more was added to the list today. Manitou Springs ended up cancelling their season without ever having played a game. I am hoping that things will settle down and we'll get to play our spring season. There are 10 teams in the 1A classification, including the Ellicott Thunderhawks (our school), who opted for the spring season. CHSAA informed the ADs today that 8 of the 10 will make the spring season playoffs. I like our chances. Our kids are making BIG strides in the weight room, and I've been able to recruit a few athletes. We are going to have some big young kids up front and a couple of very good wings. It will be interesting to see how our kids do coming out of basketball and wrestling season right before our first practice on February 25.


Teams that have cancelled games this week - not all are covid - does not include many teams from past weeks such as Manitou Springs, Middle Park & Summit

Columbine
Eaglecrest
Chaparral
Rock Canyon
Douglas County
Highlands Ranch
Thornton
Palmer Ridge
Fort Morgan
Thompson Valley
Limon
McClave
Hi Plains
Kit Carson
Pinnacle
Weldon Valley
Idalia
Center
Coronado
Cotopaxi
ThunderRidge
Walsh
Sangre De Cristo


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

Well, if Army can beat Navy at Michie Stadium this year it appears the Army-Air Force game (that will now take place AFTER the Army-Navy game) will be THE game in determining the winner of the CIC trophy.  Hey, it's 2020.

The democrat/socialists and their narrative have successfully brought this country to the brink of another Civil War.  Albeit a bloodless one, but a bloody one can't be too far down the road if they continue their lying, cheating, stealing, and dividing.

Sean Connery fit the suave, debonair, cool, character of James Bond in Ian Fleming's 007 film adaptations, but Daniel Craig hit the nail on the head of the darker aspects of 007's character in Fleming's books.  However, Connery's acting skills could take on a wider array of characters in film which made him such a remarkable actor, and probably why that beer can is now worth so much money.

Harbaugh has already won at the professional and collegiate levels.  Only a couple other levels left!

Thankfully we don't live in a blue state.  My family from CA will be joining us for Thanksgiving down here in the Lone Star state.

Haven't been involved in a game delayed by an electrical outage, but have been involved in a couple other interesting delays.  A lightning delay in Columbus, OH at the start of a 7:30 pm game (required 30 minutes).  Returned to the field after the all clear only to get delayed again in the second quarter (another required 30 minutes).  Returned to the field after the second all-clear and finished the second quarter. Went in at half but got delayed again right before going out (another required 30 minute delay).  Returned to the field after the third all-clear and was able to finish the third quarter until...you guessed it!  Score was tied at the time so we couldn't just call it.  Finally got back out to win and finish the game at 11:30.

The other weird one was due to an officials crew mix-up on an away game.  Couldn't reschedule because too many coaches and players on BOTH teams wouldn't be able to make it on that Saturday.  The opposing coach/AD didn't want to call it a No Contest.  We ended up waiting for an officials crew to complete a game a few miles away.  Started the game at 9:30.  Thankfully we played it with a running clock in the second half, but still got back to our school at midnight.  I didn't get home until 1:30 that morning because I got pulled over for a busted tail light.  Winning the game took the edge off that whole ordeal.

I have a name for you.  One of the best high school linemen I've ever coached, and a truly outstanding young man.  Jeremiah Johnson.  And as rugged an individual as his namesake.

Enjoy your weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Mark May played his high school ball in the upstate New York town of Oneonta, not far from Cooperstown, where the baseball Hall of Fame is located.

He played his college ball at Pitt, where in his senior years he was a unanimous All-American and won the Outland Trophy. An offensive tackle, he did not permit a single sack in his last two years of college play.

Those were very good Pitt teams, finishing in the Top Ten three of his four years.  Like him, eight of his teammates his senior year - Dwight Collins, Jimbo Covert, Hugh Green, Russ Grimm, Ricky Jackson, Tim Lewis, Bill Maas and Dan Marino - played in the NFL.

He was the first draft choice of the Washington Team That Shall Not Be Named, and played with them for nine seasons as part of one of the most famous offensive lines in NFL history.

With the Washington No-Names, he won two Super Bowl rings and played in a Pro Bowl. He is among the Top 80 Redskins (sorry, but that’s its name) of all time.

He played one year with the Chargers and two years with the Cardinals, and then retired to embark on a broadcasting career.
 
From 2001 until 2015, he was an analyst on ESPN’s college football studio shows, and became popular for the back-and-forth between him and Lou Holtz.

In 2017, he was let go by ESPN as part of a major cost-cutting move.

Mark May is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING MARK MAY

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
TOM WALLS - WINNIPAG, MANITOBA

*********** The guy used to drive me nuts with his ND diatribes, but his exchanges with Coach Holtz were memorable.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** Joe "Fired for being an "Old Fart" Moore was his O-Line Coach at Pitt...Coach Moore is given quite a lot of honor among the Hawkeyes (He was Coach Ferentz's HS coach!)...Joe Moore award is really kind of cool in that its given to a team's O-Line as a unit!

Coach Kaz
Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

Joe Moore’s book “Personal Foul,” in which he tells the story of how Bob Davie let him go, and then about his having to sue Notre Dame for age discrimination is a sad one, and a dark smirch on Bob Davie’s record.  I’d like to think that if he were to do it over again, he’d treat Coach Moore a lot differently.

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

Oneonta is the first place that I saw the double wing. I was coaching a 9th grade team and we scrimmaged their JV team. 56 and 47 C went for a touchdown each time they ran it. That was not the game that caused me to think, “If I am ever an OC, that is the offence we will run.” That occurred two years latter, when as a varsity assistant, we played Corning West and they took the opening kickoff, drive for 7 minutes, scored, then got an onside kick to put together a 5 minute drive.

We did not call an offensive play until the second quarter.

I also remember your story about the delayed game. What you left out of the retelling was how you and Coach Bridge stayed up all night reviewing the film and adjusting the wrist coaches. Another example of how valuable the wrist coaches are.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

*********** QUIZ: This is the amazing story of a man who was a good football player. Not a great one. He might have become a great football player, but fate took him in other directions, to a life almost indescribable.

He was born in Italy in 1908, and came to the United States with his family when he was 11. The family settled in the town of Three Oaks, Michigan, in the southwest corner of the state, almost on the Indiana line. Changing his name Giuseppe to the more American “Joe,” he became a high school star in four sports, and so proficient in the English language and so free of an accent that he delivered the valedictory at his graduation.

He was recruited by Michigan, but his family’s being Catholic gave Notre Dame the edge, and although he quit once when Irish coach Knute Rockne moved him to the line, he returned and earned a spot in the backfield.

In his junior season, 1929, he was a standout as the irish, playing all their games on the road while their new stadium was under construction, went 9-0. Powerfully built at 5-11 and 215, he was fast and quite agile, and after flying through the air to score against Carnegie Tech, he earned the nickname  - “Jumping Joe” - that would follow him though life.

In 1930, he returned an SMU kickoff to score the very first touchdown in the new stadium (the same one, with alterations over the years, that they play in today).

With the Irish 5-0, they travelled to Philadelphia to play once-beaten Penn in front of more than 80,000 spectators - the largest crowd ever to watch a football game in the city - and the Irish won, 60-40, as he rushed for 84 yards and scored a touchdown, his seventh of the season.

But it would be his last game as a Notre Damer.

When it was revealed that he had been married to a Protestant and then, on top of it, had been divorced - breaking firm rules of the Catholic school against both mixed marriage and divorce - not even Rockne’s power could save him, and at his coach’s advice, he chose to withdraw from school before he could be expelled.

The Green Bay Packers swooped in and signed him to a contract, but the Bears’ George Halas, citing the “Red Grange Rule” against signing players until their college class had graduated, forced the Packers let him go, whereupon Halas, in defiance of the same rule, signed him to play for the Bears. The league commissioner allowed him to play for the Bears, provided they pay the league a $1,000 “fine” for every  game he played in.

He was paid a grand sum of $12,000 for the three games he played, but he found that he was resented by his teammates, most of whom were making $50 a game.

“I didn’t have 11 enemies. I had 21,” he said years later. “After a while, I just got the ball and held it and stood there and said, ‘Come on.’ Pretty soon, I was riding the bench. Then I quit pro football.”

He played one more game, an All-Star game in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum between his former Notre Dame teammates and an aggregation called the West-South All-Stars, in which he scored three touchdowns in the 20-7 Irish victory.

After the game, two representatives of professional wrestling approached him and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. (Pro wrestling was big even then, and at least as popular as the NFL)

In February of 1931, he was paid $3,500 for his first match.  It took him just 13 minutes to win it.

As he progressed in the sport, he became famous for a trademark move he developed - the dropkick, jumping into the air as he kicked an opponent in the chest with both feet, while landing on his own  back.  He became one of the great attractions in the sport, in one year wrestling 100 matches, and making anywhere from $12,000 to $24,000 a match.

And then along came World War II, and with Italy one of our enemies, he was approached by a newly-formed government agency -  the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of today’s CIA, created by an executive order by President Roosevelt in June 1942.

The  OSS was in need of a person with his fluency in Italian and his fighting ability to go under cover  behind enemy lines.

In June of 1943 he signed on for $400 a month, and after training, pretty much disappeared to those who knew him. To them, he  was touring Europe, entertaining troops by giving wrestling exhibitions.  But in reality, he was leading a double life under the alias Joseph DeLeo, performing feats of bravery behind enemy lines  that few would ever know about. His monthly paychecks were mailed in plain envelopes to his wife,  who never knew where he was or what he was doing. Not until the publication of  OSS Director Michael Burke’s book  in 1984 - ten years after his death - did she learn the true nature of his work. The entire time he was away, his family would receive periodic letters from the OSS telling them he was “well … and in fine spirits.”

After the War, he told no one of his exploits. His best wrestling days were over, but he did train and develop Bobo Brazil, who became the first black heavyweight wrestling champion.

Settling in Henderson, Kentucky to be near his wife’s mother, he went back to school at nearby Evansville University to finish his college degree, then spent his remaining years as  a science teacher at Henderson County High School.  True to the OSS code of secrecy, his students never knew of the things he’d seen and done. 

He died in 1974 at 65.



Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2020 “Wise men don’t need advice. Fools won’t take it.” Benjamin Franklin

*********** Apologies to anyone whom I may have failed to respond to lately .  The fact is, your email has been buried in the incredible flood of political emails I’ve been receiving - hundreds per day - and it’s taking me a lot of time to trash it all and get to the emails that I need to answer.

*********** “Dancing With the Stars can count 130 million votes in five minutes.” Rush Limbaugh

*********** With the great increase in games as more conferences come on board, I’ve had to limit them to those that I give a sh—- about.  And in the great tradition of American politics  that says if you can’t win, change the rules,  I’ve decided that (this week at least) I am strictly picking winners - no point spreads involved.  We’ll see.

FRIDAY

MIAMI over NC State
SAN DIEGO STATE over San Jose State
BOISE STATE over BYU

SATURDAY

ARMY over Air Force
INDIANA over Michigan
SMU over Temple
ARIZONA STATE over USC
TEXAS over West Virginia
VIRGINIA TECH over Liberty
MEMPHIS over South Florida
EAST CAROLINA over Tulane
TULSA over Navy
 NORTH CAROLINA over Duke
NORTHWESTERN over Nebraska
IOWA over Michigan State
LOUISIANA over Arkansas State
BOSTON COLLEGE over Syracuse
FLORIDA over Georgia
CINCINNATI over Houston
PENN STATE over Maryland
MINNESOTA over Illinois
MISSISSIPPI STATE over Vanderbilt
OKLAHOMA STATE over Kansas State
UTAH over Arizona
FLORIDA STATE over Pitt
TEXAS A & M over South Carolina
IOWA STATE over Baylor
UCLA over Colorado
CLEMSON over Notre Dame
OREGON over Stanford
ARKANSAS over Tennessee
COASTAL CAROLINA over South Alabama
OREGON STATE over Washington State
CAL over Washington
HAWAII over New Mexico

*********** NFHS HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

FRIDAY NIGHT

GEORGIA - 7:30 EST
GRAYSON (7-0) VS BROOKWOOD (6-1)

Just had a chance to watch Grayson, Georgia High, whose Friday night game against Parkview I’d recorded.  Grayson is good. (Duh.) They were the top team in Georgia 7A even before Jake Garcia joined them - Garcia is the California QB who, after his state postponed the season, moved 2300 miles with his father to play in Valdosta, Georgia. The state association ruled him ineligible to play at Valdosta, but somehow or other ruled it was okay for him to play for Grayson, so there you are. Bob’s your uncle.

Garcia is good. With just two days’ practice at his new school, he looked pretty good. (One of the ugly aspects of today’s generic spread offenses is that a kid can be  brought in and adapt to the system overnight. Sounds like the NFL, doesn’t it?) With Garcia, Grayson is really, really good.

But even more than their new QB, I was impressed by Grayson’s ace running back, a kid named Phil Mafah.  He’s big (6-1, 215), with power and breakaway speed,  and he’s committed to Clemson.

GEORGIA - 7:30 EST
LOWNDES COUNTY (6-0) VS COLQUITT COUNTY (5-0)

TEXAS - 7:30 CST
DE SOTO (4-0)  VS CEDAR HILL (4-0)

IDAHO - 7:00 MST
HIGHLAND, Pocatello  (8-2) VS ROCKY MOUNTAIN, Meridian (6-0)

ARIZONA - 7:00 MST

HAMILTON, Chandler (4-0)  VS HIGHLAND, Gilbert (4-1)

*********** Sean Connery is dead. RIP.  I remember the first time I saw the guy. I was in a theatre in Winchester, Virginia, and I was watching “From Russia With Love” and thinking, “This guy is cool.  Really cool.”

Later, I would have a personal experience with Sean Connery/James Bond. The brand, not the person. At the brewery where I once worked,  I was involved in negotiating for the rights to use “James Bond” and “007” for a new malt beverage we planned to introduce.

It came to be called “James Bond’s 007 Special Blend,” and it was, to use our advertising geniuses’ words, “A Subtle Blend of Premium Beer and Malt Liquor.”  Yeah. A “blend” of our Colt 45 Malt Liquor and A-1 Beer, which we brewed at our Phoenix brewery.  That may have been the first time anyone ever called A-1 a “premium beer.” (A beer guy myself, to be honest, I don’t recall ever drinking the “blend”.)

There were several  different cans - I think there were seven, but I’m not sure - each following the basic design of a nice-looking woman (James Bond was, uh, handy with the ladies) with a different London scene in the background. 

The product never sold worth a crap.  We put it out into a test market or two and when it flopped, we pulled it off the market.

There’s where the story actually starts. We just ordered one initial “run” of cans,  and most of them, as was the usual practice, were drained and then thrown away, to wind up in some dump someplace. And there - this was before aluminum cans - to rust away.

That wouldn’t have happened today, when there’s a fairly active group of beer can collectors, but no one then thought to hang onto their  007 cans.  No one except me.  I kept a few around just as souvenirs.

Now, more than 50 years later, as rare collector’s items, those empty James Bond cans are valued at $400 apiece.

*********** I like to shoot pool.  I’m nowhere near as good as I’d like to be, but who is? (One thing I learned very early was that before you start getting the idea that you’re pretty good - there’s always somebody better.)

I’ve found that a lot of lessons from pool can be applied to football, such as these:

Amateurs practice a shot until they make it; pros practice it until they can’t miss.

The easiest way to win is to not let the other guy shoot.

*********** I’ve read in more that one place that with jobs open in Houston and Atlanta, Jim Harbaugh could very well be coaching in the NFL next year.

He’s certainly good enough.

Consider: Michigan is the first place where he could be considered less than successful. Yet at Ann Arbor,  he’s 48-19 at this point.  That’s .716, which is as good as it gets in the NFL, and at most colleges would be good enough to get a coach a lifetime contract - faculty tenure even.

But - to quote the late, great Bo Schembechler - this is Michigan, son, and they aren’t satisfied with .716.  Hey -  that’s only 8 to 9 wins a season!  Plus, he’s 0-5 against Ohio State. And, most recently,  he’s fresh off a whipping by “Little Brother” (as one dumb  Michigan player once publicly referred to Michigan State).

Michigan isn’t likely to fire him, because he is a Michigan man, and besides, his buyout is extremely large.  But with only two years left on his contract, there appears to be some dithering about extending it.

My assessment is that the problem at Michigan is not Harbaugh.  I suspect that there is something going on there - perhaps someone in a position of power who isn’t truly committed to success on the field.  That could be the President - who opposed playing football - and it’s perhaps understandable at  a university that ranks among America’s best public universities. But it might be leading Harbaugh to wonder if it’s possible to get the job done at Michigan.

Which could lead to Harbaugh’s seeing the NFL as offering him a better chance for success.

*********** Congratulations to Tommy Tuberville, a longtime football coach who made it to the top of our profession (Ole Miss, Auburn, Texas Tech, Cincinnati), once being named College Football Coach of the Year and twice being named SEC Coach of the Year.

He’s now Senator Tuberville, a Republican from Alabama.

*********** Looks as if we won’t be having Thanksgiving at our place this year. One of our daughters and her husband  and their three kids live near Seattle, about  3-1/2 hours from us, and typically they’d spend three or four days with us, just relaxing and socializing. And they’ve always enjoyed spending some time across the river in Portland, checking out stores and restaurants.

To protect us old-timers during this time of the Wuhan Flu panic, they offered to spend some time cooped up (quarantined, I guess you’d call it) in advance of coming,  but while we appreciated their thoughtfulness and concern for us old farts, we didn’t feel right about it.  Come on, man — two of the grandkids are college kids who’ll be home on break. How in good conscience could we ask them to cloister at home for a week or so?

Not much sense coming here anyway, since there’s not much to see or do in Portland these days.  Maybe you’ve heard something about their days on end of “mostly peaceful protests,” but unless you’re into looking at plywood storefronts, covered with graffiti, and stepping over and around homeless bums as you walk the streets,  Portland is lacking in attractions.

And then, Plan B hit me: maybe at least we could all meet someplace halfway for dinner.

Yes!  I thought. Hawks Prairie!  It’s in Lacey, Washington, just north of Olympia, the state Capitol, and it’s about halfway.  Often, when driving back home from a visit to the kids, we’d stop there for breakfast. Except for the absence of scrapple, it served about as good a breakfast as I’ve found anywhere.

Short story: my wife called to see if we’d need reservations - and found the number was disconnected. Further investigation disclosed that they’d shut down back in February.

I guess this was supposed to cushion our disappointment - the article about Hawks Prairie’s closing said that after the building was demolished there would be a Chik-fil-A and a Taco Bell in its place.

Talk about the death of small business. How many thousands of one-off, family-owned restaurants in the US have been - or will be - wiped out by this China Virus hysteria, to wind up being replaced by chain restaurants? 

*********** Sounds like my kind of politician. El Paso County (Colorado) Commissioner Longino Gonzalez had an easily understandable response to the Governor’s decision to increase restrictions on people and  businesses:

“No disrespect to the Governor, but he can take his increased restrictions mandate and stick it.”

*********** Since Governor Jay Dipshit (D, Washington) shut down the Evergreen State back in March, the bastard’s never been seen without a mask.  Anywhere.  But Tuesday night, his reelection secure, he gave his acceptance speech without one.

***********  MACtion is back!  The MAC returned to action Wednesday night -  (last night, as I write this.)

WEDNESDAY NIGHT’S GAMES
Western Michigan 58,  Akron 13
Kent State 27, Eastern Michigan 23
Buffalo 49,  Northern Illinois 30
Central Michigan 30, Ohio 27
Miami 38, Ball State 31
Toledo 38, Bowling Green 3

MAC REACTIONS:

One of the things I like best about the MAC is that there are no dynasties and no perennial cellar dwellers. I do worry a bit about Akron and Bowling Green, but otherwise I doubt that there’s a conference in football that over the course of a decade or so has experienced such parity.

*** With 1:17 left in the first half of the Ohio-Central Michigan game, the stadium lights went out. Ever resourceful, the people in charge of the game decided to send the teams in as if it actually were halftime, and - showing great faith in the local electricians - play the remaining 1:17 when they came out. Then, they’d go right into the third quarter.

Things worked out as planned. When they came back from “halftime,” Ohio scored just before the end of the “half,” and then, just minutes later, scored again by returning the “second half” kickoff for a TD.

Sideline announcer Quint Kessenich sounded awestruck as he said, “I’ve never seen a power outage.” (I think he meant at a game.)

I have.  I’ve coached in one.  It was 2014, in Ocean Shores, Washington -  Raymond against North Beach.

Nothing out of the ordinary took place in the first half, and we went in tied, 6-6.

But as we (North Beach) prepared to go out for the second half, a couple of local firemen whom I recognized pushed past us in an obvious hurry, headed to the box on the back wall that contained the  controls that turned our lights on and off.  They quickly turned them off.  Obviously, there was some sort of problem.

Told there was no chance of restoring light that night, the officials and the two athletic directors decided - after first making sure that they could get officials - to resume the game the next day (Saturday) at 1 PM.

The Raymond team got on their bus and headed home, about an hour and a half away.

Meanwhile, we called for a 10 AM practice, and our head coach’s wife, Kris Bridge, immediately assembled enough moms to prepare a 9 AM breakfast for the kids.

The next day, kids ate, we held a walk-through to try to correct some things we’d seen as we'd looked at video well into the early morning, and then went in and got dressed.

At one PM, eighteen hours after the opening kickoff, an even bigger crowd than the night before - word spreads quickly in a small town - was on hand for the second half kickoff.

At the end of regulation the score was still 6-6.

We whiffed in the top half of the first overtime period, and when Raymond stalled inside our 10 and attempted a field goal - we blocked it, and we went into second overtime.

In the top half, we held Raymond.  But in the bottom half, we struggled, finally getting to fourth-and-four on the 19.  The call, for those of you familiar with our Open Wing terminology: West Atlantic Strong Sprint Brown Smash.

Touchdown.

Our quarterback made a beautiful throw on the run, to the corner of the end zone, and our slot back made a great catch.

It took our players a moment to realize what had just happened, and then they went nuts.

Interestingly, we’d scored on the very first play of the game - a return of the opening kickoff - and the very last. The two plays were 19 and a half hours apart.

*** Mike Golic, Jr., who is off to a career as an analyst, made a great "catch" after they called an illegal blindside block on a receiver and he noticed that it had occurred on a mesh, with receivers crossing; but then, not too much later,  I have him a five-yard penalty for saying “Him and Will Evans ran into each other.”  And to think that him is  a Notre Dame grad.

*** Although in their own territory, all Ball State had to do was kill 40 seconds and they’d be in overtime with Miami. But no-o-o-o-o… They had to throw the g-d  ball, and the QB, sprinting to the right, threw off balance - right to a Miami defender. It took Miami just 26 seconds to punch it in and win, 38-31.

*** Great scheduling, ESPN. We tuned into the Toledo-Bowling Green game and found a women’s volleyball match going on.  And on.  And on.We finally got the football game with 8:20 left in the first quarter. And, with Toledo already ahead, 12-0, the game was as good as over.

*** A NICE TRIBUTE TO THE MAC FROM A VETERAN COACH -

I’m so glad the MAC football is back. It really is an important conference. Not just for Wednesday night football either.

We are only 45 minutes from Northern Illinois University so we have got to know a lot of the coaches and teams in the MAC over the years.

A lot of the coaches in the MAC really love it. It’s out of the big national scrutiny so they can experiment a little bit and actually socialize a little more than the big boys can afford to.

Think of all the coaches that started there. I’m sure you have a ton of examples.

A few years ago you would have said the top two coaches in NCAA were Urban Meyer and Nick Saban. Both of their first head coaching jobs were in the MAC. Toledo for Saban and Bowling Green for Meyer.

The only negatives seem to be the money and the turnover. Assistant coaches don’t make as much as a veteran high school teacher would.

Urban Meyer said at a clinic once, you need to leave before you get fired. That’s what the coach he took over for, Gary Blackney told him.

Blackney started out very well at Bowling Green. Won a lot of games and the family loved the community. Decided to stay, hit a downturn, got fired. That’s what led to Urban getting hired.

Take care,
John Bothe
Oregon, Illinois

****Watching a MAC game, I was mystified when after a field goal, the referee made the illegal procedure signal and called “Illegal formation on the defense.”  And then he said something about illegal formation against the center. 

Remember this, from Tuesday?

RULE 9-1-2.o. When a team is in scrimmage kick formation, a defensive player may not initiate contact with the snapper until one second has elapsed after the snap.

Hey ref - a guy clearly hit the center before a second had elapsed. That’s a FIFTEEN yard penalty.

*********** ESPN: Sports, it's what unites us

: ESPN, using sports to divide us

*********** A name that could make you decide that maybe you weren’t cut out to be a football announcer after all..
Tevye Schuettpelz-Rohl, Kicker, Air Force

This, from John Bothe, in Oregon, Illinois:  Outstanding XC runner from Rockford Christian.

D’Artagnon Beaver.

If anyone has trouble with the pronunciation think Three Musketeers

(While we’re on the subject of Three Musketeers, back in the 1950s USC had a nice running back named Aramis Dandoy.)

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

On this election day I continue to pray for this country and its future.

Sad to hear about the passing of Herb Adderley.  With the passing of all these former NFL greats lately I'm reminded too often of my age.

Joe Biden wouldn't know a chicken from a duck.  Actually, poor ol' Joe likely doesn't know what either of them are.

Army needs to stick to its "guns" this week and bludgeon the Air Force by running the football.

Apparently the Minnesota defense is younger than I previously thought..., and they need a kicker.

Unfortunately we won't know how good Notre Dame's defense is without having to face Trevor Lawrence.  Clemson's backup QB made a good showing in his first start, but he is still a true freshman and will be facing that same Irish defense.  The key for ND will be how to stop the Tigers' talented RB, and how well the Irish O Line will fare vs. Clemson's front four.

Regardless of whether USC and UCLA can't have parents/families attend the game folks in CA better get used to small gatherings.  They may have to change that game to a high school stadium.

Finally, I will definitely tune in to your Zoom clinic tomorrow.  Although we have lights at our school we aren't allowed to use them for practices which means practices end earlier giving me the opportunity to get home by 6:30.  

Hopefully we will have an enjoyable week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ ANSWER:   Marcus Lattimore could possibly have become one of the greatest running backs ever to come out of the South, in  a class with the likes of Bo Jackson and Hershel Walker.  As it was, he was pretty doggone good.

He and his hopes of a long and successful football career were  dealt a devastating blow, yet by all accounts he has moved on in pursuit of more important life goals.

He came out of powerhouse Byrnes High School in Duncan, South Carolina, where in his senior year he was a high school All-American and was named South Carolina’s Mister Football.

He was recruited to play at South Carolina by Steve Spurrier, and his rival in Columbia would mark the start of the greatest era in the history of Gamecocks’ football.  His freshman year, South Carolina would win 9 games for the first time in nine years, and for  each of the next three years they would win 11 games.

As a freshman, he was an immediate sensation.

In his second game, against Georgia, he carried 37 times for 182 yards and two touchdowns; against Alabama, then ranked #1, he carried 23 times for 93 yards; against Tennessee, he rushed 29 times for 184 yards; and against Florida, he carried 40 times for 212 yards.

In the process, South Carolina won the SEC East, and in the championship game, he carried 16 times for 84 yards.

He was injured and played little in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, but at season’s end he was named NCAA Freshman of the Year. In all, he rushed for 1.197 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also caught 29 passes for 412 yards.

His sophomore season started out great - in the season opener against East Carolina, he gained 112 yards on 23 carries, and scored three touchdowns; against Georgia, he gained 176 yards on 27 carries; against Navy, he rushed for 246 yards and three touchdowns; against Vanderbilt, he rushed for 77 yards and a touchdown, and had 73 yard receiving, including a long touchdown. But in the seventh game of the season, against Mississippi State, a torn ligament in his knee finished him for the year.

In his junior year, he appeared to have made a strong comeback from his injury, rushing for 110 yards on 23 carries against Vanderbilt. He continued with strong performances against UAB, Kentucky and Georgia.  The latter game, a South Carolina win, marked the first time in school history that the Gamecocks had beaten Georgia three straight years. But three weeks later, against Tennessee, he suffered what has often been describe as a “gruesome” injury to his right knee, dislocating the knee, tearing every ligament, and injuring nerves.

In his three seasons at South Carolina, he had rushed for 2,677 yards and 38 touchdowns.  But even more important, he had helped establish the Gamecocks as an SEC power.

At the end of his junior season, he announced that he was declaring himself eligible for the NFL draft, and he was taken in the fourth round by the San Francisco 49ers.

He was signed to a four year contract, but in training camp he was placed on injured reserve, and a year later he announced his retirement, without ever playing a down of professional football.

An avowed Christian, he married his high school sweetheart. He coached high school football in the Columbia, South Carolina area, and in 2018 joined Will Muschamp’s staff as Director of Player Development, working with South Carolina’s players on career development, financial literacy and life skills.

He is a member of the University of South Carolina’s Hall of Fame.

Marcus Lattimore was recently hired as running backs coach and “life coach” at Lewis and Clark College, an academically selective D-III program in Portland, Oregon.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING MARCUS LATTIMORE

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JASON MENSING - WHITEFORD, MICHIGAN
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY



*********** QUIZ: He played his high school ball in the upstate New York town of Oneonta, not far from Cooperstown, where the baseball Hall of Fame is located.

He played his college ball at Pitt, where in his senior years he was a unanimous All-American and won the Outland Trophy. An offensive tackle, he did not permit a single sack in his last two years of college play.

Those were very good Pitt teams, finishing in the Top Ten three of his four years.  Like him, eight of his senior year teammates - Dwight Collins, Jimbo Covert, Hugh Green, Russ Grimm, Ricky Jackson, Tim Lewis, Bill Maas and Dan Marino - went on to play in the NFL..

He was the first draft choice of the Washington Team That Shall Not Be Named, and played with them for nine seasons as part of one of the most famous offensive lines in NFL history.

With the Washington No-Names, he won two Super Bowl rings and played in a Pro Bowl. He is among the Top 80 Redskins (sorry, but that’s its name) of all time.

He played one year with the Chargers and two years with the Cardinals, and then retired to embark on a broadcasting career.
 
From 2001 until 2015, he was an analyst on ESPN’s college football studio shows, and became popular for the back-and-forth between him and Lou Holtz.

In 2017, he was let go by ESPN as part of a major cost-cutting move.

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




Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2020 “My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.” Carl Schurz

*********** THE WEEKEND'S COLLEGE RESULTS (THIS WEEK I '"FOLLOWED THE SCIENCE" -  I FLIPPED A COIN)

The  coin's record: 23 WINNERS, 18 LOSERS

On those game on which I disagreed  strongly with the coin toss, I was  a stellar  5-4


(THE COIN'S PICKS ARE IN BOLD)

FRIDAY NIGHT

W - MINNESOTA AT MARYLAND +17-1/2      (DISAGREE-L)
W - EAST CAROLINA +18-1/2 AT TULSA
L - HAWAII AT WYOMING +2-1/2

SATURDAY

L - BOSTON COLLEGE + 31-1/2 AT CLEMSON
W - GEORGIA AT KENTUCKY + 14-1/2
W - MEMPHIS +6 AT CINCINNATI
L - MICHIGAN STATE +23-1/2 AT MICHIGAN (DISAGREE - W)
W - KANSAS STATE +3-1/2 AT WEST VIRGINIA  (DISAGREE-L)
W - COASTAL CAROLINA AT GEORGIA STATE +1-1/2
L - IOWA STATE AT KANSAS +28-1/2
L - UTSA + 6-1/2 AT FLORIDA ATLANTIC
L - TEMPLE +1 AT TULANE
W - PURDUE
AT ILLINOIS +5  
W - WAKE FOREST AT SYRACUSE +9
L - UCF AT HOUSTON +3-1/2
W - RICE +3-1/2 AT SOUTHERN MISS
L - TROY + 5-1/2 AT ARKANSAS STATE
W - NOTRE DAME AT GEORGIA TECH +20 (DISAGREE-L)
W - INDIANA AT RUTGERS +13 (DISAGREE-W)
L - UAB AT LOUISIANA TECH +9-1/2
W - TCU AT BAYLOR +2-1/2
W - LSU AT AUBURN +3 (DISAGREE-L)
L - NORTHWESTERN + 3-1/2 AT IOWA
L - TEXAS +3 AT OKLAHOMA STATE
W - OLE MISS AT VANDERBILT +17
W - APP STATE AT UL MONROE +31-1/2
L - VIRGINIA TECH AT LOUISVILLE +3 (DISAGREE-W)
L - BOISE STATE AT AIR FORCE +10 (DISAGREE-W)
L - MISSISSIPPI STATE +32 AT ALABAMA
W - NEW MEXICO +9-1/2 AT SAN JOSE STATE
L - CHARLOTTE +11 AT DUKE
W - OHIO STATE AT PENN STATE  +5-1/2
L - ARKANSAS +11-1/2 AT TEXAS A & M
L - MISSOURI +11-1/2 AT FLORIDA (DISAGREE-W)
W - NAVY +16 AT SMU
W - NORTH CAROLINA AT VIRGINIA +7
W - OKLAHOMA AT TEXAS TECH +16-1/2
W - LOUISIANA AT TEXAS STATE +16-1/2
W - SAN DIEGO STATE AT UTAH STATE +7
L - WESTERN KENTUCKY +28-1/2 AT BYU
W - NEVADA AT UNLV +10

*********** FAIR WARNING: Anyone who’s seen how I’ve been doing trying to beat the oddsmakers every weekend knows about my ability to pick for (or against) the spread, so with that in mind, consider this as nothing more than political observation from an “elderly gentleman”:

If voter enthusiasm matters…

Not since 1952 and the “I Like Ike!” wave have I seen such enthusiasm for a presidential candidate - nothing even close to what I’ve been seeing for President Trump at rallies, in caravans, in boat parades.   And on the other hand, I can’t remember ever seeing so little enthusiasm for a candidate as I’ve seen for Joe Biden.  

I was too young to remember Roosevelt in 1944, but I did a term paper in graduate school on his selection of a running mate that year (who turned out to be Harry S. Truman). FDR was dying, and everybody knew it (he died a couple of months after inauguration), and he wasn’t up to much campaigning. But he didn’t really have to do any:  he was the acknowledged leader, and we were at war, and  besides, he was The Champ - he’d been President for 12 years, and was running for a fourth term. That’s certainly not Joe Biden, whose reluctance to give everything he had to generate enthusiasm among his supporters will keep historians busy for years.

*********** Maybe you’ve heard of Indiana University of Pennsylvania  It’s a state school and it’s in the town of Indiana (Pennsylvania).   Its very confusing.  There’s also a California University in the town of California, Pennsylvania.

Maybe the confusion has something to do with it, but enrollment is way down, and budget constraints have resulted in Friday’s announcement that the university has to lay off 81 faculty members at the end of the year.

It’s worse than it sounds. This, from the story:

The cuts at the school with 10,067 students would eliminate the entire faculties of several departments, including journalism and public relations, information systems and decision sciences and developmental studies, Chambers said.

Oh, the humanity.  How will the world manage without all those journalists?

https://triblive.com/local/regional/indiana-university-of-pennsylvania-notifies-81-faculty-members-of-pending-job-losses/

*********** Herb Adderley died over the past weekend.   He was, of course, a Hall of Fame corner for the Packers, and one of the best who ever played the position.  But - not to brag - I remember him from his high school days at Philly’s Northeast High, where he and his backfield mate, Angelo Coia, were one of the best pairs of high school running backs ever - anywhere.

Adderley went on to Michigan State and from there to the Packers.

Coia, who was actually faster than Adderley (he was city champion in the 220) went to USC, transferred to The Citadel, and played seven years in the NFL.

I had a friend in Baltimore named Gus Jacobs, a country guy from Eastern Kentucky who had become friends with Herb Adderley in the Army.  Gus was a huge Colts’ fan.  He wasn’t any better connected than I was, and he didn’t have any more money, but somehow - I never asked - he had Colts’ season tickets.  And he was such a fan that he would never take his own mother to a game because she wasn’t a passionate enough fan to suit him. In Gus’ own words, “She’s not worthy.”

When the Packers would come to town for their annual meeting with the Colts (they were in the same division then), Gus would get together with Herb Adderley, and then share stories with me afterward.  Gus said he was a great guy, and that was good enough for me.

At the end of his career, Herb Adderley played a couple of years with the Cowboys, and he earned a Super Bowl ring,  but he remained a Packer to the end. In Jerry Kramer’s book, “Distant Replay,” written with Dick Schaap, he told the authors, “As far as I’m concerned, I never played for the Dallas Cowboys. I’m the only guy in the country who has a Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl ring and doesn’t even wear it.”

***********  MACtion is back!  And carving out a special niche for itself, the last of the Group of 5 conferences has apparently staked out one night of the week for MACtion - WEDNESDAY!

6 PM (EASTERN)
Western Michigan at Akron
Eastern Michigan @ Kent State

7 PM (EASTERN)
Buffalo at Northern Illinois
Ohio at Central Michigan
Ball State at Miami

8 PM (EASTERN)
Bowling Green at Toledo
 
*********** To try to show what a Philly guy he is - wait, I thought he was a miner’s son, from Scranton - Joe Biden addressed a handful of people in Philadelphia on Sunday and said, “I married a Philly girl,” then added, “and by the way, I’ve got my Eagles’ jacket on.”
BLUE HEN

He either underestimates the intelligence of Philadelphia sports fans, or he really is losing it, because that was no Eagle on his jacket, Philadelphia or otherwise.  Mr. Biden is a Delaware guy, and that , as wing-T guys know, was a Delaware Blue Hen.

*********** He may not be Tua, but he’s not bad, and Taulia Tagovailoa, Tua’s younger brother, became one more in the growing list of transfer quarterbacks who are turning the football world upside-down by bringing respectability to former downtrodden programs. All he did Friday night was bring Maryland back from a 17-point deficit to send the game with Minnesota into OT, and then win it. His contribution: 26 of 35 for 394 yards and three touchdowns, plus 64 yards rushing for two more TDs.

*********** When I lived in Frederick, Maryland, Damascus (Maryland) was just a dot on the map, in the middle of lush farmland.  But the area has grown in the decades since I left, and this past weekend, there were two former Damascus High players making names for themselves on the national football scene - Maryland senior running back Jake Funk, and Clemson defensive lineman Bryan Bresee, a 6-5, 290 freshman.  Against Minnesota, Funk scored Maryland’s first touchdown of the season on the receiving end of a pass from Taulia Tagovialoa, and rushed  21 times for 221 yards and another  touchdown.  Bresee sacked BC quarterback Jurkovec in the end zone for the safety that finally killed off the Eagles’ chances for an upset.

*********** Minnesota’s Mohamed Ibrahim is a special running back. Kid scored four touchdowns against Maryland - in the first half.

*********** Enough of this virtual officiating.  They are  making an unusually large number of bad calls on the field,  and despite the ability to review plays from a wide variety of angles, we are also seeing  an inexcusable number of blown reviews.  I am thinking of some game-changing poor calls in East Carolina-Tulsa, Texas-Oklahoma State and Michigan State-Minnesota.

*********** Penn State faced a third-and-two on their own side of midfield, and rather than go for the first down, they went long and the pass was incomplete.  And then, on fourth and two - they WENT FOR IT!

And then one of the announcers attempted to cover for James Franklin by saying that he knew his best chance to win was to keep the ball away from Ohio State’s powerful offense.

Good idea.  So please explain to me, then, why he wasted third down.

*********** Tuned in to watch the Hawaii-Wyoming game - set the recorder too, of course - only to find that some f—king Nascar race still had 12 laps to go. It was on Fox and they were nice enough to tell us that we could watch the football game on “FS2 and the Fox Sports App.” Well, thanks a lot, I thought, as the race ended and then I had to watch them interview various drivers, all wearing masks.

*********** Great name: Xazavian Yalladay, Wyoming. 

*********** Can flag football in our high schools be far behind?  The crawler on the screen informed us that the Ontario Hockey League - a junior amateur league that’s the hockey equivalent of AAA baseball or FBS football will - out of an abundance of caution, I assume - outlaw body checking. I had no idea that there was a connection between the pandemic and rough hockey.

*********** I also saw that two female athletes, Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe are officially engaged.

*********** After the Maryland-Minnesota game, sideline guy Quent Kessenich asked Taulia Tagovialoa the question of the day: “What triggered the comeback?” One of these days I’d like to have a kid tell him the truth: “How the f—k should I know? I was just out there like everybody else,  trying to do my best on every play.”

*********** Especially on field goals and extra points, I’m starting to see people push the rule designed to protect the snapper to its limits (and probably beyond).  There’s going to be a lot of grief in some quarters when a team blocks a kick and then gets penalized 15 yards.

RULE 9-1-2.o. When a team is in scrimmage kick formation, a defensive player may not initiate contact with the snapper until one second has elapsed after the snap.

*********** I think it was Kelly Stouffer doing the color for the K-State-WVU game, but I got tired really fast of his clever jargon - a guy weighed “a buck sixty-five”; a helmet is “a hat”; the ball is “the rock.”  Call it straight, Sam.

*********** Interesting story about KSU QB Will Howard.  Kid’s from Downingtown, Pennsylvania - west of Philadelphia - and he was highly recruited. He is a big fan of Eagles’ QB Carson Wentz, and he wanted to go where Wentz’ college coach was coaching now. That would be  Chris Klieman,now at Kansas State.

*********** Boston College’s Phil Jurkovec has two more years of eligibility left after this one. Think he’ll wind up back at Notre Dame?  With the strange-ass stuff going on now, anything’s possible.

*********** Sure hope you saw BC’s shift, from field goal formation to under-center, that drew Clemson offside and got the Eagles a first down.  The holder, who shifted to under center, was John Tessitore, son of play-by-play guy Joe Tessitore, who happened to be calling the game. Considering that he is also a BC alum, I thought dad, undoubtedly proud, handled the whole thing very professionally.

*********** At the Wake-Syracuse game, as precious thing Kelsey Riggs breathlessly chatted away, a pick-six occurred down on the field and she had to be interrupted in mid-chat so that the announcer could get back to those of us who had tuned in to watch a football game.

*********** Okay, call me a science denier, but somehow the West Virginia Mountaineer doesn’t look authentic wearing a mask.

*********** At least twice, I saw Clemson players commit penalties and come right off the field.  I admire that. That was always a rule of mine, and my players knew it.  It wasn’t meant to be punishment, and they’d go right back out there after a play or two, but I felt it was important to stress to everybody that we couldn’t lose focus for even one play, or it could cost us a game.

*********** BC had to punt the ball three times before they got it right. First, they kicked it down to the Clemson one, but a gunner wasn’t set for a full second; then, they kicked it down to the one a second time, but this time one of their men was holding.  Finally, they got it right and kicked to the 20, where it was fair caught. Clemson was penalized for an illegal block in the back, so the ball was spotted on the 10.  All that for a net of nine yards.

*********** Did you check out Lovie Smith in that bright orange form-fitting shirt?  The guy is in great shape.

*********** Most of us have had one or two of those moments in our careers where had a game gone the other way it could have changed the course of our careers.  That, it seems to me, is the point where coaches of the calibre of Ed Orgeron, PJ Fleck and Mike Leach are headed. They all jacked up their fans’ expectations, and now they’re losing and they need wins. Badly.  Yes, yes, I know - Ed Orgeron won the national title last year.  But we’re talking LSU, where those fans aren’t happy with anything less.
 
*********** Wisdom from Gary Danielson: “The goal of a good pass rush is to make you (the quarterback) uncomfortable.”

*********** Boise State’s all-conference QB Hank Bachmeier didn’t make the trip to Air Force. They didn’t tell us why.  No matter. His sub, Jack Sears, a transfer from USC, threw a 75-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage, and led Boise State to a convincing win.

*********** A great illustration  of the difficulty of preparing your team to play an unorthodox offense was the way Air Force opened with two good scoring drives and then, once Boise adjusted to the greater speed and execution that they hadn’t seen from their own scout team, it was lights out for Air Force.

*********** They made cadet attendance at the Air Force-Boise game optional, and as a result, the crowd at Air Force was very sparse.  I’m still trying to figure out why Air Force cadets in attendance dress in BDU’s (camouflage).

*********** Brilliant observation from the announcing booth: “One thing Boise State has to do is push the ball downfield.”  Well, yeah.

*********** I see these highly-premature Heisman lists and I don’t see Texas’ Sam Ehlinger on there.  But I haven’t seen another QB that I’d rather have on my team late in the game when we need a score.

*********** An SMU runner appeared to be down against Navy, but he knew his knee had never touched, and he twisted away from the pack and ran another 40 yards for a TD.  Sure enough, review confirmed that he wasn’t down.

*********** The end of the first half of the Florida-Missouri game got pretty ugly, and the number of punches I saw thrown against guys with helmets on confirmed my suspicions that academic standards might not be all that high in the SEC.

*********** Navy tried their usual motion-and-shift routine on third and short yardage, and SMU didn’t budge.

*********** SMU put 31 points on Navy - in the second quarter.

*********** One SMU runner outrushed the entire Navy team.

*********** With fourth and short and two seconds remaining in the half, Ohio State took a knee to end things,  and both teams headed for the locker room.  And then they were called back, because someone, the type that could give enemas to flies, determined that there was actually a split second remaining. Back came both teams, and since the ball had turned over on downs, Penn State had one down. That was enough time to make a 50-yard field goal.

*********** I’m getting tired of having sideline announcers with masks on trying to talk to us.  They might as well have socks stuffed in their mouths.

*********** One of the best players I saw all day was Virginia’s Keytaon Thompson. (Spelling is correct. Take it up with his mother.)  He is 6-4, maybe 215 and fast as hell.  He’s listed as a QB, but he wears Number 99 and against North Carolina he played receiver, tight end, running back - oh, and QB.  He’s a New Orleans kid who transferred from Mississippi State. (See, no matter how good he might be, there’s just no place for his kind of skills in the Air Raid. Besides, Mike Leach already know who his QB was going to be - brought him all the way from the Pac-12.) He's not the starting QB at UVa, but they sure are making use of him.

*********** UCLA and USC petitioned to have players’ families attend games. Nope, said the LA Health Department. Not in the 91,000-seat Rose Bowl.  Or the 78,000-seat Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

*********** My game to ref tonight was canceled, one of the teams had a positive Covid test.

My 11th grade daughter was sent home to quarantine for two weeks since she sits beside someone that tested positive.  She cant go to basketball or her other workouts till next week (14 days from exposure).  They were both wearing masks and at least 3 feet apart. So my question is If masks work why was she sent home?

I guess I'll never understand this stuff.

I looked at the Spring Football League, I'm going to try to catch a couple games

Hope you and Connie are well!

Dave Kemmick
Mt. Joy, Pennsylvania

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

I have been on a cold spell with the quizzes, I appreciate the softball of Dick Vermeil this week to make me feel like I know some football history.

Update in Michigan, we just finished our final week of the regular season this past week and start the playoffs this week.   We have an all in format just for this year, the motive was just to ensure everyone had an opportunity for another game.   In all we have had about 3% of the total games have a disruption due to covid related cancellations.   Almost all have had to do with quarantining, as of know in our state there is no known transmission of the disease during the course of play.   In my mind regardless of folks political view that supports the fact that playing sports (if not sick) is best for young people.   Case counts and hospitalizations are spiking right now mostly in the SW part of the state and the UP which had far less infections in the spring however, my guess is it will be difficult to get the entire playoff in with the political climate and this increase of infections we are facing.    However, I say that with the reality of just completing our 6th game which I would have never guessed would have happened either.

As a team this year we just finished 4-2 which we are really proud of, we have started 6 different freshman at 7 positions and 3 different sophomores at 4 spots, never in my career have I had more then 1 freshman ready to play and even those have been a rarity.  In addition, our QB got hurt in week 2 which has drastically reduced what we have been able to do, we transitioned to a gun/pistol based version of the double wing (certainly shares some commonality with your open wing although I have never studied that package directly).   We have won 3 tight games and have managed to still average 33 points per game.   We open in the playoffs with Britton Deerfield who we beat in a 2 point game just two weeks ago so our hands are full tonight.  Hopefully, we can make magic happen and keep covid away to have a few more weeks of development with this young group with only 2 Seniors the future is really bright.   I look forward when I get removed from all the challenges of the season during the pandemic to evaluate our adjustments we have made and truly either grow the package or take a step back to our roots.

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

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

With the news that Trevor Lawrence has been tested positive for Covid, and is out for tomorrow's game not only will the Tigers have to quickly figure out how to win without him, they will also have to quickly prepare what to do if and when others on the team come up positive within the next few days.  Especially with their big ACC showdown with Notre Dame looming.

Not sure if (or when) those two starting injured offensive linemen will return to the Minnesota starting lineup but the Gophers offense will be much more effective with them than without them.  The young defense will get better with each game but hopefully it won't take too long.

Fresno State bounced back from their first game loss to Hawaii by beating Colorado State last night 38-14 in front of a completely empty Bulldog Stadium.

Watching Big 10, MWC, and other Division 1 games being played in empty stadiums is just plain weird.

With California governor Gavin Newsome's latest policy and protocols decree for holiday gatherings within the state regarding Covid I'm wondering if that will become the "new normal" for ALL of us if the dems win the presidency. 

Enjoy the weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas



***********  QUIZ ANSWER:  Dick Vermeil grew up in the small northern California town of Calistoga, and was a backup QB at San Jose State.

He started as a high school assistant and worked his way up to the top of the coaching profession - first as coach of a Rose Bowl winner, then as  coach of a winning Super Bowl team.

His move up was a rapid one: in the 14 years from 1962, when he was a high school head coach, until 1976, when he became head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, he held seven
different coaching jobs, the last one as head coach at UCLA, where the Bruins’ defeat of heavily favored and number one-ranked Ohio State brought him national attention.

He is one of the very few coaches who have been  named Coach of the Year at the high school, junior college, college and professional level.

He was head coach of three different NFL teams - the Eagles, Rams and Chiefs.  At all three places, he inherited a losing team, and at all three he had them in the playoffs by his third season.

He took the Eagles to their first ever Super Bowl - they lost to the Rams - but two years later, just 46 years old, he retired from coaching. He was notorious for his hard work and long hours, and he said he was burned out.

He was out of coaching for 15 years - working as a TV analyst - before returning and coaching the St. Louis Rams.  His first two seasons went badly, but in his third season, the Rams - with a previously unknown quarterback named Kurt Warner -  won the Super Bowl. And then he retired again.

This time, he was out of the game for only one year, before moving across the state to coach the Chiefs.  In his third year, the Chiefs went 13-3, finally losing to the Colts in the AFC championship game.  After two more seasons,  when the Chiefs finished 10-6 in 2005, he finally retired for good.

Bearing in mind that he stepped into three turnaround situations, his overall record as an NFL coach is a very respectable 126-114.

He was a strong family man, and was well-liked and respected wherever he coached - by players, news media and the community.  He is still revered in Philadelphia and owns a large “ranch” (his word)  in the countryside west of the city, where his family likes to gather.

Today (October 30) is Dick Vermeil's 84th birthday.  Happy Birthday, Coach!



CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DICK VERMEIL

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS
MIKE FORISTIERE - TOPEKA, KANSAS
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JASON MENSING - WHITEFORD, MICHIGAN
DAVE KEMMICK - MT. JOY, PENNSYLVANIA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA

MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY


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

Coach Dick Vermeil is a great quiz selection. I really admire his ability to walk away and then return and take teams to the highest level. By all accounts he is a great guy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6a5aEnpuPzs

Greg Koenig
Colorado Springs, Colorado

*********** ...and he ran the Veer at UCLA.

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida

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

Dick Vermeil is the quiz answer. Didn’t need to research it. I remember all of the 1980’s Eagles team. Lots of fun characters and ugly uniforms.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

*********** Just wish he won a SB with the Eagles.

Tom Davis
San Carlos, California

*********** QUIZ:   He could possibly have been one of the greatest running backs ever to come out of the South, in  a class with the likes of Bo Jackson and Hershel Walker.  As it was, he was pretty doggone good.

He and his hopes of a long and successful football career were  dealt a devastating blow, yet by all accounts he has moved on in pursuit of more important life goals.

He came out of powerhouse Byrnes High School in Duncan, South Carolina, where in his senior year he was a high school All-American and was named South Carolina’s Mister Football.

He was recruited to play at South Carolina by Steve Spurrier, and his rival in Columbia would mark the start of the greatest era in the history of Gamecocks’ football.  His freshman year, South Carolina would win 9 games for the first time in nine years, and for  each of the next three years they would win 11 games.

As a freshman, he was an immediate sensation.

In his second game, against Georgia, he carried 37 times for 182 yards and two touchdowns; against Alabama, then ranked #1, he carried 23 times for 93 yards; against Tennessee, he rushed 29 times for 184 yards; and against Florida, he carried 40 times for 212 yards.

In the process, South Carolina won the SEC East, and in the championship game, he carried 16 times for 84 yards.

He was injured and played little in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, but at season’s end he was named NCAA Freshman of the Year. In all, he rushed for 1.197 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also caught 29 passes for 412 yards.

His sophomore season started out great - in the season opener against East Carolina, he gained 112 yards on 23 carries, and scored three touchdowns; against Georgia, he gained 176 yards on 27 carries; against Navy, he rushed for 246 yards and three touchdowns; against Vanderbilt, he rushed for 77 yards and a touchdown, and had 73 yard receiving, including a long touchdown. But in the seventh game of the season, against Mississippi State, a torn ligament in his knee finished him for the year.

In his junior year, he appeared to have made a strong comeback from his injury, rushing for 110 yards on 23 carries against Vanderbilt. He continued with strong performances against UAB, Kentucky and Georgia.  The latter game, a South Carolina win, marked the first time in school history that the Gamecocks had beaten Georgia three straight years. But three weeks later, against Tennessee, he suffered what has often been describe as a “gruesome” injury to his right knee, dislocating the knee, tearing every ligament, and injuring nerves.

In his three seasons at South Carolina, he had rushed for 2,677 yards and 38 touchdowns.  But even more important, he had helped establish the Gamecocks as an SEC power.

At the end of his junior season, he announced that he was declaring himself eligible for the NFL draft, and he was taken in the fourth round by the San Francisco 49ers.

He was signed to a four year contract, but in training camp he was placed on injured reserve, and a year later he announced his retirement, without ever playing a down of professional football.

An avowed Christian, he married his high school sweetheart. He coached high school football in the Columbia, South Carolina area, and in 2018 joined Will Muschamp’s staff as Director of Player Development, working with South Carolina’s players on career development, financial literacy and life skills.

He is a member of the University of South Carolina’s Hall of Fame.

He was recently hired as running backs coach and “life coach” at Lewis and Clark College, an academically selective D-III program in Portland, Oregon.


Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY, OCTOBER  30, 2020  “In nature the penalty for stupidity is death; the sentence is executed immediately, and there is no appeal.”  Robert Heinlein

*********** Biggest news so far this week has to be the cancellation of the Nebraska-at-Wisconsin game after 12 Badgers - players or coaches, including QB Graham Mertz and head coach Paul Chryst - tested positive. With no open date to replay the game, it’s officially a “no contest.”

*********** THIS WEEK’S SELECTIONS - BASED ENTIRELY ON COIN TOSSES - HEADS=HOME TEAM. WINNERS IN BOLD

I HAVE  INDICATED WHERE I STRONGLY DISAGREE WITH THE TOSS

FRIDAY NIGHT

MINNESOTA AT MARYLAND +17-1/2      (DISAGREE)
EAST CAROLINA +18-1/2 AT TULSA
HAWAII AT WYOMING +2-1/2

SATURDAY

BOSTON COLLEGE + 31-1/2 AT CLEMSON
GEORGIA AT KENTUCKY + 14-1/2
MEMPHIS +6 AT CINCINNATI
MICHIGAN STATE +23-1/2 AT MICHIGAN (DISAGREE)
KANSAS STATE +3-1/2 AT WEST VIRGINIA  (DISAGREE)
COASTAL CAROLINA AT GEORGIA STATE +1-1/2
IOWA STATE AT KANSAS +28-1/2
UTSA + 6-1/2 AT FLORIDA ATLANTIC
TEMPLE +1 AT TULANE
PURDUE
AT ILLINOIS +5  
WAKE FOREST AT SYRACUSE +9
UCF AT HOUSTON +3-1/2
RICE +3-1/2 AT SOUTHERN MISS
TROY + 5-1/2 AT ARKANSAS STATE
NOTRE DAME AT GEORGIA TECH +20 (DISAGREE)
INDIANA AT RUTGERS +13 (DISAGREE)
UAB AT LOUISIANA TECH +9-1/2
TCU AT BAYLOR +2-1/2
LSU AT AUBURN +3 (DISAGREE)
NORTHWESTERN + 3-1/2 AT IOWA
TEXAS +3 AT OKLAHOMA STATE
OLE MISS AT VANDERBILT +17
APP STATE AT UL MONROE +31-1/2
VIRGINIA TECH AT LOUISVILLE +3 (DISAGREE)
BOISE STATE AT AIR FORCE +10 (DISAGREE)
MISSISSIPPI STATE +32 AT ALABAMA
NEW MEXICO +9-1/2 AT SAN JOSE STATE
CHARLOTTE +11 AT DUKE
OHIO STATE AT PENN STATE  +5-1/2
ARKANSAS +11-1/2 AT TEXAS A & M
MISSOURI +11-1/2 AT FLORIDA (DISAGREE)
NAVY +16 AT SMU
NORTH CAROLINA AT VIRGINIA +7
OKLAHOMA AT TEXAS TECH +16-1/2
LOUISIANA AT TEXAS STATE +16-1/2
SAN DIEGO STATE AT UTAH STATE +7
WESTERN KENTUCKY +28-1/2 AT BYU
NEVADA AT UNLV +10


*********** FRIDAY NIGHT’S FEATURED GAMES ON NFHS NETWORK

KENTUCKY

(7:30 EASTERN) BOWLING GREEN (5-1) VS TRINITY - LOUISVILLE (5-0)
TRINITY IS THE #1-RANKED TEAM IN THE STATE
   
GEORGIA

(8:00 EASTERN) CAMDEN COUNTY (4-3)  VS COLQUITT COUNTY (5-0)
COLQUITT COUNTY IS RANKED #3 IN THE STATE

TEXAS

(7:00 CENTRAL)  GUYER (3-1)  VS PROSPER (3-0)
GUYER IS RANKED #5 IN THE STATE

ARIZONA

(7:00 MOUNTAIN STANDARD) CHANDLER (4-0)  VS CENTENNIAL (3-1)
CHANDLER IS AVERAGING 50+ POINTS PER GAME


*********** Captain Cutty died.  He was 83.  A little piece of me goes with him.

Better known to the general public as Jimmy Orr, to his teammates he was Cap’n Cutty, after the brand of scotch that he favored.

Jimmy Orr broke into football in Pittsburgh, and he was introduced to night life by the legendary Bobby Layne. He was known to love a good time, and he was also a very good football player, and when he went to the Colts (in the trade that sent Big Daddy Lipscomb to the Steelers) that meant he fit right in.  I was privileged to live on Baltimore in the 1960s, and experience the love that existed between a city and its team, and Jimmy Orr was every bit a part of the romance.

Cap’n Cutty?  I remember sitting in The Bear’s Den, a bar on Greenmount Avenue, owned and run by former Colt Marv Matuszak. A number of Colts were in there at the time - believe it or not, there was a time when the princes of pro football actually condescended to socialize with the riff-raff - and I can still see, nearly 60 years later, big Lou Michaels, sitting down at the end of the table, hollering, “Hey Orr! Another Cutty!”

(Lou Michaels may have been one of the roughest, toughest, meanest men who ever played the game of football. I worked for the brewery that sponsored the Colts, we heard all the stories.  One came from a teammate who told about the time he and a couple of other Colts went along with Michaels to visit his hometown, Swoyersville, Pennsylvania, where he was well known. They were sitting at a bar having a few when Michaels left for a minute to go talk to some guys in the back room playing pool.  While he was gone, a stranger came up to them and said,  “You guys aren’t from around here, are you?  You’d better get the hell out of here. if you know what’s good for you  You know who’s back there? Lou MIchaels!”)

Jimmy Orr will be remembered by many people for one play in Super Bowl III (actually, the first of the games to be called “Super Bowl”), as, wide-open,  he waved his arms in frustration when Earl Morrill failed to see him.

johnny uBut there was so much to him and so much about his role on those great Colts’ teams, and a lot of it can be found in “Johhny U,” Tom Callaghan’s excellent biography of The Greatest Quarterback in the History of the Game (I will accept no disagreement).

Jimmy Orr was a money receiver. He would make the big catch.  But he did not see a lot of sense in blocking, and Callaghan managed to get Don Shula to tell about that:

Like a lot of football disciplinarians, Lombardi included, Shula was a sucker for the bad boys, as long as they did their work. “Jimmy Orr was not a very physical player,” he said. “In fact, Jimmy probably looked less like a pro football player than anybody I ever coached. Of course, he was a tough clutch receiver. But I was trying to get Orr to block down field. So, in front of the whole squad one day, I decided to embarrass him. I slowed the film down and then stopped it. ‘Jimmy,’ I said, ‘if you made that block right there, we would have had a chance to go all the way. You know, Ray Renfro has always thrown that block for Jim Brown. You’re down there and you’re not hitting anybody. You’ve got to hit somebody!  You’ve got to be physical!’ He said, ‘Can I say something?’ I said, ‘What?’  He said, ‘You can’t ask a thoroughbred to do a mule’s work,”

“It brought me to my knees. Everybody broke up.”

In his quotes following the news of Jimmy Orr’s death, present-day Colts’ owner Jimmy Irsay displayed his total lack of knowledge of the franchise’s history when he referred to a corner of the end zone in old Memorial Stadium as “Orr’s Corner.”   Trust me.  Not a soul in Baltimore in the 1960s could have told you what that was.  But go anywhere in an entire region affected by “Colt Fever,” and ask them where “Orrsville” was, and they’d look at you strangely, as if you were, as they say in Maine, “from away.”  EVERYBODY knew Orrsville.

Memorial Stadium was one of the very first multi-purpose stadiums.  It was built for the Orioles, but it was possible - barely -  to lay out a football field from behind home plate out to center field, with a fair amount of decent seating on both sides.  But to make the field fit, the corners of the end zone at the home plate end extended right to the walls, including the cinder warning track.  The right corner, where Unitas hit Jimmy Orr with so many touchdown passes, came to be known as Orrsville. Not Orr’s Corner.

There’s a great story in Callaghan’s book about a time I remember well - a time when Orr was injured and helped off the field only to return, late in the game, to catch the winning pass. Where had he been?  At the hospital.

From Callaghan’s book…

“We were playing Philadelphia at home,“ Orr said, “and I caught a long pass down the right sideline in the opening quarter. The defensive back and I flipped over on the ground, separating my shoulder ever so slightly.”

Returning to the locker room, Orr changed back into his civvies  and went to Union Memorial Hospital. “There were seventeen people in a line outside the x-ray room,” he said. “I counted them. I was seventeen.  Two guys were on stretchers. Three radios had the Colts game on.”

The sixteenth person in line said, “You’re Jimmy Orr. Go ahead of me.”

Orr said, “No, stay there, you’re fine.”

But one by one, despite his  protestations, they passed him to the front. “Even the two guys on the stretchers,” he said, “who had been in a car wreck.”

With his shirt off and his shoulder pressed against the machine, it was oily warm in the x-ray room. Jimmy started to feel much better. Not waiting for the results, he rushed back to Memorial Stadium (“Hitchhiked back,” Shula said.)

“I threw my uniform on, not bothering to put on my jock. Of course, my ankles weren’t taped. I looked outside. It was late in the fourth quarter. Time had been called. I came out of the first base dugout and ran through the end zone,  under the goalposts. You can’t believe the sound I heard. When I first came to Baltimore in sixty-one, I’d get right up in the tunnel when the defense was introduced before the game. The band would be playing the Colt fight song and Gino would run out first. It was like breaking the sound barrier. I had always wondered what he heard. Now I knew.”

Shula said, “Orr came out of the dugout and I saw him running under the goalposts. I waved to him like this, and instead of coming to the bench, he went right down the middle of the field into the huddle. You talk about the emotions and the fans.“

“Where have you been “Unitas asked.

“I was kind of embarrassed about all this,” Jimmy said. “I told John, ‘Let me run a corner pattern, will you ?’“

“Sure,” he said. “On two.”

“John threw a pass into a section of the end zone that was mostly cinders, the area of Memorial Stadium that had come to be known as Orrsville. Probably 80% of the touchdown passes I caught in Baltimore were in that corner,” Orr said. “It was a little downhill there, you know. At practice once, I laid down at the 25 yard line,  and the field was so concave, I could only see the top railing of the front row of the box seats. I knew that little patch of cinders pretty well.”

”Jimmy caught a touchdown pass right there in Orrsville,” Shula said, “and we won the game. Is that any good?”

I’m sad about Jimmy Orr’s death, but I’m angry that just because  Jimmy Orr played for a team called the Colts, in a city called Baltimore, the idiots who try to pass themselves off as sports writers felt compelled to get a quote from the owner of today’s Colts, a team located in Indianapolis,  that has nothing in common with Jimmy Orr and the teams he played on except the name, the uniform design, and the horseshoes on the helmets. (Yes, I’m bitter.)

But I’m even angrier that that owner, merely because his drunken sot of a  father sneaked the team out of Baltimore and then left it to him, felt qualified to speak about a player he had never even seen play, in a city he had never known. (Yes, I’m still bitter.)

I’d just as soon they’d gone to Roger Staubach, who was at the Naval Academy at the time, and told author Callaghan about those days.

“I was an Ensign working in the athletic department. I saw a lot of Colts games that year. Unitas  was hurt. It was the Tom Matte year. You know, the questionable kick by Green Bay?  The big catches by Jimmy Orr down in that one corner of the end zone? It was a fun time in Pro football.”

Of course, if you were to suggest it to them, most of today’s sports writers would say, “Roger Staubach… Roger Staubach…”

*********** It  may have sneaked up on you, the way it did on me, but  a new, (allegedly) pro football league  kicked off Tuesday night.  They call it The Spring League.  Yes, yes. I know - it’s  October - but what the hell. It’s just a name. Its always five o’clock somewhere, right?  And it’s  spring in Australia. So let’s play ball.

The league seems to be playing in a sort of bubble, with all its games in the Alamodome, and the teams all have generic names, making  adoption easier (they all appear at this time to be unattached to any city).

Tuesday night’s game, which my wife just happened to find in the TV listings, was on Fox Sports 1, between the “Generals” and the “Conquerors.”

Jerry Glanville was announced as one of the coaches, as if that was  supposed to  confer  some legitimacy on the new league, but in my case it’s usually a cautionary sign.

I can’t tell you whether fans seem excited, but the crowd didn’t seem much smaller than the ones I’ve seen in some Big Ten stadiums.

The broadcast quality was only so-so. The camera work was pretty good, but the announcers were dull and didn’t tell us nearly enough about the players. Their volume was too low, so that the background noise - some loud and shrill woman hollering things over and over -  dominated the audio.

The uniforms were boring, and just this side of ugly. Many of the players have chosen to take the football-pants-as-bicycle-shorts to ludicrous extremes.

The officials wore all black. They didn’t look bad, and I really cheered up when I realized  that it probably meant no team would ever come out in all black. Yes!

I don’t  want to sound overly negative here, because quite honestly, my wife and I found ourselves watching it and enjoying it.

The quality of play is not bad. The teams were both well-prepared, which was all the more surprising considering I heard an announcer say. “Today is literally the first day they put on pads.”

The starting QBs looked pretty good.

For the  Conquerors, it was Justin McMillan, a true rookie who I thought was a decent QB at Tulane.  For the Generals, it was a guy named  Bryan Scott, who played at Occidental College and has had cups of coffee with a number of NFL and CFL clubs.

A couple of receivers who impressed me were a big kid from Auburn named Sal Cannella, and a smaller guy
from U of San Diego with great  hands named Michael Bandy.

If you want to watch, don’t wait.  They’re playing a four-game schedule.

Will I watch it again? Yes.  But with all the football to watch now, I do think that they’d be smarter if they could have held off until it’s spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

(I would have a lot more confidence in this outfit if they’d spelled the word “league” correctly in the link to their Web site)

https://live-spring-leauge.pantheonsite.io/


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

I hope we're right about Michigan and they're really good.  I don't think Minnesota is that bad.

Paul Herzog
Afton, Minnesota

I don’t think Minnesota is that bad.

They ran into a whirlwind, and they weren’t ready.

In my opinion, they made three crucial mistakes in fairly short order: the illegal procedure on first and goal on the one, the pooch kick that they didn't cover, and the fake punt that Michigan was so ready for it almost looked like they were expecting it.


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

With one of the presidential candidates trying to win the presidency from his basement it shouldn't come as no surprise that most other younger basement dwelling ne'er do wells will vote for him.  God help us all.

A last time a naval academy football team played in Michie Stadium was in 1943 during WWII.  Navy won the game 13-0.  It was the second shutout in a row for the Middies over the Cadets.  The year before the game was played in Annapolis with Navy taking it 14-0.  The 1944 game was played in Baltimore.  That 1944 game was the first to ever be tagged the "Game of the Century" with No. 1 Army defeating No. 2 Navy 23-7.

Not only was Pitt's performance against Notre Dame unimpressive, the Panther uniforms were even more unimpressive.

Michigan has the makings of a good football team.  Minnesota lost most of its defense from last year's 11-2 team and it showed as the Wolverine offense gashed the Gophers often.  Also, having two Gopher starters missing in the O Line didn't help their cause on offense, and it showed in QB Tanner Morgan's performance.

Hawaii ended a six game losing streak to Fresno State.  

Missed the Wisconsin game on Friday night.  We were busy ending our two year 13 game losing streak in a big way winning 62-0.

The Texas band did not travel to Baylor because half of them refused to play the alma mater, "The Eyes of Texas".  Naysayers of the song say its history has racial overtones.  What they don't tell you is that the one controversial stanza of the song was deleted many years ago and has not been part of the song since.  But, since the origin of the song was done minstrel style that in itself was good enough to protest.  At least they haven't taken a knee.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

***********QUIZ ANSWER:  Matt Blair was one of the greatest linebackers in the history of the Minnesota Vikings, an NFL franchise whose greatest teams were built on powerful defense.

He played his high school ball in Dayton, Ohio, and then played two seasons at Northeast Oklahoma JC, where he played on a national championship team. Highly recruited there, he signed with Iowa State, where Johnny Majors was building something of a powerhouse.

He was named defensive MVP of the Sun Bowl his first years there, then missed a season to injury.  In his senior year he was named an All-American and was invited to play in the Hula Bowl, the East-West Shrine Game, and the Senior Bowl.

Drafted second by the Vikings, he was forced into a starting role at linebacker when starter Roy Winston was injured and he wound up making the NFL All-Rookie team.

He would play 12 seasons in the NFL, all of them with the Vikings, and from 1977 through 1982 would be named to six straight Pro Bowls.

He played in two Super Bowls.

He has the second most tackles in franchise history, and he ranks third in NFL history in blocked punts.

He is in the Vikings’ Ring of Honor and has been named one of the Top 50 Vikings in team history.

After he retired from football, he became an accomplished wildlife and landscape photographer.

In recent years, Matt Blair suffered from dementia, possibly associated with CTE, and he died last Thursday, October 22.  He was 70.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING MATT BLAIR

GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS - FOR SUGGESTING MATT BLAIR     
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MICK YANKE - COKATO, MINNESOTA
JERRY LOVELL - BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
PAUL HERZOG - AFTON, MINNESOTA

MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY


*********** I worked a couple of Matt Blair's camps.  One of the most impressive physiques I've ever seen and he was a tremendous person.

Paul Herzog
Afton, Minnesota

Sorry to learn of Matt Blair’s passing.  There were some pretty good people on those teams, almost certainly a reflection of Bud Grant.

*********** Matt Blair -  the leader of one of the great pro linebacker units in the NFL (Blair, Jeff Siemon, Fred McNeil)

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

***********  QUIZ:  He grew up in the small northern California town of Calistoga, and was a backup QB at San Jose State.

He started as a high school assistant and worked his way up to the top of the coaching profession - first as coach of a Rose Bowl winner, then as  coach of a winning Super Bowl team.

His move up was a rapid one: in the 14 years from 1962, when he was a high school head coach, until 1976, when he became head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, he held seven
different coaching jobs, the last one as head coach at UCLA, where the Bruins’ defeat of heavily favored and number one-ranked Ohio State brought him national attention.

He is one of the very few coaches who have been  named Coach of the Year at the high school, junior college, college and professional level.

He was head coach of three different NFL teams - the Eagles, Rams and Chiefs.  At all three places, he inherited a losing team, and at all three he had them in the playoffs by his third season.

He took the Eagles to their first ever Super Bowl - they lost to the Rams - but two years later, just 46 years old, he retired from coaching. He was notorious for his hard work and long hours, and he said he was burned out.

He was out of coaching for 15 years - working as a TV analyst - before returning and coaching the St. Louis Rams.  His first two seasons went badly, but in his third season, the Rams - with a previously unknown quarterback named Kurt Warner -  won the Super Bowl. And then he retired again.

This time, he was out of the game for only one year, before moving across the state to coach the Chiefs.  In his third year, the Chiefs went 13-3, finally losing to the Colts in the AFC championship game.  After two more seasons,  when the Chiefs finished 10-6 in 2005, he finally retired for good.

Bearing in mind that he stepped into three turnaround situations, his overall record as an NFL coach is a very respectable 126-114.

He was a strong family man, and was well-liked and respected wherever he coached - by players, news media and the community.  He is still revered in Philadelphia and owns a large “ranch” (his word)  in the countryside west of the city, where his family likes to gather.

Today (October 30) is his 84th birthday.  Happy Birthday, Coach!


Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY, OCTOBER  27, 2020   “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” Upton Sinclair


*********** I’d rather not get very deeply into politics on here,  but I sincerely believe that this election has the potential to overthrow our basic system of government and end our country as our founders envisioned, and as I’ve grown to know and love it.

Most of you on here are either football coaches or people who care about our game, and you know that there’s only one way to compete - full-out. There’s not one of us who would coach a team and not give it everything he had, and not expect the same from his players.

Would any of us play for, or let our sons play for, a guy who gives less than everything he’s got?

So how could we want for our President a man who, for whatever reason, cowers in his basement and refuses to compete?

*********** Army became the first college team to accept a bowl bid Saturday, electing to go to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana, against some TBA Pac-12 opponent. Army is now 6-1, and the one loss - 24-20  to Cincinnati - doesn’t look all that bad after the Bearcats’ thumping of previously unbeaten SMU Saturday.

Of equal importance was the announcement that this year’s Army-Navy game will be played at West Point, in Michie Stadium.  This will be the first time since World War II that the game willl not be played in a large, neutral-site stadium, and only the Corps of Cadets and the Brigade of Midshipmen will be in attendance.

As a kid growing up in Philadelphia, where most Army-Navy games have been played, I can attest to the game’s importance in the city, and its loss is going to mean a huge hit to the city’s hospitality industry.  I can’t help thinking that with a little more time, a place like Orlando, with the stadium, the hotel rooms and a  more sensible governor, would have moved mountains to get the game there.  Philly?  Phoo on you.

Not many schools are fortunate to have a writer of the level of author John Feinstein writing its game summary, but Army has the actual John Feinstein writing its…

https://goarmywestpoint.com/news/2020/10/25/football-feinsteins-findings-on-to-phase-three.aspx


*********** MY SAD WEEKEND RESULTS  (Please tell me you didn’t listen to me.)

THIS PAST WEEKEND’S RECORD: 20 WINS, 25 LOSSES

FRIDAY GAMES

W- TULSA over South Florida +11
W- WISCONSIN over Illinois + 19-1/2
W- LOUISIANA over UAB +2-1/2

SATURDAY GAMES

L -CLEMSON over Syracuse +46-1/2
W - OHIO STATE over Nebraska +26
L - NC STATE +14-1/2 over North Carolina
L - KANSAS +20 over Kansas State
W - COASTAL CAROLINA over Georgia Southern +4-1/2
W - ARMY over Mercer +31
L - OLE MISS +3 over Auburn
L - TCU +6-1/2 over Oklahoma
L - MEMPHIS over Temple +13-1/2
L - CHARLOTTE over UTEP +14-1/2
L - FLORIDA STATE +5 over Louisville
W - RUTGERS +13 over Michigan State
L - UCF over Tulane +19-1/2
W - LIBERTY over Southern Miss +11
L - MARSHALL over Fla Atlantic +17
W - ALABAMA over Tennessee +21-1/2
W - NOTRE DAME over Pitt +10-1/2
W - IOWA STATE +3-1/2 over Oklahoma  State
L - PENN STATE over Indiana +5-1/2
W - WAKE FOREST +8 over Virginia Tech
W - MIDDLE TENNESSEE +3-1/2 over Rice
W - HOUSTON over Navy +14
L - BAYLOR +8-1/2 over Texas
L - IOWA over Purdue +3
L - TROY over Georgia State +2-1/2
W - BOSTON COLLEGE over Georgia Tech +3
L - WESTERN KENTUCKY over Chattanooga +11-1/2
L - KENTUCKY over Missouri +5-1/2
L - WEST VIRGINIA over Texas Tech +3-1/2
L - SOUTH CAROLINA +6-1/2 over LSU
W - SOUTH ALABAMA over Louisiana Monroe +14-1/2
L - UTAH STATE +16-1/2 over Boise State
L - WYOMING over Nevada +4-1/2
L - MINNESOTA +3 over Michigan
L - FRESNO STATE over Hawaii +3-1/2
W - NORTHWESTERN over Maryland +11
L - MIAMI over Virginia +12-1/2
W - LOUISIANA TECH over UTSA +2-1/2
L - SMU over Cincinnati + 2-1/2
W - BYU over Texas State + 28-1/2
W - SAN DIEGO STATE over UNLV + 15
L - AIR FORCE over San Jose State +7

20 WINS - 25 LOSSES

RANDOM OBSERVATIONS FROM THE WEEKEND’S GAMES

*********** Wisconsin’s Graham Mertz completed his first 17 passes in a row, and finished 20 of 21, with five TD passes.

*********** In their game against Alabama-Birmingham, the Louisiana Cajuns all wore “LOONEY” on the backs of their jerseys, in honor of the late D.J. Looney, their offensive line coach who died of a heart attack last summer at the age of 31. Coach Looney was a Birmingham native.

*********** I didn’t recognize Birmingham’s Legion Field without one of its upper decks. I gather that it had something to do with safety, because I can remember back in 1974 being up in the press box and feeling the place shake when the crowd got excited. (Yes, even in the World Football League, you could count on a good crowd in Birmingham, a great football town.)

*********** Targeting is getting to be a pain in the ass, because in their zeal to catch all offenders, officials are looking at a lot of cases where a tackler comes in low - and so does the runner.  In several cases I’ve seen, it’s mainly been a matter of the runner - such as Kansas State’s 5-foot-5 Deuce Vaughn - being so low to the ground that a fairly normal tackle can look like it’s helmet-to-helmet.

On the other hand, the sideline tantrum thrown Saturday by a penalized Virginia Tech player after being ejected  should be sufficient reason to reinstate the old rule banishing a player from the sidelines after he’s been “ejected” for targeting. Screw their self esteem. Shame them. Don’t give them a chance to revel in the praise/condolences of teammates.  If you’re really serious about ending this plague, kick their asses out.

*********** Speaking of Virginia Tech, after watching that sideline display, and then later seeing a personal foul that gave Wake Forest a first down when they had been stopped, I got the impression that they might be a rather unruly bunch.

I had to laugh when I heard the announcers talk about the “coach’s frustration.”

Really? I thought. Just who the hell recruited those guys?

*********** I have a hard time figuring out how it is that in a nation as dedicated as ours is to making it possible for the handicapped to work, the NCAA Rules Committee  can bar a football coach under quarantine because of the China Virus - as  Purdue coach Jeff Brohm was - from having even telephone communication with his team starting 90 minutes before kickoff.

*********** Nice fact on TV: since 2000, Wisconsin has had more linemen  drafted by the NFL than any other college team. After we saw that on TV, my wife checked their roster, and counted at least 20 guys weighing at least 300 pounds.

*********** Louisiana’s sideline prop is a “Baller Baton,” which gave the sideline reporter an opportunity to borrow it and show that in another life he’d been a baton twirler.

*********** Can’t tell how much analyst Corey Chavous knows, because he’s very hard to listen to.

*********** Not so long ago, UAB’s football program was shut down. Best illustration of how far they’ve come is the fact that although they lost Friday night to Louisiana, it was their first loss at home after 21 straight wins.

*********** The Kansas-Kansas State “Sunflower State Showdown” is an old one, and after Saturday’s game, Kansas leads in the series, 65-47-5.  But KSU’s win Saturday was their 12th straight over the Jayhawks.

*********** I’ll be showing some video of this Tuesday night - Mercer does some clever  things on offense, including shifting their linemen just prior to the snap, then snapping the ball quickly.

*********** South Florida took the early lead in ugly uniforms, but when Pitt showed up in all-gray, dingy from head-to-toe,  evidently designed to save money on laundry, it looked like the Awful Uniform of the Week Award was locked up.  But we hadn’t yet seen any of the later games, and - what do you know? - there were the Missouri bumble bees, er, Tigers, warming up. To their credit, they looked awful but played great, beating Kentucky.

*********** CBS Sports analyst Ross Tucker, who had seen Army play many times before, seemed to notice that the splits had been narrowed on certain plays: “There’s no holes!” He almost shouted. “They just push the defense back!” (Shhh. Let’s keep the wedge a little secret between us.)

*********** It’s been 10 years since Maryland’s  Kevin Anderson, World’s Worst Athletic Director, fired Raph Friedgen, who had just gone 8-4 and been recognized for his achievement by being named ACC Coach of the Year.  Maryland’s football team has sucked ever since, and based on their opening game loss to Northwestern, the streak - a brown one - will continue.

*********** Army has 19 players on its roster from Georgia.

*********** The Army game was over when there was still about 10 minutes left to play in all the other games that started at the same time.

*********** What’s going on here?

Air Force whiffed on three shots from the San Jose State one, and then later in the game - after scoring on a pass - the Falcons gave up an extra point in order to take a penalty and go for two - and whiffed.

Navy scored two of its three touchdowns through the air, and had more yards passing than rushing.

***********Used to be the only Nebraska kid I knew of who left the state was Scott Frost, who went to Stanford, but he wound up transferring to NU and starring there.

Now it looks like they lost Noah Vedral, a Nebraska guy who went to NU then transferred to Rutgers and quarterbacked the Scarlet KNights to a huge (38-27) win over Michigan State.

And then there’s Michigan State. Once, I’d have felt bad.   I liked them for years until their unseemly hiring of Colorado’s coach turned me sour on them. (I tend to root for teams because of their coaches, and now my favorite team is anybody playing MSU.)

*********** Auburn scored on a long pass with 1:11 left to break a 28-28 tie and win the game when an Ole Miss safety with a clean shot at the receiver right on the sideline showed up MIA.

*********** Wake Forest has two of the nation’s best running backs in Kenneth Walker and Christian Beal-Smith.

*********** Wake’s Nick Anderson, a freshman walk-on from Clifton, Virginia, intercepted three Virginia Tech passes.

*********** You all know how Penn State managed, after making a tremendous comeback, to blow the Indiana game in the end. Leading by a point, Penn State scored a late touchdown and kicked the extra point to go ahead by eight points. But then State had to kick off, and Indiana managed to score and make the 2-point conversion to tie it, then won in overtime.  Instead of scoring, all Penn State had to do was take a knee three times and Indiana would have had the ball deep in their own territory with under ten seconds to play, so Penn State’s  James Franklin told his team not to score. Or so he says. Why, then, didn’t he simply instruct his quarterback to get under center, take the snap, and take a knee?

*********** Texas players may not all have sung, and they may not all have made the “Hook ‘em Horns” hand sign, but they all stayed out on the field for the playing of “The Eyes of Texas.” (Played not by the band - too many members refused to play. Hook ‘em (spelled with an “F”.)

*********** My top defensive linemen of the day: Wake Forest’s Boogie Basham, Penn State’s Shaka Toney, and Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson.

*********** Many people, like me, had their first exposure to a very good Indiana receiver named Whop Philyor. 

Uh-oh.  I can remember when that word could get you in a world of trouble.

But before the fellas in New Haven, and East Boston, and South Philly get all upset…

According to the official Indiana Football site, “parents began calling him Whop because of his love for Burger King’s Whoppers.”

So what’s the problem?

*********** Saved by one little keystroke… Indiana’s quarterback, Michael Penix, Jr. (And his Dad.)

*********** If ever a team took a punch and came back swinging, it was Michigan.  After having a punt blocked and a quick TD scored on them in the first three minutes of play, they came right back and on the ir first play following the kickoff they went  70 yards right up the middle for a TD of their own.

*********** Kind of classy - a wide-open Michigan TE dropped a sure touchdown pass. A play or two later, they came right back to him, hitting him on a pass that he carried down to the one.

*********** LSU is back.  Maybe not all the way back from where they were at the end of last season, but this freshman QB, T.J. Finley, looks like the answer they were looking for on offense. He completed 17 of 21 for  265 yards and 2 TDs as the Tigers beat South Carolina, 52-24.

*********** Air Force and San Diego State were tied at the half, 0-0. It had been a year since two FBS schools went scoreless in the first half.

*********** I only saw the “highlights,” but they call it the “doink-doink-doink” play, as the Rice field goal attempt bounced from pipe-to-pipe-to-pipe before missing.

*********** San Jose State’s Derrick Deese made the best catch I saw all day, toe-tapping just barely in bounds to score against Air Force.

Notre Dame’s Ben Skowronek was a close second, taking advantage of his height to defeat Pitt coverage and score on a long pass.

In third place was Wisconsin’s Jake Ferguson, with several good catches -  seven overall for 71 yards and three touchdowns.  I had to deduct a few points because a fumble on his part resulted in an Illinois TD.

*********** Unless it’s a service academy, it’s not often that you see a major college team run the same play twice in a row. But just before the half, with Michigan on the Minnesota 12, they ran a tailback trap - the same basic play that had broken for a 70-yard touchdown earlier in the game - and in two tries they were in the end zone.

*********** Most impressive performance of the day for me was Michigan’s. I was transfixed.

Don Brown’s defense was scary good, but that was not a surprise. The number of weapons they have on defense - and the ways they used them - was.  Ohio State is good and blah, blah, blah, but this Michigan team is very solid and I find myself liking the way they play.

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

As you know I can no longer be a "picker" of games.  I feel better providing "insight" since I have such a checkered past in picking winners and losers.  Let's just say I get a lot of mail from casinos asking me to visit and spend my money.  Here are the ones that matter most to me:

In a battle of historic rivals opening their BIG seasons whoever makes the least number of mistakes will take the Little Brown Jug.

Notre Dame's defense will be tested, but so will Pitt's defense.  Pitt always plays the Irish tough, especially at home.  Lots of points?

Texas at Baylor brings out the best in the Longhorns and the Bears.  This year it depends on which Longhorn team steps off the bus.

Army may have found itself a reliable QB to go with another grinder at FB.

Fresno State "opens" their season at home vs. Hawaii.  Bulldogs starting QB is former Washington Husky Jake Haener.  Lots of points?

Enjoy the weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


********** QUIZ ANSWER - Because of the way he moved opponents when he was on offense, his coach called him a “rolling boulder.”   On defense, he was so hard to move that he was called the “Rock of Gibraltar.”

Playing in a time of two-way football, Tom Brown was one of the greatest linemen - offensive or defensive  - in the history of Minnesota football.

Although not overly big by today’s standards - 6 foot, 250 -  he was way ahead of his time in his dedication to weight training, and he was extremely strong.

He was a Minneapolis kid, and at his hometown University of Minnesota, he enjoyed the kind of senior season few linemen ever get to experience.  As nose guard , he was the centerpiece on a Gopher defense that in his senior season gave up only 88 points in ten games.

The Gophers tied for the Big Ten title with Iowa, and earned the Big Ten’s berth in the Rose Bowl on the basis of their having beaten Iowa, then ranked Number One in the Country, 27-10.  It was Minnesota’s first-ever Rose Bowl appearance.

(Ironically, because at that time the national championship was awarded before the New Year’s Day bowls, the Gophers went into the Rose Bowl as the national champions - and lost to Washington, 17-7.)

For his play that season, he was widely recognized as the nation’s best lineman. He won the Outland Trophy, and he was named the Big Ten’s MVP.

He was a unanimous All-American, and - one for the trivia - he finished second in the Heisman voting, behind Joe Bellino of Navy.  It is the highest any interior lineman has ever finished in the Heisman balloting.

Drafted by the New York Titans of the AFL and the Baltimore Colts of the NFL, he chose instead to play with the B.C. Lions of the CFL.  He had a good career there, helping the Lions to the Grey Cup championship in 1964 and being named the team MVP.  He would help the Lions win a second Grey Cup, but was forced to retire in 1967 after suffering a neck injury.

Tom Brown is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING TOM BROWN

PAUL HERZOG - AFTON, MINNESOTA - FOR SUGGESTING TOM BROWN     
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

*********** One of the greatest Golden Gophers whose exploits were overshadowed by another of the greatest Gophers, Bobby Bell.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** Check out

https://gophersports.com/news/2007/9/6/Tom_Brown


https://footballfoundation.org/hof_search.aspx?hof=2123

Greg Koenig
Colorado Springs, Colorado

*********** In doing my research, I came across someone’s list of the “Top 20 Golden Gophers of All Time.”

Needless to say, it’s heavily biased toward more recent times, because there is no way Tom Brown, who won the Outland Trophy and finished second in the Heisman voting,  should not be on it.

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/720160-minnesota-football-the-top-20-golden-gophers-of-all-time


***********QUIZ: He was one of the greatest linebackers in the history of the Minnesota Vikings, an NFL franchise whose greatest teams were built on powerful defense.

He played his high school ball in Dayton, Ohio, and then played two seasons at Northeast Oklahoma JC, where he played on a national championship team. Highly recruited there, he signed with Iowa State, where Johnny Majors was building something of a powerhouse.

He was named defensive MVP of the Sun Bowl his first years there, then missed a season to injury.  In his senior year he was named an All-American and was invited to play in the Hula Bowl, the East-West Shrine Game, and the Senior Bowl.

Drafted second by the Vikings, he was forced into a starting role at linebacker when starter Roy Winston was injured and he wound up making the NFL All-Rookie team.

He would play 12 seasons in the NFL, all of them with the Vikings, and from 1977 through 1982 would be named to six straight Pro Bowls.

He played in two Super Bowls.

He has the second most tackles in franchise history, and he ranks third in NFL history in blocked punts.

He is in the Vikings’ Ring of Honor and has been named one of the Top 50 Vikings in team history.

After he retired from football, he became an accomplished wildlife and landscape photographer.

In recent years, he suffered from dementia, possibly associated with CTE, and he died last Thursday, October 22.  He was 70.


Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY, OCTOBER  23, 2020    "The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false face for the urge to rule it."  H.L. Mencken

*********** MY FEARLESS PICKS FOR THIS WEEKEND (Caution: gambling based on excessive dependence on my brilliance as a prognosticator can result in having your kneecaps whacked by a guy named Vinnie.)

JUST IN CASE YOU MIGHT DOUBT MY ABILITIES AS A PICKER:  LAST WEEKEND I PICKED EIGHT WINNERS! (Uh, out of 26 games)

THIS WEEK, FOR SOME REASON, I’VE CHOSEN THE FAVORITE AND GIVEN THE POINTS IN 35 OF THE 46 GAMES.  (ANOTHER WEEKEND LIKE THE LAST ONE AND  NEXT WEEK I’LL JUST FLIP A COIN. WHAT THE HELL.)

FRIDAY GAMES

TULSA over South Florida +11
WISCONSIN over Illinois + 19-1/2
LOUISIANA over UAB +2-1/2

SATURDAY GAMES

CLEMSON over Syracuse +46-1/2
OHIO STATE over Nebraska +26
NC STATE +14-1/2 over North Carolina
KANSAS +20 over Kansas State
COASTAL CAROLINA over Georgia Southern +4-1/2
ARMY over Mercer +31
OLE MISS +3 over Auburn
TCU +6-1/2 over Oklahoma
MEMPHIS over Temple +13-1/2
CHARLOTTE over Utep +14-1/2
FLORIDA STATE +5 over Louisville
RUTGERS +13 over Michigan State
UCF over Tulane +19-1/2
LIBERTY over Southern Miss +11
MARSHALL over Fla Atlantic +17
ALABAMA over Tennessee +21-1/2
NOTRE DAME over Pitt +10-1/2
IOWA STATE +3-1/2 over Oklahoma  State
PENN STATE over Indiana +5-1/2
WAKE FOREST +8 over Virginia Tech
MIDDLE TENNESSEE +3-1/2 over Rice
HOUSTON over Navy +14
BAYLOR +8-1/2 over Texas
IOWA over Purdue +3
TROY over Georgia State +2-1/2
BOSTON COLLEGE over Georgia Tech +3
WESTERN KENTUCKY over Chattanooga +11-1/2
KENTUCKY over Missouri +5-1/2
WEST VIRGINIA over Texas Tech +3-1/2
SOUTH CAROLINA +6-1/2 over LSU
SOUTH ALABAMA over Louisiana Monroe +14-1/2
UTAH STATE +16-1/2 over Boise State
WYOMING over Nevada +4-1/2
MINNESOTA +3 over Michigan
FRESNO STATE over Hawaii +3-1/2
NORTHWESTERN over Maryland +11
MIAMI over Virginia +12-1/2
LOUISIANA TECH over UTSA +2-1/2
SMU over Cincinnati + 2-1/2
BYU over Texas State + 28-1/2
SAN DIEGO STATE over UNLV + 15
AIR FORCE over San Jose State +7

*********** Games that I will definitely watch:

FRIDAY NIGHT:

*Louisiana at UAB (I like to watch the Cajuns)

SATURDAY:
*NC State at North Carolina (State lost their starting QB Saturday; NC blew it against FSU but nearly caught the Seminoles at the end.)

*Kansas at Kansas State (EMAW! Every Man a Wildcat! I am a Wildcat fan.)

*Georgia Southern at Coastal Carolina (Coastal is on my must-watch list)

*Mercer at Army (Mainly to see if Army gives the start to the freshman QB who led them so well last Saturday.)

*Oklahoma at TCU (I think Gary Patterson’s defense might be enough to stop OU)

*Florida State at Louisville (I want to see if the Seminoles can play the way they played in the first half against UNC last week - or if they’ll be the wild, undisciplined  bunch they showed themselves to be at the end of the game.)

* Southern Miss at Liberty (I hope Liberty’s Hugh Freeze isn’t cheating, because this team is good)

* Notre Dame at Pitt (ND has not looked to me like the nation’s #4 team, and Pitt has yet to play the way they were expected to.)

* Iowa State at Oklahoma State.  (Here’s where the Cyclones get to flush that opening game loss to Louisiana.)

* Virginia Tech at Wake Forest. (I think Tech will win, but I like to watch Wake’s offense.)

* Houston at Navy. (This will tell us a lot.  Houston is very good.  There are reports that Navy has been having some internal problems that have yet to hit the newspapers - and maybe never will - but they could be affecting the team’s play.)

* Baylor at Texas (Mainly to watch for any incidents, now that players are refusing to stay on the field for the post-game singing of “The Eyes of Texas” and the band may not have enough members on hand to play it anyhow.  A very nasty situation is brewing in Austin.)

* Iowa at Purdue (I like ‘em both.)

* Georgia Tech at BC (I like the stuff BC is doing offensively.  With a new coach, they are punching above their weight.)

* Kentucky at Missouri (I think Kentucky is good.)

* West Virginia at Texas Tech (Mountaineers have one of the best defenses in the country.)

* South Carolina at LSU (Are the Gamecocks really as good as they looked Saturday? Has LSU fallen that far?)

* Utah State at Boise State (REAL FOOTBALL RETURNS TO THE WEST!!!)

* Michigan at Minnesota (Opening the Big Ten season with the battle for the Little Brown Jug. Michigan has really dominated this one. I have to pull for the Gophers.)

* Cincinnati at SMU (Cincinnati didn’t impress me against Army.  SMU has been looking very tough.)

* Texas State at BYU (For a little while at least.  Just to see a little of BYU QB Zach Wilson.  It’s been a few years since BYU has had a great QB.  For a while everyone thought Taysom Hill might be one until he suffered injury after injury, but  Wilson may be the best in the country.)

* Air Force at San Jose State (I liked what I saw the Zoomies do against Navy, and I want to see if they’re really that good.)

*********** FEATURED HIGH SCHOOL GAMES ON THE NFHS NETWORK

FRIDAY NIGHT

7 PM EASTERN - FLORIDA
CARDINAL GIBBONS (FT. LAUDERDALE) 2-0
VS
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS (FT. LAUDERDALE) 1-0

7 PM CENTRAL - ALABAMA*** I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS GAME
HOOVER 9-0
VS
THOMPSON (ALABASTER) 9-0


7 PM CENTRAL - LOUISIANA
ACADIANA (LAFAYETTE) 3-0
VS
RUSTON 3-0

*********** Tuesday night’s weekly Zoom clinic (my 28th since April 7) showed a number of things from last Saturday’s college games that could be used (or rather easily adapted for use) by Double Wing or Wing-T or Open Wing coaches.  Here’s a partial list of them:

DOUBLE WING/WING T (QB UNDER CENTER):

ARMY play-action pass off Belly action
ARMY cutback dive
BOSTON COLLEGE shallow cross
MEMPHIS  Tight End screen
NAVY toss sweep from “CC” (Double C) formation
PITT backside TE corner from our Toronto Ram formation

OPEN WING:

DUKE 4 verticals
HOUSTON QB sneak (caught BYU napping)
LIBERTY QB power keep for a first down
LIBERTY off-tackle for big yardage after faking Criss-Cross
MEMPHIS  a shuffle-option to the open side that set up a TD
SOUTH CAROLINA a nice screen to the side of trips
VIRGINIA TECH neat screen for a TD after faking Criss-Cross
WAKE FOREST: innovative things being done with their slow read

For a Double Wing, Wing-T or Open Wing coach, that’s more useful stuff in a one hour Zoom clinic on a Tuesday evening than you’d get in a typical weekend clinic.

*********** Please keep up the college football highlights analysis.  You have far more interesting things to say than any talking head that actually gets paid to do this.

(You wrote) Is it an FCC regulation that football coaches have to be interviewed at the half, one at the start of halftime and then when they return to the field?

I have long wondered about that.  Or is it some sort of contractual thing?  Regardless, if it ain't required I'm just walking right on past Bambi Bimbette or whoever it is that's about to waste my time.

Liberty is a very good football team and a lot of fun to watch. They’re solid in all aspects of the game, and they’ve got a couple of good running backs in Shedro Louis and Peytton Pickett, and a nice QB in Malik Willis.

Our high school QB from last season is now a freshman QB at Liberty.  I watched the game in hopes of spotting him on the sideline.  A great young man.  And Liberty is an excellent team.  I wonder how many recruiting violations Coach Freeze is going to be leaving them with(?)

We are also seeing too many roughing/targeting calls on hook sliding QBs. I’m sorry, but you can’t let the guy run like a real football player and then, at the last second, allow him to put on a red don’t-hit-the-quarterback scrimmage jersey and expect him to be safe from opponents who are still playing football as the game was meant to be played.


Just as frustrating is the RB heading to the sidelines.  Is he going to step out of bounds at the last second?  Or will he cut back?  No way to tell, until after the tackler has made his decision.  And by then, it's too late. 

Not to come across as homophobic, you understand, but there’s something about a placekicker with a mustache…

I'm sure that I'm not supposed to laugh at this.  But I did.  Because it's funny.

Worst uniforms of the day: Memphis, in all-gray.  Besides the ugliness, I can’t believe that every single professor of Ethnic Studies at Memphis was so busy that it slipped his (or her, or their) notice that gray was the color of Confederate Army uniforms, and you know what the Confederacy was fighting for, and so...

Was wondering this myself...

Keep up the great work.  My best to you and Connie.

Sincerely,

Dave Potter
Cary, North Carolina

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

At the end of last week's zoom clinic you asked me a very important question.  One that I did not explain my answer completely or to my own satisfaction.

You asked me if I was getting anything out of the film clips of the college plays from the previous Saturday. I answered yes, but I did not give a complete answer. I believe that I somehow left that question and started talking about working on my old house. Let me apologize for getting off the subject and wasting your time and money. I know that you are hosting these clinics at your own expense and I should stick to football.

It  blows my mind that you can capture so many games on your recorder. I believe that I told you  that I have always gotten my television from an antenna. I refuse to pay for channels that I will not watch.

I am also amazed at your going thru those games and picking out important aspects of the games that apply to your systems. You also point out official mistakes that are important to working coaches.  Officials are terrible all over the country.

The plays that you point out are extremely important.  You relate them to both parts of your system. The double wing part and the open wing part. To me you are showing the younger coaches that both parts of the Hugh Wyatt System are valid and in the main stream of current college coaching. That is an extremely important point. How much criticism has your  double wing system received over the years? I know that I have heard it all from my coaching experience from the chuck and duck guys. You have now gone and closed the mouths of the spread guys with the open wing. The joke is on them because you are spreading them out and using double wing running plays! I love it!

You are showing current coaches that with some tweaks, these college plays are just a branch off what they are currently doing in either version of your system. That again is an extremely important point to me.

Keep doing what you are doing. It is important work. It is the kind of information that they will not get in a regular clinic.

I don,t know how many coaches are watching each week, but I am certain that they are finding the time spent well worth it.

I am thrilled each week to be watching. I am still kicking myself for not knowing that I could watch on my phone. I hate the fact that I missed the first 15 clinics!

I hope that I have given you some feed back that fully answers your question.

David Crump
Owensboro, Kentucky


*********** Right now, my Top Six teams - the teams I’m most interested in watching from the standpoint of what I can learn from them offensively:

1. Coastal Carolina
2. Liberty
3. Wake Forest
4. Air Force
5. Boston College
6. Army

*********** Check the field logo the next time Louisiana plays at home. The apostrophe at the end of RAGIN’ (as in “Ragin’ Cajuns”) is a red pepper.

*********** Who was the marketing whiz at Big Ten headquarters whose idea it was to celebrate the return of the conference to real football by opening up on Friday night with a yawner between Illinois and Wisconsin?  Were the Russians behind it?

*********** I accept Troy Aikman’s explanation that he was being kiddingly sarcastic when he was caught on a live mic talking about the waste of taxpayer money involved in military flyovers of stadiums, and that he was actually making fun of an ultra-liberal co-worker when he said that we wouldn’t have that waste if Biden and Harris were elected.

I know he went to UCLA, but he was only there for  couple of years, and I can’t believe that brief stay could have made that big a change in a guy who grew up in Oklahoma, and spent his NFL career in Texas.

*********** Remember the “money” that Odell Beckham, Jr. was seen handing out to LSU players after the national championship game back in January?   He said it wasn’t real money, but at least one LSU player said it was. LSU evidently agreed, saying, according to Sports Illustrated, that Beckham, who I hesitate to refer to as an alumnus (meaning a graduate), handed out about $2,000.

The real issue, of course - what was that guy doing on the LSU sidelines, anyhow? - has been addressed by LSU, which has banned him from its “facilities” for two years.

*********** THIS NOTE FROM AN UNDERSTANDABLY FRUSTRATED ASSISTANT COACH illustrates the cause of the downfall of more than one HEAD coach:  It really doesn’t matter how much you like something or how well you know it.

The prime reason - often the only reason - for running the offense or defense that you do should be that it gives your kids the best possible chance to be successful.

We lost on Friday.  As you know we run a spread zone read offense, and a 4-1-6 on defense (yes, you read that right).

As you know I spent a good portion of the off-season trying to convince our HC to run your Open Wing.  I wasn't even given the time of day.  When he asked my opinion and suggestions about defense, I tried to get him to listen to me about what we were trying to do and again, he poo-poo'ed it.

We are now 0-13 over the past two seasons running his offense, and this abomination of a defense.  Apparently he has started counting the number of days HE has gone without a win.  On Saturday we met as a staff and his demeanor and words were more sarcastic than ever before.  He said, "Guys, we must be terrible coaches."  "We can't get these slaps to block or tackle."  "We're as bad as the team we play this week (they are also 0-4), Hey, maybe we'll win one!"  "But, if we can't beat these guys we'll probably all get fired!"  Then he had the gall to ask us for suggestions on what we can do to get this thing turned around.  "Crickets." "OK, we'll see you on Monday." and he left.

The three of us all stood there looking at one another.  One of the assistants commented, "I guess that's what "throwing in the towel" looks like!"

Hugh, last year we had six assistants, and between the six of us we had over 200 years of coaching experience at the collegiate, high school, and middle school levels with most of the high school experience coming in the form of head coaching and assistant coaching at small schools.  This season we lost three assistants before the season started.  One retired, and the other two told me they just couldn't bring themselves to coach for the current HC anymore.  

As far as my future in coaching is concerned a lot depends upon what happens here.  If the current HC stays I'm out.  If he's out I'll reassess.

NAME WITHHELD, ALONG WITH ENOUGH OF THE CONTENT TO PROTECT THE WRITER’S IDENTITY

***********  Coach,

The quiz answer is Vic Janowicz, interesting read.

You mentioned in the news about targeting so I thought I would tell you that I threw a flag for helmet to helmet contact on a running back that lowered his head this weekend, 13-14 yr olds.  His coach came out to discuss it with me, luckily he wasn't upset or angry, he just wanted clarification.  It was clear to me that he lowered his head and drove it into the tackler.

One of the things I miss about coaching is giving the Black Lion Award.  I have to admit that I was always a little jealous that I had to give away that awesome patch, I wish someone would have nominated me for the award.

Dave Kemmick
Mount Joy, Pennsylvania

***********  I had a first cousin who lived in Greenville, TN. Visited him there a few times. In fact, he was a pretty good football player there. So, like you, I was dismayed when the announcer gave a totally incorrect location. But forgive me for being upset at such a small point...I'm from Orofino, you see, and sometimes small things set me off like a ton of damn Chinese fireworks.

Re the Army QB. Laws was the returning QB from last season. We don't know what's wrong that he hasn't played or practiced this season...injury, we're told. But then we had 2, 3, and 4, none of whom made the trip to San Antonio. So that left us with 5 and 6, Ballard and Tyler, both of whom played well. But imo, Ballard was a steadier presence, and clearly was in charge of the huddle. A further opinion: after # 1, everyone else (in the case of this Army team) should be viewed as # 2. I think Ballard has earned the right to play next week. Incidentally, on one play last week we had two Cades in the backfield at the same time. Cade Ballard and Cade Barnard. Not just two Cades, but two Cade Ba.

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida


***********  SORRY THAT THERE’S NO LETTER TODAY FROM JOE GUTILLA.  I HAVE DOCKED HIS PAY ACCORDINGLY AND I HOPE THE FINANCIAL PAIN  WILL BE ENOUGH TO GET HIM BACK ON SCHEDULE.



*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Of the four Heisman Trophies awarded from 1947 through 1950, three were won by Polish-Americans.  Vic Janowicz was one of those winners. (The other two were Notre Damers, Johnny Lujack in 1947 and Leon Hart in 1949.)

He was the last of the Ohio State single wing tailbacks, and he could do everything. As was expected of a tailback, he was a great runner and a very good passer.

In his junior year, in an 83-21 win over Iowa, he was five for six passing for 128 yards and four touchdowns, and he ran for two more. And he set a Big Ten record with 10 extra points in one game.

He was an exceptional safety in the two-way football that they played then.

And he was a punter and placekicker.

Against Michigan in the historic Snow Bowl of 1950, he punted 21 times (still an OSU school record) for 685 yards (also still a school record) and kicked a field goal for Ohio State’s only points in a 6-3 Buckeye loss. (Michigan didn’t make a single first down, making all of its points by blocking two of his punts.)

He won the Heisman that year, his junior year, despite fact that the Buckeyes’ record was an unimpressive 6-3. But the record resulted in a change in coaches for his senior year and the new coach, a young fellow named Woody Hayes, brought with him a new offense. Hayes’ switch  from the single wing to the T-formation diminished our man’s role on offense,  but he still kicked, and he excelled in the secondary.

He was drafted by the Redskins, but with the Korean War going on, he was called up by the National Guard. After the service, despite not having played any baseball since high school, he was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates to a contract calling for the then-staggering amount of $25,000.

Following two unproductive years playing baseball, he switched back to football, and joined the Redskins in 1954.  He was their starting halfback in 1955, and also served as their placekicker.  Through his running, receiving and kicking, he led the NFL in scoring until the final week of the season, when Detroit’s Doak Walker nosed him out.

During the 1956 pre-season, he was in a serious automobile accident, suffering a brain injury that left him partially paralyzed and ended his sports career. Ironically, just four days before his accident, his young daughter had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

He was able through rehabilitation to regain full use of his body, and worked for years in industry.

He died of cancer in 1996 at the age of 66.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and of the Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame.

Vic Janowicz was only the second Ohio State player ever to have his number retired (after two-time Heisman winner Archie Griffin).

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING VIC JANOWICZ
       
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MAT HEDGER - LANGDON, NORTH DAKOTA
DAVE KEMMICK - MOUNT JOY, PENNSYLVANIA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA

*********** Hello Coach,
Quiz Answer is Vic Janowicz.  I took a look at the Polish American Sports HOF website, that is a pretty neat site.

I'm still trying to attend your clinics occasionally even if it is just for a few minutes.  I liked your film review of some plays from the college games.  Hope you're doing well in the Northwest.  We're supposed to get our first cumulative snowfall in ND today.  Winter is here!  I do not envy the Big Ten trying to patch together a season, but it is their own fault.  Take care and God Bless.

Mathew Hedger
Langdon, North Dakota

*********** Vic Janowicz...A bit of Cold War memorization from my Dad

Let's have trust in God
All we've left is contempt
Because God, good and just,
Will not let it be
That the hapless Pole
Live without a homeland.

Coach Kaz
Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

*********** QUIZ - Because of the way he moved opponents when he was on offense, his coach called him a “rolling boulder.”   On defense, he was so hard to move that he was called the “Rock of Gibraltar.”

Playing in a time of two-way football, he was one of the greatest linemen - offensive or defensive  - in the history of Minnesota football.

Although not overly big by today’s standards - 6 foot, 250 -  he was way ahead of his time in his dedication to weight training, and he was extremely strong. 

He was a Minneapolis kid, and at his hometown University of Minnesota, he enjoyed the kind of senior season few linemen ever get to experience.  As nose guard , he was the centerpiece on a Gopher defense that in his senior season gave up only 88 points in ten games.

The Gophers tied for the Big Ten title with Iowa, and earned the Big Ten’s berth in the Rose Bowl on the basis of their having beaten Iowa, then ranked Number One in the Country, 27-10.  It was Minnesota’s first-ever Rose Bowl appearance.

(Ironically, because at that time the national championship was awarded before the New Year’s Day bowls, the Gophers went into the Rose Bowl as the national champions - and lost to Washington, 17-7.)

For his play that season, he was widely recognized as the nation’s best lineman. He won the Outland Trophy, and he was named the Big Ten’s MVP.

He was a unanimous All-American, and - one for the trivia - he finished second in the Heisman voting, behind Joe Bellino of Navy.  It is the highest any interior lineman has ever finished in the Heisman balloting.

Drafted by the New York Titans of the AFL and the Baltimore Colts of the NFL, he chose instead to play with the B.C. Lions of the CFL.  He had a good career there, helping the Lions to the Grey Cup championship in 1964 and being named the team MVP.  He would help the Lions win a second Grey Cup, but was forced to retire in 1967 after suffering a neck injury.

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



Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY, OCTOBER  20, 2020 "Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.”  George Orwell

*********** MY FEARLESS PICKS FOR THIS WEEKEND (Caution: gambling based on excessive dependence on my brilliance as a prognosticator can lead to penury.)

If you bet my picks this past weekend, I’ll see you in the poorhouse.

WON 8  LOST 18  — WHEW!

FRIDAY GAMES
x SMU OVER Tulane +9
x BYU OVER Houston +4

SATURDAY GAMES
x CLEMSON OVER Georgia Tech +27
W MIAMI OVER Pitt +11
W SOUTH CAROLINA +3 OVER Auburn
x TENNESSEE OVER Kentucky +7
x EAST CAROLINA +3 OVER NAVY
x TEXAS STATE +3 OVER South Alabama
x TEMPLE OVER South Florida +10
W LIBERTY OVER Syracuse +3
x WEST VIRGINIA OVER Kansas +27
x UTSA +6 OVER Army
W UAB OVER Western Kentucky +15
x NOTRE DAME OVER Louisville +10
x DUKE +5 OVER NC State
x UCF OVER Memphis +3
x OLE MISS OVER Arkansas +2
x TROY OVER Eastern Kentucky +27-1/2
W TEXAS A & M over Miss State +5-1/2
W GEORGIA SOUTHERN OVER UMass _30
W WAKE FOREST +1 OVER Virginia
x MIDDLE TENN +6-1/2 OVER North Texas
W MARSHALL OVER La Tech _13
x NORTH CAROLINA OVER FSU +8
x GEORGIA +5 over Alabama
x BOSTON COLLEGE +11 OVER Virginia Tech


POSTPONED
TULSA + 4-1/2 OVER Cincinnati
CHARLOTTE OVER Florida International +6-1/2


*********** I just happened to be doing some checking in the Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame  site and I learned to my surprise and dismay that Johnny Olszewski is not an inductee.  There are some very impressive American sports figures who’ve been inducted, and in my opinion, Johnny O is as worthy  of the honor as any of them.

Deciding to try to do something about it, I called and left a message at the HOF offices in Troy, Michigan. Not long afterward, I received a call from a gentleman who identified himself as the executive director, and I explained my reason for calling.

He said that Johnny O’s name had come up on occasion, but now he’s become a victim of  the passage of time , and the toll it takes on those people who might have remembered him. Now, Johnny O is in limbo,  relegated to the veteran’s committee.

The director, a very nice guy, said that I might be able to help his cause  if I could provide him with some bio information.  I said I just happened to have something ready to go.

Off it went. Go, Johnny O.

http://www.polishsportshof.com/inductees/

***********Even without the people in the stands, and even with the stupid sideline announcers who insist on wearing masks AND maintaining social distancing, I’m really enjoying this football season.

Sorry, Big Ten and Pac-12 fans.  This may piss you off, but I’m enjoying what I see so much that it wouldn’t bother me if a certain pair of high and mighty conferences were to decide (“out of an abundance of caution”) to pass on this season after all.

I mean, when we were starving for some football, the guys who are playing now gave us real football.  Where the hell were you when we needed you?

The two holdout conferences remind me of the story of the Little Red Hen:

Who will help us have a football season? asked the football fans of America.

Not I, said the Big Ten.  Not I, said the Pac-12.

Then we will do it by ourselves, said the other three Power Five conferences. And so will we, said three of the Group of Five conferences.  And so will we, said a few independents.

Once the football season was under way, and it became apparent that there was going to be a playoff, with a national championship and bags of money at stake, the Big Ten and the Pac-12 said, Wait - we’re going to play after all.  And just because we’re a couple of months late, because we sat back and waited while you took all the risks, we still expect a place in the playoffs.

The Little Red Hen said screw 'em. But she was a lot tougher than today’s college athletic directors, who will find a way to incorporate the  late arrivals into the Playoff.

I have a feeling that if it were up to a vote of the fans of America, the Big Ten and Pac-12 would put their gear away and sit this one out.

But no.  It's not up to the fans.  THey have no say.  Ohio State and Penn State haven't played a game yet but, dutifully, the AP holds a place for the two of them in therir Top 10.


*********** I almost laughed when I saw a crawler saying that the NCAA had hit UMass hard for financial aid violations involving “basketball and women’s tennis players.”  UMass, which barely has a football team, got in trouble paying players on its women’s tennis team?  Wait - UMass is accused of “overpaying 12 athletes about  $9,100 in financial aid over three years.”  Per athlete, that’s $758 a year.  Per year, that’s a few pennies more than $250 per athlete.  Over a nine-month school year, that’s less than $30 a month.    But UMass is small potatoes, and not a big-time power, so I fully expect the NCAA to crush them.

*********** Is it an FCC regulation that football coaches have to be interviewed at the half, one at the start of halftime and then when they return to the field?

*********** Best uniforms of the day: Syracuse. The Orangemen wore the classic uni worn in Dick MacPherson’s day, when Syracuse verged on being a national power.

Worst uniforms of the day: Memphis, in all-gray.  Besides the ugliness, I can’t believe that every single professor of Ethnic Studies at Memphis was so busy that it slipped his (or her, or their) notice that gray was the color of Confederate Army uniforms, and you know what the Confederacy was fighting for, and so...

*********** Liberty is a very good football team and a lot of fun to watch. They’re solid in all aspects of the game, and they’ve got a couple of good running backs in Shedro Louis and Peytton Pickett, and a nice QB in Malik Willis.

*********** I didn’t think that anyone could upstage the President where a comeback from the Wuhan Virus was concerned, but Nick Saban did it.

*********** Alabama and Clemson are in a class by themselves.

*********** We are still seeing way too many targeting calls, and in most cases it takes at least five minutes from the call to the final judgment. And it's so typical of our soft-on-offenders culture  that  we no longer banish the targetters for fear of stigmatizing those poor young men - the same ones who only minutes earlier  were intentionally inflicting on a defenseless opponent what could be permanent brain damage.

*********** We are also seeing too many roughing/targeting calls on hook sliding QBs. I’m sorry, but you can’t let the guy run like a real football player and then, at the last second, allow him to put on a red don’t-hit-the-quarterback scrimmage jersey and expect him to be safe from opponents who are still playing football as the game was meant to be played.

At the very least, the ball should be spotted a significant distance - say, ten yards - back from the place where the slide began.

And then, to top it off, some genius whom I was too busy to identify (go to awfulannouncing.com if you ever want to find out who’s doing the yakking on the game you’re watching) and obviously never coached (or played) defense actually said, “When that quarterback goes into that slide, you’ve gotta pull up.”

*********** Kentucky returned two interceptions for TDs in the first half against Tennessee. 

*********** Talk about the worm turning. Since 1985, Kentucky has beaten Tennessee only three times (that’s 33-3).  But the Wildcats have now  won two of the last four games.

*********** Considering what’s expected of a triple option fullback, Navy played two unusually small guys there. One was 5-9, 213 and the other was 5-9, 205.

*********** East Carolina gave a freshman QB his first start against Navy. Mason Garcia is 6-5, 235.  He’s from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and he’s going to be good.

***********  The perils of trying to package two plays into one: Tennessee lost the ball on a fumble when the QB’s throwing arm was hit by the running back whose elbow was high in anticipation of a handoff.

*********** Army had to face UTSA with two inexperienced  QBs, neither of whom was higher than third string before this week. Cade Ballard, a freshman,  is stocky and strong, and did an exceptional job of running the Army offense, plus running and passing well. He’s from Greeneville, Tennessee, where his dad was his high school coach, and where he was twice named the state’s Mister Football in his class. The announcers, obviously faking it, said Greeneville is “just outside Nashville.” My ass it is. It’s in the mountains of East Tennessee, about 250 miles from Nashville.  Way to do your homework, guys.

The other freshman QB, Tyhier Tyler, a sophomore, does not appear to be as strong as Ballard but he is exceptionally fast, a real threat to break it any time he carries. He’s from Newport News, Virginia.

In my opinion, especially considering that UTSA was a quality opponent,  it was the best that Army’s looked this year on offense.  Their defense, which has done more than its share this season, looked as good as ever.

*********** UTSA’s QB, Lowell Narcisse, impressed me.  He’s big.  Really, really big.  He looks like he’s maybe 30 years old. Late in the game, driving for extra yardage against Army, he was injured and had to be carted off.  He has since had to undergo surgery on his ankle and will miss the rest of the season.  My best wishes for his recovery and a successful rehab.

*********** I saw a clip of the Mississippi State team getting off their bus, and I wondered who the homeless guy was in the powder blue sweatshirt and what looked like sweat pants. Damned if it wasn’t Mike Leach, who after the last two games  is probably discovering that there’s a lot to be said for going incognito.  How much you wanna bet he’s starting to miss the rolling hills of the Palouse?

*********** For the second week in a row an Army QB lost his helmet.

*********** The first and last scores of the first half of the Duke-NC State game resulted from blocked punts.  The first score came when Duke blocked a Wolfpack punt and ran it in.  The final score of the half came when State blocked a Duke punt and ran it in

*********** I was able to find - and record - 19 different games, but not one that  I wanted to see - Temple 39, USF 37.   Now it can be told - I’m sort of a half-ass Temple alum. Flunked a class at Yale and was able to make it up going to Temple one summer. Go Owls.

*********** Not to come across as homophobic, you understand, but there’s something about a placekicker with a mustache…

*********** Duke recovered a fumble, then drew a 15-yard penalty when the guy who recovered it ripped off his helmet in celebration.  Just in case you wondered whether those immature high school kids you’re coaching ever grow up.

*********** Speaking of Mississippi State, the Bulldogs celebrated their first TD in the last two games.  But the vaunted Air Raid still remains grounded - Saturday's TD came on an interception return.

*********** The announcer informed us that Duke TE Noah Gray is from Leominster, Massachusetts.  He must have been showing off, because he pronounced it correctly. 

Every state has a town or two the pronunciation of which immediately enables you to spot an outsider, and Leominster is one such.

It’s “LEMM-in-ster.”  (Or,  in New England, “LEMM-in-stuh.”)

*********** When UCF looks at the film/tape/video of its one-point loss to Memphis, it will probably notice that as its running back drives for what would have been the winning score, he is holding the ball in one hand, which is why he fumbled.

*********** Memphis put itself in position for its winning score with a nice shuffle  play that's right out of our Open Wing arsenal.

*********** Florida State is definitely coming back, which may not be such a good sign for those who love the game of football: in the space of five plays in their game against North Carolina, they had targeting, roughing the passer, two normal plays, and then, on a PAT, roughing the kicker (it was called “running into the kicker,” I believe, but in legal terms, that is definitely undercharging).

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

Funny you mention long snapping possibilities.   I walked on at Utah State University in fall 1977.   I was 1 of only 2 that year to make it.   I was a long snapper and fairly good center.  They gave me a partial scholarship after that 1st year-pretty small-but something.  After long snapping for them in the 1978 season, I transferred near home to concentrate on being a PE teacher and coach.   They called in the summer and offered me full.   I was already set to go to Cortland so I didn't take it.    That was one skill I was good at.  I sometimes wonder if I should have gone back.  Who knows?

John Irion
Granville, New York

***********  Hugh,

At my last school the only two awards I gave out at the end of the football season were the "Black Lion" Award, and the "Burlsworth" Award.  The Black Lion award was highly regarded by the parents and the players, as was the Burlsworth award.  Unfortunately, after I left they stopped giving out those awards.  Parents I am still close to over there continually ask me why they don't give those awards out anymore.  I tell them it's certainly not for a lack of providing the information the new coaches needed to continue the tradition.

I tried to get the HC at my current school to contact you about giving out the Black Lion award but he declined saying the school already gives out a similar award named after the HC I previously worked for at this school.  In all honesty, while the former HC is a wonderful man, and revered at the school, I don't think the award named after him has the same impact on the boys (and their parents) that the Black Lion Award does.  I truly miss giving that award.

I will no longer provide "tips" regarding college football games.  My tips suck.  Rather...I will offer "thoughts" on various games:  

Army better get its proverbial s*** together vs UTSA.  The Roadrunners have a pretty good football team.

Notre Dame's offense is improving each week, but their defense still has a ways to go.

Not sure which Navy team will show up vs. East Carolina.  Then again, which East Carolina team will show up?

That guy in Washington is one of many showing up in many states.  We have a few here in Texas, but fortunately for us here we have a very strong coaches association that works very hard at informing high school coaches who these dudes are, and why the HS coaches should tell their parents and players to steer clear of those guys.

Enjoy the weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

***********  QUIZ ANSWER: Gene “Big Daddy” Lipscomb has been dead for almost 60 years, but people who never saw him play still  “remember” him. Well, at least they know the nickname.  He was that famous.
.
Few players who never get to touch the football have ever been as famous he was.  The nickname “Big Daddy”  not only described his physical prowess, but also applied to his outsized personality and lifestyle.

His play on the field was an open book, there for all to see; his off-the-field cavorting, while not known to the general public as it might be today,  was the stuff of legend among his teammates, who spoke in awe about his capacity for hard drink and, um,  women.

Even today he would be an impressive figure on a football field. But at the time he played, at 6-6 and 300 or more, he was a giant.

He played 10 years in the NFL, with the Rams, Colts and Steelers. His best years were the five he spent with the Baltimore Colts, where he was a fixture on a great defensive line along with Gino Marchetti, Don Joyce and Art Donovan.

In his final game, the Pro Bowl in 1963, he was named Defensive Player of the Game.

And then, that May, he died, in Baltimore, of a massive cocaine overdose. He was just 31.

He never had it easy. He was born in Alabama to poor cotton field workers and he never knew his father. He moved with his mother to Detroit when he was three. When he was 11, his mother was murdered by her boyfriend.

Orphaned, he was taken in by his grandfather, and soon put to work.  "I had to buy my own clothes and pay room and board to my grandfather," he told The Saturday Evening Post in a 1960 article. "I washed dishes in a cafe, loaded trucks for a construction gang and helped around a junkyard. One year I ran a lift in a steel mill from midnight until seven in the morning. Then I changed clothes and went to school."

"My grandfather loved me, all right, and did the best that he knew how,”he once said. "But for some reason it was always hard for us to talk together. Instead of telling me what I was doing wrong and how to correct it, my grandfather would holler and whip me."

He was always big - he was 6-4 and 220 in sixth grade - and when he got to high school (Miller High School, as he would later be announced in NFL introductions) he was good in football and basketball.

But after being declared ineligible, he dropped out of school and on the advice of his high school coach, he joined the Marines.

Somehow he took to their discipline, and soon was such a standout on the Camp Pendleton football team that he came to the attention of a young Los Angeles Rams’ executive named Pete Rozelle, who signed him to an NFL contract.

He wasn’t an instant hit. He had a lot to learn. But he learned fast, and at a time when there were few 300 pounders in the league, and those who were that heavy were big-bellied guys who didn’t move very well, his combination of size, speed and coordination soon made him a force on defense,.

“One of the best tacklers there ever was,” recalled his coach, Weeb Ewbank. "When Big Daddy  wrapped a guy up with those long arms, he stayed wrapped."

"He was big, fast, strong and agile. Really, really great,” recalled Hall of Famer Gino Marchetti.

"The best man I ever saw at knocking people down," said Steelers’ coach Buddy Parker.

The Eagles had a powerful  fullback named Clarence Peaks. Peaks went at least 225,  and Colts’ teammate Raymond Berry remembered, “Peaks hit Big Daddy’s arm, and it knocked him backwards. Backwards! He arm-tackled Clarence Peaks! That was the kind of play he brought to the game."

He liked to say that his tackling method consisted of grabbing everybody he could until he found the one with the ball.

After knocking an opponent to the ground, he would help the guy to his feet, explaining that he didn’t want little kids who might be watching to “think Big Daddy’s mean.”

His death remains a mystery. Many of those who knew him (as well as anyone could know that very complex man) swore that for all his indulgences in food, whiskey and sex, he would never have injected drugs into his system, if only because he had a widely-known fear of needles.

More than 20,000 mourners - many of them former and current girlfriends - lined up for blocks on the Baltimore streets for the chance to walk past Big Daddy’s (oversized) casket for one last look at the person who for them truly was larger than life.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BIG DADDY LIPSCOMB
       
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
DAVE KEMMICK - MOUNT JOY, PENNSYLVANIA
DAVE POTTER - CARY, NORTH CAROLINA
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY

*********** For an absolutely astounding article on Big Daddy Lipscomb, an absolutely astounding individual, check this out…

https://vault.si.com/vault/1999/01/11/the-ballad-of-big-daddy-big-daddy-lipscomb-whose-size-and-speed-revolutionized-the-defensive-linemans-position-in-the-late-50s-was-a-man-of-insatiable-appetites-for-women-liquor-and-apparently-drugs

*********** I didn't realize until I was searching for the answer that he was also a professional wrestler.

Greg Koenig
Colorado Springs, Colorado

*********** As a retired Marine I am ashamed I didn't know he was in the Marines.  I'm wondering how he got past the height requirement.  I think 6'6" is max.

Tom Davis
San Carlos, California


*********** QUIZ: Of the four Heisman Trophies awarded from 1947 through 1950, three were won by Polish-Americans.  He was one of those winners.

He was the last of the Ohio State single wing tailbacks, and he could do everything. As was expected of a tailback, he was a great runner and a very good passer.

In his junior year, in an 83-21 win over Iowa, he was five for six passing for 128 yards and four touchdowns, and he ran for two more. And he set a Big Ten record with 10 extra points in one game.

He was an exceptional safety in the two-way football that they played then.

And he was a punter and placekicker.

Against Michigan in the historic Snow Bowl of 1950, he punted 21 times (still an OSU school record) for 685 yards (also still a school record) and kicked a field goal for Ohio State’s only points in a 6-3 Buckeye loss. (Michigan didn’t make a single first down, making all of its points by blocking two of his punts.)

He won the Heisman that year, his junior year, despite fact that the Buckeyes’ record was an unimpressive 6-3. But the record resulted in a change in coaches for his senior year and the new coach, a young fellow named Woody Hayes, brought with him a new offense. Hayes’ switch  from the single wing to the T-formation diminished our man’s role on offense,  but he still kicked, and he excelled in the secondary.

He was drafted by the Redskins, but with the Korean War going on, he was called up by the National Guard. After the service, despite not having played any baseball since high school, he was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates to a contract calling for the then-staggering amount of $25,000.

Following two unproductive years playing baseball, he switched back to football, and joined the Redskins in 1954.  He was their starting halfback in 1955, and also served as their placekicker.  Through his running, receiving and kicking, he led the NFL in scoring until the final week of the season, when Detroit’s Doak Walker nosed him out.

During the 1956 pre-season, he was in a serious automobile accident, suffering a brain injury that left him partially paralyzed and ended his sports career. Ironically, just four days before his accident, his young daughter had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

He was able through rehabilitation to regain full use of his body, and worked for years in industry.

He died of cancer in 1996 at the age of 66.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and of the Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame.

He was only the second Ohio State player ever to have his number retired (after two-time Heisman winner Archie Griffin).


Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY, OCTOBER   16, 2020 “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” General George S. Patton, Jr.

BLACK LION AWARD*********** Difficult times call for good men, and the sport of football has never had a greater need for good men.

Even in cases where teams are able to practice, or even play,  every day brings new and unforeseen challenges, and the need has never been greater for players who will step up and help assume some of the coach’s need for leadership.

In view of this, the decision has been made to permit a coach, whether or not his team is playing a fall season -  to offer the  Black Lion Award to a player who has been a demonstrated leader of his teammates in these tough times. That leadership could show itself in a number of different ways and we’re leaving it up to a player’s head coach to describe it.

We think that leadership in the preparation phase - made even tougher by virtual learning and assorted state restrictions - is as worthy of recognition as leadership in the actual game, so therefore,  even if his team doesn’t play football this fall, a player can qualify for the Black Lion Award  by demonstrating that he has been willing to lead from the front - to get his teammates to do the things that he knows have to be done in order to get ready to play.

We ask that the head coach contact us - blacklionaward@mac.com - to register his team by giving us (1) his name and (2) his team’s name and (3)  the address where the award should be sent.

And then we ask the head coach to nominate his player - to “write him up” as if he were recommending the player for a military medal. We do insist that the letter (an e-mail is best) and what it has to say should honor the player just as much as the Black Lion Award does.

There is never any cost to the coach or the school to take part in the Black Lion Award program. The Black Lion Award is privately funded and is not in any way a recruitment tool. (I am a football coach and I administer the award.)

(If you nominate a player for his leadership efforts in the preparation phase, you may also present a second award for your spring season.)

It's  fitting that this announcement comes on the eve of the 53rd anniversary of the Battle of Ong Thanh, on October 17, 1967, where in a jungle in Vietnam the Black Lions of the 28th Infantry Regiment were ambushed by a large force of the North Vietnamese Army. In the fierce fighting, 64 American soldiers were killed, including former Army football All-American, Don Holleder, and in their honor the Black Lion Award was established in 2001.


*********** MY FEARLESS PICKS FOR THIS WEEKEND (Caution: gambling based on excessive dependence on my brilliance as a prognosticator can lead to penury.)

FRIDAY GAMES

SMU OVER Tulane +9
BYU OVER Houston +4

SATURDAY GAMES

CLEMSON OVER Georgia Tech +27
TULSA + 4-1/2 OVER Cincinnati
MIAMI OVER Pitt +11
SOUTH CAROLINA +3 OVER Auburn
TENNESSEE OVER Kentucky +7
EAST CAROLINA +3 OVER NAVY
TEXAS STATE +3 OVER South Alabama
TEMPLE OVER South Florida +10
LIBERTY OVER Syracuse +3
WEST VIRGINIA OVER Kansas +27
UTSA +6 OVER Army
UAB OVER Western Kentucky +15
NOTRE DAME OVER Louisville +10
DUKE +5 OVER NC State
UCF OVER Memphis +3
OLE MISS OVER Arkansas +2
TROY OVER Eastern Kentucky +27-1/2
TEXAS A & M over Miss State +5-1/2
GEORGIA SOUTHERN OVER UMass  +30
WAKE FOREST +1 OVER Virginia
MIDDLE TENN +6-1/2 OVER North Texas
MARSHALL OVER La Tech +13
NORTH CAROLINA OVER FSU +8
GEORGIA +5 over Alabama
BOSTON COLLEGE +11 OVER Virginia Tech
CHARLOTTE OVER Florida International +6-1/2

*********** NFHS NETWORK HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

Friday, 7:00 PM/Eastern - MICHIGAN: RIVER ROUGE VS DETROIT CENTRAL CATHOLIC

Friday, 7:30 PM/Eastern - GEORGIA: GRAYSON VS. SOUTH GWINNETT

Friday, 6:45 PM/Central - INTERSTATE: ST. THOMAS AQUINAS (OVERLAND PARK, KS) VS OMAHA WESTSIDE

Friday, 7:00 PM/Pacific - ARIZONA: QUEEN CREEK VS. CASTEEL

Saturday, 1:00 PM/Eastern - NEW JERSEY: ST. JOSEPH REGIONAL VS ST. PETERS PREP

https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/


*********** I hope that, like me, you’re pulling for Nick Saban to make a quick recovery. But a recovery from what, exactly?
 
All these guys we read about who’ve been infected but haven't experienced  any symptoms -  is there anything to recover from?

Unless we start seeing otherwise healthy people being laid low by the killer flu, is there really all that need to get so excited by mere infections?

*********** I really enjoyed the Coastal Carolina-Louisiana game Wednesday night. They’re both good teams with some exciting talent. Louisiana QB Levi Lewis is a good passer and a terrific runner - absolutely impossible to contain. And get this - he’s majoring in Civil Engineering.

Coastal Carolina is a relative newcomer to FBS play, and when they made a field goal with :04 left to win, 30-27, it was their first win ever over a ranked opponent.

They do a lot of interesting things offensively, proving that you CAN run power, misdirection AND option.  Their QB, Grayson McCall, a redshirt freshman, can do it all.  And they have a  running back in CJ Marable who is as good as I’ve seen this year.

Their offensive line is quite good, but they’re short - across the front, they’re 6-3, 6-1, 5-9 (that’s the center), 6-1 and 6-2.  When asked about whether it was a disadvantage, the right guard, 6-1 Trey Carter, told the interviewer, “I’m not playing basketball.”

*********** My old friend Ossie Osmundson, with whom I coached for several years at Ridgefield, Washington in the 1990s, said he had to call me after seeing the Orofino Maniacs sticker.  He said that many years ago he and his late wife, Eileen, were driving through the mountains between Lewiston, Idaho and Missoula, Montana and as they approached Orofino, Ossie, knowing about the mascot name, insisted on finding the high school.  They found it at the end of a narrow road. On one side of the road was the high school, with a big sign saying it was THE HOME OF THE MANIACS. And on the other side, behind a  cyclone fence topped with barbed wire, was the state mental institution.

***********  When I read last week about a local kid who’d taken part in some  combine, I found myself wondering how such an event could have taken place in Washington, a state whose school sports have been locked down so tightly.

The story also alluded to some “game” that the kid had participated in, but I just figured that someone had found a loophole in the regulations and had somehow pulled it off.

Not so.  Now it comes out.   While our state’s high school coaches have been enjoined from working out with their kids, hoping that the governor will be benevolent enough to allow football in the spring, one of those “personal trainer” types, inspired no doubt by “demands” by some players and parents that they be allowed to play in the fall,  took it upon himself to stage a full-contact game.  More than 100 players were invited (No mention of the cost.)

Several of the players, it appeared, had already been training with the guy at his (for-profit) facility in the Seattle area.

This kind of self-serving crap really enrages me.  While the high schools and their coaches remain bound by the rules, this guy, under the guise of  doing it for the kids, made an end run around all the law-abiders and  staged his own high school all-star game, with players using school-issued equipment, on a field he had no permission to use, and quite possibly doing so  without adequate insurance.

And despite the fact that every one of the kids was a high school student and still subject to its rules, our bureaucratic state association washed its hands of it. (But let one high school coach somewhere try to conduct a practice with his kids...)

This is as sleazy as it gets.   No one in the state of Washington is any more pissed at our governor and his tyrannical way than I am, but this little venture which its promoter tries to paint as an effort , among othr things, to provide deserving kids with an opportunity to maybe “be the first kids in their family to ever go to college… blah, blah, blah” is not exactly a case of the peasant farmers rising up against King George III. 

I won’t go any deeper into it.  Read the article for yourself.

https://www.seattletimes.com/sports/high-school/with-no-high-school-football-a-frustrated-trainer-staged-his-own-game-in-violation-of-washington-state-covid-19-protocols/?utm_source=marketingcloud&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=TSA_101520143142+HS+football+game+violated+health+guidelines_10_15_2020&utm_term=Active%20subscriber


*********** Dads, if you’ve got a son who’s got decent size and a bit of athletic ability and he likes to play football - teach him to be a long snapper.  Long snapping is a skill that’s always in need, even in the best of times, and in these days of rosters being hit by the China Virus, teams are finding themselves in sudden need of deep snappers, as the Wall Street Journal noted in an article today.

The long snapper is perhaps the most specialized—and most easily ignored—player on the football field. They spend hours bending over upside down, chucking balls between their legs with speed and pinpoint precision. Nobody pays any attention to them unless something goes horribly awry.

But with the coronavirus mauling depth charts on short notice and scrambling schedules, bad snaps are suddenly central to the outcome of some games.

It’s a problem facing the smallest colleges—and the biggest NFL teams. More than a dozen players on the Tennessee Titans have tested positive for the virus over the past two weeks. There was only one for which they didn’t have a backup: their long snapper.

(The WSJ article was brought to my attention by fellow Yalie Lou Orlando, who was a deep snapper at Yale for the great Carm Cozza. Lou coaches at Marshwood High, a state power in Maine, and I suggested that he at least let Bill Belichick know how to get hold of him if he gets in a jam.)

https://www.wsj.com/articles/footballs-most-essential-workers-during-a-pandemic-long-snappers-11602685769?st=01gkmcb3r2qqrcc&reflink=article_email_share

***********  Got plenty of time in retirement, so  how about a compilation of All-Star basketball teams composed of football players?
 
Criteria:  Had to have played both sports at the collegiate level, and then gone on to a professional career in EITHER sport.
 
Classical Era:   Ron Kramer (Michigan)
                          Doug Atkins (Tennessee)
                          Rick Casares (Florida)
                          Jim Brown (Syracuse)
                          Joe Kapp (Cal)
 
                           Honorable Mention:  Pete Gent (Michigan St.), Cornell Green (Utah St.), Ron Howard (Seattle) Preston Pearson (Illinois)..
                                                                  Honorable mention because they did not play college football.
 
 
Modern Times:  Charlie Ward (Florida St.)
                              Nate Robinson (Washington)
                              Julius Peppers (N. Carolina)
                              Tony Gonzales (Cal)
                              Joe Senser (West Chester)
 
                              Honorable Mention:  Antonio Gates (Kent St.)
                                                                     Did not play college football
 
                                                                     Jimmy Graham (Miami), John Paye (Stanford)
                                                                    
Shep Clarke
Puyallup, Washington

From an earlier era, we both agree that Emlen Tunnell, who played basketball at Toledo, and Terry Baker, the only Heisman Trophy winner who also played in a Final Four game, belong on the list.  What say you - anybody missing?

*********** After coach Steve Jones chose to leave his position as head coach at Hammond, Louisiana High, it didn’t take him long to find another job, this time as an analyst at the college level. As he wrote,

I am working again.  I am coaching at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. I am serving as Special Teams Coach and I break down the opponents’ offense for our Defense.  We are playing in the Spring. First Game at the end of Feb. (6 games)
                            
*********** It's probably way too soon to begin drawing such conclusions, and I’m not in a position to do so anyway, but I have read  speculation that any decline in the quality of Big 12 football - and no one will claim that its defenses are first-rate - could be attributable to Texas'  increased emphasis on 7-on-7 in the off-season, which has caused so  much of Texas high school football to turn into a wide-open, “defense-free” game.

*********** When I mentioned that Florida QB Kyle Trask came from a family of Texas Aggies, and that as a result of that he was named for Texas A & M’s stadium, Kyle Field, I had to admit that I was surprised that he hadn’t come by his name the way so many other kids had.

Few of you reading this ever saw Kyle Rote play.  Many of you have never heard of him.  But he was a great college football player and a damn good player for the great New York Giants’ teams of the 1950s. You know - Gifford, Conerly, Roosevelt (Brown and Grier), Tunnell, Huff, Landry, Robustelli, Modzelewski, Katkavage. He started out as a running back, but after he hurt his knee, he became an “end” - sort of.  He remained a “back,” but he lined up wide to one side or another, as a “flanker back,” making him one of the very first to be used that way.

Rote was one of the Giants’ captains, and so respected was he as  a person that in the words of his son, Kyle Rote, Junior, who would grow up to become about as popular as an American soccer player can be, "To me the most remarkable thing about him from a football standpoint was that he had 14 teammates who named sons after him.''

http://www.espn.com/classic/obit/s/2002/0815/1418391.html


*********** This past Saturday we won our schools very first playoff game. This year has been full of firsts for us though. As I have previously said, We have won our first ever outright conference championship (we did win one in 2014 but it was a three way share). Our first ever playoff appearance, we also got to Host the playoff game and that is a huge honor in itself. No one gave us a chance this past weekend, everyone talked about we were not even deserving to get in. The team we played was 1-5 this season but had played a very good schedule. They had lost to one 6-0 team (last year Ironton played in the State championship game, and probably will again this year), two 5-1 teams, and one 4-2 team. We ended up winning 21-20, it was a game that went to the final minute. We dominated the Time of possession, We ran 60 plays rushing 58 times for 305 yards and passing 2 times for 5 yards(both screens one a 29 yard touchdown that got called back). we had 18 first downs. Portsmouth ran 39 plays rushing 20 times for 139 yards and passing 9-19 for 120 yards and 13 first downs. This week we are playing a very good School Bishop Ready. They are ranked 26th in our division. Thanks for all your help this year.

Thomas Caudill
McDermott, Ohio

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

"King" LeBron James wants his damn respect.  Last I checked respect is given when it's earned and not called for.  Guys like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Bob Cousy, Oscar Robertson, and others will always have my respect before the "King".  On a side note the NBA's viewing numbers for the season, and in particular the finals were dismal.  The commish has said they will "revisit" things for next year.  Hmmm.  I wonder what caused those dismal numbers in the first place??

Did you know Lane Kiffin and I have six degrees of separation?  First, he is one of my fellow alums.  A 1998 graduate of Fresno State (I'm a 1975 FSU grad).  Played backup QB behind David Carr and Billy Volek (both future NFL QB's).  Both of us gave up our playing careers to become coaches (he became an FSU student assistant, and I became a high school assistant).  Another commonality is that he is from Bloomington, MN and played his high school ball at Bloomington Jefferson.  I coached high school ball only a few miles down the road from Bloomington.  

The Texas-OU game was a classic in that age-old series.  I thought Texas was going to pull off another miracle comeback.  Unfortunately they fell short to a deflected pass interception in the end zone during that 4th OT that would have extended their chance.  An eerie epilogue to the story was seeing Texas QB Sam Ehlinger standing alone on the field after the game was over while the Texas band played the Eyes of Texas.  Although Ehlinger didn't allude to it while discussing the game in the post-game press conference (he's a pretty classy kid), there is a lot of talk going on that the Longhorns locker room is not in great shape right now, and rumors started to swirl after the TCU loss about the future of Tom Hermann.  The name being floated?  Of course.  Urban Meyer.

The official colors of Georgia Tech are gold, navy blue, and white.  I believe those gaudy looking things TCU was wearing were meant to have pink numbers, but the pink certainly came off looking like red.  Either way they were way ugly, and I'm sure the marketing people received a lot of mail.

Phil Jurkovec made the right move.  He would not have seen much playing time behind Ian Book, and Jurkovec will become an even better QB receiving full playing time with BC.  Book is not flashy, doesn't have a big arm, but he wins.  Kinda reminds me of a former ND QB who was a lot like him in college, and ended up making a pretty good living in the NFL, and with a few Super Bowl rings as testament.

My family, including my relatives, and paisanos still call that Monday off Columbus Day.  

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

I stand corrected on Georgia Tech - their colors are, indeed, White and Gold, but Navy Blue is a “secondary color.”

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Johnny Olszewski was once the most famous college football in America.His name is pronounced “oh-SHEFF-ski,” and he was known far and wide as “Johhny O.”

He is far and away the best player in the history of the Washington Redskins ever to wear the Number “0”.  In truth, there is only one other player in the history of the team who has worn the number, and that was a punter named Glenn Pakulak, who didn’t even spend a full season with the Skins.

He had a ten-year pro career: nine years in the NFL with the Cardinals, Redskins, and Lions, and one year with the AFL Broncos.

A running back, he led his little high school, St. Anthony of Long Beach, California, to the CIF (state) title, back in the days before there were several classes, defeating schools many times St. Anthony’s size along the way. In the semi-final game, he scored on runs of 22, 41, 64 and 79 yards.  He was named CIF Player of the Year.

He and his entire backfield were signed by Cal, then the top West Coast power. He started all three years at running back, and as a sophomore in 1950 he became the first Cal runner to rush for over 1,000 yards.  He led the Bears in rushing all three years, and his career  mark of 2,504 yards (playing only three seasons and only ten games a season) still ranks eighth all-time at Cal.

An All-American his senior year, he was a first-round NFL draft choice - the fourth player taken overall - by the Chicago Cardinals.

He was twice selected to play in the Pro Bowl with the Cardinals before being traded to the Redskins.  On coming to the  Redskins, he changed his number from 36 to 0. (In his case the “0” did not stand for “zero.”)

In his career he rushed for 3320 yards and had 988 yards receiving and scored 19 touchdowns.

After retirement, he served as chief of lifeguards in his native Long Beach.

He had plenty of experience at the job.  While still in college, he actually saved two college football players - both quarterbacks - from the surf.

In 1950, he rescued Cal teammate Billy Mais, and a year later, he saved Don Klosterman, then the QB at Loyola and later an executive with several NFL teams. (“I couldn’t swim and shouldn’t have been out there,” Klosterman was quoted as saying afterward.)

Johnny O was the uncle of Manu Tuiasosopo and the great uncle of Marques Tuiasosopo both of whom played in the NFL.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOHNNY OLSZEWSKI
       
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PATERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WINSCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
       
********** There's an old, old joke, a chestnut even that was popular amongst Polish Americans...What are the meanest, toughest Polish kids in the World called?...Why the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, of course.
Johnny Olszewski must've been one that got away!

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

***********  QUIZ: He has been dead for almost 60 years, but people who never saw him play still  “remember” him. Well, at least they know the nickname.  He was that famous.
.
Few players who never get to touch the football have ever been as famous he was.  His nickname not only described his physical prowess, but also applied to his outsized personality and lifestyle.

His play on the field was an open book, there for all to see; his off-the-field cavorting, while not known to the general public as it might be today,  was the stuff of legend among his teammates, who spoke in awe about his capacity for hard drink and, um,  women.

Even today he would be an impressive figure on a football field. But at the time he played, at 6-6 and 300 or more, he was a giant.

He played 10 years in the NFL, with the Rams, Colts and Steelers. His best years were the five he spent with the Baltimore Colts, where he was a fixture on a great defensive line along with Gino Marchetti, Don Joyce and Art Donovan.

In his final game, the Pro Bowl in 1963, he was named Defensive Player of the Game.

And then, that May, he died, in Baltimore, of a massive cocaine overdose. He was just 31.

He never had it easy. He was born in Alabama to poor cotton field workers and he never knew his father. He moved with his mother to Detroit when he was three. When he was 11, his mother was murdered by her boyfriend.

Orphaned, he was taken in by his grandfather, and soon put to work.  "I had to buy my own clothes and pay room and board to my grandfather," he told The Saturday Evening Post in a 1960 article. "I washed dishes in a cafe, loaded trucks for a construction gang and helped around a junkyard. One year I ran a lift in a steel mill from midnight until seven in the morning. Then I changed clothes and went to school."

"My grandfather loved me, all right, and did the best that he knew how,”he once said. "But for some reason it was always hard for us to talk together. Instead of telling me what I was doing wrong and how to correct it, my grandfather would holler and whip me."

He was always big - he was 6-4 and 220 in sixth grade - and when he got to high school (Miller High School, as he would later be announced in NFL introductions) he was good in football and basketball.

But after being declared ineligible, he dropped out of school and on the advice of his high school coach, he joined the Marines.

Somehow he took to their discipline, and soon was such a standout on the Camp Pendleton football team that he came to the attention of a young Los Angeles Rams’ executive named Pete Rozelle, who signed him to an NFL contract.

He wasn’t an instant hit. He had a lot to learn. But he learned fast, and at a time when there were few 300 pounders in the league, and those who were that heavy were big-bellied guys who didn’t move very well, his combination of size, speed and coordination soon made him a force on defense,.

“One of the best tacklers there ever was,” recalled his coach, Weeb Ewbank. "When (he) wrapped a guy up with those long arms, he stayed wrapped."

"He was big, fast, strong and agile. Really, really great,” recalled Hall of Famer Gino Marchetti.

"The best man I ever saw at knocking people down," said Steelers’ coach Buddy Parker.

The Eagles had a powerful  fullback named Clarence Peaks. Peaks went at least 225,  and Colts’ teammate Raymond Berry remembered, “Peaks hit (his) arm, and it knocked him backwards. Backwards! He arm-tackled Clarence Peaks! That was the kind of play he brought to the game."

He liked to say that his tackling method consisted of grabbing everybody he could until he found the one with the ball.

After knocking an opponent to the ground, he would help the guy to his feet, explaining that he didn’t want little kids who might be watching to think he was “mean.”

His death remains a mystery. Many of those who knew him (as well as anyone could know that very complex man) swore that for all his indulgences in food, whiskey and sex, he would never have injected drugs into his system, if only because he had a widely-known fear of needles.

More than 20,000 mourners - many of them former and current girlfriends - lined up for blocks on the Baltimore streets for the chance to walk past his (oversized) casket for one last look at the person who for them truly was larger than life.


Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY, OCTOBER  13, 2020  “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.” Edmund Burke

*********** Best of the UN-FL (no, not the NFL) - Saturday’s games that the pros are simply  incapable of providing


Texas A & M 41, Florida 38 - Yes, it was an NFL-style ending - a field goal with :02 left -  but there were lots of exciting  plays in front of an actual crowd.

Missouri 45, LSU 41 -  LSU put up huge numbers offensively but when it had to, it couldn’t get one yard in four tries from the one.

Oklahoma 53, Texas 45 - The game truly had everything  - and for a bonus, it went four overtimes

Auburn 30, Arkansas 28 -  Chosen mainly because of the controversy, without which it would have been a BIG Arkansas win

Boston College 31, Pitt 30 - Pitt tied it at 24-24 with :40; BC missed a potential winning FG with :00; in OT, Pitt answered with a TD but missed the extra point

Kansas State 21, TCU 14 - Underdog K-State, unable to run out the clock at the end, punted to the TCU 4 with 1:05 left and still had to hang on.

Bama 63, Ole Miss 48 - Forget that last touchdown - Ole Miss was in the game right down to the wire.

Navy 31, Temple 29 - Temple, playing its first game,  threw incomplete on a two-point attempt at the end.



*********** FOOTBALL PICKS THIS PAST WEEKEND

Some weeks you get your ass kicked; some weeks you kick ass.

This week? 18 WINNERS - 11 LOSERS

THURSDAY NIGHT

W HOUSTON over Tulane +6-1/2


FRIDAY NIGHT

LOUISVILLE over Georgia Tech + 4-1/2

FLORIDA over Texas A & M +6-1/2

VIRGINIA TECH +4-1/2 over North Carolina

LSU over Missouri +20

TEXAS +2 over Oklahoma

W LIBERTY over LA Monroe +19

W NC STATE +8 over Virginia

W SOUTH CAROLINA over Vanderbilt + 13-1/2

W DUKE over Syracuse +2


ARMY over The Citadel +29

W GEORGIA over Tennessee +12

BYU over UTSA +35

W IOWA STATE over Texas Tech +12-1/2

W ARKANSAS STATE over Central Arkansas +14-1/2

W TROY over Texas State +8


AUBURN over Arkansas + 13-1/2

W BOSTON COLLEGE +6 over Pitt

W KANSAS STATE + 8-1/2 over TCU

W MIDDLE TENNESSEE +4 over Florida Intl


SOUTHERN MISS +2 over Florida Atlantic (POSTPONED)

ALABAMA over Ole Miss +24

W TEMPLE + 3-1/2 over Navy

W EAST CAROLINA + 4-1/2 over South Florida

W CLEMSON over Miami +14


NOTRE DAME over Florida State +21

LOUISIANA TECH +15 over UTEP

W MARSHALL over Western Kentucky +7

W KENTUCKY over Mississippi State +2

W CHARLOTTE over North Texas +3

*********** Since his hiring by Tennessee in 2009 I have not made a secret of my dislike for Lane Kiffin. and there seemed to be no chance that I might ever change my opinion of him.   I still might not.  But after the way he had his Ole Miss team prepared, and the way they played Saturday night, there is no question in my mind that, whatever I might think about him personally, the guy can coach. And, surprisingly, he came across in a Game Day interview with ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi as - there’s no other way I can put this - mature.  Add maturity to his ability to coach, and he could be the whole package. 

*********** Maybe because it just seemed to remind me so much of the NFL, I’d never been that big of an SEC fan.  But I’ve really gotten into it this year, and if I do say so, it wouldn’t bother me at all if the Big Ten and Pac 12 had just stayed with the grandstanding decisions, instead of waiting until the party started before deciding to crash it.

*********** A bit to the southeast of Ole Miss, in Starkville, Mississippi, another coach is on unfamiliar ground.  It’s been quite some time since Mike Leach has had fans on his ass - but after two straight ugly games, the most recent one Saturday’s shutout by Kentucky, Mississippi Staters can’t be pleased. With Texas A & M coming in this week, hot off their upset win over Florida, Leach has problems enough, but added to that are concerns that some housecleaning may be called for. "We're going to have to check some of our group and figure out who really wants to play here," Leach said after Saturday’s loss, "because any malcontents, we're going to have to purge a couple of those."

*********** I can’t believe that a football coach who’s paid millions and whose job security depends on winning football games hasn’t figured out that a quarterback sneak has its place in an offensive package, but there was Ed Orgeron, the coach of the defending national champions, with first and goal on the one and the game on the line, staying in shotgun and going (1) run, (2) run, (3) pass, (4) pass. And they ain’t gained a damn yard.

*********** Kansas State announced that QB Skylar Thompson, injured by a dirty shot in the Texas Tech game, is done for the season.

*********** As Texas and OU slugged it out in OT, color guy Joel Klatt, who is generally pretty good, sounded like a ditz, asking, for no apparent reason, “Do you like this overtime?”

No, Joel. I much prefer the NFL’s overtime, which they insist on using simply because they are too f—king proud to admit that the colleges’ plan (originally called the Kansas Plan because it was first used there to settle tied high school games) is superior.

*********** You would be surprised to learn how many games are now being called remotely, instead of from the home stadium’s press box.  Some are being called from remote studios, but some are actually being called from the homes of the announcers.

*********** Time to discuss uniforms. 

Georgia Tech’s colors are supposed to be white and gold, but they insist on wearing dark uniforms that seem to be navy blue and not black.

In Chapel Hill they say the sky is Carolina blue.  But if the sky is ever the dark blue they were wearing Saturday, I’d suggest heading for the storm cellar.

My hat is off to any salesman good enough to sell black uniforms with red numbers to TCU, whose colors are purple and white. That is the guy who, as they used to say, could sell ice boxes to eskimos. Er, Inuit.

But as ugly as those TCU uniforms were, nothing could match the all-black of North Texas.  They were once called the Mean Green, but they weren’t very mean against Charlotte, and the green of their numbers was almost lost against the black background.

*********** Maybe it had something to do with the game being remotely broadcast, but for one entire series we watched the Georgia Tech-Lousville game while having to listen to a phone call from a sideline-type named Allison who prattled on and on about the next day’s Clemson-Miami game. She talked - this is no lie - through an entire offensive series while not one comment was made about the action on the field. Bizarre.

valdosta stands

*********** ESPN2 showed the high school rivalry game between Valdosta, Georgia and Lowndes County (in the photo). A few takeaways: (1) Valdosta would-be QB Jake Garcia, who had moved there with his father from California in hopes of playing the season,  was ruled ineligible by the Georgia state association.  (2) Sure is nice to know that there’s at least one state that doesn’t roll over and play dead whenever parents pull crap like this; (3) it’s great to see a real crowd at a game - any game - saying to hell with masks and social distancing. (4) Lowndes County’s QB, Jacurri Brown, is 6-4, 210, and he can run like a deer. He throws well, too, but carrying the ball, he reminded me of Jim Brown.

https://www.valdostadailytimes.com/sports/local_sports/valdosta-quarterback-jake-garcia-ruled-ineligible-by-ghsa/article_88b6fffe-d315-51fb-910b-83f80b353f97.html

***********     SET YOUR DVR

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL THIS WEEK ON ESPN2

THURSDAY:

9 PM Eastern: Booker T. Washington vs Isidore Newman - both of New Orleans
(The hook: Arch Manning plays QB for Newman)

FRIDAY:

8 PM Eastern: Denton (Texas) Guyer vs Southlake Carroll

*********** Where were YOU when the NFL observed Coming Out Sunday?  How will YOU celebrate LGBTQ History Month?

*********** This is from Colorado, where perhaps there is a shortage of coins…
colo coin toss

That’s the only possible explanation other than bureaucratic idiocy.

*********** Man, if you wanted a perfect illustration of the divide in our country, you had only to watch  the two games going on in Texas (Florida vs Texas A & M), Oklahoma vs Texas) in front of decent-sized crowds, and then the game going on between Duke and Syracuse in the all but empty Carrier Dome.

********** Duke, by the way, got on the board with a solid performance. Syracuse, meanwhile, looks like the bottom of the ACC. (Unless it’s Louisville.)  But the Carrier Dome’s new turf is sure an improvement.

*********** Is there any program out there that hasn’t caved in to egomania and handed out a number ZERO?

*********** At least Temple does it right - hands out single-digit numbers based on the vote of the team as to who is “Temple Tuff.”

*********** Saw some really bad tackling by Texas.  Looked to me like “Hawk Tackling.”  By the way, what happened to that highly-promoted technique that was going to revolutionize our game, but hasn’t done anything but result in broken tackles?

*********** Army was 3 of 13 on third downs, and the main reason for that was that they were so ineffective on first and second downs that they often faced third-and-long, and went into shotgun to try to pass.  Not a good strategy when you’re a triple option team.

*********** I’ve said it before and it bears saying again: there is NO excuse - EVER - for a helmet coming off.  I don’t believe I’ve seen it happen in at least 20 years of coaching high school ball. Army’s QB lost his helmet at the end of a play, which meant he had to come out.  His substitute fumbled the next snap.  Fortunately, he recovered, but the damage was done. The starter came back, and with third and seven, Army picked up an illegal procedure penalty.  That made it third and twelve, and that meant shotgun.

*********** I wonder why UVa’s QB, Lindell Stone, wears #36.

*********** When Tennessee QB Jarrett Guarantano went out of bounds in front of the Georgia bench, George Pickens appeared to walk up to him and had something to say. There was a flag thrown and Georgia was penalized.

Only through the alertness of an ESPN cameraman were we able to see the real reason for the penalty: as Pickens walked over to Guarantano, who lay on the ground, he squirted him with the water bottle he was holding. Now I know why college coaches are paid so much money.  That guy might be talented, but there’s not enough money in the world to pay me to spend my life with people like like him.

*********** BIGGEST score of the day: NC State defensive lineman Alim McNeill is a big dude - 6-2, 320 - and after he batted a UVa pass and then caught the ball and ran it in for a fourth-quarter score, he was quite humble: “I’m not no running back.”

*********** Class act of the season  - so far - was the Texas rooter (female) who, as the camera panned the crowd following the Longhorns’ disappointing overtime loss, gave an entire nation the finger.

*********** BC quarterback Phil Jurkovec (Jer-KOH-vick) may be making the biggest impact of any transfer so far this season.  He started out at Notre Dame, and he can do it all. His coach at BC sure has confidence in him, because on a fourth and goal against Pitt, he called for a quarterback sneak. From the TWO! And the kid made it.

*********** Why is there so much targeting, especially in the secondary?  Are they simply not teaching tackling any more?

*********** In the Bama-Ole Miss game, there was a bad exchange by one team when the QB lined up under center and the center evidently thought it was to be a shotgun snap, and then, not too much later, a bad exchange when the other team lined up in shotgun and the center apparently thought it was to be an under-center snap.

*********** Saw a lot of interesting stuff that I was able to video for showing on this week’s Zoom clinic.

*********** Happy Columbus Day.  Next time you think about tearing down a statue of the most famous person from the Age of Exploration, consider:

It doesn’t make the defeat (and in some cases destruction) of the “indigenous people” any less regrettable, but it was  inevitable. If it weren’t Columbus, it would have been someone else soon after, and as history has always proven, the more technologically advanced civilization would have prevailed.

But suppose Columbus - or, in the event he’d never been born,  someone else  - had never sailed?  Suppose, impossibly, that the people in the Old World and those in the New World had never encountered each other?

For one thing, you’d be living in a world without pizza. How you going to explain that to the kids?  (Before Columbus, and the subsequent “Columbian Exchange”  - livestock, grains, citrus fruits from Europe, potatoes, tomatoes, turkeys from the Americas -  Italians didn’t have tomatoes, and the New World didn’t have cheese.)

Thank you, Cristoforo Colombo!

*********** It was 60 years ago Saturday that the most memorable baseball game in my lifetime took place.  It was game seven of the World Series, and the Pittsburgh Pirates, despite being absolutely hammered by the Yankees in three of the games,  staged a thrilling eighth-inning comeback to tie the game, then won it in the ninth on Bill Mazeroski’s home run in the bottom of the ninth.

I was in a bar in New Haven, watching it on TV while surrounded by Yankee fans.

I’d become a Pirates’ fan that summer. After graduation from college, my wife and I lived with her parents outside Philadelphia while we waited for my job in New Haven to start, and that summer I worked in an asbestos factory in Ambler, Pa. (No, I didn’t tell any of the guys in the factory that I was an Ivy League graduate, or they would have thought I was nuts.)

While working the second shift, four to midnight, on our breaks we’d try to escape the heat by sitting out in the loading platform where one of the guys had a radio, and for some reason we picked up KDKA, the Pittsburgh station. It was the Pirates’ station, with the great Bob Prince doing the play-by-play, and we got caught up in the “Beat ‘em Bucs” season, as the Pirates seemed to come from behind game after game.

I would later work for that brewery that owned the Orioles, and those 1960s-era Birds were great teams, but nothing has matched that Pirate team’s seventh game win.

Reflecting years later on the excitement of rounding the bases after hitting the game winner, Mazeroski spoke like the typical player from a more humble time, when it was considered unseemly to bring attention to yourself after you’d done something:

“I just couldn’t believe that we beat them, and I went kind of goofy. I was always a relaxed player and never showed off, no antics or nothing. I can’t believe that I was jumping around like I was. I almost embarrassed myself when I looked at the film, seeing me waving my hat. I didn’t do things like that. I just played the game and didn’t want to show anybody up. But it was just natural. Holy cow! It was amazing.”

Read a great article about it in the Pittsburgh Tribune.

https://triblive.com/sports/60-years-later-1960-pirates-legends-recall-amazing-home-run-that-won-world-series/

***********  Hugh,

Our boys gave another great effort last night.  Gave all they had, but the opponent we faced also played with great effort.  And with bigger, stronger, faster boys.  And with about 50 of them to our 31.  I only had a TOTAL of SIX O/D Linemen dressed out (4 injured).  They are three deep up front.  They are also our district rival, and ranked number 4 in the state for private schools.  It was a running clock game with 3:40 remaining in the third quarter.  Final 42-0.  

It has been a pleasure to know a legendary coach, even if I didn't know it at the time!  All kidding aside...good people like Armstrong Williams recognize good people when they see them.

Enjoy your weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  Emlen Tunnell was the first black man to play for the New York Giants...  The first black man to become an NFL assistant coach... The first black man to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame… The first defense-only player to be inducted into the Hall.

He was a native of Radnor, Pennsylvania. An all-around athlete, he attended Toledo, where after suffering a neck injury in football, he turned to basketball, helping the Rockets to the NIT finals.

Turned down by both the Army and the Navy for medical reasons, he enlisted instead in the Coast Guard, where he served during World War II  until his discharge in 1946.

While in the service he resumed playing football, with such distinction that he was named to the United Press Pacific Coast All-Service team,  in the company of several others who would go on to storied pro careers.

Following the war, while he was playing semi-pro baseball on the West Coast, a friend and  former Iowa football player named Jim Walker got him interested in the Hawkeyes, and rather than return to Toledo, he decided instead to enroll at Iowa and play football.

Growing up in a largely white community in Pennsylvania,  then going to a largely white college, and then serving in the Coast Guard on board a ship whose crew of 200 consisted of just  "five negro boys and a couple of Filipinos," as he described it, his first practice at Iowa was an eye-opener.  "I had never seen so many negro guys in one place in my life," he said.  Of the  325 players out for football, he recalled,  fifty-eight of them were black.

Iowa had a reputation as a place where black players would be treated fairly. "Most of those negro boys had come to Iowa for the same reason I had," he said. "They knew they would be given a chance to play. Great negro players were a part of the tradition at Iowa, going back to the days around World War I."

He specifically mentioned Fred (Duke) Slater, who had been an All-American tackle at Iowa, and later became a judge in Chicago.

"I wasn't afraid of prejudice," he wrote,"but I didn't intend to go looking for it. I wanted to go to a school where I could get an education and where I would be allowed to play football. I didn't want to have to fight my way onto the practice field every afternoon."

Unfortunately for him, of the 58 blacks contending for positions on the Iowa team, most were running backs, and at the  start of the first practice he found himself  number 21 left halfback.  (Left halfback, it should be noted, was tailback in Iowa's single-wing offense.)

It wasn't long before he worked his way up the roster to starter status, and he made an impact on both offense and defense and as a punt returner, and he had two standout seasons on mediocre Iowa teams.

In the spring of his junior year, though,  after an eye infection caused him to miss classes,  he returned home to Pennsylvania, fully intending to return to Iowa for his final season of eligibility.

Back home,   however, he came across a questionnaire he'd received from the New York Giants, who knew of him from Iowa and had realized that because of his time in the service he was eligible for the draft.

There were very few black players in pro football at the time, however, and he was ready to discard the questionnaire when he happened to run into an old friend, Vince McNally. McNally  had been a coach at nearby Villanova, and remembered him from the days when as a little kid he and his buddies would watch the Wildcats practice.  McNally knew how pro football worked - he had been general manager of the Los Angeles Dons in the All-American Football Conference, and he urged our guy to see if the Giants were serious.

McNally told him, "If I were you I'd at least go over to New York and talk to the Giants. Tim Mara (Giants' owner) is a square shooter and he'll level with you. The Rams have Kenny Washington and Woody Strode, and the New York Yanks (then an NFL team) have Buddy Young, so a colored player won't be anything new. Maybe the Giants are ready for a colored player. If so, it might as well be you."

With only $1.50 in his pocket, he hitchhiked to New York and, unannounced, asked for a tryout.  He made the team.  And then some. He was 6-4, 210, and very fast. He wound up playing 13 years with the Giants,  as a key member of a defense that introduced what became today's 4-3, as he described it:  "Tom Landry played the left corner, Harmon Rowe the right, I was the strong safety and Otto Schnellbacher the weak. If you would look at this alignment from high in the stands it looked like an opened umbrella. In truth, it was the same 4-3-2-2 used today. We did go into other formations, but mostly we used this 4-3 arrangement. It was so successful against the Browns that we beat them twice. The first time we played them we shut them out, the first time that had ever happened to them."

He played on one New York NFL championship team, and in his final season with the Giants, he played in the so-called "Greatest Game Ever Played," in which the Giants lost the title game to the Baltimore Colts in the first use of sudden-death overtime in NFL history.

The following season, after his release by the Giants,   he was offered a position by Vince Lombardi, who had been the offensive coach of the Giants and had recently  been named head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Packers. Lombardi wanted him to be a player-coach.

David Maraniss, in "When Pride Still Mattered," his great biography of Lombardi,  stressed the role  Tunnell played in helping Lombardi establish himself.  Tunnell, Maraniss wrote, brought with him  "an intimate knowledge of the defensive system Lombardi wanted to implement with his new team.  (He) became an informal coach on the field, and as the first black star to play for the Packers, and a player who greatly respected the new coach, he also made it easier for Lombardi to bring in many more skilled black players over the next few years."

His replacement in Green Bay was Willie Wood, who became a Hall-of-Famer and attributed  much of what he knew to his mentor:  “(He) was a very bright guy who helped me tremendously. He had been around so long, one of the first black stars in the league, and for me just to have the opportunity to hang around him, I was awed by that. Em was so cool.'"

His 79 career interceptions and 258 punt returns were NFL records at the time of his retirement.  The career interceptions mark still ranks second all-time, behind Paul Krause's 81, and he still ranks third in career interception return yardage, behind modern players Rod Woodson and Deion Sanders.

In all, he was named to nine Pro Bowls.

He was named by Pro Football Chronicle to its 1950s All-Decade team.

When he entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967, he was the first black man to be inducted. And since Eagles' linebacker Chuck Bednarik, who entered with him, spent most of his NFL career as a center and was considered to be the last of the NFL's two-way players, he was the Hall of Fame's first purely-defensive player as well.

After retirement as a player, Emlen Tunnell returned to the Giants, where he worked as a scout and an assistant coach until shortly before his death, at 51, in 1975.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING EMLEN TUNNELL

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WINSCONSIN
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
JOHN VERMILLION - ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
DAVE KEMMICK - MOUNT JOY, PENNSYLVANIA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TOM DAVIS - DAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA

*********** A nice tribute to Em Tunnell by the home folks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TfafKB-V-E


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

Emlen Tunnell is the outstanding player in today's quiz. He was amazing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vUUQRx5UCk

Greg Koenig
Colorado Springs, Colorado

*********** Being a Packer & Hawkeye fan makes this an easy one, I think

Coach Kaz
Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

*********** Surprised to find that he was the first Black elected to the HOF.    Glad it only took 4 years to elect a black member after opening.  Good that he got in basically just after the 5 year window.

Tom Davis
San Carlos, California

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

Great quiz!  I saw this man play in Cleveland when I was growing up. Those Giant teams that  he played for were tough battles for my Browns. I believe that Otto Graham did not throw many passes in his direction.

It was great to see the picture of you and Connie with Armstrong Williams and your friend Xavier Underwood at your home.

Western is terrible! I sat through that joke of a game and saw a Western team that was flat and had no life to it what so ever.  It was embarrassing.

David Crump
Owensboro, Kentucky

*********** QUIZ:  He is far and away the best player in the history of the Washington Redskins ever to wear his number. In truth, there is only one other player in the history of the team who has worn his number, and that was a punter named Glenn Pakulak, who didn’t even spend a full season with the Skins.

He had a ten-year pro career: nine years in the NFL with the Cardinals, Redskins, and Lions, and one year with the AFL Broncos.

A running back, he led his little high school, St. Anthony of Long Beach, California, to the CIF (state) title, back in the days before there were several classes, defeating schools many times St. Anthony’s size along the way. In the semi-final game, he scored on runs of 22, 41, 64 and 79 yards.  He was named CIF Player of the Year.

He and his entire backfield were signed by Cal, then the top West Coast power. He started all three years at running back, and as a sophomore in 1950 he became the first Cal runner to rush for over 1,000 yards.  He led the Bears in rushing all three years, and his career  mark of 2,504 yards (playing only three seasons and only ten games a season) still ranks eighth all-time at Cal.

An All-American his senior year, he was a first-round NFL draft choice - the fourth player taken overall - by the Chicago Cardinals.

He was twice selected to play in the Pro Bowl with the Cardinals before being traded to the Redskins.  On coming to the  Redskins, he changed his number from 36 to 0. (In his case the “0” did not stand for “zero.”)

In his career he rushed for 3320 yards and had 988 yards receiving and scored 19 touchdowns.

After retirement, he served as chief of lifeguards in his native Long Beach.

He had plenty of experience at the job.  While still in college, he actually saved two college football players - both quarterbacks - from the surf.

In 1950, he rescued Cal teammate Billy Mais, and a year later, he saved Don Klosterman, then the QB at Loyola and later an executive with several NFL teams. (“I couldn’t swim and shouldn’t have been out there,” Klosterman was quoted as saying afterward.)

He was the uncle of Manu Tuiasosopo and the great uncle of Marques Tuiasosopo both of whom played in the NFL.



Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2020  “If you’re the smartest person in the room you’re probably in the wrong room.” Dr. Benjamin Carson

*********** FOOTBALL THIS WEEKEND

THURSDAY NIGHT

HOUSTON over Tulane +6-1/2

FRIDAY NIGHT

LOUISVILLE over Georgia Tech + 4-1/2

FLORIDA over Texas A & M +6-1/2

VIRGINIA TECH +4-1/2 over North Carolina

LSU over Missouri +20

TEXAS +2 over Oklahoma

LIBERTY over LA Monroe +19

NC STATE +8 over Virginia

SOUTH CAROLINA over Vanderbilt + 13-1/2

DUKE over Syracuse +2

ARMY over The Citadel +29

GEORGIA over Tennessee +12

BYU over UTSA +35

IOWA STATE over Texas Tech +12-1/2

ARKANSAS STATE over Central Arkansas +14-1/2

TROY over Texas State +8

AUBURN over Arkansas + 13-1/2

BOSTON COLLEGE +6 over Pitt

KANSAS STATE + 8-1/2 over TCU

MIDDLE TENNESSEE +4 over Florida Intl

SOUTHERN MISS +2 over Florida Atlantic

ALABAMA over Ole Miss +24

TEMPLE + 3-1/2 over Navy

EAST CAROLINA + 4-1/2 over South Florida

CLEMSON over Miami +14

NOTRE DAME over Florida State +21

LOUISIANA TECH +15 over UTEP

MARSHALL over Western Kentucky +7

KENTUCKY over Mississippi State +2

CHARLOTTE over North Texas +3

*********** BY REQUEST — HIGH SCHOOL GAMES ON NFHS NETWORK THAT MIGHT BE WORTH WATCHING

ALABAMA

FRIDAY 7 PM CENTRAL

CARVER-MONTGOMERY (4-2)  VS EUFALA (5-2)

MOUNTAIN BROOK (3-1)  VS BRIARWOOD CHRISTIAN (5-2)

SATURDAY 1 PM CENTRAL

OPELIKA (5-2) VS ROBERT E LEE (3-2)


GEORGIA - ALL FRIDAY 7:30 EASTERN

HILLGROVE (2-1) VS GAINESVILLE (3-1)

GREATER ATLANTA CHRISTIAN (3-0) VS WESTMINSTER (2-0)

FITZGERALD (4-0) VS PIERCE COUNTY (4-0)


*********** We were talking not long ago about Mike Leach, and how, although our offenses are at opposite ends of the spectrum, our approaches to teaching them are quite similar.

Mike Leach is a master of the passing game, and there’s no doubt in my mind that if he were as devoted to the running game as he is to throwing the ball, he would be successful.

There is, however,  one fatal flaw in his makeup - one that Double Wing coaches would be wise to avoid: he appears to be almost  stubborn in his reluctance/refusal/inability to develop a sound running game to round out his offense.

The clip of his team’s failure last Saturday - down by seven, facing fourth and one deep in Arkansas’ territory, with under five minutes to play - to make  ONE F—KING YARD showed clearly that his line was not up to the job. Now, those guys are  all good enough - they are SEC scholarship athletes - and they should know how to run-block, since they did a lot of that under the previous coach, but a study of the play (which we looked at on Tuesday night’s ZOOM clinic) shows that at least one of the Mississippi State linemen didn’t know not to take a drop step when firing out. And the lineman I’m referring to happened to be the one at the point of attack.

The moral: Just as a pass-first coach, no matter how good he is,  can’t afford to neglect the running game, neither can a run-first coach neglect the passing game.

*********** Prayers for Coach Josh Montgomery and his family.  They live in Berwick, Louisiana. If you can’t find it on the map, look for Morgan City, which it adjoins and which is a little bigger. It is not far from the Gulf, and Hurricane Delta is headed directly at the two towns. Coach Montgomery’s team, Berwick High, had its Friday night game moved up to Wednesday night.

(In my best Cajun dialect: Dis is LOOZIANNA son - dey ain’ gonna cancel no football game jus’ because a’ some damn hurricane - dey gonna play dat game on Wednesday night if day hafta. An’ after dat - after dey play da football game -  DEN it’s time to evacuate.)

So following the game, Coach Montgomery and his wife, Lauren and their three kids, tried to beat the rush out of town, leaving in the early morning hours for points north.

*********** You probably know that Mississippi’s two big colleges have new coaches.  They’re Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss and Mike Leach at Mississippi State. Their arrival on the scene was considered a godsend by state football writers, because neither one of those guys is what you’d call bashful. But those two guys are bland and lifeless in comparison with a third new hire in the state, a guy who is sure to make some headlines.

He’s Deion Sanders, one of the most flamboyant athletes of our time, who has decided that he’s ready to make the jump  from high school coaching to college coaching. He’s the new head coach at Jackson State, a storied HBCU program that continues to draw some of the biggest crowds among FCS colleges.

At his official introduction, he pulled up in an Escalade, complete with a police escort, trailing the school’s marching band.

Word is that his wide receivers coach will be Terrell Owens, and his defensive line coach will be Warren Sapp.

A tip to rival coaches - watch this guy closely.   As a high school coach in Texas he was known to play fast and loose with the rules. (As if they didn't know.)

https://www.thebiglead.com/posts/deion-sanders-jackson-state-coaching-staff-sapp--owens-01ejvf3xazah

*********** A coach I talked to today said he was considering running the  Open Wing and  asked me if I would take a look at some plays he and his assistants had drawn up.  My immediate response was, “Why are you trying to invent something that’s already been invented? Why not just take something that's already been tested and shown to work and use it as is?”

I told him that in the long run, it would work our better for him simply because I can often help somebody with a problem provided we speak the same language, but I can’t help fix something that I didn’t have a hand in knowing what went into it.

Consider the matter of nomenclature.  Over the years, I don’t know how many times I’ve advised coaches who wanted to run my Double Wing or the Open Wing that I thought it was shortsighted to throw out my numbering and terminology and try to employ my system to the numbering system and terminology that they’ve grown accustomed to.

I was reminded of something I heard Wayne Hardin say at a clinic, back in the late 70s, when he was coaching at Temple.  He was a really good coach.   He had a winning program at Temple, where it’s never been easy to win.  Before that, as the coach at Navy, his teams went 38-22-2, including  five straight wins over Army. Oh - and at Navy he coached TWO Heisman Trophy winners (Joe Bellino and Roger Staubach).

At the clinic, he was talking about combining a dropback passing game with the veer running attack, and he said that he got the Veer straight from Lou Holtz, who was then running it at N.C. State.  Hardin said that he ran the offense exactly as Holtz ran it, no exceptions, because, he said,  “if I ever get in trouble and I have to call him, I don’t want to have to waste time going through a translator.”

To put it in everyday terms, I started out with the Apple II and got pretty good with the old keystroke command system, and I resisted adopting the pull-down menu system of the all-new MacIntosh.  But in order to keep up with computing, I had to break out of my comfort zone and force myself to learn the new stuff.  Soon enough, I became proficient with it, and now, I can’t imagine not doing it this way.  Until I have to learn a new way.

I have to say I find it funny that guys who’ve been through several operating systems on several different cell phones and laptops - because they believed it would make their lives better - won’t make the effort to learn a new football numbering system.

*********** Many, many years ago - I’m thinking it was about 2000, I asked Xavier Underwood if he’d pose with a youth-size blocking shield that I was selling at the time.  It was in Baltimore, and for some reason his dad, Dwayne Pierce had brought him along to my clinic.  And there’s the photo.
XAVIER WITH SHIELD
Over the years since then, Coach Pierce and his wife, Darlene, became very good friends with me and my wife, Connie.  We would see each other at least once a year, usually at my North Carolina clinics, following which my daughter and son-in-law, who live in Durham, would host any and all coaches who wanted to come and have something to eat and drink - and talk football. And Dwayne and Darlene - who liked to come to Carolina because she’s a Wake Forest grad - would bring their kids along.  And Xavier and one of my grandsons, Wyatt Love, being the same age, hit it off.  We’ve watched as Xavier has grown into the very impressive young man he is today, and it was with a great deal of pleasure that we were able to host him for a few hours while he was in the Northwest on assignment.

Actually, he was here working on a documentary, focusing on the Virus, the Fires and the “Mostly Peaceful” protests for which Portland has become famous, and he flattered me by interviewing me about a few things.

Xavier now works for Armstrong Williams, the rather well-known conservative columnist and radio host, and owner of several television stations. Armstrong Williams also happens to be a close associate of Dr. Ben Carson, a man whom I greatly admire.

As Xavier was leaving us, he very casually asked if I’d like to meet Armstrong Williams. Thinking he meant “someday,” I said “Well, yeah.  Sure.”  With that, he led us outside to where  a car and driver were waiting for him, and in the front passenger’s seat was none other than Armstrong Williams.

I asked him if we could take a picture and he insisted on getting out of the car, putting on his suit coat, and having his picture taken with Xavier and my wife and me.  Very big deal for us.

XAVIER, ARMSTRONG, WYATTS


Now, here’s the best.  That same photo was posted on Armstrong Williams’ Facebook page the next day,  and  JUST TO ILLUSTRATE WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER BELIEVE EVERYTHING  YOU READ, this was how the caption read…

Our HSH team just wrapped a solid interview in Portland for our new documentary with legendary Coach Hugh Wyatt in Camas, Washington as a part of our Northwest tour.

(Imagine! Many of you will now be able to tell your friends  that you knew me before I was legendary.)

*********** I hesitate to judge someone I don’t know based solely on something they supposedly said, but if the things that a local athlete is quoted in our paper as having said are true, I have an idea that coaches might have difficulty selling him on the team concept.

Evidently he was at some sort of combine deal this past weekend, something in the Seattle area  billed as College ID All-Star Weekend.  (See, we’re all expected to believe that it’s unsafe for Washington high school kids to get together and   practice football, much less play games, while it’s perfectly acceptable for them to get together with other kids and coaches from around the Northwest to facilitate the pimpish activity best known as recruiting.)

The kid in particular (I won’t use his name, but he’s described as a “6-foot-four junior receiver”) already  has offers, we are told in the article I read,  from Washington, Oregon, Arizona State, Cal and Oklahoma.

But, as is so often the case in our culture these days, the kid wants more.  That’s why he was at the combine. “I want to use this experience,” he said, “to get my name out to the big schools, because I have to prove to them what I’m worth.”

I see.  So Washington, Oregon, Arizona State, Cal and Oklahoma aren’t big enough.  Are you reading this, Coach Saban? Coach Swinney?

He went on.  “I just want to let the colleges know that I’m a big play receiver because I feel like my sophomore year campaign was a lot of possession catches. But I want to prove that I’m a big player who can do what any receiver can do.”

Stupid coaches were so preoccupied with winning games that they didn’t even stop what they were doing occasionally so they could throw deep to him.

Asked about his goals for this season (which in Washington will be played in March and April), he said, “Break records, honestly. I think I’ve proved myself as a player but I just got to get my name in the record books where it matters.”

Before getting on the kid for the way he came across with his quotes, I’d love to talk with the reporter who wrote the story and included those quotes, because he probably doesn’t understand how it can put off some college coaches when a kid comes across as a “me” guy.

I’d also love to have a word with the kid himself (who must be pretty good) and try to explain to him that (1) coaches like team players, and (2) when he gets to college he’s going to have to share the field - and the ball - with some other guys who think they’re pretty good, too, and probably are - and sometimes the edge goes to the guy who puts the team first.

And for his future reference, I’d also pass along the old saying that silence is the only thing that writers can quote accurately.

*********** Interesting about the Gators' (not a fan...they're great knee-takers, led by Coach M) two Kyles. Hadn't heard he was named after Kyle Field, which happens to be one of my favorite football venues. And Kyle Pitts is the best receiver I've seen this season.

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida

*********** Coach  you are correct, in Colorado wives and girlfriends last on list of 175 to get in...   also in our district players have to get themselves to all away games...  We go to Fort Collins Friday, 1 hr 15 min away.  hope they all show up??  unharmed!!!

Bill Nelson
Thornton, Colorado

Coach,

For what it’s worth - several years ago, when the taxpayers defeated our maintenance and operations levy, we had to coach for no stipend, and car pool to away games.  We had several trips longer than 1:15 and we managed to get through the season without a wreck and - impossible to caravan on some of those winding mountain roads - never a missing person.



***********  I really love your analysis (on ZOOM) of What we see Saturday & Sunday within our context...Your mentioning Bob Gibson reminded me of the story of Gibson and the Cubbies Pete LaCock. LaCock hit a grand slam off him on the final pitch of Gibson's career in 1975, and years later, Gibson plunked LaCock with the first pitch at an old-timer’s game when they were both on the field...The Quiz also made me think of one of my favorite comedies, "Tommy Boy" starring the late "Cheesehead" Chris Farley because of this dialogue exchange:

Tommy: Did you hear I finally graduated?
Richard: Yeah, and just a shade under a decade too. All right.
Tommy: You know a lot of people go to college for seven years.
Richard: I know, they're called doctors.

Coach Kaz
Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

••••••••••• Hugh,

I have never been confused with a sports "tipster".  In fact, whenever my dad or my father-in-law used to ask me who I thought would win a pro football game they would go with the other team.

Here in Austin the "old-timers" of Longhorn football say that the current Texas teams will not reach the promised land until they start running the ball the way they used to do it.  They're right.  The field may be named after Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams, but the roster doesn't include guys like that anymore.

Air Force looks to be making a serious run at the CIC trophy this year with an abbreviated schedule.  Those CBS guys called it.  Up front Navy looks soft.  Army, on the other hand, needs to stay with what has worked for them the last few years, and they may have found a nice combination at QB and FB to get that done.  

As a youngster growing up, and even into my "young" adult years, I used to scoff at listening to my dad, uncles, grandpa, and father-in-law talk about the "good ol' days", and how much better things were in general.  We'd argue, debate, and laugh at one another trying to make our points.  Today, at age 68, I finally understand why they felt that way, and now I have become one of them.

In reference to your Abington HS "Galloping Ghosts" there are a number of colorful high school mascots here in Texas.  Among the more notable:  Hutto Hippos.  Winters Blizzards.  Mason Punchers.  Roscoe Plowboys.  Cuero Gobblers.  And the New Braunfels Unicorns.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The "Unicorns".

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

I have coached the Ridgefield Spudders and the North Beach Hyaks;  I have coached against the Tillamook Cheesemakers;   and for 30+ years I have lived in the town of the Camas Papermakers.
OROFINO MANIACS

But my two all-time favorites are the Indiana School for the Deaf - Deaf Hoosiers - and the Orofino, Idaho Maniacs. (The school denies that there is any connection between the nickname and the fact that a state mental institution is located there.  Hmmm.)  Several years ago, I called the school to ask if that really was the name, and they very graciously sent me the sticker shown here.




*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Barney Poole’s given first name was George, a name he never went by and wasn’t used to refer to him until  they wrote his obituaries.   To make sure you know the guy, please be sure to refer to him by his nickname.

He grew up in rural Amite County, Mississippi, the ninth and youngest child of a sawmill worker who died when the boy was only 14 months old. Otherwise, he recalled later, “we might have had a big family.”

He and his two older brothers, Buster and Ray, went on to star at Ole Miss, where together, they earned a total of 50 letters in football, basketball and baseball.

All three played in the NFL, and all three became coaches after their playing days.

Our guy actually played seven years of college varsity ball.

He started out at Ole Miss and played a year there as a sophomore, in 1942,  but with World War II going on,  the school dropped football after the season. Already enrolled in the Navy’s V-12 program, he was sent to North Carolina, where a star-studded football team had been assembled.

After the 1943 season playing for Carolina,  he was recruited to West Point by Army assistant coach Herman Hickman, on the recommendation of Hickman’s old friend Peahead Walker, coach of Wake Forest. He decided to go, on the advice of his  brother Ray, who was serving in the Marines and said that if he had a chance to become an officer he ought to take it.

Somehow, despite his age and his country ways he managed to survive the culture change, and the rigors of West Point life, including “Beast Barracks,” and he became a part of one of football’s great dynasties - the Davis-Blanchard Army teams of 1944-45-46.  Big for his time at 6-3, 220, he earned All-American honors in 1944 as a two-way end.

With the war over, he wanted to drop out of the Academy and transfer to Mississippi, but when Army coach Earl Blaik refused to release him, the story goes that he deliberately flunked out of West Point.

However it happened, the three years of wartime “service” at West Point did not count against his college eligibility, and he wound up back at Ole Miss for two more seasons - 1947 and 1948. Catching the passes of Marine vet Charley Conerly, he helped Ole Miss win its first-ever SEC title in 1947. He earned All-America honors in both 1947 and 1948.

Although drafted after the 1945 season by the Giants (as they knew he had already played four years of college ball), he didn’t play pro ball until 1949. He was team captain of the College All-Stars in the summer before turning pro, then played with the New York Yankees of the AAFC, and after the merger of leagues, with the NFL Dallas Texans, then with the Baltimore Colts and, finally the Giants.  In all, he played seven years of pro ball.

After his playing career he was an assistant coach at LSU and Southern Miss, and then a successful high school coach in Laurel, Mississippi (“Home Town,” for you HGTV fans).

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1974 and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1965 and was elected to the Ole Miss Athletic Hall of Fame in 1987.

He was selected to Preview Sports magazine All-Decade Team for 1940-49 and to   the Ole Miss Team of the Century, which covered the first 100 years of Ole Miss football (1893-1992).

I am not aware of any  player  other than Barney Poole, at least since 1940,   who won All-America honors at two different colleges, (nor am I aware of one who played seven seasons of college ball).

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BARNEY POOLE

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


*********** QUIZ:   He was the first black man to play for the New York Giants...  The first black man to become an NFL assistant coach... The first black man to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame… The first defense-only player to be inducted into the Hall.

He was a native of Radnor, Pennsylvania. An all-around athlete, he attended Toledo, where after suffering a neck injury in football, he turned to basketball, helping the Rockets to the NIT finals.

Turned down by both the Army and the Navy for medical reasons, he enlisted instead in the Coast Guard, where he served during World War II  until his discharge in 1946.

While in the service he resumed playing football, with such distinction that he was named to the United Press Pacific Coast All-Service team,  in the company of several others who would go on to storied pro careers.

Following the war, while he was playing semi-pro baseball on the West Coast, a friend and  former Iowa football player named Jim Walker got him interested in the Hawkeyes, and rather than return to Toledo, he decided instead to enroll at Iowa and play football.

Growing up in a largely white community in Pennsylvania,  then going to a largely white college, and then serving in the Coast Guard on board a ship whose crew of 200 consisted of just  "five negro boys and a couple of Filipinos," as he described it, his first practice at Iowa was an eye-opener.  "I had never seen so many negro guys in one place in my life," he said.  Of the  325 players out for football, he recalled,  fifty-eight of them were black.

Iowa had a reputation as a place where black players would be treated fairly. "Most of those negro boys had come to Iowa for the same reason I had," he said. "They knew they would be given a chance to play. Great negro players were a part of the tradition at Iowa, going back to the days around World War I."

He specifically mentioned Fred (Duke) Slater, who had been an All-American tackle at Iowa, and later became a judge in Chicago.

"I wasn't afraid of prejudice," he wrote,"but I didn't intend to go looking for it. I wanted to go to a school where I could get an education and where I would be allowed to play football. I didn't want to have to fight my way onto the practice field every afternoon."

Unfortunately for him, of the 58 blacks contending for positions on the Iowa team, most were running backs, and at the  start of the first practice he found himself  number 21 left halfback.  (Left halfback, it should be noted, was tailback in Iowa's single-wing offense.)

It wasn't long before he worked his way up the roster to starter status, and he made an impact on both offense and defense and as a punt returner, and he had two standout seasons on mediocre Iowa teams.

In the spring of his junior year, though,  after an eye infection caused him to miss classes,  he returned home to Pennsylvania, fully intending to return to Iowa for his final season of eligibility.

Back home,   however, he came across a questionnaire he'd received from the New York Giants, who knew of him from Iowa and had realized that because of his time in the service he was eligible for the draft.

There were very few black players in pro football at the time, however, and he was ready to discard the questionnaire when he happened to run into an old friend, Vince McNally. McNally  had been a coach at nearby Villanova, and remembered him from the days when as a little kid he and his buddies would watch the Wildcats practice.  McNally knew how pro football worked - he had been general manager of the Los Angeles Dons in the All-American Football Conference, and he urged our guy to see if the Giants were serious.

McNally told him, "If I were you I'd at least go over to New York and talk to the Giants. Tim Mara (Giants' owner) is a square shooter and he'll level with you. The Rams have Kenny Washington and Woody Strode, and the New York Yanks (then an NFL team) have Buddy Young, so a colored player won't be anything new. Maybe the Giants are ready for a colored player. If so, it might as well be you."

With only $1.50 in his pocket, he hitchhiked to New York and, unannounced, asked for a tryout.  He made the team.  And then some. He was 6-4, 210, and very fast. He wound up playing 13 years with the Giants,  as a key member of a defense that introduced what became today's 4-3, as he described it:  "Tom Landry played the left corner, Harmon Rowe the right, I was the strong safety and Otto Schnellbacher the weak. If you would look at this alignment from high in the stands it looked like an opened umbrella. In truth, it was the same 4-3-2-2 used today. We did go into other formations, but mostly we used this 4-3 arrangement. It was so successful against the Browns that we beat them twice. The first time we played them we shut them out, the first time that had ever happened to them."

He played on one New York NFL championship team, and in his final season with the Giants, he played in the so-called "Greatest Game Ever Played," in which the Giants lost the title game to the Baltimore Colts in the first use of sudden-death overtime in NFL history.

The following season, after his release by the Giants,   he was offered a position by Vince Lombardi, who had been the offensive coach of the Giants and had recently  been named head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Packers. Lombardi wanted him to be a player-coach.

David Maraniss, in "When Pride Still Mattered," his great biography of Lombardi,  stressed the role  (he)  played in helping Lombardi establish himself.  (He), Maraniss wrote, brought with him  "an intimate knowledge of the defensive system Lombardi wanted to implement with his new team.  (He) became an informal coach on the field, and as the first black star to play for the Packers, and a player who greatly respected the new coach, he also made it easier for Lombardi to bring in many more skilled black players over the next few years."

His replacement in Green Bay was Willie Wood, who became a Hall-of-Famer and attributed  much of what he knew to his mentor:  “(He) was a very bright guy who helped me tremendously. He had been around so long, one of the first black stars in the league, and for me just to have the opportunity to hang around him, I was awed by that. (He)  was so cool.'"

His 79 career interceptions and 258 punt returns were NFL records at the time of his retirement.  The career interceptions mark still ranks second all-time, behind Paul Krause's 81, and he still ranks third in career interception return yardage, behind modern players Rod Woodson and Deion Sanders.

In all, he was named to nine Pro Bowls.

He was named by Pro Football Chronicle to its 1950s All-Decade team.

When he entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967, he was the first black man to be inducted. And since Eagles' linebacker Chuck Bednarik, who entered with him, spent most of his NFL career as a center and was considered to be the last of the NFL's two-way players, he was the Hall of Fame's first purely-defensive player as well. 

After retirement as a player, he returned to the Giants, where he worked as a scout and an assistant coach until shortly before his death, at 51, in 1975.




Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2020  “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that." George Carlin

*********** That was a great Saturday of football.  In fact, I can’t remember one that provided so many exciting finishes.   And unlike that bloated version of the game that’s played mostly on Sundays, in only one of Saturday’s ten great finishes was the final score a field goal.

TCU 33, Texas 31 - Texas had a chance to take the lead near the end, but on a plunge from the one-yard line, the Longhorns’ runner just had to extend that arm to get that ball across the goal line - and he lost possession of the damn thing.  TCU, backed up in their own end of the field on fourth down,  took a safety to run out the final six seconds. Max Duggan, a sophomore from Council Bluffs, Iowa making his first start for TCU, was effective enough passing - 20 of 30 for 231 - but on the ground he was devastating - 17 carries for 79 yards and two TDs.

SMU 30, Memphis 27 - I didn’t catch any of this game, and that’s too bad. However, it was the only game won NFL style -  by a field goal in the final nine seconds.

North Carolina 26, Boston College 22 - BC hung tough the entire game, and scored in the last seconds after a 15-play drive to pull within two points of the Heels. They went for two, though, and the Tar Heels intercepted and ran it the length of the field for two more points. BC’s Phil Jurkovec was 37-56 for 313 yards and 2 TDs.

Iowa State 37, Oklahoma 30 - The Cyclones went ahead with a TD with 4:06 left, then intercepted the Sooners’ Spencer Rattler with 1:02 left to get their first win over Oklahoma in Ames in SIXTY YEARS.  There was a decent-sized crowd of students on hand, which was a great thing to see, and I wish the TV people had left the post-game camera on the happy revelry on the field, instead of the mandatory banal interview with the coach.

NC State 30, Pitt 29 - In Pullman, Washington they call it “Cougin’ it.” Evidently in Pittsburgh they call it “Pitting.” Whatever - the Panthers Pitted. They had six penalties for 60 yards - IN THE FIRST PERIOD - and they weren’t a full minute into the second quarter before they picked up penalty number seven. In all, they wound up with 13 penalties for 125 yards, and they gave State eight first downs through penalties. Their last penalty was the worst - a defensive holding call on an incomplete pass with 29 seconds left. And it was the right call. On the next play, State scored with a nice back shoulder shot just inside the end zone. Pack QB Devin Leary completed 28 of 45 for 336 yards and four touchdowns.  And the vaunted Pitt defensive line sacked him just twice.  Can’t blame Pitt’s Kenny Pickett - he completed 21 of 37 for 383.  And he ran for 40 more.

West Virginia 27, Baylor 21 (2 OTs) - After an ugly penalty against WVU, Baylor scored with 1:16 to play to tie the game and send it into OT.  In the first OT, in the top half of the inning, they went for it on fourth and one - and got it, then scored on the next play. After intercepting Baylor in the top of the second OT, they drove for the winning TD, despite the announcers’ almost pleading with them to kick a field goal.

Kansas State 31, Texas Tech 21 - K-State lost their QB, Skylar Thompson, to a dirty hit, but the Cats hung on, thanks to a great run by freshman scatback Deuce Vaughn, one of the most exciting runners in football.  K-State, after the game, gave coach Chris Klieman a contract extension that goes through 2016 and calls for a nice raise.  Good move.  I think he is the right man for the program.

Ole Miss 42, Kentucky 41 (OT). Wow.  Kentucky missed the extra point in the top half of OT, and after Ole Miss scored to tie it, they made the kick.  Not sure why UK’s Mark Stoops insisted on “accompanying” the officials off the field afterward but I don’t think he was inviting them to the after-game party.

Arkansas 21, Mississippi State 14.  It looked as if Mississippi State was finally going to shake off the let down after last week’s shocking opener against LSU, but on 4th and one deep in Arkansas territory, the team that threw for over 600 yards last week couldn’t run for a single damn yard.  Arkansas played their asses off and got their first SEC win since 2017.

Tulsa 34, UCF 26 - Tulsa roared back to take the lead at 31-26 at the start of the fourth quarter, after outscoring UCF 26-3 since late in the second quarter, and then added a field goal. And then, with :25 to play and UCF driving, pity the  UCF center - first he gets called for holding, and then, on the next play, he snaps the ball over the QB’s head.

*********** If you haven’t seen it yet, you ought to take a look at Wake Forest’s slow-walking QB-running back read. It’s pretty interesting. I’d like to know more about it.

*********** Campbell’s four game season is over, and they won’t be playing in the spring. But I think they’re going to be pretty good. Mike Minter is doing a nice job as coach.  In case you missed it, they ran a pretty cool screen, one that I saw Cincinnati run a few years ago. I plan on showing a clip of it at Tuesday night’s Zoom clinic.

*********** A good author could do something with the final act of Joe Namath, once the ultimate booze-and-broads playboy, now on TV telling us of the wonderful benefits of a plan for old folks, including “free rides to medical appointments.”

*********** If you’re my age, I guarantee you that when you were a teenager, you never thought there’d be such a thing as a cornhole championship, much less one on television.

*********** Not that it isn’t great to have football on Friday nights, but I had sort of gotten used to an entire evening of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on TV.

*********** Boy, once the NCAA allowed teams to issue the Number Zero, it didn’t take long for the ego-driven among them to surface.

*********** The state of North Carolina isn’t taking any chances - it’s now allowing it’s schools to admit 7 per cent of stadium capacity.

*********** Colorado high schools that decided to play in the fall (rather than make a decision, the state left it up to the schools whether to play now or in the spring) are allowed 50 players, and each player is allowed two tickets - presumably one for each parent. Okay. I guess I get it.

But talk about asinine rules - unless they’ve changed since I was told about it a couple weeks ago, coaches’ wives are not permitted to attend. 

*********** BYU defensive lineman Khyiris Tonga appears to be the kind of guy you want on your team.  He’s big - 6-4, 300 - and he’s a damn good player.  But better yet, after one of his linemates came in late and put a bad shot on the Louisiana Tech QB, a national TV audience watched him getting his ass chewed out by Mister Tonga.  That’s the kind of guy you want.

*********** Wake has a nice-looking receiver named Ke’Shawn Williams (sorry if I misspelled it, but take it up with your parents if I did) who is very quick and very fast and I’ll be damned if he didn’t go to Chestnut Hill Academy, no more than about five miles from where I grew up in Philly.

*********** We had to wait until the start of the fourth quarter to get the mandatory Critical Race Theory lecture from the ACC network, as they zoomed in on the Black Lives Matter on the back of the Wake Forest helmets.

*********** Color analyst Andre Ware, himself a Heisman Trophy winner, couldn’t say enough god things about BYU QB Zach Wilson.  When Wilson was pulled in the fourth quarter with BYU way ahead of Louisiana Tech, Wilson was 24 of 26 (!) for 325 yards and two TDs.  And he’d run for three TDs.

*********** I know that Army played Cincinnati fairly tough, but after seeing BYU in three games now, I’m sorta glad Army's  game with BYU was cancelled.  Those guys are good.  Damn shame there won’t be a place for them in the Playoff.

*********** TCU had a second-and-goal on the Texas one, and they threw a quick pass into the left flat that was almost intercepted.  They came to their senses after that, and managed to punch it in.

PITT FG STANCES

*********** Not sure what the deal is with Pitt’s line stances on their FG team.

*********** Lots of stuff has been written about how Florida’s Kyle Trask wasn’t heavily recruited and blah, blah, blah. Listen folks, if a kid’s good enough for a major SEC school to offer him a scholarship, then there ought to be a lot of assistant coaches at a lot of other schools getting their asses chewed for not knowing about the kid.

Meanwhile, with Florida going to play Texas A & M on Saturday, there’s this:

"My whole family is full of Aggies," Trask, a Mandel, Texas native, told Thomas Goldkamp of 247 sports. “They named me after Kyle Field at Texas A&M."

*********** When Abilene Christian took the field against Army, they had 42 transfers listed on their roster. All told, there were 14 FBS schools represented: Arizona State, Arkansas State, Boise State, Cal, Iowa, Liberty, Missouri, Nebraska, Northwestern,  Oklahoma State, Rice, Rutgers, SMU and Texas Tech.

*********** It was a homecoming of sorts for Abilene Christian”s QB, Payton Mansell - his father and mother are both West Point graduates, as are three of his uncles.

*********** Florida has a GREAT receiver named Kyle Pitts, a 6-6, 240 pound kid who, the announcer said, was “out of Philadelphia, P-A.”  Okay, says, I, whereabouts?

Turns out he’s not from Philly at all.  He’s from Abington, Pennsylvania. That’s my wife’s hometown!

That means he was a “Galloping Ghost!”

(No lie - the school’s nickname came about when the great Red Grange, in Philly to play a game, paid a visit to an old Illinois teammate, who was coaching Abington High’s football team.  As a tribute to the great man, the school adopted his nickname as theirs.

Anyhow, just like my wife, Kyle Pitts attended Abington High. But unlike my wife, he attended for only two years.

And then he transferred to local power Archbishop Wood.

Never mind.

(This happened once before to the Galloping Ghosts.   A kid played two years at Abington and then his mom, who travelled a lot for her job and didn’t like the company her son was keeping, pulled him out of Abington and sent him to a military academy in Virginia. Kid’s name was Eddie George.)

*********** Told you Coastal Carolina was good - they hammered Arkansas State.

*********** Baylor was down, 14-7 with 1:42 to play and on 3rd and 10, they threw incomplete. But just 5 yards downfield, a West Virginia linebacker hit a crossing Baylor receiver with a shot so vicious that no fewer than three flags came flying in. Instead of fourth down and ten, it was first and ten, Baylor, and fifteen yards closer. And on the next play they scored to send the game into overtime.

*********** WTF? There was FCS Jacksonville State, giving Florida State all it wanted.

*********** Air Force came out in uniforms designed as a tribute to the Red Tails - the famed Tuskegee Airmen - but I thought they looked dingy, and the red on the front half of their helmets made me think they were wearing scrimmage hats.

Nevertheless, the Zoomies were downright scary the way they took it to Navy. And in the way they did it - they didn’t run a lot of triple option, but instead ran a lot of stuff that Double Wing and Wing-T guys are quite familiar with.  They ran a couple of what we’d call 66-O, and a couple of plays that sure looked as if they were using Wedge blocking.  And of course, down on the goal line, they cut their splits down to nothing and wedged for the QB sneak.  If only Mike Leach weren’t coaching at the time, he might have seen that and then been able to make a yard on fourth-and-one against Arkansas.

Air Force rushed for 369 and four TDs. Navy rushed 36 times for 90 yards.

Navy lost several key defensive players to injury against Air Force, and after the game, Randy Cross summed up what we all saw: “One word you never want associated with you in football is soft - Navy looked soft.”

So - did Coach Ken Niumatalolo, charged with developing men to lead sailors into battle, disserve them and the nation they represent by coddling them during the pre-season?

*********** The CBSSN studio guys - Kenny Carter, Randy Cross and Houston Nutt - are pretty good.

*********** I’m getting the impression that football is not making progress in its efforts to stamp out deliberate attempts to injure, starting with targeting.

And now, allowing an offender to remain on the sideline, evidently for fear of stigmatizing the poor offender, may very well have lessened the offense in the eyes of his team.

I think we have to make the statement that the offender has offended against the game of football itself.

We’re still seeing a lot of targeting calls, and personally, I don’t think we’re going to make progress until they start hitting the million dollar babies who coach these kids.  I’m for making the defensive coordinator sit out the next game when one of his players gets ejected for targeting.  And then he can escort the offender off the field.

*********** If the best play in football is Take a Knee, right behind it in second place has to be  Throw the Damn Thing Deep and Hope They Call P-I.

*********** It’s been 30 years since Colorado needed a fifth down to beat Missouri - and go on to share in the national title.

https://theathletic.com/2105881/2020/10/01/missouri-tigers-football-colorado-buffaloes-fifth-down-game-turns-thirty/?source=user_shared_article

*********** There are undoubtedly people out there who will call me a racist for noticing, but I don’t give a sh—.  Black place kickers are rare - possibly because there aren’t that many black soccer players - but Vanderbilt has a kicker named Pierson Cooke who, unless their sports information department is using the wrong photo, can pass for black. 

Good on ya, mate! Go Vandy!  Anchor down!

https://vucommodores.com/roster/pierson-cooke/

*********** The ad guys keep trying to sell us on the idea of real men using “body wash,” but I have my doubts.

*********** Don’t know about your paper, but our two local papers - Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon - both seem to think that with the Pac-12 temporarily out of business, none of their readers cares about college football, because they don’t run the national college football scores any more.  And try going  on line and getting the score of a game if it didn’t involve at least one top 25 team.

*********** RIP Bob Gibson.  RIP Gale Sayers. They died nine days apart.  There was seven years’ difference in their ages,  but they shared a common heritage. How many people know that those two men, among the best at their respective sports at about the same time, came out of the same area of Omaha? 

https://omaha.com/sports/local-sports/chatelain-rich-legacy-of-bob-gibson-and-gale-sayers-wont-be-matched/article_53770c86-5031-554e-913e-4914c4f7cff9.html

https://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/ben-frederickson/benfred-cardinals-legend-gibson-made-impact-on-nfl-great-sayers/article_e07caf14-c8c7-58c1-b24c-eeeaad00fdb8.html


*********** SATURDAY WITH THE TIPSTER

Sure hope you didn’t make any bets based on my expert tips:

I won 13, lost 17

Sunday I got a phone call from a fellow named Sal who said he’s originally from back home - South Philadelphia, actually - suggesting that it would be a great idea if I were to pay him the $50,000 he lost Saturday betting on my picks. The sooner the better, he said, sounding as if he needs the money. Maybe to pay his kid’s college tuition. He seemed like an awfully nice chap - asked about my wife and said he knew which house was mine and said he thought it was really a nice place.  I suspect he’s in the insurance business, because he asked if my wife would be taken care of in case anything were to happen to me or what I'd do if anything were to happen to our nice house.

W- WINNING PICK


FLORIDA over South Carolina +18
W-TCU + 11-1/2 over Texas
W-TENNESSEE over Missouri + 11-1/2

PITT over NC State +14
W-GEORGIA STATE over East Carolina +1
W-COASTAL CAROLINA +3 over Arkansas State

BAYLOR over West Virginia +3
UAB over UTSA + 20
LIBERTY over North Alabama +30
W-ARMY over Abilene Christian +30
W-ALABAMA over Texas A & M +18

NORTH CAROLINA over BC +14
CINCINNATI over South Florida +22
W-OKLAHOMA STATE over Kansas + 22
MEMPHIS over SMU +2-1/2
W-KANSAS STATE over Texas Tech +2-1/2
FLORIDA ATLANTIC over Charlotte +6-1/2
VIRGINIA TECH over Duke +10
KENTUCKY over Ole Miss +6
FLORIDA STATE over Jacksonville State +26
WESTERN KENTUCKY over Middle Tennessee +7  
W-AIR FORCE +7 over Navy
GA SOUTHERN over UL Monroe +20
AUBURN +7 over Georgia
W-TULSA +21 over UCF
W-ARKANSAS +17-1/2 over Mississippi State
W-IOWA STATE +7 over Oklahoma
W-LSU over Vanderbilt +20 -

NORTH TEXAS over Southern Miss +1-1/2
CLEMSON over Virginia +28 -

*********** Our district has been going virtually since the start of the school year (football was moved to the spring of 2021).  Staff had the option to work at home or on-site.  I've been going to work in order to stay in a routine; however, due to increased cases of COVID in Brown County, we were informed yesterday that all teaching staff must work at home for the next two weeks.

Mike Framke
Green Bay, Wisconsin

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

BREAKING NEWS:  The naysayers are already busy hammering the President, his administration, and anyone else within shouting distance of the President regarding his being tested positive for the China virus.  He has received "well-wishes" from his opponents that I'm sure have a tinge of sarcasm within them.

This weekend's college games that I give a damn about:

Army big over Abilene Christian
Navy in a close win over Air Force
Texas will rebound with a better effort and beat TCU

Notre Dame will be be back on the docket next week.  My other two "favorites" Minnesota and Fresno State will commence the weekend of October 24th.

My heart truly goes out to all football coaches in the state of Washington.  Most of us have political and administrative bucket of BS to put up with, but for you guys the BS bucket is overflowing.

I don't believe you will ever see Jason Whitlock on ESPN, or BET, CBS Sports, ABC Sports, or FOX Sports any time soon.  Too bad.  They will never find a better spokesperson for the majority of Americans (of ANY color) who have bailed on professional sports.

We travel to the San Antonio area again tonight to take on our first district opponent.  First year in the district for them coming up from Division 3.  They had a strong winning tradition at that level, and once again have some talent.  But they are not anywhere near as physical up front as the team we played last week.  Essentially, their guys look like our guys, and they got beat up pretty good last week. Just like we did.  Should be a good game.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Looks as if we could go broke together as college football tipsters!

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Danny White’s father, nicknamed  “Whizzer,” after the former Colorado All-American with the same name,  was Arizona State’s first All-American, and played briefly with the Chicago Bears.

He had an outstanding high school football career in Mesa, Arizona, but he was recruited by Arizona State as a baseball player.

Since football has far more scholarships to give out than baseball,  ASU football coach Frank Kush worked out a deal with the  baseball coach to give him a scholarship that allowed him to play baseball, while also punting for the football team.

He not only turned out to be a good punter, averaging 41.7 yards for his career, but by the middle of his sophomore year he had also won the starting quarterback job.

In his time as a starter, ASU won 33 games and lost only four, and won three Fiesta Bowls.

He was named to the All-America team in 1973, his senior year - as ASU finished 11-1 -  and for his career he threw for 6,717 yards and 64 touchdowns.

He was drafted in the third round by the Cowboys, the 53rd player taken - and the first quarterback taken in the draft.

But the Cowboys were set at QB with Roger Staubach, and they wanted him as a punter, while Memphis of the new World Football League offered him a chance to play QB - and more money - so he signed with the new league.

Sharing playing time with former Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte of Notre Dame, in two seasons he threw for 2,645 yards and 21 touchdowns, and in 1975 he led the WFL in punting.

In 1975, despite being bolstered by the addition of former Dolphins Larry Czonka, Jim Kiick and Paul Warfield, Memphis finished second in the WFL.

After the WFL folded, he joined Dallas, and for the next four years he backed up Staubach while doing the Cowboys’ punting. After Staubach retired, he would do most of the Cowboys’ quarterbacking until Troy Aikman took over.

He earned a Super Bowl ring in Super Bowl XII, in which the Cowboys beat the Broncos.

In his first three years as the Cowboys’ starter, he took them to three straight NFL title games. Unfortunately for him, the Cowboys lost all three - one of them the 49ers’ win made famous by “The Catch.”

IN 1982, he was named to the Pro Bowl.

As Cowboys’ quarterback, he threw for 21,969 yards and 155 touchdowns. He punted 610 times for an average 40.4 yards per punt.

From 1992 to 2004, he was head coach of the Arena Football League’s Arizona Rattlers, and as an Arena League coach he compiled a 162-95 record, including two Arena Bowl championships.

In 2000, the Arizona Republic newspaper named Danny White the Arizona Athlete of the Century.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DANNY WHITE

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY


*********** Coach there should be a rule as a Philly guy - no quiz questions about that Dallas team.

Tom Davis
San Carlos, California

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

Danny White was a very good quarterback and punter for the Cowboys.

http://www.espn.com/abcsports/mnf/s/dannywhite.html

I have the Broncos at Jets game on, and I don't see any pink socks, gloves, towels, etc. It's October 1. What gives?

Greg Koenig
Colorado Springs, Colorado

I guess they’ve made everybody aware of breast cancer and now they have to move on to  convincing everyone that this nation is hopelessly racist.

*********** Tko je Danny White?

I thought maybe we were headed toward Whizzer, but as usual I was wrong.

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida

Since I know that John Vermillion speaks Croatian, I’m going to guess “Tke jo?” means “who is?”

*********** In 1992, While I played for Albany, He was the new head coach for the Arizona Rattlers. His first year was rough, he had Steve Belles from Notre Dame as his QB and we roughed them up pretty good week 1. He was nice enough to sign his Football card for me after the game.  After that first year, the Rattlers really took off and did not look like an expansion team anymore. Danny White became an Arena coaching legend. Not sure if people remember this but Former 49er Todd Shell was his d coordinator. In 1993, he had Paul Justin as his QB (he backed up Kurt Warner when Rams won the Super bowl). His teams were always well prepared and Arizona had huge fan support being in Phoenix. Heck of a nice guy!

Pete Porcelli
Watervliet, New York

*********** Had big shoes to fill replacing Roger Staubach...not flashy...just did his best

Kevin McCullough
Lakeville, Indiana

*********** A very good quarterback that I don't think was given enough respect when he played for the Cowboys.

David Crump
Owensboro, Kentucky


*********** QUIZ: His given first name was George, a name he never went by and wasn’t used to refer to him until  they wrote his obituaries.   To make sure you know the guy, please be sure to refer to him by his nickname.

He grew up in rural Amite County, Mississippi, the ninth and youngest child of a sawmill worker who died when the boy was only 14 months old. Otherwise, he recalled later, “we might have had a big family.”

He and his two older brothers, Buster and Ray, went on to star at Ole Miss, where together, they earned a total of 50 letters in football, basketball and baseball.

All three played in the NFL, and all three became coaches after their playing days.

Our guy actually played seven years of college varsity ball.

He started out at Ole Miss and played a year there as a sophomore, in 1942,  but with World War II going on,  the school dropped football after the season. Already enrolled in the Navy’s V-12 program, he was sent to North Carolina, where a star-studded football team had been assembled.

After the 1943 season playing for Carolina,  he was recruited to West Point by Army assistant coach Herman Hickman, on the recommendation of Hickman’s old friend Peahead Walker, coach of Wake Forest. He decided to go, on the advice of his  brother Ray, who was serving in the Marines and said that if he had a chance to become an officer he ought to take it.

Somehow, despite his age and his country ways he managed to survive the culture change, and the rigors of West Point life, including “Beast Barracks,” and he became a part of one of football’s great dynasties - the Davis-Blanchard Army teams of 1944-45-46.  Big for his time at 6-3, 220, he earned All-American honors in 1944 as a two-way end.

With the war over, he wanted to drop out of the Academy and transfer to Mississippi, but when Army coach Earl Blaik refused to release him, the story goes that he deliberately flunked out of West Point.

However it happened, the three years of wartime “service” at West Point did not count against his college eligibility, and he wound up back at Ole Miss for two more seasons - 1947 and 1948. Catching the passes of Marine vet Charley Conerly, he helped Ole Miss win its first-ever SEC title in 1947. He earned All-America honors in both 1947 and 1948.

Although drafted after the 1945 season by the Giants (as they knew he had already played four years of college ball), he didn’t play pro ball until 1949. He was team captain of the College All-Stars in the summer before turning pro, then played with the New York Yankees of the AAFC, and after the merger of leagues, with the NFL Dallas Texans, then with the Baltimore Colts and, finally the Giants.  In all, he played seven years of pro ball.

After his playing career he was an assistant coach at LSU and Southern Miss, and then a successful high school coach in Laurel, Mississippi (“Home Town,” for you HGTV fans).

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1974 and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1965 and was elected to the Ole Miss Athletic Hall of Fame in 1987.

He was selected to Preview Sports magazine All-Decade Team for 1940-49 and to   the Ole Miss Team of the Century, which covered the first 100 years of Ole Miss football (1893-1992).

I am not aware of any other player , at least since 1940,   who won All-America honors at two different colleges, (nor am I aware of one who played seven seasons of college ball).




Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2020  ““The man truly conversant with life knows, against all appearances, that there is a remedy for every wrong, and that every wall is a gate.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

********** THIS WEEKEND'S FOOTBALL AND MY FEARLESS PICKS

FRIDAY NIGHT

WAKE FOREST over Campbell +35 - Give Campbell credit for  plauying a fall schedule

LOUISIANA TECH +24 over BYU - I think LT is better than Troy.

SATURDAY

(In 23 of the 30 games I chose the favorite and gave the points.  I have no idea why.)

FLORIDA over South Carolina +18 - I was very impressed by Florida Saturday

TCU + 11-1/2 over Texas - Frogs are going to be tough at some point

TENNESSEE over Missouri + 11-1/2 - Tennessee looked good last week

PITT over NC State +14 - I think Pitt is A LOT better than the Pack

GEORGIA STATE over East Carolina +1- I just flipped a coin

COASTAL CAROLINA +3 over Arkansas State - I like Coastal Carolina’s offense

BAYLOR over West Virginia +3 - Sure wish I could pick WVU

UAB over UTSA + 20 - USB has looked pretty good, even if UTSA is unbeaten

LIBERTY over North Alabama +30 - Could be worse. Liberty is tough. N Alabama is FCS, playing its first game.

ARMY over Abilene Christian +30 - A game that Army was happy to schedule; I want Army to win but not punish.

ALABAMA over Texas A & M +18 - Not impressed with the Aggies

NORTH CAROLINA over BC +14 - I just think the overall  NC program is a lot further ahead at this point

CINCINNATI over South Florida +22 - Cincinnat has got to be better than  they looked last week against Army

OKLAHOMA STATE over Kansas + 22 - Could be a lot worse

MEMPHIS over SMU +2-1/2 - Could be an upset

KANSAS STATE over Texas Tech +2-1/2 - Tech can score. Period. But beating Houston Baptist by two points?

FLORIDA ATLANTIC over Charlotte +6-1/2 -
- Just a wild ass guess

VIRGINIA TECH over Duke +10 - As a Duke fan, I’m afraid this could be bad

KENTUCKY over Ole Miss +6 - Can’t bring myself to pick a Lane Kiffin team

FLORIDA STATE over Jacksonville State +26 - Did FSU really need a win this badly?

WESTERN KENTUCKY over Middle Tennessee +7 -  Could this be the week Middle Tennessee gets it together?

AIR FORCE +7 over Navy - this is my upset. It is AF’s first game. I think they'll be ready.

GA SOUTHERN over UL Monroe +20 - Poor UL Monroe - maybe the worst team in FBS

AUBURN +7 over Georgia - If Georgia can beat the spread, then they are really good

TULSA +21 over UCF - Just going by how Tulsa played against OSU

ARKANSAS +17-1/2 over Mississippi State - every so often, a Leach team will  play a stinker

IOWA STATE +7 over Oklahoma - I may regret this one.

LSU over Vanderbilt +20 - Tigers are smarting after last week. Vandy played Texas A & M tought, but LSU is better than A & M

NORTH TEXAS over Southern Miss +1-1/2 - I've only seen Southern Miss once and NT not at all.

CLEMSON over Virginia +28 - Clemson is in another league


*********** Rob McKenna, a former Washington state Attorney General, suggests that it could be quite some time before Washington’s high schools return to playing football, thanks to the state’s unique liability laws, which, he says, put Washington “on the far end of the bell curve” in terms of governmental liability.

In an interview with a Centralia, Washington online station, McKenna said that Washington governments pay out “much more” in liability settlements than any other state on a per capita basis. As one illustration, he noted that Washington pays out four times more than Massachusetts, a state of comparable size.

First of all, Washington has waived all sovereign immunity, a concept that applies in many states to shield government agencies and officials from lawsuits.

Even worse, Washington has a rule called “joint and several liability.”

What it means is that when a government agency (such as a school district) is a co-defendant in a lawsuit, and the other co-defendant has no money, all the plaintiff has to do is establish that the government agency is even one per cent at fault, and then that government agency is responsible for paying 100 per cent of the amount awarded.

McKenna says  the potential of loss based on things completely out of their control - such as the inability of another party to pay their share of a judgement - is why we see state, county and city governments usually settling claims that might have been won at trial.

Consequently, he says, if you’re a plaintiff’s attorney, “the name of the game is to name a state or local government - or both - as co-defendants.”

Noting that the return of pro and college sports is heavily dependent on testing, and that those involved have the resources to do the testing, “I’m not sure,” he says, “ that high schools have the resources to match that level of testing.”

And since they don't - and can’t, he says, “it’s a matter of waiting until less expensive, more effective testing is available widely.”

Either that, or of convincing the state legislature to pass legislation such as California’s to protect school districts that can show they made a bona fide effort to follow the state guidelines.  As it is, a third party contracting the virus from an infected student need only show one instance where a school room didn’t have sanitizer where it should have - or where one small group of students might have once broken social distancing protocol, or where one student was seen walking a hallway without wearing a mask  - and that could be enough to establish that the school was liable.

But passing legislation for the benefit of our state and its kids would mean having to get it past plaintiffs’ attorneys, who understandably have been waiting eagerly for the Covid claims to start.

Good luck.

https://elisportsnetwork.com/2020/09/29/liability-is-a-big-issue-in-getting-back-to-school-and-playing-sports/

*********** Hello Coach. Great Zoom Meeting  and way to keep coaching. They replayed that Army game and I watched some, concentrating on what you were talking about with the gaps on o line. Coach should have seen that. They showed a good 3 g in slow motion. You did a great job showing wrist bands and following it in the game. Excellent job. Still learning a lot after all these years. Take care and stay vigilant out there and a big hello to your dear wife.

Armando Castro
Roanoke, Virginia

*********** Got this in a text from Greg Koenig…

“Masks to prevent the spread of Covid are about the same thing as football players wearing pink socks in October.”

Wow, I thought. And I texted Greg right back - “Did you make that up?”

He said it just came to him.

Wow again.  He was right on target. They’re both examples of virtue signaling, something that enables the doer to appear morally upright and caring without really having to do anything. And they’re both hard to challenge or ridicule without incurring the wrath of our betters - you know, the more enlightened among us,  who just KNOW that they’re right.  And we’re evil for opposing them.


*********** “Hoist by one’s own petard” is an old expression dating back to the time of Shakespeare (a dead white guy) that means, literally, being blown up (hoisted) by your own bomb (petard).  Bitten by your own dog.   Caught in a snare of your own making.

A few weeks ago, the President of Princeton published an open letter promising to take on what he  called “systemic racism” at the school.

We’ve seen plenty of these self-confessions lately, as weenies in leadership roles confess their sins, even ones that they didn’t know existed, because, well, it’s the thing to do in those circles.  So there was the president of a great American university, getting in on the act.

Problem is, in order to accept any federal grants, colleges must certify annually to the Department of Education that no one, based on his or her race, “ “be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

And Princeton, eager for the fed money, had provided that certification.

So it really shouldn’t have surprised the  president, after having publicly confessed to Princeton’s sin of “systemic racism,” to receive a letter from the Education Department, expressing its concern that  Princeton’s certification “may have been false, misleading, and actionable substantial misrepresentations in violation” of federal law.

Based on the president’s confession, how could they have done  otherwise?

The department has now asked  Princeton for a “spreadsheet identifying each person” who may have been a victim of the  systemic racism alleged by its president.

“The serious, even shocking nature of Princeton’s admissions compel the Department to move with all appropriate speed,” the letter read,  with a warning that  violations of federal civil-rights protections could result in fines and forfeiture of federal funds. 

So there’s Princeton, which assured the Federal Government that it does not discriminate, and there’s its President, Virtue Signaller to the Core, confessing to systemic racism.

Who to believe?

As I heard a guy in Baltimore say one time, after hearing two guys argue a point in a bar, “One a’ youse is a f—kin’ lahr.” (In Baltimorese, “liar” was pronounced “lahr.”)

Hoist by your own petard, Mister President.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/princetons-confession-of-bias-11600469066



*********** Jason Whitlock is rapidly becoming the man I most admire in the world of sports…

I skipped most of Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

I can’t take it anymore. The kneeling. Black Lives Matter splashed across the court. The finger-wagging, self-righteous commercials. The “Vote” T-shirts. The silly slogans on the back of the jerseys.

But more than any of that, it’s the LeBron James worship that made me check out. It started in the last five minutes of the Western Conference Finals. I turned my TV off…

LeBron James is destroying my love for the game. James, Nike and China have dragged the NBA into a racial propaganda war with the United States as the opposition.

I feel like I’m being forced to choose between love of country and love of basketball.

That’s not a hard choice for me. I choose America. I can survive without the NBA. The NBA apparently can’t survive without pleasing communist-run China.

https://www.outkick.com/whitlock-usa-or-nba-that-is-an-easy-choice-for-me/


***********  WORTH REPEATING (from September, 2017)

(FROM A COACHING FRIEND) I need to address the actions of our younger team’s coach. He is a new head coach, whose team is not particularly good. His son is the QB (pretty good athlete) and the offense has been geared around him. The coach and the son are loose cannons - swearing at other players, swearing in practice., etc. We are in our second game of the season and we already have a parental mutiny on our hands.

My question is not whether to address this, it is how to address it. We would like to keep the guy and his son. I can legitimately help him with the Xs and O’s to something that is more appropriate for 11 and 12 year olds. However, the swearing is non- negotiable. I would anticipate him becoming defensive and perhaps quitting. Obviously this is not what we want to have happen, but we are prepared for it.

Do you have any suggestions on how to address this? Again, we are prepared to lose him, but we would like to give fixing this a chance, before just cutting him off.

First of all, put the ball in his court.  And hit it so hard that he can’t hit it back the way he’d like.

Let him know in no uncertain terms that for the good of the organization, your concerns must be resolved to your satisfaction.

I once read an article in the Atlanta Braves’ magazine about their longtime manager, Bobby Cox.  He said he had a way of dealing with conduct that he wanted to stop immediately.  He’d call the offender into his office and explain what was bothering him, and end by saying, “We can’t have this.”

Simple as that.

You start out by stating the problem and then, without giving the person a chance to defend or explain, you simply say that it’s going to end. 

Period.  You’re already past the point of explanation.

A very good principal that I once worked for - and believe it or not, as anti-administration as I am, I was blessed to work for some very good ones - would explain what the problem was and say, “I can’t defend it.”

Very simple.  The behavior changes or you’re outta here.

Then you explain to the coach what changes are necessary and ask whether or not he chooses to make those changes.

What you’ve done is cut off his escape route by letting him know that “we can’t have this”  - that “I can’t defend it” - and now you’ve put the ball in his court by asking if he’s willing to make those changes in order to remain on the job.  There’s only one way he can hit the ball.

If he does agree to your terms, it’s important that he understands that the next time he offends, he’s gone.  No "second chances."  This IS the second chance that you’re giving him now, and if he hadn’t agreed to the changes you’d have had to let him go .



*********** Roger Goodell consistently shows up as the “winner” of polls asking people to name the worst commissioner in sports. Not that I don’t agree that Goodell’s terrible, but I think he’s in first place mainly because most people outside the Pacific Time Zone have never heard of Larry Scott.

There’s more not to like about Scott, including paying large bonuses to conference executives at just about the same time that member schools and the conference itself were “furloughing” employees.

Scott is high maintenance: he’s the highest-paid of all major conference commissioners, and while the SEC locates its conference offices in Birmingham and the Big Ten locates its near Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, Scott insists on locating the Pac-12 headquarters in the heart of San Francisco, the highest of high-rent cities.

He has two years left on his contract, and even though he’s got a big buyout, there is increasing pressure to send his ass packing.

So he tried a Hail Mary.  The conference finally decided to play a “fall” schedule (kicking off in November), but it’s only seven games in length.  Nevertheless, Scott had the chutzpah (Yiddish for gall - my mother used to call it "crust")  to ask the Playoff Committee to expand the field from four to eight teams.

That way, he no doubt figured, there would have to be a Pac-12 team in the field, and he’d be able to take credit for it.

The playoff committee turned him down.

Nice try, Larry.

*********** While polar opposite in HOW they move the ball I've heard Mike Leach is very similar  (to us) in his approach to offense.  Very few plays, simple concepts, easy reads for the quarterback...any idea if these things are true?  I notice his playsheet is the size of a notecard basically (drastically different from the 14x30 playcall sheets everyone else seems to be using). If I were to want to run something different I always thought maybe his way would work, simply based on what I've heard he does similar to us doublewingers...maybe I'm incorrect however in what is actually going on.

Brad Knight
Clarinda, Iowa

You are pretty close to being right on.

Despite our obvious differences, we have A LOT in common.

What Leach does is simple in concept, and you’re right - he calls plays off something about the size of a 3 x 5 card.

It does require intelligence and it’s best to have a lot of decent receivers.

It requires QB and receivers knowing how to react to the different things they can see on a particular route, which definitely means you have to limit the routes you’re going to ask them to run in order to maximize learning them.

Just as it is with us, attention to small details is crucial.  And being willing to endure a little bit of failure at the start and being able to recognize when you’re getting to where you need to get. And just as it is with us, the  secret sauce is reps. And reps.  And reps.

Because there ill always be people who don’t limit what they do, who don’t respect the small details, and don’t give what they do the reps required, there will always be lot of people who run his stuff and are getting their brains beat in, just as there will always be  double wing coaches who are getting their brains beat in.


***********  Hugh,

I've found it interesting that both Army and Navy football seem to get away from the  "basics" of what they do well on offense when facing teams in the Power 5, or highly ranked teams in the Group of 5.

UTSA has been quietly building a solid Division 1 football program since its inception in 2010.  They have done it the right way.  Slowly, and with long range goals that they have steadily accomplished over the years with just a few bumps in the road.  They currently find themselves on the precipice of establishing themselves as a legitimate contender in recruiting some of the best talent that the state of Texas has to offer.

That Texas-Texas Tech game was another in the long line of Longhorn-Red Raider classics.  Unfortunately many Longhorn fans had abandoned the broadcast thinking the Red Raiders had pulled off another miracle win.  Not so fast my friend!  The last 3 minutes of regular time was vintage Longhorns comebacks.  Which makes me wonder why the faithful tuned out because Texas comebacks have become commonplace.  I bet they'll stick around in the future!

I think the SEC should change their mindset.  Instead of "Welcome to SEC world Mike Leach", they should be saying "Welcome SEC to  Mike Leach's world!"  

BYU has a roster advantage that most other FBS schools don't have.  Many of those Utah kids are LDS, as are many others from elsewhere.  While it is NOT required they go on missions during their tenure at BYU (which does not count against their athletic eligibility), some will and when they return to BYU they are enrolled as 19-20 year old FRESHMEN.  Some of them will get a redshirt year, which means by the time they graduate a few of them could be as old as 24!

There are a couple of really good DW teams in Ohio.  Coach Caudill has one at Northwest, and Scott Spittler has another at Lucas.  Coach Spittler's Cubs made it to the Division VII state championship game in 2019.


QUIZ:  Cal Jones

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Another advantage BYU has is that the LDS church, being “old-fashioned,” goes against the grain of today’s society advocating marriage (between a man and a woman, that is) as a good thing, and many of BYU's players are married. Other schools should encourage their players to do the same.  It sure keeps them out of the “gentlemen’s clubs” (an oxymoron if ever there was one.)


       
*********** QUIZ ANSWER: He was “only” a lineman, but of all the big names who have played our sport, he was the very first college football player to make the cover of Sports Illustrated. It was September 27, 1954, and it was the new sports magazine’s first-ever college football preview edition.

At the time, he was a rising star at Iowa. He had already made some All-American teams as a sophomore the year before, and he would go on to be a consensus All-American in 1954, and in 1955 as well.

He grew up in Steubenville, Ohio,  the youngest of seven kids, raised by his mother after his father died when he was an infant.

He was a high school standout in Steubenville - the best player in the state and the standout on a state championship team - and Ohio State head coach Woody Hayes offered him a scholarship and he accepted.  But Hayes passed on two of his teammates and best buddies, Frank Gilliam and Eddie Vincent, and they wound up accepting scholarships to Iowa.

As the story goes  - and by all accounts it’s true -  Gilliam and Vincent, ready to head off to Iowa City,  decided to stop by his house on the way  and say good-bye.  When he saw them,  he said, “Wait a minute - I’m going with you.”

After dashing back inside his house and packing some belongings, he came out and got in the car with his buddies.

His mother was not happy at what she was seeing. As one of the friends said, years later, she hollered at him, “——, you can’t go to Iowa City!  Mister Hayes is counting on you to be on the team at Ohio State!”

Apparently,  disobeying his mother was a rare occurrence, but nevertheless he said, “I know I promised Coach Hayes that I would go to Ohio State, but I want to go to Iowa.”

Needless to say, there was an investigation, no doubt instigated by Hayes, but the Big Ten office could find no evidence of wrongdoing by Iowa.  When asked by Big Ten Commissioner Tug Wilson why he changed his mind and went to Iowa, he said,  "I'll tell you why I came out here. They treated me like a white man. I like it here. I'm going to stay."

Years later,  Forest Evashevski,  Iowa coach at the time, recalled, “Ohio State had (him)  sewed up and they weren’t interested in Gilliam or Vincent (his pals). It was on the recommendation of a high school coach that we took Gilliam and Vincent. When they decided to come to Iowa, (he)  was a little reluctant to go to Ohio State alone. If he came to Iowa, he’d have his two friends with him. We told him he could room with the other two players, and that did it.”

He arrived at Iowa at a time when the Hawkeye program under Evashevski was beginning its climb to national prominence. In the “Steubenville Trio’s” sophomore season - Evashevski’s second - the Hawks finished 5-3-1, with their first winning conference record in 14 years.  Our guy was named to several All-America teams.

Despite playing with a broken wrist for most of his junior season, he was a consensus All-American, as the Hawkeyes finished with a 5-4 record, their first back-to-back winning seasons since 1925!

In his senior season, he was named team captain.  He became Iowa’s first three-time All-American, again by consensus, and he became the first black player to win the Outland Trophy, given to college football’s outstanding lineman.

He finished 10th in the Heisman Trophy balloting.

Said Iowa teammate Alex Karras, "He was the greatest college football player I ever saw.”

A ninth round pick of the Detroit Lions, he chose instead to go to Canada, signing with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for more money than the Lions offered.

After an outstanding rookie season,  he flew to Vancouver to play in the CFL All-Star game

In the meantime, Iowa, which had slipped in his senior year to a disappointing 3-5-1 record, had caught fire in 1956 with its new Wing-T offense,  obtained by Evashevski from his former college teammate, Dave Nelson, then the head coach at Delaware. The Hawkeyes finished 9-1 and won the Big Ten title and the right to represent the conference in the Rose Bowl - the first bowl game in school history.

His  old Steubenville buddy, Frank Gilliam, who’d missed the entire 1955 season with a broken leg, was going to be starting.

So planning on attending the Rose Bowl, our guy made plans to fly back to Winnipeg and then head off to Pasadena.

It was December 9. He overslept and missed his morning flight, but caught an afternoon flight with a planned stop in Calgary. It never made it there.  It crashed into a mountain in the Canadian Rockies, killing all on board.

As the Iowa team learned of the tragedy, they resolved to dedicate their Rose Bowl efforts to his memory.  They won the game, 35-19, and sent the game ball to his mother, back in Steubenville.

He remains one of only two players whose jersey numbers have been retired at Iowa.  The other is the immortal Nile Kinnick.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING CALVIN JONES
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
BRAD KNIGHT, CLARINDA, IOWA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JEFF HANSEN - CASPER, WYOMING
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY

*********** Cal Jones...a Hawkeye Legend!

Brad Knight
Clarinda, Iowa

*********** Greetings Coach,

As an Iowa alum thought I should chip in with an answer to the latest quiz which of course is the legendary Calvin Jones. One statement I might take exception with is "the Hawkeye program under Evashevski was beginning its climb to a national prominence it had never known". What about Howard Jones undefeated Hawkeyes in 1921 and 1922? Or Dr. Eddie Anderson's 1939 Ironmen? Nationally prominent I might say. But that's reaching back a long way into the history books before Evy and there were a lot of not very good teams prior to his arrival.

Anyway, not a coach but I do enjoy reading your news and appreciate all you and your coaching contributors do for the sport of football.

Regards,

Jeff Hansen
Casper, Wyoming

Hi Jeff,

Yes, it is going back quite a ways and we can debate the meaning of national prominence but in deference to your loyalty to your alma mater I will delete the qualifier “it had never known!" as regards natonal prominence.

But I will argue that that one Rose Bowl victory over Oregon State brought Iowa to the nation’s attention in a way that couldn’t possibly have happened before national television.

Nice to hear from you.

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

Another interesting quiz. It's so sad when a young man's life is cut short that was so full of promise. Cal Jones certainly qualifies as a life that was destined for outstanding achievement tragically cut short.

I agree with you about the Texas receiver being on the line of scrimmage and not eligible to go out for a pass.

I see this all the time in these formations and it is not called. It drives me crazy! Enforce the rules!

David Crump
Owensboro, Kentucky


*********** QUIZ: His father, nicknamed  “Whizzer,” after the former Colorado All-American with the same name,  was Arizona State’s first All-American, and played briefly with the Chicago Bears.

He had an outstanding high school football career in Mesa, Arizona, but he was recruited by Arizona State as a baseball player.

Since football has far more scholarships to give out than baseball,  ASU football coach Frank Kush worked out a deal with the  baseball coach to give him a scholarship that allowed him to play baseball, while also punting for the football team.

He not only turned out to be a good punter, averaging 41.7 yards for his career, but by the middle of his sophomore year he had also won the starting quarterback job.

In his time as a starter, ASU won 33 games and lost only four, and won three Fiesta Bowls.

He was named to the All-America team in 1973, his senior year - as ASU finished 11-1 -  and for his career he threw for 6,717 yards and 64 touchdowns.

He was drafted in the third round by the Cowboys, the 53rd player taken - and the first quarterback taken in the draft.

But the Cowboys were set at QB with Roger Staubach, and they wanted him as a punter, while Memphis of the new World Football League offered him a chance to play QB - and more money - so he signed with the new league.

Sharing playing time with former Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte of Notre Dame, in two seasons he threw for 2,645 yards and 21 touchdowns, and in 1975 he led the WFL in punting.

In 1975, despite being bolstered by the addition of former Dolphins Larry Czonka, Jim Kiick and Paul Warfield, Memphis finished second in the WFL.

After the WFL folded, he joined Dallas, and for the next four years he backed up Staubach while doing the Cowboys’ punting. After Staubach retired, he would do most of the Cowboys’ quarterbacking until Troy Aikman took over.

He earned a Super Bowl ring in Super Bowl XII, in which the Cowboys beat the Broncos.

In his first three years as the Cowboys’ starter, he took them to three straight NFL title games. Unfortunately for him, the Cowboys lost all three - one of them the 49ers’ win made famous by “The Catch.”

IN 1982, he was named to the Pro Bowl.

As Cowboys’ quarterback, he threw for 21,969 yards and 155 touchdowns. He punted 610 times for an average 40.4 yards per punt.

From 1992 to 2004, he was head coach of the Arena Football League’s Arizona Rattlers, and as an Arena League coach he compiled a 162-95 record, including two Arena Bowl championships.

In 2000, the Arizona Republic newspaper namd him the Arizona Athlete of the Century.


Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2020  “In a land of children,  Santa always wins.” Rush Limbaugh

*********** If I weren’t an Army fan, I’d have switched to another game at some point in the second quarter.  It was that ugly. It was one of those games where you can’t tell whether you’re watching  good defense or sloppy offense.

Cincinnati did a great job stopping Army’s offense - allowing 182 yards rushing, or less than half Army’s average in its first two games - but then, so did Army.  Army had 10 penalties for 89 yards, and most of them were on offense.  They had 10 plays for loss. And they turned it over twice. 

Usually among the nation’s best in short yardage situations, they were a dud:  3 of 13 on third-down conversions, and 0 for two on fourth down.

How much of it should be credited to  Cincinnati? Listen, they’re good - definitely more talented than Army - but there was this:  Army came right out of the gate running from unusual formations, as if they had predetermined that their base stuff wasn’t good enough.  Maybe not, but the stuff they were running definitely wasn’t.

Get this: They threw the ball 21 times. I am serious.  A ‘bone team threw 21 times.  It reminded me of the days when Ken Niumatalolo was auditioning for another job. All that passing and they completed nine for 94 yards.  Whoopee-do. There was an interception included in that number.

21 pass attempts? That happens to be exactly as many times as they gave the ball to backs other than the QB: Army fullbacks  carried only 13 times for 50 yards and their slotbacks carried just 8 times for 51 yards. WTF?

As a result, against a ball control team, Cincinnati ran more plays - 69 to 64 - than Army, and held Army to a time of possession of 30:24.

Cincinnati’s Desmond Ritter didn’t exactly light things up with his passing, competing 18 of 33 for 258 yards and two TDs, and the Bearcats could manage just 74 yards rushing against a stout Army defense.

So was it great defense or inept offense?  I guess it’s all in the eye of the viewer.

For sure, though, it wasn’t a fun game for Army fans to watch, and it couldn’t have been that much for for Cincinnati fans, either.

cincinnati dj

*********** Hard to say how much this jackass in the stands, playing music at what the TV guys said were “major decibel levels,” had to do with Army’s uncharacteristically high seven procedure penalties,  but it was unsportsmanlike as hell. There had to be one or two Army Rangers among the official West Point party who could easily have dealt with the issue.

Disclaimer: Not in any way am I condoning violence. Violence, as we all know, never solved anything.  I meant that they could have gone up in the stands and complimented the young man on the nice sound system  he had there -  and casually mentioned what damn shame it would be  if something were to happen to it if he didn't turn it down.

*********** FRIDAY NIGHT - No way was I going to watch IMG Academy, the Oak Hill Academy of high school football, so I got started on Middle Tennessee vs Texas-San Antonio.

Middle Tennessee was awful against Army three weeks ago, and I have to say I saw a lot of improvement in that time.

They actually led in the third period, 23-20, after a three-play drive that covered 96 yards - one of the plays going 64 yards.  And - highly unusual for a team that runs an offense boastfully called “Air Raid” - all three plays of their drive were runs.

They fell behind, 34-23 after three periods, but they scored with 1:05 to play to pull to within two at 37-35, but they failed to make their two-point conversion.

With the win, UTSA became the first team in FBS to go 3-0.

*********** SATURDAY -

*** Pitt, which last week was one of the best-dressed teams all day, came out in the absolutely ugliest uniforms ever put on a football team.  They were in dark gray from top to bottom.  It was as if they had pissed off somebody at Nike or whoever outfits them.

*** Kentucky actually ran a jet sweep from under center.  Don’t see that much any more.

*** They keep telling us that Florida QB Kyle Trask was just a backup in high school - but he was backing up D’Eriq King.  And he - the backup -  got an offer before King did.

*** It was near the end of the half and Kentucky went straight ahead for two plays inside the one and got held, so what the hell - they threw.  And Auburn intercepted and took it to wherever the hell this “house” is.  But wait - back upfield, behind the play, there was a targeting call. Not necessarily a good call, but not a necessary block.

*** Ole Miss and Florida won this week’s Best Dressed award.

*** Best special teams play of the day: Louisville, on fourth and two at their own 34, took a delay of game penalty. Now, with fourth and seven on their own 29 and Pitt SURE that they were gone to punt, the Cardinals snapped it to one of the men in the shield - and he got the first down easily.

*** Oklahoma built a big lead and then sat on it as K-State roared back from 21 points down to tie the game at 35-35 and then kick the winning field goal to upset OU for the second straight year.

*** I’m not sure there’s been a better hire in the last couple of years than Chris Klieman at Kansas State. He was replacing a legend in Bill Snyder, and there was a bit of acrimony over the way the whole retirement business went down.  But he not only puts a good, solid team on the field, just as he did at North Dakota State, but he is a great fit culturally.  He just acts and looks like a guy from the Heartland. He is the anti-Kiffin.

*** From a distance, the Duke and UVa uniforms made it look like a rerun of Kentucky-Auburn.

*** Army had a punt blocked by a shield protector.  The rules prohibit jumping over the shield, but in this case the Cincinnati rusher just blew the Army protector back into the punt.

*** It’s a long way from Aberdeen, Washington to Cincinnati, but Cincinnati inside linebacker Joel Dublanko is an Aberdeen Bobcat. (By way of IMG Academy.)

*** Army’s splits too big? Maybe. Tune in on Tuesday night’s Zoom clinic and I’ll try to make my case.

*** Got to admire the fact that Cincinnati is doing it with Ohio talent - 45 scholarship players and 80 guys on the roster are Ohio kids.  The big joke to me is how few schools outside the SEC (and the Texas, Florida and California schools) have a majority of home-grown kids on their rosters.

*** Texas saves the Big 12 by coming back from 15 points down with 3 minutes to tie Texas Tech at the end, 56-56, then winning in OT., 63-56.
texas PAT

*** On the late Texas 2-point conversion I question whether a Texas receiver was eligible, but he went out anyway. It’s not as if his going downfield had anything to do with the pass, but the rules  are the rules, and the rulebook says that he isn’t in the backfield - which means that he’s on the line and covered by the split end.  There aren’t many coaches reading this who haven’t had touchdowns called back for something just as ticky-tack.
 
Here’s what the rulebook says:

A back is any Team A player whose head or body does not break the plane of the line drawn through the rear-most part, other than the legs or feet, of the nearest Team A player (except the snapper) on the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped.


In the case of the player circled, his head more than "breaks the plane" of any imaginary line drawn through the Right Tackle's “rear-most part” (in this case, his butt), which means he is NOT a back, and therefore, since he is (by the rule book at least) on the line, he is NOT eligible.

*** It appears as though Mike Leach’s magic WILL work in the SEC. When a good - but not great - quarterback  transfer from Stanford, KJ Costoello, can throw for 623 yards and five touchdowns against LSU - and yes, I know that this isn’t exactly the 2019 championship LSU team - it has to have something to do with the coaching.

*** Can’t accuse Leach of boastfulness. His evaluation of his Mississippi State team’s opening game: “Better than average.”

*** If you’re looking for balance, forget it - Mississippi State “ran” 16 times for NINE yards.

*** TEN different Mississippi State receivers caught at least one pass. Three of them had more than 100 yards receiving.

*** It was only the third State win in Baton Rouge since 1991.

*** Vanderbilt, a 30-point underdog,  hung tough with Texas A & M before falling, 17-12. A & M  guys have to be wondering why they spent all that money on Jimbo Fisher.

*** At the end, when Vandy still had a chance, their  coach Derek Mason tried to get a timeout called, to no avail.  When he went out on the field to complain, he got hit with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

*** BYU is good. And it says a lot about the quality of Utah high school football that a large number of the kids on their roster are from Utah.

*********** Our local newspaper, for want of anything better to write about, has been featuring reruns of great area high school games from years past.

One such game was between two coaches whom I knew pretty well, both of them good guys and good coaches.

One  of them, Gordie Elliott, was in his second year as a head coach at Camas High.  The other, Gordon Buslach, was in at least his 25th year as head coach of Prairie High.

It was October 21, 1983.

Prairie was a big favorite, but the score was 0-0 in the second half, and Camas forced Prairie to punt.

The Camas return man fielded the punt and then, for some reason, headed toward his own goal.

He crossed the line into the end zone when he was tackled for a safety.

That was crazy enough, but when 2-0 turned out to be the final score, it made the newspapers all over the country.

All the TV networks began to call, frantically trying to find game film.  (Both teams were still filming  - it was our first year using tape.) As it happened, Gordie Elliott at Camas didn’t have film of the play because his filmer just happened to be reloading his camera at the time.

Gordon Buslach at Prairie did have film of the play.  But get this - he refused to give it out to anybody.  Said he didn’t think it was fair to the kid.

***********LAST WEEKEND’S FEARLESS PICKS

MY PICKS IN CAPS - winners in bold

(W) FLORIDA over Ole Miss +14 - Lane Kiffin’s first game against the Gators, coached by Dan Mullen, formerly of Mississippi State
(W) AUBURN over Kentucky +7
(W) SYRACUSE +8 over Georgia Tech
LOUISVILLE +3 over Pitt - Pitt has one great game every year and one bad one.  This is the bad one.
IOWA STATE over TCU +3
(L) LSU over Mississippi State +16 - Mike Leach couldn’t pick a worse place to make his SEC debut than Tiger Stadium
CINCINNATI over Army +14 - I’d like to think that the way the Cadets played Oklahoma two years ago and Michigan last year they can make it three in a row, but I’m afraid the Bearcats are just too good. But my heart says “Go Army!”
(L) WEST VIRGINIA +7 over Oklahoma State - I just can’t bring myself to pick a team with a coach that wouldn’t tell Chuba Hubbard to take a hike
(W) VIRGINIA over Duke +5 - Hard to pick Duke after last week’s bomb against BC
(W) MIAMI over Florida State +11 - I’m impressed by the Hurricanes
(L) SOUTH CAROLINA + 3.5 over Tennessee
(L) NC STATE + 7 over Virginia Tech
(L) TROY +14 over BYU - You might miss this one, but it’s on the list because it comes on at 7:15 Pacific.

Games I didn’t touch because I don’t care for what appear to be mismatches. In seven  of the ten games  the favorites failed to cover.

SMU over Stephen F. Austin +34
Texas A & M over Vanderbilt +30
Georgia over Arkansas +28
Oklahoma over Kansas State +28 (I’ll probably start out watching because I like the Cats.)
Alabama over Missouri +27
UCF over East Carolina +27
Louisiana Tech over Houston Baptist +23
Houston over North Texas +22 (Game postponed)
Texas over Texas Tech +18
BC over Texas State +17
Baylor over Kansas +17

Postponed:
Tulsa at Arkansas State
Notre Dame at Wake Forest
South Florida at Florida Atlantic
Georgia State at Charlotte
North Texas at Houston

*********** I’ve been following a small  Ohio high school team since I’ve gotten to know their offensive coordinator.

Coach Thomas Caudill is in his second year as OC at Northwest High in McDermott, Ohio. I guess the “northwest” must be  a county thing, because McDermott is about as far south in Ohio as you can get without being in the Ohio River.

After a disappointing  opening game loss, the Northwest Mohawks are now 4-1, coming off a 42-20 win over an opponent that was 4-0 coming into the game.

Coach Caudill was good enough to send me an update - you couldn’t possibly be a Double Winger and not get excited reading it - as well as  a link to the local newspaper story:

Coach we just had a huge win against an undefeated team that no one thought we could compete with. The score ended up being 42-20 but the game was never really close. The past two weeks we tried to run double wing out of spread formations, and luckily we played two bad teams or we may have been in trouble. This week we went full double wing. We would not have been able to beat this week's opponent in any other set. We ran 75% of the time out of stack formation and used Toronto and Tulsa with stack. everything is working out of Tight but our backs run super power better from stack. In this week's game we ran 59 plays for 22 first downs. We rushed 57 times for 370 yards and threw 2 times (completed both passes) for 35 yards. Our A back #11 had 26 carries for 254 yards and 4 tds. Our B Back carried 13 times for 84 yards. We had 3 other players rotate at C back. We only ran 66&77 Super power, 88&99 Reach, 2 Wedge and 6 G-O. Thanks again for all your help.

https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/sports/53273/northwest-territory


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

First, thank you for the article about Gale Sayers. I'm not too proud to say that I remember crying when I first saw Brian's Song. As great as he was as a football player, he was clearly an even better human being.

As I see several Kansas high schools losing games because of Covid and at least one Colorado high school in danger of being without 4 starters for their first game because of a quarantine, I can't help thinking that we made the right choice in opting for the spring season.

The answer to today's quiz is Del Shofner. I don't think I was previously aware of him. Thank you for your quizzes. They force me to learn and value so many great men who contributed to the rich legacy of football in our country.

https://www.si.com/nfl/talkoffame/nfl/remembering-the-late-great-del-shofner-and-why-he-deserved-more-from-the-hall

My best to you and Connie.

Greg Koenig
Colorado Springs, Colorado

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

The Army-Cincinnati game should be a good one, and like you I'll be watching with the TV sound off since I have never liked ANY Marc Jones broadcast, and since it will be an ESPN broadcast I'll do what I can to find the radio play-by-play since the game won't be simulcast.  

The story of Gale Sayers is amazing, sad, and inspirational.  His feats on the football field were legendary.  Many of us were privileged to see him play the game.  It's unfortunate our current youngsters only have grainy highlight films of how truly spectacular he was.  Sad because of the way this strong, vibrant man's physical and mental abilities deteriorated in the way they did, and inspirational because of the incredible love and care he received from his wonderful wife.  That woman is a saint.

Our JV boys played their first game on Thursday night.  They don't get much practice time as a team so I was pleasantly surprised at how well we played on offense, defense, and special teams.  With 1:47 left we held a 6-0 lead (scoring on a POWER) until the opposing QB did some fancy footwork, slipped a few tackles, and scored.  Tied at 6 they went for 2, and tried a QB draw which I thought we stopped, but he landed on two of our D linemen and reached the ball over the goal line to score.  We put together a nice drive at the end of the game reaching their 35, but they intercepted to seal it.  Going in I told the linemen their goal was to give great effort, be fundamentally sound, and not worry about making mistakes.  They did that, and more.  Despite the outcome I told them I was very proud of them, and that we'll continue to work hard at practice and get better at the "little things".

Tonight we travel to San Antonio for our first varsity game.  Back in March most of us weren't very confident we would be playing tonight, but our team has done a fantastic job of reaching this goal.  We're also grateful to the state high school association, and to the governor, to encourage their efforts.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

COACH GUTILLA’S REPORT ON FRIDAY’S GAME:

Played our first game on Friday.  Played a very good team out of San Antonio.  They were big and physical up front, and they have one of the top rated QB's in the state of Texas, and he IS what they say he is.  Dual threat guy, 6'1-205, outstanding athlete, a much better runner than a thrower.

Started out well.  We went toe-to-toe with them in the first half going in down 21-14.  However, we only have 8 linemen TOTAL with only two tipping the scales above 200 pounds, ALL 8 play both ways, and I rotate them in and out as much as possible, but the opponent threw 14 different big guys at us (all weighing well over 230) on offense and defense which started wearing my guys down by the middle of the third quarter.  We played with a lot of heart, and great effort, but with their size and numbers up front, and a run game we couldn't stop, they ended up being too much for us.  We lost 49-26.  Though we got beat up pretty good I'm grateful we didn't have any injuries.



*********** QUIZ: Coming out of little Center, Texas, near the Louisiana line, he went to Baylor.  Tall (6-3), lean (185) and very fast, he starred in football, basketball and track.   In football, he played running back and defensive back, and punted and returned kicks and punts. On the track, he excelled as a sprinter. He is a member of the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame.

He was the MVP of the 1957 Sugar Bowl, when Baylor upset Number 2-ranked Tennessee, and he is in the Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame.

He was drafted Number 1 by the Rams - the 11th pick overall - and played defensive back his rookie year.

In his second year he was switched to split end, and wound up leading the NFL in receiving  - 1,097 yards, and 91.4 yards per game - and earning first team All-Pro honors.

He made All-Pro the following season as well, but  after a change in coaches his production fell off in 1960.

Following that season, the Giants obtained Y.A. Tittle from the 49ers, and legend has it that Tittle, knowing that the Giants could use a split end, told them that our guy, who twice had led the NFL in receiving with the Rams,  might be available.  Sure enough, he was, and the Giants got him.

Coincidentally, they were both from East Texas -  Tittle was from Marshall - and together they became one the the great passing combinations in NFL history.

In 1961, his first season with the Giants, he set a franchise record with 68 receptions, and became the first Giants’ player to surpass 1,000 yards in receiving in a season, with 1,125. Having put up 1,097 yards receiving with the Rams in 1958, that made him the first player in NFL history to go over 1,000 more than once. And then he became the first to do it three times. And then  the first to do it four times.

He would remain the only NFL receiver to have four 1,000-yard seasons until 1981, when both Steve Largent and Charley Joiner accomplished the feat.

He followed up his 1961 season with 1,133 yards in 1962 and 1,181 in 1963 to become the first player in NFL history to have more than 1,000 yards receiving for three straight seasons.

In those three seasons, he caught 185 passes for 3,439 yards and 32 touchdowns - and the Giants made it to three straight NFL championship games.

In 1962, on a day when Tittle threw for seven TDs against the Redskins, he caught 11 of Tittle’s passes for 269 yards - still, almost 60 years later,  a franchise record.

For much of his career he suffered from ulcers, and finally, slowed down by injuries, he retired following the 1967 season.

For his career, he had 349 receptions for 6,470 yards - 18.3 yards per catch -  and 51 touchdowns.

On occasion, in special situations, he would play in the secondary, and he had three career interceptions.

For three seasons - 1958-1960 - he did the Rams’ punting, and he punted 153 times for an average of 42.0 yards per punt.

He was five times a first team All-Pro, and played in five Pro Bowls.

He was named to the NFL All-Decade team for the 1960s.

Del Shofner is not in the Hall of Fame. I’ll bet you could easily find a dozen  in there who don’t have credentials that measure up to his.       

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DEL SHOFNER
       
       
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
JOHN VERMILLION - ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
       


*********** QUIZ:  He was “only” a lineman, but of all the big names who have played our sport, he was the very first college football player to make the cover of Sports Illustrated. It was September 27, 1954, and it was the new sports magazine’s first-ever college football preview edition.

At the time, he was a rising star at Iowa. He had already made some All-American teams as a sophomore the year before, and he would go on to be a consensus All-American in 1954, and in 1955 as well.

He grew up in Steubenville, Ohio,  the youngest of seven kids, raised by his mother after his father died when he was an infant.

He was a high school standout in Steubenville - the best player in the state and the standout on a state championship team - and Ohio State head coach Woody Hayes offered him a scholarship and he accepted.  But Hayes passed on two of his teammates and best buddies, Frank Gilliam and Eddie Vincent, and they wound up accepting scholarships to Iowa.

As the story goes  - and by all accounts it’s true -  Gilliam and Vincent, ready to head off to Iowa City,  decided to stop by his house on the way  and say good-bye.  When he saw them,  he said, “Wait a minute - I’m going with you.”

After dashing back inside his house and packing some belongings, he came out and got in the car with his buddies.

His mother was not happy at what she was seeing. As one of the friends said, years later, she hollered at him, “——, you can’t go to Iowa City!  Mister Hayes is counting on you to be on the team at Ohio State!”

Apparently,  disobeying his mother was a rare occurrence, but nevertheless he said, “I know I promised Coach Hayes that I would go to Ohio State, but I want to go to Iowa.”

Needless to say, there was an investigation, no doubt instigated by Hayes, but the Big Ten office could find no evidence of wrongdoing by Iowa.  When asked by Big Ten Commissioner Tug Wilson why he changed his mind and went to Iowa, he said,  "I'll tell you why I came out here. They treated me like a white man. I like it here. I'm going to stay."

Years later,  Forest Evashevski,  Iowa coach at the time, recalled, “Ohio State had (him)  sewed up and they weren’t interested in Gilliam or Vincent (his pals). It was on the recommendation of a high school coach that we took Gilliam and Vincent. When they decided to come to Iowa, (he)  was a little reluctant to go to Ohio State alone. If he came to Iowa, he’d have his two friends with him. We told him he could room with the other two players, and that did it.”

He arrived at Iowa at a time when the Hawkeye program under Evashevski was beginning its climb to a national prominence it had never known. In the “Steubenville Trio’s” sophomore season - Evashevski’s second - the Hawks finished 5-3-1, with their first winning conference record in 14 years.  Our guy was named to several All-America teams.

Despite playing with a broken wrist for most of his junior season, he was a consensus All-American, as the Hawkeyes finished with a 5-4 record, their first back-to-back winning seasons since 1925!

In his senior season, he was named team captain.  He became Iowa’s first three-time All-American, again by consensus, and he became the first black player to win the Outland Trophy, given to college football’s outstanding lineman.

He finished 10th in the Heisman Trophy balloting.

Said Iowa teammate Alex Karras, "He was the greatest college football player I ever saw.”

A ninth round pick of the Detroit Lions, he chose instead to go to Canada, signing with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for more money than the Lions offered.

After an outstanding rookie season,  he flew to Vancouver to play in the CFL All-Star game

In the meantime, Iowa, which had slipped in his senior year to a disappointing 3-5-1 record, had caught fire in 1956 with its new Wing-T offense,  obtained by Evashevski from his former college teammate, Dave Nelson, then the head coach at Delaware. The Hawkeyes finished 9-1 and won the Big Ten title and the right to represent the conference in the Rose Bowl - the first bowl game in school history.

His  old Steubenville buddy, Frank Gilliam, who’d missed the entire 1955 season with a broken leg, was going to be starting.

So planning on attending the Rose Bowl, our guy made plans to fly back to Winnipeg and then head off to Pasadena.

It was December 9. He overslept and missed his morning flight, but caught an afternoon flight with a planned stop in Calgary. It never made it there.  It crashed into a mountain in the Canadian Rockies, killing all on board.

As the Iowa team learned of the tragedy, they resolved to dedicate their Rose Bowl efforts to his memory.  They won the game, 35-19, and sent the game ball to his mother, back in Steubenville.

He remains one of only two players whose jersey numbers have been retired at Iowa.  The other is the immortal Nile Kinnick.



Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2020   “Criticism is the background music of success.”  Jason Whitlock

*********** THIS WEEKEND’S BEST MATCHUPS

We’re getting closer to a real college football weekend - which means, simply, that there are just too many games to watch.  It also means that there are a lot of games that, for someone like me who’s not emotionally involved and is just looking for a contest, simply aren’t worth watching. 

They’re games in which the point spread going in is more than two scores. Let’s get them out of the way first:

SMU over Stephen F. Austin +34
Texas A & M over Vanderbilt +30
Georgia over Arkansas +28
Oklahoma over Kansas State +28 (I’ll probably start out watching because I like the Cats.)
Alabama over Missouri +27
UCF over East Carolina +27
Louisiana Tech over Houston Baptist +23
Houston over North Texas +22
Texas over Texas Tech +18
BC over Texas State +17
Baylor over Kansas +17

(Pretty bad when six of those are Power Five conference games.)

And some of them are games between teams that for one reason or another don’t excite me:

Louisiana over Georgia Southern*** +11
Georgia State*** over Charlotte +3
Louisiana Monroe over UTEP +10
Florida Atlantic over South Florida +6
Tulane over Southern Miss +3

 (***I might watch a little because they’re on Army’s schedule)

But that still leaves a lot of games on the tube that show some promise (Listed, from early to late). MY PICKS ARE IN CAPS

FLORIDA over Ole Miss +14 - Lane Kiffin’s first game against the Gators, coached by Dan Mullen, formerly of Mississippi State
AUBURN over Kentucky +7
SYRACUSE +8 over Georgia Tech
LOUISVILLE +3 over Pitt - Pitt has one great game every year and one bad one.  This is the bad one.
IOWA STATE over TCU +3
LSU over Mississippi State +16 - Mike Leach couldn’t pick a worse place to make his SEC debut than Tiger Stadium
CINCINNATI over Army +14 - I’d like to think that the way the Cadets played Oklahoma two years ago and Michigan last year they can make it three in a row, but I’m afraid the Bearcats are just too good. But my heart says “Go Army!” I'll watch but I probably won't listen (see below).
WEST VIRGINIA +7 over Oklahoma State - I just can’t bring myself to pick a team with a coach that wouldn’t tell Chuba Hubbard to take a hike
VIRGINIA over Duke +5 - Hard to pick Duke after last week’s bomb against BC
MIAMI over Florida State +11 - I’m impressed by the Hurricanes
SOUTH CAROLINA + 3.5 over Tennessee
NC STATE + 7 over Virginia Tech
TROY +14 over BYU - You might miss this one, but it’s on the list because it comes on at 7:15 Pacific.

Postponed:
Tulsa at Arkansas State
Notre Dame at Wake Forest

*********** A coach wrote and asked,

"Do you plan to keep the Tuesday night clinics going for a while yet?
 
"The reason that I ask is that I am going to try and use the clinics for professional development hours on my teaching certificate.  We have been able to use coaching clinics in the past so I am going to try that again.
 
"Thanks for doing them."

The coach poses a great question.  The quick answer is that if it can benefit even one coach/teacher in that way, I’m in for the duration. (I don’t know what that means now, but as a little kid during World War II, I used to hear my parents say that somebody they knew was in the service  “for the duration,” meaning that he was in until the War was over.)

Anyhow, as long as people are tuning in, I’ll continue with the Zooms.

I certainly suspect that unless there are some drastic changes (such as an election - hmmm) between now and the first of the year, there aren’t going to be any large in-person clinics, and even the big clinic guys are going to be going the Zoom route.

For me to do it the way the coach suggests - to enable guys to get some sort of credit for “attending” my clinics - I imagine that I would have to have some sort of accreditation, which means I would probably have to do it in conjunction with some institution of higher education - which means they’d expect a cut.

And since I’m not charging anything, I doubt that they’d be content with even a 75% cut of nothing.  

It also would mean that I’d have to have some way of proving that a “student” actually learned something.  Maybe have them draw up a couple of plays.

But it’s a great idea, and if anyone out there has any suggestions on how/where to start, I’m open.

*********** You probably don’t subscribe to The Athletic.  That’s a shame, because it has some really good, in-depth  writing that you can’t get anywhere else.

I recommend it to you, and in this rare case, I’m going to reprint an article because it’s really good, and you really ought to read it.

As you know, Gale Sayers just died. He was an exceptional football player and an exceptional person, and I saved this article, written by Dan Pompei a little over a year ago, for just this moment.  It may bring you to tears…

 
‘Keep praying for Gale’: Bears legend Sayers is coming back for the team’s celebration, but he needs help


Dan Pompei Jun 5, 2019 

When Gale Sayers is introduced along with 200 other former players at the Bears100 Celebration on Friday in Rosemont, his ovation is likely to be the loudest and longest.

In fact, it might the loudest and longest he has heard in his 76 years. It would be fitting.

Sayers was a once-in-a-century football player. As George Halas once said, “His like will never be seen again.”

But this world has a way of humbling the most special among us.

Sayers has severe dementia. He doesn’t talk much anymore. He is often without expression.

The 130-plus mile trip from his home in Wakarusa, Ind., to Rosemont will be laborious. His wife Ardie and a caregiver will try to keep Gale relaxed and comfortable through the day so he can be alert and engaged for the evening event.

Ardie will dress him in the gold jacket that shows he is a Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee. He won’t wear his Hall of Fame ring, however, because Ardie is afraid it will slip off and be lost. Gale has lost about 40 pounds. At 6-foot, he only weighs 130 pounds.
There will be more than two hours in the car, depending on traffic.

When they arrive, they will use an ambulance chair with wheels to get him around. He could walk, but that might tire him out.

 Besides, his balance is not right.

Sayers recently fell and hit his head on the stairs in his home. There was some blood, but X-rays showed no damage.

The former running back won’t be signing any autographs because he can’t write anymore.

“It’s kind of sad because he used to love to write his name,” Ardie said.

Gale will need a hand getting up the steps to the stage. And he might need help standing to take a group photo. Dick Butkus and Richard Dent have called Ardie to offer assistance.

Not everyone thinks it’s a good idea for the world to see Gale like this. Some say he should be remembered as he was.

Initially, Ardie thought the Bears100 Celebration would be too much, and they weren’t going to come. But she contemplated. She prayed. And she changed her mind.

Why are they coming? Why should Gale Sayers go through this? What could make it worthwhile?


The 40th anniversary of Gale Sayers going into the Pro Football Hall of Fame was two years ago. He was inducted at the age of 34, and still is the youngest inductee ever. He was enshrined even though he played in only 68 games.

Halas presented him on July 30, 1977, describing him as a man who “not only helped make our dreams come true, but who also captured my heart.”

To commemorate the 40th anniversary, Ardie planned on donating the shoes Gale wore and the football that was used in the 1965 game against the 49ers at Wrigley Field in which he scored six touchdowns. She wanted to make the presentation in person during the induction weekend in 2017.

Gale wasn’t in very good shape at the time. He wasn’t recognizing faces that should have been familiar, and he wasn’t saying much.

But when Ardie took Gale to Canton that summer, something sparked in her husband.

Clarity. Focus. Connectedness. Warmth.

“It was almost like he knew where he was,” Ardie said. “He was back in his element. He recognized Earl Campbell and Paul Hornung. He enjoyed being there. We were quite surprised at how he seemed to fit in.”

The trip to Canton was a break from their regular routine.

Ardie likes to keep him busy. Gale and Ardie watch sports on TV and listen to music. Gale used to do puzzles, but now all he does is move around the pieces. He seems to enjoy car rides. Now that the weather is milder, they go for walks. Sometimes he will take a golf club and knock a ball a few inches.

Gale sees a physical therapist three times a week to improve strength and balance. He also sees a speech therapist regularly.

He had been in an assisted living facility for a while, but that didn’t work out very well, and now he’s back home. He needs to be watched. At one point, he wandered off into town.

Ardie has help, thankfully, from caregivers. At 83, she can’t do it all herself. She had a knee replacement in December and still is recovering.

Mostly, Gale’s illness is a burden shared between husband and wife.

“The hardest part is seeing how he has changed, and how he can’t do the things that he used to,” Ardie said. “It’s sad, but it’s a part of life. I just ask God to keep me healthy mentally and physically, so I can help him through it and take care of him. That’s what you do when you are married. If someone gets sick, you don’t just leave. I’m not going to give up. I just try to make him as happy as I can. We’re going to go through this together.

“You have to be strong and have faith. Every morning we wake up and I say this is the day the Lord has made, so we have to rejoice and be glad in it. And I hope God blesses him so that he stays where he is with this disease, and that they come up with something to help all the guys who are suffering with this.”

She takes it one day at a time, as she always has, and so far their love story is 44 years strong.

“She,” Butkus said, “is the unsung hero in this thing.”

Memorabilia is everywhere in the Sayers’ basement. Footballs, plaques, trophies, jerseys, photos. From time to time, Gale picks up something and looks at it, then puts it back down.

Of more interest to him are four DVDs that highlight his career. Sometimes, he’ll point to one of them sitting on a table.
Ardie plays it, and his life rewinds.

He sees a young man gliding, almost as if he’s not bound by physics’ laws. He’s changing directions while taking giant steps, changing directions without breaking stride, changing directions in mid-air.

One day, one of his caregivers was watching with him.

“You were fast, weren’t you?” she asked, expecting no answer.

“Yes,” he said. “Yes, I was.”

Whoa. The caregiver and Ardie clapped. That was a good day. For a second, the old Gale was back.

When Gale had his yearly physical exam about five years ago, doctors at Mayo Clinic diagnosed him with dementia. They said he probably had it for a while.

Ardie had noticed changes in her husband, but she didn’t know what to think. He was confused by his condition, too.

“Early on, when he couldn’t remember something, he would say, ‘I don’t understand why I can’t remember the things I used to remember,’” she said.

At one time, he had so many memories. He has been so many things.

Son of Roger and Bernice.

Brother of Roger Jr. and Ron.

Husband of Linda, then Ardie.

Father of Gale Lynn, Scott and Timothy.
 
Stepfather of Gary, Guy, Gaylon and the late Gregory.

Grandfather of 12, great-grandfather of eight.

All-American at Kansas twice.

Pro Bowler four times.

Teammate, friend, legend.

Neighbor in Wichita, Kan., Speed, Kan., Omaha, Neb., Lawrence, Kan., Chicago, Northbrook, Ill., and Wakarusa.

Believer who wrote the book “I Am Third” because, “The Lord is first, my friends are second and I am third.”

Graduate with a master’s degree in educational administration.

Athletic director at Southern Illinois.

Businessman who grew a startup to a powerhouse that did $360 million in sales one year.

Giver who impacted many young lives through Boys and Girls Club, Cradle Adoption Agency and the Sayers Foundation.

Around the time of his dementia diagnosis, Gale retired and sold his shares in Sayers Technology, a company that specializes in IT infrastructure, cybersecurity and cloud services. Two years ago, he and Ardie became full-time residents of Wakarusa, where they had kept a summer home for 27 years.

Ardie and Gayle are ingrained in the community there, where the biggest event every year is the Maple Syrup Festival. They still see many friends at their favorite restaurants.

“Sometimes in a small community, you get a lot of caring and loving people who want to help and support,” Ardie said. “The people here are wonderful. So many of them remember Gale. That’s really nice. It really makes me feel good when some of the people ask if they can shake his hand.”

When he shakes hands, Gale doesn’t let go after a pump or two the way protocol would have it. And he still has the startling grip strength of a former football player. Before Sayers ever was called “The Kansas Comet,” “Galloping Gale,” or “Magic,” high school teammates called him “Horse.”

In Wakarusa, Gale and Ardie can get to doctors easily. They still are within driving distance of Bears games, as well as Chicago friends and family.

When Gale retired, Halas picked out Gale’s seats for season tickets. Gale has had them ever since, and has been a regular presence at Soldier Field through the years. The McCaskey family also has offered seats in their suite anytime Gale and Ardie want to attend a game. They went to one game last year.

“He loved the Bears,” Ardie said. “He loved playing for the Bears. He’s so proud of being a Chicago Bear and being inducted to the Hall of Fame.”

Some of Gale’s grandsons play football. Ardie doesn’t say much about it, because she believes that choice is up to their parents.

“But it really makes you think now,” she said.

Many times, Gale has said he would do it all over again if he could, despite the injuries.

But that was when he still could express himself.

Last year Butkus and his wife Helen traveled to Wakarusa to spend a day with Gale and Ardie.

Butkus greeted Gale.

Nothing.

But Gale kept looking.

“Dick held his arms out to him,” Ardie said. “You could tell he recognized him at that point. They gave each other a hug. Then Dick talked to him. Even though Gale couldn’t hold a conversation with him, you could tell he enjoyed himself. He would shake his hand sometimes when they were talking. It was a wonderful day.”

At its conclusion, as the two couples were leaving Luigi’s Pizza in Elkhart, Butkus asked for one more picture together before he went home. He said his old friend had not smiled all day. But for reasons no one will ever know, Gale smiled for that last picture.

“I had my arm around him,” Butkus said, pausing. “It was sad. I could feel how thin he was.”

These days, there is a tenderness to the sight of Gale.

Butkus still can picture Gale as he was back when he was the fourth overall pick in the 1965 draft. Butkus was the third. That season, Sayers scored 22 touchdowns — still an NFL record for a rookie — and was voted rookie of the year.

“He was a hell of a player,” Butkus said. “I was lucky to have him on the same team. Back then we scrimmaged and it was good practice for me to try to tackle him. I think that helped me in the long run. He was a good teammate. Very quiet. All around good guy. We always seemed to hit it off. We didn’t spend all that much time in the offseason. But later in life, we’d see each other a lot.”

In a tempestuous storm during a Monday night game in 1994, Sayers and Butkus saw their jerseys retired together by the Bears.

Twenty years later, Butkus and Sayers were interviewed together for the NFL Network show “A Football Life,” which profiled them together. It was during that 2014 interview when Butkus first thought something might be wrong with his old friend.

“We were sitting there on stools,” Butkus said. “The director was asking a lot of questions to Gale. Gale’s answers weren’t to the questions that were being asked. I didn’t think I was supposed to be interviewed yet. Finally I just broke in because I felt bad for him. It was like he was on the hot spot. I thought he was getting confused because of all the damn questions the guy was asking him. But it was deeper than that.”

Butkus checks in on Gale about once a month. He called him on his birthday last week. Gale received birthday calls from many old friends, including fellow Hall of Famer Paul Warfield and former Chicago Park District superintendent Ed Kelly. Others call regularly too, like Dent and Mike Singletary.

Earl Campbell came to visit not long ago. Other friends have come by, including sportswriting legend Fred Mitchell, who co-wrote Sayers’ autobiography “My Life and Times,” and Tommy Dare, who owned a Chinese restaurant the Sayers used to frequent.

When friends call, Ardie puts them on speaker so she and Gale both can hear. She hopes he finds comfort in their voices.

Gale Sayers has shared some intimate moments with the world.

We saw him semi-conscious and limp, being carried off the field by teammates Ralph Kurek, Rudy Kuechenberg and Mike Reilly after the knee injury that changed his life in 1968.

We watched a portrayal of him holding the hand of his dying friend Brian Piccolo in the made-for-TV movie “Brian’s Song.” Many of us shed a tear with him.

We felt his humility and gratitude and joy as he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He’s about to share another intimate moment.

The most famous words Sayers ever spoke were immortalized in “Brian’s Song.” At a banquet to accept the Halas Award for courage in 1970, Sayers told the audience he would give the award to Piccolo, who was in the hospital dying of cancer.

“I love Brian Piccolo and I’d like all of you to love him, too,” he said. “Tonight, when you hit your knees, please ask God to love him.”

Now, Ardie, the guardian of Gale’s legacy, makes a similar request.

“Keep praying for Gale that he’ll get better with his recovery and walking,” she asks. “And when we come to Chicago for the 100-year celebration, that he’ll be able to do everything. Pray that this will jog his memory and he can enjoy it as much as he possibly can.”

“Magic” is still inside the man with the vacant stare.

Something special happened when Gale went to Canton for his 40th anniversary. Something special happens every now and then when he watches himself run. And something special happened when he was with Butkus that day.

Something special can happen again in Rosemont.

His team and his fans can help bring back “Magic” — if only for a moment.

https://theathletic.com/1009883/2019/06/05/keep-praying-for-gale-bears-legend-sayers-is-coming-back-for-the-teams-celebration-but-he-needs-help/
 

*********** Oops. Sorry about that.  

All the Chargers’ team doctor was doing was giving Tyrod Taylor a shot to ease the pain from a cracked rib. How was he to know that he could wind up puncturing the guy’s lung?

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/29952469/chargers-qb-tyrod-taylor-lung-punctured-team-doc-sources-say

*********** Coach Wyatt,

I hate to admit that I changed the channel away from the Navy-Tulane game at halftime.  Five consecutive quarters of offensive ineptitude left me searching for something less painful.  Only to find out that I should have stuck around.  Grrrr....

"Among them, there is no star, and there is no frat-boy yuk-yuking. They’re serious, they’re well-informed, they’re respectful of each others’ opinions, and they’re well-spoken."

Well-stated.  I can't even watch the talking heads of most pre and post-games, anymore.  They are the antithesis of the professionals on "The Huddle."

"Then, in what threatens to be a game fixture this year, we had our Mandadory Social Justice Training Session, with the announcers, Mark Jones and Dusty Dvoracek, delivering a lecture on players being “The Voice of Change,” and “Using the platform they have” to make sure “their voices are being heard.”  No doubt those guys had their orders from headquarters. Please, ABC - Stop already."

Agree.  I've grown weary of such "innovations" within the college programs that have become advertisements for the networks saying, "Look at us!  Aren't we progressive?" as the networks pat themselves on the back, like this was all their idea and they've finally convinced the universities to come on board.  It's like Daniel Snyder hiring Julie Donaldson as Sr. VP of Media.  "Isn't it great how Danny-boy is so progressive?"

On the Wake-NC State game: NC State RB Ricky Person scores a TD, does a celebration dance and gets flagged for an Unsportsmanlike.  Wake RB scores a TD, does a riding a bicycle/leap of celebration as he goes into the end zone and there's no flag.  Maybe the NCAA or the ACC can define a legal end zone celebration from an illegal one, because I sure can't. 

I am still loving (and learning in) the Tuesday night clinics.  Best night of the week.  Thank you for that.  I do wish you'd take us on a tour of your library after a clinic is over.  As a reader and collector of great books on football, I'd love to know what's on your shelves.

BTW--I wanted you to know that Coach Williams has been hired as the Offensive Coordinator at our high school.  Our header said that since we were planning to get started in November and playing in January/February that our ground game was going to become more important than ever.  As the RB Coach, I suggested that we go out and get Coach Williams and do whatever it takes for Olu to say "yes."  He did.

My best to you and Connie.

Sincerely,
Dave Potter
Cary, North Carolina

Coach Potter saved the best for last!  The band is back!   He and Coach Williams - Olu Williams - have been a great combo in the Raleigh-Durham area, and they have hosted several of my North Carolina clinics.


*********** The Pac 12 is going to play football. Whoopie do.  In hopes that someone still gives a sh—, they’ll start sometime in November and play a seven-game schedule ending in a conference title game in Las Vegas on December 19.

Meanwhile, as member schools have been shedding sports and laying off people, and as the Conference itself was laying off employees, the high muckety-mucks got bonuses amounting to millions.  And rather than have to wait until they were due, they got them early.

Dumb me.  I always thought bonuses were extras you got when the company had a good year.

I can’t help thinking that one of the reasons why the Pac-12 decided to get off its ass was the knowledge that the Mountain West was getting ready to restart. Wouldn’t it have been hilarious if the Mountain West had beaten beat the high and mighty  Pac-12 to the punch?


*********** Perhaps you’ll remember my writing this after the Navy-Tulane game:

"Then, in what threatens to be a game fixture this year, we had our Mandadory Social Justice Training Session, with the announcers, Mark Jones and Dusty Dvoracek, delivering a lecture on players being “The Voice of Change,” and “Using the platform they have” to make sure “their voices are being heard.”  No doubt those guys had their orders from headquarters. Please, ABC - Stop already."


I’d been looking forward to watching he Army-Cincinnati game on ESPN Saturday.  Until today, when I learned that the bozos in the booth will be the same two that did Navy-Tulane last week. I already got more than my fill of  their social justice message. Once is enough.

But, not content with force-feeding us with last week’s sermon, announcer Jones had to go and let the world know that he (1) still doesn’t know the facts of the Breonna Taylor case and (2) hates cops.

He did it in as repugnant and anti-American a tweet as anything I’ve ever heard from someone who should know better.

“Police never saved me. Never helped me,” he tweeted. “Never protected me. Never taken a bullet for me. (They’ve pulled guns on me) Never kept me safe in a protest. Never stopped the racist from taking my Black Lives Matter flag off my house. I could do without em. fr.

WTF?  Taken a bullet for me?  Gimme a break.  Kept me safe in a protest?  Ha. What have YOU done to keep THEM safe in a protest riot?

And to show that he can do without em, he tweeted this…

“Saturday at my football game I’ll tell the police officer on duty to “protect” me he can just take the day off,” Jones tweeted. [For real] I’d rather not have the officer shoot me because he feared for his life because of my black skin or other dumb ish. I’m not signing my own death certificate.”

What a turd.

Note that he says “Saturday at MY football game,” as if he owns the damn thing. Actually, he might as well, because there’s zero chance that ESPN, which is going full anti-American on us, will pull the plug on him.  

Anti-American did I say?  It’s bad enough when an American says sh—like that.  But this guy’s a native Canadian who came here for better job opportunities.  Nothing wrong with that - Canada’s a good country full of good people. My father’s mother came from New Brunswick and my mother’s father came from Ontario.  Mark Jones is now an American citizen, so at least he was willing to put his scorn aside long enough to take the oath of citizenship.  You’d think someone who owes so much of what he is today to the blessings of living here would have a little more respect for our country and for the people who keep us safe. All of us.  Even ungrateful pricks like him.

What a shame it's too late to just pull his green card and send his sorry ass packing.

But short of that, I can at least mute the audio Saturday.

*********** These SJW messages are nettlesome. The networks are trying to turn CFB into the NFL. I tell myself before I flip on a game that I'll root for the team not carrying messages on its jerseys, and I hate thinking that way. I don't need to be told by a 20-year-old with close to zero life experience the manifold ways in which I must enlighten myself. That said, the players are no worse than most of their coaches. Because I see Gundy as a sellout, a man without the courage of his convictions, I wanted Tulsa to win.

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida

***********  There is no better evidence of the low educational level of the American public than the riots that have begun to arise whenever people feel that they have not “received justice.” Or that “justice has not been served.”

Ignorant of the meaning of the word justice, they have been deluded into thinking that “justice” entails getting what they feel they deserve, when in fact, justice is not the outcome of a process.

Justice IS the process - a process of seeing to it that laws are properly observed, applied and enforced.  The fact that the outcome of the process may not be what we wanted does not mean that justice has not been served.

Nothing in this world is promised to us, and anyone who tells people that that doesn’t apply as well to the  justice system is doing them, and our society, a gross disservice.


***********  Been showing my junior kindergarten kids your pictures from the smoke of the wildfires...they found them to be interesting...and yes, last week we could smell just a hint of smoke in the air...possibly due to wildfires out west...maybe because someone was burning leaves in a nearby town...but still interesting.

Hope you and Connie are well and the air is now healthier for you. And that the "peaceful protestors" are not invading you (has been a worry of mine due to your vicinity in regards to PortaPottyland)
Big 10 caved as I knew they would...should have been playing all along
Masks suck...Covid 19 Corona China Virus can go away....

Go HAWKS!

Brad Knight
Clarinda, Iowa

********** Many years ago, Wendy’s had a highly successful campaign in which an older lady opens up the burger she just bought and angrily asks the manager of the place (not a Wendy’s), “Where’s the beef?”

I thought of that when I read this, written by Cynthia Allen of thenFort Worth Star-Telegram.

“Viral clusters have emerged on college campuses (as expected), but as of September 8, a tally kept by Brown University epidemiologist Andrew Bostom found that none of the 26,000 cases reported at US universities had resulted in hospitalization.”

Did you catch that?  Thousands of “cases.” Thousands of young people “infected.”

Students suspended, schools closed, football seasons curtailed or cancelled, spectators banned from those games that are played, neighbor fighting neighbor over the wearing of masks, and restaurants by the thousands crippled or sliced, many of them never to return.  For this?

26,000 cases and not a single young person hospitalized?

Where’s the beef?

*********** I read about someone last week who had “recovered” from the China Virus. Except that he was also said to be “asymptomatic.”  Question: how do you know when you recover from something you didn’t even know you had?

Hugh,

Like I said, the only football games I saw last weekend included our "scrimmage" on Friday night, and the Notre Dame game on Saturday.  Initially, watching our team live on Friday I thought our boys played well overall.  Better than we did last year in our scrimmage.  But...then I watched film.  Gotta love film.  I coach both the O and D Linemen.  As a group they graded out to a C-.  Their effort was outstanding, but their execution was not.  When they do what they've been coached to do they're pretty darn good.  Unfortunately they don't do it all the time.  I told them we will work very hard this week to become more consistent.  Our opponent on Friday plays physical football.  I told the boys the game will be won or lost at the LOS.

Notre Dame appears to get better each week.  Before the Irish think about Clemson they will have to continue improving, and improve quickly.  They have Wake, Louisville, Pittsburgh, and a much improved Georgia Tech team before they play Clemson, and North Carolina and BC after.  ALL those teams are capable of taking the Irish down.  No USF's in that group.

Didn't you know?  Liberals LOVE meetings, and committees.  The PAC 12 is just an every day reflection of the governments that run California, Oregon, Washington, and Arizona.  Comedian Fred Allen once said, "A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary."

The more Joe Biden speaks, the more foolish he sounds, and the more foolish his actions become.  I feel sorry for him because some day I may end up like him, but not sorry enough to vote for him.

Yes, I can vouch for that article regarding Texas high school football.  Most of the larger schools in 4A, 5A, and 6A utilize spread offenses, while many of the 2A, 3A schools opt for run-oriented offenses like the Wing-T, the Texas Slot-T, or even the Single Wing.  Unfortunately there are few DW teams.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: A 6-2, 235 pound bull of a running back, Rick Casares spent most of his career with the Bears.

But he was not just a running back. He played 12 seasons in the NFL and AFL, an eternity for a running back. He was a stud - “the toughest guy I ever played with,” in the words of Mike Ditka, a guy who knew a thing or two about toughness.

His ability to play while injured was legendary among the Bears, as are the tales of the novocaine shots he took before games.

He was born in Tampa, but when he was seven, his father was murdered in a gang shooting, and his mother moved him to Paterson, New Jersey, where she had relatives.

He took up boxing, and at the age of 15 won a Golden Gloves championship, and was offered $100 a week by famous trainer Lou Duva to train until he turned 18, but his mother refused to allow it, and moved him back to Tampa.

He was a big kid - 6-1, 190 as a freshman - and he became a star in three sports.  He was all-state in football and basketball, and the first time he ever threw a javelin in competition he broke the state record.

He went to the University of Florida, and in his first year of competition, as a 6-2, 210-pound sophomore, he was named 2nd team All-SEC.

In 1953, he was team captain.

But that’s not all - in both his sophomore and junior years, he led the basketball team in both rebounds and scoring, and in his senior year was the team captain and was named second team All-SEC.

But the Korean War was going on, and he was drafted into the Army after his junior year.   While  in the Army he was drafted by the Bears in 1954 as a “future,”  and on his discharge, he joined them for the 1955 season.

The first time he touched the ball, it was against the Baltimore Colts, and it  was unscripted. The ball was supposed to go to another running back, Bobby Watkins, but Watkins had carried on the two previous plays, and he was tired. Coming out of the huddle, he suggested that our guy carry instead. They changed positions, much to the surprise of Bears’ QB George Blanda, who wound up pitching the ball to our guy - who went 81 yards for a touchdown.

From 1955 through 1960, he was the Bears’ leading rusher, and for five of those years he finished among the NFL’s top ten in rushing. In 1956, he helped lead the Bears to the NFL title game with a league-leading 1126 yards on 235 carries (in 12 games), just 20 yards short of Steve Van Buren’s then-single season record. In his final game of the regular season, against the Lions, he rushed for 190 yards on just 17 carries. Considering that was an average of more than 11 yards per carry, he might have needed only two more carries to break Van Buren’s record, but he had been benched with a shoulder stinger.

When he left the Bears - he spent two brief seasons with the Redskins (a team that once played in Washington before its name was changed to the Washington Football Team) and the Miami Dolphins, then playing in the AFL - he was their all-time leading rusher, an honor he would hold for more than 20 years, until Walter Payton beat him out.  More than 55 years after his last game as a Bear, he remains the fourth leading rusher in team history.

In 2019, the Chicago Tribune ranked him 36th among the 100 Best Bears’ Players ever.

He and Bears’ owner George Halas had their differences, some of them public. But because, like Bears’ star defensive end Doug Atkins, he was considered “difficult to deal with,” it’s possible he might not have had much of a career under any other coach or owner.

He liked to have a good time and he liked to gamble, and his name came up in the gambling scandal that resulted in the suspension of all stars Alex Karras and Paul Hornung  but  a lie detector test cleared him of all charges.

He died in 2013.  At his funeral, he was eulogized by teammate Ditka and rival Hornung, two of his best friends in the game.

“I never cared much about individual numbers,” he told Cigar City Magazine in 2011. “But I did care about the Hall of Fame. I think there are players in the Hall who I feel I was better than, but I guess the voters don’t see it that way. It would be a great honor, but if I don’t get voted in - oh, well, I got paid to play football.  How can I complain about that?” 
       
CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING RICK CASARES
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA

*********** My dad told me he was lucky to have watched two of the greatest Italian American professional football players play in Chicago.  Casares, and Charley Trippi of the Cardinals).

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

So true.  His surname, Casares, is Spanish, and one grandfather was Spanish. But otherwise, he was Italian all the way, and he “identified” as Italian.


***********  Hugh,

Rick Casares was quite an athlete.

 https://www.si.com/nfl/talkoffame/nfl/state-your-case-is-rick-casares-hof-running-back-time-forgot-lEVY2k0u0UKx-6bdnvlyug

Greg Koenig
Colorado Springs, Colorado

*********** Always tough on the Pack

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

*********** Hugh, Tuesday's quiz clues brought back many memories from my youth.  I believe that I have mentioned to you that we used to get the Bears on TV every week here in western Kentucky.  I had not thought of Rick Casares in many years.  I watched him play the last six or seven years of his career in Chicago.   My mind went back to the 1963 season when the Bears won the NFL championship over the Giants.  The thing that I remember the most about that game is the beating that Y.A. Title took  and kept playing. He had several low hits to his knees.  He was in and out of the game numerous times and kept playing in great pain.  He threw five interceptions during the game when he had to throw off his back foot due to the injury to his left knee. He should not have been playing after the first half.  He had two or three shots of the magic elixirs the NFL allowed the doctors used to administer to keep players in the game when they should not be playing.  I really felt sorry for him.

David Crump
Owensboro, Kentucky

Funny that you should bring up Y. A. Tittle, because his time with the Giants was made special by the guy who is the subject of today’s QUIZ!

*********** QUIZ: Coming out of little Center, Texas, near the Louisiana line, he went to Baylor.  Tall (6-3), lean (185) and very fast, he starred in football, basketball and track.   In football, he played running back and defensive back, and punted and returned kicks and punts. On the track, he excelled as a sprinter. He is a member of the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame.

He was the MVP of the 1957 Sugar Bowl, when Baylor upset Number 2-ranked Tennessee, and he is in the Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame.

He was drafted Number 1 by the Rams - the 11th pick overall - and played defensive back his rookie year.

In his second year he was switched to split end, and wound up leading the NFL in receiving  - 1,097 yards, and 91.4 yards per game - and earning first team All-Pro honors.

He made All-Pro the following season as well, but  after a change in coaches his production fell off in 1960.

Following that season, the Giants obtained Y.A. Tittle from the 49ers, and legend has it that Tittle, knowing that the Giants could use a split end, told them that our guy, who twice had led the NFL in receiving with the Rams,  might be available.  Sure enough, he was, and the Giants got him.

Coincidentally, they were both from East Texas -  Tittle was from Marshall - and together they became one the the great passing combinations in NFL history.

In 1961, his first season with the Giants, he set a franchise record with 68 receptions, and became the first Giants’ player to surpass 1,000 yards in receiving in a season, with 1,125. Having put up 1,097 yards receiving with the Rams in 1958, that made him the first player in NFL history to go over 1,000 more than once. And then he became the first to do it three times. And then  the first to do it four times.

He would remain the only NFL receiver to have four 1,000-yard seasons until 1981, when both Steve Largent and Charley Joiner accomplished the feat.

He followed up his 1961 season with 1,133 yards in 1962 and 1,181 in 1963 to become the first player in NFL history to have more than 1,000 yards receiving for three straight seasons.

In those three seasons, he caught 185 passes for 3,439 yards and 32 touchdowns - and the Giants made it to three straight NFL championship games.

In 1962, on a day when Tittle threw for seven TDs against the Redskins, he caught 11 of Tittle’s passes for 269 yards - still, almost 60 years later,  a franchise record.

For much of his career he suffered from ulcers, and finally, slowed down by injuries, he retired following the 1967 season.

For his career, he had 349 receptions for 6,470 yards - 18.3 yards per catch -  and 51 touchdowns.

On occasion, in special situations, he would play in the secondary, and he had three career interceptions.

For three seasons - 1958-1960 - he did the Rams’ punting, and he punted 153 times for an average of 42.0 yards per punt.

He was five times a first team All-Pro, and played in five Pro Bowls.

He was named to the NFL All-Decade team for the 1960s.

He is not in the Hall of Fame. I’ll bet you could easily find a dozen  in there who don’t have credentials that measure up to his.



Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2020   “Every calling is great when greatly pursued.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

*********** WEEKEND WRAPUP

*** FRIDAY -COASTAL CAROLINA VS CAMPBELL -

I really like what Coastal Carolina does on offense.  Some really nice option stuff that looks a bit like what Bob DeBesse was running at New Mexico a couple of years ago. They’re in gun, but they run a lot of double-tight. Their QB, Grayson McCall, is good.

As good as Coastal Carolina looked last week at Kansas - white from top to bottom, including white shoes - they looked drab as hell at home, in black shoes, black sox, black pants, black helmets, and teal (I guess that’s what it’s called) jerseys.

I give Campbell credit - they are FCS and playing just a 4-game schedule (against FBS Georgia Southern, Coastal Carolina, Wake Forest and App State) but I do question some of their thinking.

Last week, they passed up a chance to go into OT against Georgia Southern and - even after getting a 5-yard penalty - went for two at the end of the game. This week, on their opening drive, they got to the CC 20 having thrown only once. And then they did nothing but pass, and the results were disastrous: sacked,  flushed from the pocket, intercepted.

*** Wanted to watch the high school game that ESPN2 promised, but no-o-o-o -

We had to wait, because first…

Baylor and Texas Tech - women’s soccer, for God’s sake! - are tied, 0-0, and went into TWO OVERTIMES!

And they still wound up tied. Nil-Nil.  Or, as a New York sportswriter once wrote, after Fordham and Pitt had played to a scoreless tie for the third straight year, “Much Ado About Nothing-to-Nothing.”

We were halfway through the first quarter when we got to the HS football game.

*** The high school game was between Thompson (of Alabaster, Alabama) and Hewitt-Trussville, two very good teams. The Thompson QB, Conner Harrell, is just a junior, and he’s committed to Tennessee. And they have a very active and athletic defense end, also a junior, who’s a Bama commit.

The fans weren’t exactly distanced.  Nice to see that there are some places in the country where life as human beings once lived is still being lived.

*** Got on the NFHS Network and zipped through games in

Beatrice, Nebraska
Petal, Mississippi
Pearl, Mississippi
Saline, Michigan
Owensboro, Kentucky
Albany, Texas
Vicksburg, Mississippi (the Vicksburg Gators were running Wing-T)
Hoover, Alabama
Platte City, Missouri
Kalispell, Montana

Evidently, the robocameras have taken over.  Sometimes they miss some of the action, especially when the QB drops deep.

***SATURDAY—

*** TULANE-NAVY  got most of my attention in the first flight of games.  Navy picked up where it left off against BYU two weeks ago, looking inept on both sides of the ball as Tulane jumped out to a 24-0 halftime lead. Navy had five straight three-and-outs, and didn’t get a first down until 2:50 remained in the half. 

The halftime score should have been 31-0, or at worst, 27-0, as Tulane was driving in the closing seconds, but an incredibly poor decision by the Tulane QB - more on that to come - resulted in an interception.

Navy came storming back in the second half to win, 27-24, on a last-second field goal.  Credit, of course, to any team that can rally like that when things are looking their gloomiest.  But it takes two to tango. Every great comeback is balanced by a gigantic choke, and there was Tulane, a decent running team, ditching the run and throwing the ball - putting its eggs in the basket of a QB who simply wasn’t up to the job.

Tulane actually outrushed Navy, but when they should have continued to run, they passed instead. And poorly. They threw 25 times but, largely due to the passer’s inaccuracy,  completed only 10 of those attempts for just 108 yards (did I mention that Navy - NAVY! - had more passing yards than Tulane?) Once, on a third and four, Tulane passed. Later,  facing a crucial fourth and four, they again passed.  Incomplete both times. What was that definition of insanity?

Navy actually won because of their passing game. Unfortunately, they were throwing because they had been running ineffectively, and in my opinion, they just don’t throw well enough to offset the lack of the dominant running game that Navy teams depend on.  But they showed plenty of fight, and that’s a positive sign.

*** Navy, we are told, has an assistant coach named Robert Green, who is listed as a “defensive assistant,” without anything more specific about his assignment. Maybe that’s because he also carries the title “Director of Racial Equality?”  WTF?  Shouldn't that be the head coach’s job? Every head coach's job?  It certainly oughtn’t to be something a head coach delegates to an assistant.

Then, in what threatens to be a game fixture this year, we had our Mandadory Social Justice Training Session, with the announcers, Mark Jones and Dusty Dvoracek, delivering a lecture on players being “The Voice of Change,” and “Using the platform they have” to make sure “their voices are being heard.”  No doubt those guys had their orders from headquarters. Please, ABC - Stop already.

*********** Technical problems cut off the audio of the Navy-Tulane game, and we had to listen to a couple of guys in the studio jabbering away while play went on.  You would think that somebody in the studio could have stepped up and called the game off the monitor, just as they’ve been doing with a lot of college games this year.

*********** Boston College got off to a great start under their new head coach, Jeff Hafley. Ahead 7-6 at the half, they blew Duke out, 26-6. BC QB  Phil Jurkavec, a Notre Dame transfer, was 17 of 23 for 300 yards and 2 TDs.

*********** BC lineman Alex Lindstrom is one of six kids of former Boston U and NFL player Chris Lindstrom and his wife. Dad is a high school coach in Massachusetts - and a Double Winger at that - and Alex is the second of the Lindstrom boys to play at BC.

*********** Prettiest sight all day? On a sunny day in September, Pitt and Syracuse, in their bright, colorful uniforms, on a grass field.

*********** Whew. Oklahoma State pulled it out, but Tulsa led the Cowboys 7-3 at the half, and held Social Justice Warrior/Running Back Chuba Hubbard to under 100 yards. He had rushed for more than 100 yards in 11 straight games until threatening to quit because he didn't like the tee-shirt his coach was wearing.

*********** Sports cliche that I can do without: “That’s not who we are…”

*********** The announcers were pretty tough on Syracuse’s Dino Babers as Pitt, up 21-10 with under two minutes to play, was running out the clock and Babers, with three timeouts, let the clock run. Said one of the ACC Network’s  announcers, either Chris Cotter or Mark Herzlich, “To me, as a player, that means your coach is giving up on the game.” Wow.

*********** Louisiana, coming off  a giant win over Iowa State, had to go to OT against Georgia State to win. And they had to score on two consecutive plays to do it.

The first winning TD, a run to the right, had to be replayed after one of those bogus timeouts called on the sideline by a coach just before the ball was snapped.

Okay - that’s the way you want it?  Watch this.

Very next play, Louisiana runs right again and scores. Again.

*** News came that the Pac-12 had met on Friday and decided - to meet again.  Sometime next week.  What the hell.  What’s the hurry?

*** Miami QB D’Eriq King is the real deal.  He is very good. He is on the way to a great season in (perhaps) leading the resurgence of the Miami program.  And his case represents a festering sore on the body of college football.

Just about this time last year, he was Houston’s quarterback. He was a good one - in 15 games as a starter he’d thrown 62 touchdown passes. A senior, he was also the team captain.

But after four games in 2019 under new coach Dana Holgorsen, the Cougars were a disappointing1-3. So the quarterback, the senior captain, did what any good leader would do when things were tough - he bailed.

Taking advantage of the new NCAA rule intended to preserve the eligibility of younger players who had been losing their redshirts simply because they’d been forced into action for a game or two, the new rule permitted a player to appear in up to  four games and still be able to retain redshirt status.  Not once in testifying in favor of the rule change did anyone consider that it might apply to a senior player instantly  declaring himself a redshirt so that he could retain one last year of eligibility  which, if he were to graduate, would enable him to play elsewhere immediately.

Very suspicious.  Was he tanking on the season? Was it even his decision to make?

Or was Holgorsen tanking, thinking that he could get through last season and then bring King back this season?  After all, once King was declared a redshirt, he continued to practice with the team.  Quitters don’t normally do that.

Either way, it’s pretty sick stuff, and one more huge chunk out of the carefully-crafted illusion that players are playing for their teammates.

*** Miami does look good, and although D’Eriq King is a major reason, their defense isn’t bad, either. They really LOOKED fast.

*** Austin Peay took its licking from Cincinnati, and now its season is over.  An FCS school, it decided to play after the Ohio Valley Conference shut down, and now, after games against Central Arkansas, Pitt, and Cincinnati, it’s finished.

*** Wake-NC State, the “late” game (by Eastern standards), was the best game of the day, with State threatening to blow Wake out, then Wake tying it up , 21-21 at the half. Wake didn’t take the lead until 9:00 remained in the game, when  it went ahead, 42-38, but the Wolfpack scored again to win, 45-42.   The state of North Carolina (must have been all those Yankees moving down there) allowed only 350 spectators.

*** I really like the ACC Network’s studio show, “The Huddle.”

The host is a guy named Jordan Cornette, who I learned was captain of the basketball team at Notre Dame.  He does a really nice job of keeping things going while deferring to the “analysts.”

They are former Clemson lineman Eric MacLain, former Miami quarterback E. J. Manuel, and former Georgia and Miami coach Mark Richt.

Among them, there is no star, and there is no frat-boy yuk-yuking. They’re serious, they’re well-informed, they’re respectful of each others’ opinions, and they’re well-spoken.

I found myself listening to them well after the final game was over.


***********  Joe Biden, or more precisely, Joe Biden’s speech writers, keep referring to Scranton, Pennsylvania as his “hometown,’ despite the fact that he was 11 when his family moved to Claymont, Delaware.

Hometown, my ass.

Evidently, in attempting to pass off Biden, who has never worked at a real job in his life, as a working man - a man of the people - research has shown that “Scranton” - once the biggest city in northeast Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal region - plays better among voters than “Claymont.”

See, that way Joe can stand up in front of union workers and say “Scranton, Pennsylvania” and make it sound as if he, a guy who’s been in the United States Senate for 47 years and has never gotten his hands dirty,  knows what it’s like to go down in the mines and shovel coal.

And walk the mean streets of  Scranton and stop in at a saloon and have a shot and a beer - or two or three - with the fellas. Maybe even get into a brawl out back.

A regular Molly McGuire, that Biden fella.

Just be ready, guys, for the day when he forgets that some of us out here know better, and starts telling the public about his football-playing days at Delaware.

*********** Old friend Scott Barnes, whom I first got to know when he was a youth coach in Parker, Colorado, is a native Texan, and he very thoughtfully sent me a nice recent article about Texas high school football. The gist of it:  for some reason, the bigger schools aren’t yet playing, but the smaller schools are, and as a result, fans used to seeing the pass-crazy spread offenses of the big schools are being treated to OUR football.  Running football. And for many Texas high schools, that means Wing-T.

http://edition.pagesuite.com/popovers/dynamic_article_popover.aspx?artguid=1f2d64db-5a81-406a-9dda-aa6fb7c82227


*********** The English Premier League has not given up on opposing racism. But it has given up on supporting Black Lives Matter.
       
Not the idea itself - of course black lives matter - but BLM the movement.  BLM the organization.
       
Instead of Black Lives Matter statements, league players and match officials will wear a “No Room For Racism”  badge on their shirtsleeves.
       
https://www.espn.com/soccer/english-premier-league/story/4178139/premier-league-display-no-room-for-racism-instead-of-black-lives-matter-on-kits
       
***********Jason Whitlock, who is fast becoming my favorite writer on the topic of the cancerous intrusion of social issues into sports, has taken to referencing the "Criminal" (plural) Justice Movement. He actually takes it a step further, pluralizing the word “criminals” with a dollar sign (“criminal$”) to express the belief, which I happen to share, that we are being driven to the point of racial conflict by shysters who see opportunity where we see turmoil:
       
“The Criminal$ Justice Movement only improves the lives of Kaepernick, Nike shareholders, hearse-chasing lawyers, black elites using the movement to advance their careers, and white Marxist anarchists determined to overthrow capitalism, democracy, freedom and God.”
       
https://www.outkick.com/blm-101-history-lesson-the-2020-criminal-justice-movement/
       
 *********** Hugh,
       
Only one game I'll be watching on TV this weekend.  I'm sure you can imagine which one.  Last night I scouted one of our district opponents who scrimmaged the school I recently worked for.  Our opponent called off the dogs against my former school after the first round of plays or it would have been pretty ugly. 

Tonight my team travels to College Station for our scrimmage with small private school.  By the end of the day tomorrow I'll have had my fill of football for the weekend.
              
You had me going with that Antwon Rose, Jr. story.  For a minute there you had me thinking that there might be a glimmer of hope for the NFL, and the Steelers in particular.  No chance my friend.  Not after THAT ending.  My Sundays (Mondays, Thursdays, or whatever other days they play) won't find me sitting in front of a television watching an NFL football game.
       
Those poor high school coaches in Colorado must be close to having their heads explode with the shenanigans going on there.     
       
Speaking of heads exploding...can't imagine what the scene will look like for BIG teams trying to fly in and out of Syracuse in late November/early December. 

Also, the Farmer's Almanac predicts, average to lower than average temperatures this winter, and a 40-60% higher than normal winter precipitation this winter. 

Which means many more Saturdays of frigid, slippery playing conditions for BIG 10 country.  I lived in Minneapolis when the Gophers played at the Metrodome.  While it wasn't the best of atmospheres for collegiate football games, Coach Holtz saved them from the nasty elements of a Minnesota November.  Not anymore.  Now they play OUTSIDE at TCF Bank Stadium.  Brrrr.     
       
The story of the California kid being shopped around happens just about everywhere now.  Even here in Austin, TX with kids who aren't even close to the caliber of athlete THAT kid is.

Enjoy your weekend!
       
 Joe    Gutilla
 Austin, Texas
       
  

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Shug Jordan (JERR-din) would probably be better known nationally if he hadn't spent the better portion of his coaching career in the shadow of Bear Bryant, his in-state rival and one of the most charismatic coaches in the history of college football.
       
For sure, he was the better basketball coach of the two.
       
A native of Selma, Alabama, Jordan  acquired his nickname as a boy because he liked chewing on sugar cane.
       
He held just one head football coaching job in his career, spending 25 years at the same school. In fact, with the exception of three years' service in World War II, one year in the NFL and five years as an assistant at Georgia, he spent his entire football career there, from his first day as a player in 1929 until his retirement in 1975.
       
After a three sport college career at Alabama Polytechnic Institute (as Auburn was then known), lettering in football,  basketball and baseball, he stayed on as an assistant coach of football - and head basketball coach.
       
And then World War II broke out. As an Army officer, he was in the first wave of troops in the invasions of North Africa, Sicily, and Normandy, where he was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
       
After recovering from his wounds, he participated as a front line officer in the invasion of Okinawa.
       
Following the war and a season as an assistant with the NFL Miami Seahawks, he assisted  Wally Butts at Georgia (also serving the entire time as the Bulldogs’ head basketball coach) until 1951, when he was hired as head man at his alma mater.
       
When he took over as head coach, Auburn had won only three of its last 35 games. He was 5-5 his first year, and within three years, he had his team in the Gator Bowl. Twelve of his teams played in bowl games, including seven of his last eight teams. (This at a time when there were only the four major bowls plus the Gator Bowl, and the Rose Bowl was monopolized by two conferences.)
       
He had one stretch of 13 straight winning seasons.  Fourteen of his teams were nationally ranked.
       
His name was added to Auburn’s stadium in 1973, making it the first college stadium to be named for an active coach.
       
His 1957 team shared the national championship, splitting in the polls with Ohio State, and he was named national Coach of the Year by the Washington Touchdown Club. He was four times named SEC Coach of the Year.
       
His overall record was 175-83-7.  At the time of his retirement, Shug Jordan was the winningest coach in the SEC and third nationally among all active coaches.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING SHUG JORDAN
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
JOHN VERMILLION - ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY

*********** QUIZ: A 6-2, 235 pound bull of a running back, he spent most of his career with the Bears.

But he was not just a running back.
He played 12 seasons in the NFL and AFL, an eternity for a running back. He was a stud - “the toughest guy I ever played with,” in the words of Mike Ditka, a guy who knew a thing or two about toughness.

His ability to play while injured was legendary among the Bears, as are the tales of the novocaine shots he took before games.

He was born in Tampa, but when he was seven, his father was murdered in a gang shooting, and his mother moved him to Paterson, New Jersey, where she had relatives.

He took up boxing, and at the age of 15 won a Golden Gloves championship, and was offered $100 a week by famous trainer Lou Duva to train until he turned 18, but his mother refused to allow it, and moved him back to Tampa.

He was a big kid - 6-1, 190 as a freshman - and he became a star in three sports.  He was all-state in football and basketball, and the first time he ever threw a javelin in competition he broke the state record.

He went to the University of Florida, and in his first year of competition, as a 6-2, 210-pound sophomore, he was named 2nd team All-SEC.

In 1953, he was team captain.

But that’s not all - in both his sophomore and junior years, he led the basketball team in both rebounds and scoring, and in his senior year was the team captain and was named second team All-SEC.

But the Korean War was going on, and he was drafted into the Army after his junior year.  
While  in the Army he was drafted by the Bears in 1954 as a “future,”  and on his discharge, he joined them for the 1955 season.

The first time he touched the ball, it was against the Baltimore Colts, and it  was unscripted. The ball was supposed to go to another running back, Bobby Watkins, but Watkins had carried on the two previous plays, and he was tired. Coming out of the huddle, he suggested that our guy carry instead. They changed positions, much to the surprise of Bears’ QB George Blanda, who wound up pitching the ball to our guy - who went 81 yards for a touchdown.

From 1955 through 1960, he was the Bears’ leading rusher, and for five of those years he finished among the NFL’s top ten in rushing. In 1956, he helped lead the Bears to the NFL title game with a league-leading 1126 yards on 235 carries (in 12 games), just 20 yards short of Steve Van Buren’s then-single season record. In his final game of the regular season, against the Lions, he rushed for 190 yards on just 17 carries. Considering that was an average of more than 11 yards per carry, he might have needed only two more carries to break Van Buren’s record, but he had been benched with a shoulder stinger.

When he left the Bears - he spent two brief seasons with the Redskins (a team that once played in Washington before its name was changed to the Washington Football Team) and the Miami Dolphins, then playing in the AFL - he was their all-time leading rusher, an honor he would hold for more than 20 years, until Walter Payton beat him out.  More than 55 years after his last game as a Bear, he remains the fourth leading rusher in team history.

In 2019, the Chicago Tribune ranked him 36th among the 100 Best Bears’ Players ever.

He and Bears’ owner George Halas had their differences, some of them public. But because, like Bears’ star defensive end Doug Atkins, he was considered “difficult to deal with,” it’s possible he might not have had much of a career under any other coach or owner.

He liked to have a good time and he liked to gamble, and his name came up in the gambling scandal that resulted in the suspension of all stars Alex Karras and Paul Hornung  but  a lie detector test cleared him of all charges.

He died in 2013.  At his funeral, he was eulogized by teammate Ditka and rival Hornung, two of his best friends in the game.

“I never cared much about individual numbers,” he told Cigar City Magazine in 2011. “But I did care about the Hall of Fame. I think there are players in the Hall who I feel I was better than, but I guess the voters don’t see it that way. It would be a great honor, but if I don’t get voted in - oh, well, I got paid to play football.  How can I complain about that?” 


Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2020   “God will not have his work made manifest by cowards”  Ralph Waldo Emerson


*********** GAMES TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND
REMEMBER - GAMBLE AT YOUR OWN RISK
AND IF YOU ACT ON ANY OF MY INKLINGS, BE SURE TO SPLIT YOUR WINNINGS WITH ME

Friday night
Campbell +24 at Coastal Carolina - Coastal.  You think after beating a Power 5 School they can’t cover the spread?

Saturday
Early Games

Syracuse +20 at Pitt - Cuse will beat the spread
Houston +6 at Baylor -Baylor
Navy +7 at Tulane - Tulane, even if Navy has been practicing blocking and tackling
BC +6 at Duke - Duke - They played ND fairly tough
Tulsa +22 at Oklahoma State - Cowboys will cover
Austin Peay +31 at Cincinnati (Army opponent) - Only 31? Pitt beat them by 55!
Louisiana at Georgia State +17  (Army opponent) - Louisiana - I saw what they did to Iowa State


Mid-morning (Pacific)
South Florida +25 at Notre Dame - Sounds about right. I’ll take ND.

Second Flight of games
UCF at Georgia Tech +7 - UCF - GT didn’t prove anything against FSU
App State at Marshall +3 - I’ll take Marshall and the points
S F Austin +16 at UTSA (Army) - UTSA

Late afternoon
Miami +2 at Louisville - Could be a great game. I’ll take the Canes.
Wake Forest +3 at NC State - Wake. A loss to Clemson shouldn’t count.
La Tech +4 at Southern Miss - LT. USM just changed coaches.


Not making the cut as games for me to watch
Liberty +13 at WKU - Western
Charlotte +27 at UNC - UNC
The Citadel +47 at Clemson - Clemson plays more men - an average of 75 - than any team in football. They can play 100 and still beat the spread.
Troy at Middle Tennessee +3 - Troy. I saw Middle Tennessee against Army, and they’re not very good.
Fla Atlantic at Georgia Southern +6 - Georgia Southern. Not sure why.
SMU at North Texas +14 - SMU may be overrated.  I’ll take them and find out.
Texas State at Louisiana Monroe +1 - Texas State.  Lousiana-Monroe will need a lot more than one point

***********FRIDAY NIGHT HIGH SCHOOL GAMES TO WATCH ON NFHS NETWORK

7:00 CENTRAL
ALABAMA
OAK MOUNTAIN VS HOOVER
BOTH TEAMS ARE 4-0 ALREADY

 7:30 EASTERN
KENTUCKY
LOUISVILLE MALE VS TRINITY - TWO PERENNIAL STATE POWERS MEETING

8:30 EASTERN
SOUTH CAROLINA
DUNCAN BYRNES VS GAFFNEY
GAFFNEY WAS 10-4 LAST YEAR; BYRNES WAS 11-2

*********** Greg Koenig, of Colorado Springs, who coaches at Ellicott High, sent me the news just as I was publishing, and I had to hold the presses, so to speak.

It’s almost unbelievable, but in classic cut-the-baby-in-half decision-making, the state association has given  its high schools the option of playing in the fall or in the spring. Two different seasons.  Two different state champions.

But you can’t play both.

Teams have to declare by 8 AM Monday.

After thinking about it, it’s not so unbelievable.  It’s totally consistent with administrators’ reluctance to make a decis