FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2009- “Civilized” is a much-misunderstood word, thanks to the “rule of law” crowd that is making our planet an increasingly dangerous place. Civilization is not an evolution of mankind but the imposition of human good on human evil. It is not a historical inevitability. It is a battle that has to be fought every day, because evil doesn’t recede willingly before the wheels of progress." Andrew C. McCarthy
*********** Hope you all took time to be thankful for the brave people who watch over us and our country and our homes while we sleep securely.
*********** Whew. Don't know whether 400+ yards of total offense impresses you, but for me, when it was all on the line on national TV, Colt McCoy came through with a Heisman-type performance.
*********** When I coached in Finland, I quickly became accustomed to the European way of supporting sports - every team goes out and gets sponsors, and in exchange for sponsorship it puts the sponsors' names on its uniforms. (Think NASCAR.)
There was even such a thing as a "NO SMOKING TEAMS." In return for all its players taking a pledge not to smoke during the season (Europeans - at least back then - smoked very heavily) and wearing a "NO SMOKING TEAM" patch on its jerseys, a team received a substantial sum from the government.
Nice gesture, but I strongly suspect that a few fellows on those teams took a drag every now and then. Maybe even inhaled.
Which brings me to Spurrier's latest gimmick at South Carolina.
At first I just thought that it was another kid with a strange name when I saw "INTEGRITY" on the back of a jersey.
And then I saw "COURAGE." And "HONOR." And "COMMITMENT." And "SERVICE."
WTF? I thought. Does Spurrier expect us to believe this?
Okay, okay. Not casting any aspersions on players from South Carolina, whom I do not know, and who may very well embody the values expressed on their jerseys. But I do know of a few colleges whose players would more properly have been wearing "PROBATION... PLAGIARISM... SHOPLIFTING... DUI... WEED... COMMUNITY SERVICE."
*********** I guess I'm not really surprised, given how sensitive we've become, that comedy writers haven't been quick to jump on the news that in parts of South America, gangs are killing humans for their fat, said to be highly prized by European cosmetics manufacturers.
*********** Didja catch "NFL Play 60" using HRH Barack Obama on its spots? Whatta buncha suckups.
*********** I heard someone say that as much as Michigan would like to dump Rich Rod, they won't do it now because they don't want to look like a football factory. This from a place that stole West Virginia's coach from them as they were preparing for a bowl game.
Michigan? A football factory? Why, how dare anyone make that accusation?
Uh, sorry, fellas. It's too late to deny it.
It reminds me of the story of the guy who went up to a nice-looking woman and said, "Would you go to bed with me for a million dollars?"
"Well, yes, I guess I would," she said.
"Okay," the guy said. "Then how about for fifty dollars?"
Astonished, the woman said, "What do you think I am, a whore?"
Replied the guy, "We've already established that. Now we're negotiating."
*********** ESPN has finally come to its senses and listened to all the football fans grown weary of its in-the-booth interviews of celebrities with far more connection to upcoming network shows than to the game of football -
ESPN refocuses on football --- http://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/article/64132
*********** Condolences to Chris Spielman, whose wife Stefanie died last Thurday at the age of 42 after a long struggle with breast cancer.
Mrs. Spielman was 30 years old and three months pregnant when she detected a lump in her breast. After miscarrying, it was discovered she had cancer. She would survive four bouts with cancer before the latest recurrence.
*********** Ho hum. Four of the 14 NFL games last Sunday featured more field goals than touchdowns. The Indianapolis-Baltimore thriller had six field goals and two touchdowns, but for excitement it had to be hard to beat the Cowboys' 7-6 win over the Redskins with 2:41 remaining.
Meantime, the Bengals, after watched the Raiders tie their game with :33 to go, apparently decided they'd rather not go into overtime, and arranged to have Andre Caldwell carry the ball as loosely and carelessly as possible on the "ensuing kickoff," so that the Raiders could force a fumble, recover, and kick the winning field goal.
*********** As playoff talk starts to heat up, here's something to think about... They'd better figure out a way to include the bowls, because if they don't, the bowls aren't going to roll over and die.
Unless bowls are a part of a playoff system, I suspect that for the same reason most bowls were started in the first place - to promote tourism in their area - major bowls and the cities they're located in would manage to put together attractive enough packages that some schools would forego the playoff and go to a bowl instead. (At least they would if they left it up to the players. Remember the days when coaches would let the players vote on whether or not they wanted to go to a bowl game?)
This idea of the bowls' competing against the playoffs is not so far-fetched. The NIT in basketball was once a serious rival of the NCAA tournament, and finally the NCAA bought the NIT so it wouldn't ever compete again.
I can just see a coach asking his kids - "you fellas want to travel to State College, Pennsylvania to play a playoff game at Penn State - in December - with the possibility of three or four more weeks of practice? Or do you want to go spend a week or so in Phoenix and play in the Fiesta Bowl?"
No brainer for me. I'm betting a week in anyplace warm, and playing a game for the fun of it, would sound pretty good to most kids who've just played twelve games.
But I ain't worrying. I won't see a playoff in my lifetime.
*********** Location, location, location - the three most important things in real estate. And so the Pontiac Silver Dome, one of the great pleasure palaces of our time, a place that's hosted a Super Bowl, will be sold for something like $600,000.
*********** There have been rumors off and on that Michigan's freshman quarterback Tate Forcier was considering transferring. Surprise. After all, he attended three high schools, one of which, in fairness, did not play football; his brother Jason played at two high schools and two colleges, and his brother Chris went to three high schools and now is at Furman - after transferring from UCLA.
*********** Coe College, coached by one-time double winger Steve Staker, beat St. John's of Minnesota in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs, just a day after Coach Staker was honored by being named the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.
***********I'm amazed at the number of football knowledgeable people who are commenting there is no way to kick a field goal with one second and no time-outs after a long 1st down completion. Dennis Cook, Roanoke, Virginia
Of course, there is - if you can snap the ball at the instant the clock starts. I believe it was Purdue that I saw do this a couple of years ago and I recall marveling at how resourceful they were - they had obviously practiced hustling their field goal team out onto the field and getting set and then snapping it on the "ready-for-play" whistle.
*********** I looked up at the TV and saw the score - Green Bay 34, Detroit 12, with a little over two minutes to play. And I saw a close call on a possible fumble go Detroit's way. And Green Bay appealed. WTF? I wanted to say, let it go, guys. Game's over. Let the Lions' fans have a little fun.
And then it occured to me that somebody on the Packers almost certainly has a clause in his contract calling for a bonus based on turnovers or fumbles recovered or somesuch.
*********** Is it sumo wrestling or is it blocking? The sumo-blockers' war on the triple option continues...
First it was Frank Beamer, at Virginia Tech, whining about Georgia Tech. Then it was one of Charlie Weis' defensive wizards, carrying on about Navy.
Now, after UNLV lost to Air Force, 45-17, the Las Vegas Sun reports that UNLV coach Mike Sanford said in a radio interview that the Falcons do “a lot of things that are dangerous and unsafe” and “not within the rules of football.”
Sanford didn't go into detail, according to The Sun, but he almost certainly was joining the chorus of sumo-blocking practitioners who bitch about Air Force's (and Navy's, and Georgia Tech's, and Army's) blocking below the waist. Legally, I might add.
Air Force coach Troy Calhoun responded, "Just show me the play. Show me specifically what one play.”
When asked whether he thinks people are confusing legal cut blocks with illegal chop blocks, Calhoun said, “That’s pretty evident.”
Not that Sanford’s comments are going to carry much weight. He's got bigger problems. The day after the Air Force loss, with his team 4-7 going into their last game with San Diego State, he was informed that his services at UNLV would no longer be needed. His overall record at UNLV is 15-43, so evidently, seeing as how he only faced Air Force once a year, low blocking was not the only thing his player had difficulty with.
Meantime, at another Mountain West school, BYU defensive end Jan Jorgensen was quoted as saying he hates playing Air Force because they play "legal but dirty." (Huh?)
Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson has the best comeback for the sumo guys: "When defensive players can't tackle below the waist, my offensive players won't block below the waist."
How many of the online recruiting "experts" who give out these ratings are simply going along with the herd? How many do you suppose are really better at evaluating talent than the college coaches doing the actual recruiting?
Before you pay too much attention to all this "four star" and "five star" business, consider...
Some ten years ago a French wine researcher named Frederic Brochet served a large group of French wine experts two identical mid-price wines, one poured from the bottle of an expensive wine, the other from the bottle of a cheap table wine. As anyone who has been around recruiting gurus might have predicted, the experts showed a clear preference for the wine in the expensive bottle, using adjectives like "excellent" far more often to describe the allegedly "expensive" stuff, and "unbalanced" and "flat" more often to describe what they believed was the "cheap table wine."
*********** Could anything better illustrate the contempt that NFL types have for the college game than this statement by Peter King, Sports Illustrated's NFL expert?
"Until Saturday (when Oregon beat Arizona on national TV), I'd never heard of Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli."
So I guess until Peter King hears it, no one else in the forest hears a tree fall.
*********** Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen evidently is sporting a black eye after taking what's been called a "sucker punch" outside a South Bend bar Saturday night.
I'm guessing the assailant was a thief, pissed to discover that Clausen wasn't wearing any of his four National Championship rings.
*********** I couldn't agree more with your point in your NEWS today about going back to either having to touch the ball down in the end zone or step into the end zone with the ball. Players attempting to "break the plane" are fumbling the ball far too often. Greg Koenig, Beloit, Kansas
*********** AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year Award Winners for 2009
Football Bowl Subdivision
AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year Finalists were...
*********** Eddie Bell died last week at the age of 78.
As a boy, I knew him as a special person and player.
In 1952, Mr. Bell became Penn's first black captain. It is impossible to understate the honor, because at the time Penn - not the Eagles was Philadelphia's team, a very high-profile program that usually took second only to Ohio State in average attendanc. And Philadelphia in 1952 was not what one would call a racially-tolerant city: the Eagles had only one black player - running back Ralph Goldston - on their roster.
Mr. Bell, who died in Germantown, the neighborhood where I grew up, was a native Philadelphian, who graduated from West Philadelphia High, the same school my mother and father attended.
At Penn, he was named to several All-America teams in both 1951 and 1952. He was Penn's first black player to be so honored. In addition, he was the first black player from any Ivy League school one of only a handful from any college to be named All-American since World War II.
After graduating from Penn, Mr. Bell played with the Eagles and then the Hamilton TigerCats of the CFL before finishing his career with the New York Titans (now the Jets) of the AFL.
Following his football career, he held a series of positions, first with ARCO and then with the Pennsylvania Lottery.
Mr. Bell's wife, who died in 2005, was the first black woman to graduate from the Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing. Mr. and Mrs. Bell were married for 50 years.
Mr. Bell's story of his days as one of the few black players in the NFL is a part of Andy Piascik's book, "Gridiron Gauntlet: The Story of the Men Who Integrated Pro Football, In Their Own Words."
*********** An instructive article in the Dallas News about Mesquite, Texas High School's concussion policy...
*********** If you're feeling all warm and comfy after Thanksgiving, you might come back to your senses after seeing this Bill Reilly interview with the defense attorney for the murderous scum who killed 3,000 people on 9/11, whom our administration has chosen to try in NYC. He says he's "honored" to defend the bastards ---
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2009- “He who speaks does not know; he who knows does not speak.” Lao-Tzu, Chinese philosopher
*********** Pac-10: please don't ever add two more teams so you can cash in by playing a conference championship game. The conference championship race this year has been about as good as it can get.
No bogus "league championship" game can compare in excitement with a league race that went down to the next-to-last week with four teams in contention.
The media, of course, fall all over themselves telling us how great the SEC is, but maybe they should stay up a little later and watch the guys on the West Coast, where on Saturday Stanford battled Cal and Oregon took on Arizona. Meantime, the powers of the SEC were laying it all on the line, Alabama against Chattanooga and Florida against Florida Something-or-Other.
And the Pac-10 excitement isn't over yet - Thursday night, December 3, something I never imagined I'd see, Oregon and Oregon State will meet for the right to play in the Rose Bowl. That game was exciting enough in the years when they both sucked.
*********** I saw a lifetime of coaching stupidity in one Saturday of football.
(1) I don't suppose you saw Yale-Harvard. I wouldn't, ordinarily, even though I went to Yale, but I got caught up in it, and as Yale took it to Harvard, I couldn't leave. And then. And then. Tom Williams, the rookie Yale coach, leading 10-7 with under three minutes to play and Harvard out of timeouts decided on a 4th and 22 from his own 25 to try a fake punt. He got only 15 yards, and Harvard took over and scored two plays later.
Oh - and he had the Ivy League's best punter, who had averaged over 55 yards on three previous punts.
Wrote Bob Ryan in the Boston Globe, "If a chemistry professor had similarly erred on a major judgment, the lab would have blown up."
Worst part of it was, Williams tried to defend the indefensible: “With the time on the clock and the fact that they had used their last time out, we felt that if we had executed that play and got the necessary yardage, that the game was over,” he said afterwards. Crissakes, coach - admit you blew it.
(2) Jim Harbaugh's stupidity/arrogance not only cost Stanford a win in Big Game, but Toby Gerhart a well-deserved shot at the Heisman.
Think of it - two minutes to play. You're on the Cal 15, first and 10, and you're driving for the go-ahead score. You've got Cal back on their heels, and you've got the best running back in the country. In fact, it was his magnificent run with a screen pass that got you down here. Your quarterback is only 10 for 28 for the night. And yet you PASS. Not once, but twice. TWICE. (The second pass, for those of you who live in the East and don't stay up to watch our football, was intercepted.)
"I probably should have run the ball a couple times," Harbaugh said afterwards, in a burst of genius.
Maybe he hasn't signed his extension yet. Michigan can have him.
(3) And then there's Les Miles from LSU, who told us before last season how inferior the Pac 10 was. He couldn't have been referring to the coaching, because no coach in the Pac 10 was capable of what he pulled off against Ole Miss. Scoring late, LSU missed a two-point conversion that would have tied the game, but then they successfully onside-kicked. With time short, and needing only a field goal to win, they attempted a pass - and got sacked. And they threw a screen and lost even more yardage. Time's a wastin' Les, I wanted to say, but what the hell - he's the one being paid a couple of mil a year, not me. So I watch as he lets the clock run from 26 second down to nine seconds before calling his last time out. Now it's fourth and 20 at midfield, and time only for a Hail Mary, and I'll be damned if they don't complete it, down to the Ole Miss 6.
But there's only a second left on the clock. Barely enough time to snap it for a field goal - if, I tell my wife, they snap the ball on the referee's "start the clock" whistle. But wait - that ain't no field goal team out there. That's the LSUoffense lining up.
"WHAT ARE THEY DOING?" Shouts Gary Danielson, the CBS announcer. Why, Gary, I want to say, as incredulous as he is, they're fixin' to SPIKE THE BALL. And damned if they don't do just that. Uh, game over, Tigers.
"I'm stunned," says Danielson.
"We couldn't get our field goal team ready," said Miles (or something approaching those words).
Oh, horsesh--, Les. You only have nine or ten assistants and God knows how many flunkies besides. You mean to tell me you didn't have one guy assigned to get the field goal team ready?
It gets better. Miles then said he had no idea who it was who told his QB to "clock" (spike) the ball, but - Ouch - WBRZ Baton Rouge has footage which appears to show Miles himself gesturing to his QB to spike it.
Les, I coached at a very small high school last year. We attempted exactly one field goal in an entire ten game season. BUT - every day, we practiced getting our field goal unit onto the field in time to kick a field goal. We'd put 'em on the sideline, then call "FIELD GOAL!" and start counting off ten seconds - "TEN... NINE... EIGHT..." - and they had to get onto the field and lined up, tee correctly placed and everyone motionless, and get the snap off inside 10 seconds. We did that EVERY DAY. Again, we only did it once all season, but the point is, you never know when you might have to kick a field goal, so you have to be prepared, Les.
Oh - and when you f--k up, own up to it. You can't fool the kind of fans you've got at LSU.
*********** Northeastern dropped football...
Last week I was talking to a friend of mine who played there who said this was coming. Especially in a town where pro sports are king and there's an ACC team at BC, I'm sure Division I-AA or Championship Subdivision football as it's now called, can be a tough sell.
I've often said that Boston is a great college town and a great sports town, but a lousy college sports town.
It's a shame this had to happen.
(This is very sad. First Vermont (1974) then Boston U (1997), now Northeastern. And not so very long ago Rhode Island football was on the block. New Englanders, being a practical sort, have always kept a watchful eye on the costs of college football. HW)
*********** One of the great things about Ohio State is that their uniforms have been relatively unchanged since World War II. They are classic; the Buckeyes don't mess with tradition. Well, not until Saturday, when they showed up at Michigan dressed like something I may have seen at some point in the CFL. Or was it the XFL? No matter. They were "throwbacks," we were told.
Right. Show me the Ohio State team that ever wore those gooney unis. The helmets? All white? The Buckeyes have worn silver (okay, shiny gray) helmets for at least 50 years. And for the life of me I can't find any photos of Ohio State helmets with numbers on the side.
The pants? Gag me. Notice the way those two red stripes bled so they looked pink? Show me an Ohio State team wearing pants as hideous as those back in the 50s, back when people still had good taste.
And that stockings-over-the-knees look. Come on. In the Old Days, players still wore knee pads. They were required to by the rules. What's that? You say they still are? Right. And they're not supposed to hold, either.
The jerseys? It's impossible to duplicate the jerseys of the 50s, since back then sleeves still came down past the elbows, and the arm stripes were sewn on roughly around the biceps. Now, with the sleeveless look in vogue, the cheesy printed-on imitation stripes started up around the shoulders, so they looked something like the Hamilton Tigercats.
Hey - what makes a uniform a "throwback," anyhow? Is it enough just to come up with some weirdass outfit and simply call it that?
*********** After being hammered by UConn's running game in the fourth quarter, Charlie Weis said afterwards, "The thing that bothered me the most was last year's loss to Syracuse. And this feels the same way."
Wow, Charlie. imagine being in the Big East and having to play a Big East team every week. You might finish in the middle of the pack.
I do agree with Charlie on one thing - I do feel bad for those Notre Dame seniors. They went there with high hopes of returning Our Lady to its once-accustomed place atop college football, and, despite the genius of their coach, they never got that chance.
*********** UConn's Andre Dixon was the runner of the day, "gashing" the Notre Dame defense play after play in the fourth quarter. And always protecting the ball - always two hands on the ball in traffic.
And then there was Wisconsin, down 33-31 to Northwestern but moving the ball. With 1:44 left, a Wisconsin runner, finding it unnecessary to do anything as corny as carrying the ball with both hands (why do I think that his frustrated position coach has told him over and over to do so?), fumbled. Game over.
*********** 2:20 left, Kentucky leads Georgia 27-24, but Georgia is on the KY one. And they toss the ball - to a runner who expected a handoff. And they fumble one the one, and KY recovers. As Georgia fans file out en masse, Kentucky gets in first win in Athens since 1977.
*********** How about this letter to an editor: " This rookie coach needs to settle down. He has his team engaging in taunting its opponent in pre-game warm-ups last week, crossing the 50 yard line; one of his players is ejected for punching an opponent on the opening kickof fin the same game; his team marches around the field including by the other team's bench before the game; Drop the embarrassing intimidation tactics-- you see how well they have worked."
Guys, we are not talking about a youth coach or an inner-city high school coach. We are talking about the coach at Yale. We are talking about the conduct of his players a week ago against Princeton. WTF?
PS- The writer is correct about the effectiveness of the intimidation crap. Princeton won, 24-17.
*********** I think Jim Tressel might be a closet double-winger. On the Ohio State-Michigan broadcast they were telling about the days when Tressel was an assistant at Syracuse to the great Dick MacPherson. Syracuse had a heck of a runner named Joe Morris, who would go on to a very good NFL career, and Tressel, who was calling the plays, kept running him off-tackle, and little Joe kept picking up big yardage. Finally, the story went, MacPherson said, "Jimmy, do we have any other plays?" And Tressel replied, "Yes. Coach, we do. And just as soon as they stop this one will run something else."
One of the broadcasters - might have been Herbstreit - said, "Michigan men don't like to see that."
Just one more nail in the Richie Rod (Michiganders call him Fraudriguez) coffin.
*********** Enough of this "breaking the plane" crap. Or soaring out of bounds with an arm extended so that the ball travels through the end zone's air space. Let's go back to football's rugby roots - TOUCH the f--king ball DOWN. Or at least STEP IN THE F--KING END ZONE!
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2009- "If a dictatorship ever comes to this country, it will be by the default of those who keep silent." Ayn Rand
*********** It's playoff time again, and I'm always amused by the administrative fools at the state level who, back in August, were so-o-o-o-o- obsessed with our players' safety that they wouldn't let a kid play in a game until he'd had TWELVE DAYS of practice (even though he'd been lifting and running all summer). But now that it's playoff time, they think nothing of having teams play games on Friday, Tuesday and Saturday - three games in nine days.
See, it's all about safety - until money's involved. Then, it's socialism at its best: from each according to their ability, to each according to their need. And the need is for football's money. From football to needy sports.
Football playoff games mean revenue for the state association, which then can use all its football-generated money to pay for playoffs in all the other sports that don't pay their way. (You sexist, you. I didn't say a word about girls' sports!)
High school football is every state association's cash cow. Wait till you show up for a playoff game and show the refs your game ball and it's not the association's "official" football. You'll wish you'd been using the approved ball all along. (You get the idea.)
This all should help you better understand why there's a BCS. See, the big football schools aren't stupid. They know good and well what the NCAA, like a state high school association on steroids, will do once it gets its grubby hands on the money generated by a playoff.
It’s rare when a player transfers into a school for his senior year and has the impact on his team that Nevin did. Nevin’s effect on his team was to help elevate it from the perennial league doormat to a potential playoff contender.
Nevin is a gifted football player. There are not many things he can’t do on the football field. But of far more importance, when he had to take on a leader's role, Nevin exerted an influence on his teammates that lifted their belief in themselves and made them all play better.
Woodburn football has been down for a long time. This was our staff's first year there, and we were in need of a player who knew how to win and could help us change the culture. Nevin turned out to be that player.
Nevin had played in a good program in Reno, where he’d grown up, and he did everything he could to impart a winner’s attitude to his new team. He was fiercely competitive, and it had to be frustrating in the early going when he realized that it was going to take a while for us to play good football. But it never showed. He constantly worked hard to get better, always pushing himself, and as he grew more confident with his place on the team, he began to ask the same of his teammates.
He did not shrink from responsibility. In the most difficult of times, Nevin fought the hardest of anyone.
Stuck in midseason in a slump that seemed as if it might not end, we were barely into the first quarter of our seventh game when we lost our only remaining quarterback to injury. We had no recourse but to run our Wildcat offense and turn things over to Nevin. Leadership was thrust on him, and without hesitation, he took the reins. Without a moment’s hesitation, he stepped into the breach and on his very first play took a direct snap from center and ran 25 yards for a touchdown.
From that point, you could sense that the other kids suddenly believed we had a chance – that winning was possible. Nevin fought like a tiger, and his teammates stepped up their games to match his.
We went on to win that game, and then the next one – our first league win in eleven years. We were 3-5, the most wins by our team in any season since 2003, with a chance to finish .500.
It would be nice to say that we won our final two games, but we didn’t. But we played hard and played to win, and lost them both by only a touchdown each. The coaches are convinced that it was Nevin Blem’s leadership, his fighting spirit, that turned our season around and turned us into a group of kids who suddenly began to see themselves as winners. It seemed as though everything changed for us the instant Nevin took charge. Our morale improved. Our practices were sharper.
Over our last four games, Nevin rushed for over 600 yards and threw for 130 more. He ran for eight touchdowns and threw for two. He was our leading kick returner and our only punt returner. And although he played defense only on an "as-needed" basis, he was our eighth leading tackler.
Nevin Blem was a tower of strength, the kind of player who was willing to step up in the toughest of action and take the bull by the horns, and his teammates drew strength and confidence from his strength and confidence.
Nevin was a very good player and as we began to win he got his share of media attention. But there was never a sign of conceit about him. He remained hard-working and coachable. He loved to play football and he grew to love his new teammates. It was a great thrill when he stood up in front of his teammates before our final game and told them what it honor it was to be able to play with them.
*********** Great insights as always. This has been fascinating for 2 days, on talk radio, in the lounge, with my brothers.
I wouldn't have done what Belichick did, but I understand his reasoning. I think.
Temple IS good. Possibly the MAC membership helped, at least in recruiting players. Not in attendance, though- it still sucks and I'm not sure how they stay alive financially.
Georgia Tech is maybe a year away.
The next ND coach is almost certain to be Jon Gruden, now that he's just signed a long-term contract with ESPN. Just kidding. But that would get ND the kind of coach who'd still be easy for non-Domers to dislike and at the same time allow NBC to stick it to ESPN.
*********** Trent Dilfer on Cleveland: "The worst NFL team I've ever seen." Wyatt to Dilfer: "Haven't seen Detroit yet, huh?"
*********** Coach Wyatt,
Coach, That's an amazing story and quite a tribute.
I plan to print it but simply because I don't want to get you into it with that other organization, I'll leave off your name (and town).
Thanks for taking the time to write. There's a LOT of wisdom in what you write!
*********** Isn't it time somebody charged that cop in Texas for shooting that poor, overstressed psychiatrist?
*********** Wisdom from Don Banks, si.com
Pretty rough weekend all around for Belichick and his coaching tree, wouldn't you say?
First, the master himself gets the green curtain peeled back in Indy. Then you've got Charlie Weis's job security looking shakier than ever after he and Notre Dame lost another big game at Pittsburgh. The bloom is definitely off the rose for Denver's Josh McDaniels, whose Broncos were upset in Washington and are in the midst of a furious fade after that magical 6-0 start.
And last, we submit for your inspection Eric Mangini's Browns, who capped things off Monday night at home with an offensive effort against Baltimore that was pathetic by even their abysmal standards.
• Jon Gruden is smart to stay in TV for another few years. He is a natural in the booth, and the longer he stayed in Tampa Bay, the worse his coaching reputation got. But while he is extremely good on air, I get the feeling we're seeing a case of early Madden-itis develop. The reviews for Gruden have been so good, so early that he's getting built up into something that will probably be difficult to sustain.
Remember how good and fresh and funny John Madden was early on as a broadcaster, before everyone started telling him how good and fresh and funny he was? From then on, Madden kind of had to top himself every few years, and eventually he just started doing his John Madden schtick. I can see a little of that coming with Gruden.
*********** This one's simple coach, when can I come down from Richmond and see your 2010 clinic?
"G" is the name I gave to a playside trap play which I got from the Delaware Wing-T system, which calls it simply "down."
Basically, it calls for the playside guard to block out at the point of attack, while the Tight End creates the inside of the hole by blocking down on the first man to his inside. The man between the guard and tight end, the tackle, also blocks down.
Hope that helps.
*********** Hugh, I normally don't put much stock in bulletin board material, but is there any way Jim Harbaugh doesn't have this posted up in big bold letters?
"I'm not one to be big-headed or anything like that, but we don't belong on the same field as those guys," Cal linebacker Worrell Williams said after last year's win over Stanford. "We have way more athletes than those guys, and we're more fundamentally sound than those guys. We're better than those guys. ... When we go out and play our game, they can't compete with us, and it showed today."
*********** Dick Jauron is gone at Buffalo. I'm sad, first of all because he's a fellow Yalie, but mainly because from all I know he's a good man.
And Dick Tomey has decided to hang it up at San Jose State. That makes me sad, too, because he's been a great coach (Hawaii, Arizona) and, again, by all accounts, a very good man. His inability to sustain a winning program at SJSU makes me wonder if anyone can do it there.
And then there's Jerry Glanville, whose reverse-Midas touch took a relatively healthy Portland State program and in three years managed to put it on life support. He was brought in, along with local favorite (and run-and-shoot expert) Mouse Davis, for marketing purposes - to put some fans in the seats.
He did do a hell of a job promoting himself, (hasn't that always been his M.O?) wearing all black and cowboy boots and hats and all that crap. But he blew any chance he had with the folks in Portland when he forced Davis out by ordering him to provide more "balance" in his offense. Davis resisted and finally left, turning his many devoted supporters in the Portland area against Glanville. Glanville? He took a team that under Davis had led the nation in passing and got his offensive balance - a team that couldn't run or pass. And, quite an indictment since defense was his specialty in the NFL, didn't play much defense. Tuesday, he "resigned." What the hell, if that's what they allowed him say, fine with me. Just get his ass outta town. One possible successor being mentioned is Mark Speckman, head coach at Willamette University, 60 miles to the south in Salem, Oregon. He is a very good coach and an amazing man who would be a very popular choice.
Video of Mark Speckman at work - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHROQUXn7Qo
*********** Even if you're not a hockey fan, you have to see this shot by a junior hockey player from Maine, playing in a 1-on-1 tournament in Boston..
*********** Former Georgia coaching legend Vince Dooley's book, "Dooley's Playbook," was released Tuesday.
*********** Years ago, Alabama coach Gene Stallings wrote "Another Season," a book about raising a child with Down syndrome. The book is being re-released in paperback with a new section about the death of his son, Jon Mark Stallings, who passed awayin 2008 at the age of 46.
*********** If you can believe this, "Vince," a musical about Vince Lombardi, will open on Broadway next fall. Not to say that they can't pull it off, but to be blunt, I never associated Vince Lombardi with anything musical, and I can't imagine some flit in tights playing Fuzzy Thurston.
*********** A friend wrote about the "combine/camp craze" and the complications it causes for high school coaches. (You know - those guys who actually coach the game once summer's over and the kids put on the pads.)
The growing emphasis on 7-on-7 tournaments and camps and combines and personal coaches is feeding a selfishness that is antithetical to a team game.
It creates stage parents like the kind that basketball's always had - the kind of worms who come to the game with their own scorebook, and care more about the scorebook than the scoreboard.
It's not fun coaching a kid who's hearing one thing from you and another from dad - and maybe another from his personal coach, too.
What makes these parents insidious and destructive to a team is that unless the coach is running an offense that features their kid, and their kid is unusually good, they will inevitably resort to criticism of the coaches and, often, teammates as well.
*********** Hi, Coach Wyatt;
Nice to hear from you.
Option football, I hate to have to tell the spread guys, is still very much alive. That's why I predict that the NCAA Rules Committee will be asked, this off-season - to put limits on blocking low. Then everyone will be forced to play with 300 pound linemen who can't even get into a 3-point stance, much less block someone at the knees. In fact, the rule may simply outlaw a 3-point or 4-point stance by a lineman, and that should be enough to do it!
Thanks for the link to Coach Baldock's passing.
*********** It was bad enough that Brady Quinn took that cheap shot at Terrell Suggs' knees after throwing an interception (I mean, come on, Brady - blocking a guy on the return team?), but then he couldn't even man up and fess up to what he did - weasel said he was just trying to make a tackle. Uh, Brady... the object is to tackle the one with the ball.
*********** Baseball is in a class by itself when it comes to superstitions, but I'll bet every football coach who reads this has at least one thing he does to bring his team good luck. Does it work? Not likely. But just like chicken soup when you're sick - it can't hurt.
Go ahead and mock the superstitions of others, but consider: Leonard Mladinov wrote in the Wall Street Journal that famed physicist Neils Bohr was said to have kept a horseshoe hanging over his door. Asked how a renowned physicist could believe in such a thing, he answered, "I am told it works, even if you don't believe in it."
*********** The New York Times came out Thursday with a strong argument for Stanford's Toby Gerhart as a Heisman candidate. (Maybe it's not too late, but I doubt it - as I've already mentioned, so many of the diletttantes who have no business voting for the Heisman make it a practice of casting their ballots early. Probably just waiting for the first week of games, so they can find out who the favorite is.)
Gerhart's had a very good season - 1,395 yards on 262 carries and scoring 19 touchdowns - but he really burst onto the national scene the last two Saturdays, with giant games against Oregon and USC.
Like Ernie Nevers, another Stanford great years before him, Gerhart also plays college baseball.
And - this has to make the NCAA suits happy - unlike at least 90 per cent of major college football players, he really is a "student-athlete." He's majoring in management, science and engineering, with a "better than B" average.
This quarter, he's taking five courses, including calculus and Introduction to Prehistoric Archaeology (because it sounded interesting).
Writes The Times, "His workload would be heavy even for someone without a full-time job, which is what college football at the highest level has become. (Asked how he manages, Gerhart chuckled and said, 'A lot of late nights.'")
Concluded The Times, "it could be argued with a straight face that he is the embodiment of the award."
Oh - and his mom is a special ed teacher and his dad is a high school PE teacher and football coach.
*********** Don't read this if you're one of those who don't think a kid ever needs a spanking...
Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim said his kid met him at the door recently with this:
"Dad, you stink. Your team stinks. How can you lose to Lemoyne?"
Guess the Coach thought it was funny.
When a guy tells a story like that one, it tells me two things: (1) he's raising a brat; and (2) he doesn't realize it.
*********** Send a "thank you" card to a serviceman (or woman), courtesy of Xerox- http://www.letssaythanks.com/Home1280.html
*********** There's some nasty stuff coming out of Lawrence, Kansas, where the Mark Margino era may be coming to an end.
Writes Jason Whitlock in the Kansas City Star,
Mark Mangino is an abusive bully. He’s been one from the moment he stepped on campus at Kansas. He used bully tactics to build a winning football team in 2007 and intimidate anyone on campus who dared to stand in his way.
I don’t really have a problem with bullies. They’re effective and many times their ends justify their means.
Abusive bullies are dangerous, and leaders of institutions and members of the media have an obligation to stand up to them.
There’s a reported and unreported pattern of abusive, out-of-control behavior attached to Mangino’s eight-season tenure at Kansas.
On Wednesday, the Lawrence Journal-World reported on Mangino’s profanity-laced run-in with the parking police on KU’s campus. The police repeatedly ticketed Mangino for parking in a loading zone next to his old office. Mangino didn’t like it and berated one of his ticket-givers.
*********** Not far away from Lawrence, in Manhattan, Kansas comes stuff of a more positive sort, as beloved Bill Snyder has brought his magic touch back to K-State.
Writes Kellis Robinett, also in the Kansas City Star...
The Cat Pack - Kansas State players linking arms and jogging from midfield to the locker room after games - is going strong 20 years after its debut.
“I’ve never seen that anywhere else in my life, and I watch a lot of football,” quarterback Grant Gregory said. “But it’s pretty cool. The crowd goes nuts every time we do it. It really brings us together.”
It’s one of the oldest Bill Snyder traditions, used to symbolize team unity.
There are others.
K-State players are required to leave the locker room after games in matching attire: gray dress pants, white shirt, tie and a black sport coat with a Powercat sewn onto the breast.
The point is that even though players are free to go where they wish, they remain united in their appearance.
It’s another sign of what Snyder has done best during his first year back on the job. Coming off a three-year retirement at age 70, he has made his players believe not only in themselves, but also in each other.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2009- "Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm." James Madison
*********** As a Stanford dad, of course I loved Stanford's 55-21 beat-down of USC. I especially liked the fact that Stanford's power game so worked over the Trojans that they gave up 27 points in the fourth quarter.
Stanford's Jim Harbaugh comes by power football honestly. He's the son of a long-time coach; he played under Bo Schembechler in college and Mike Ditka in the pros. Stanford's performance was classic Bo Schembechler/Jack Harbaugh/Mike Ditka football.
I loved the fact that USC's "loyal" fans had pretty much cleared out by game's end.
If Stanford did nothing else, they shut up that obnoxious USC band. It's like a bunch of starlings that come to your stadium and won't shut up. It plays non-stop. And knows only two f--king tunes.
One it plays the whole time you have you have the ball - how sportsmanlike is that? It's really a pain in the ass. I don't know its name. It goes DA-da-da-DUM-dum-dum-dum-DUM! Over and f--king over. Who needs waterboarding?
The other, which it plays when USC's on offense, is "Fight On" (for Old SC). At least it has a tune. And words.
As the score mounted Saturday, the Stanford players derived great pleasure out of pointing at the seats vacated by the Trojan "faithful" and hollering "Fight On!"
Following the game, it appeared that words were exchanged at midfield between Harbaugh and USC's Pete Carroll. Carroll, it seems, took umbrage at Harbaugh's decision to go for two with the score Stanford 48, USC 21.
Carroll conveniently forgot last year's game when, as the Portland Oregonian's Ken Goe points out, "with Stanford trailing by four touchdowns and trying to score a last-minute, consolation touchdown, Carroll hustled starting linebackers Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing back onto the field and had his team blitz."
There's always the hope that a good ass-kicking might do a guy like that some good - teach him that the sun don't shine on the same dog's ass all the time.
Harbaugh supposedly told some Stanford insiders that he only went for two because he couldn't go for three.
*********** "At Alabama our players do not win Heisman Trophies, our teams win national championships." -- Bear Bryant after being asked if he was disappointed that an Alabama player had never won the Heisman Trophy while he was the coach.
*********** Not to doubt Al Gore for one minute, but a ski resort near us opened last weekend - its earliest opening day since 1994.
*********** Portland really is a cool city, but there are times when living among all the "progressives" and environmentalists (usually one and the same) can be like Chinese water torture.
Example: This year's "Holiday Tree" was escorted to its place in downtown Portland by Santa Claus. Driving a hybrid Prius.
*********** Old friend Scott Barnes, a youth coach in Denver and then in Dallas, has taken on a new challenge - the Baja 1000
He sent me "a site where I will be posting daily updates on the team, along with some pics."
(And it includes some clips of his 2007 Baja run. You are not going to believe the "road.")
*********** Congratulations to Gabe McCown and his wife, Andrea, parents of Hunter McCown, born on Friday, November 13. Hunter was 7 pounds, 14 ounces. He joins older sister Reagan, who was named for President Reagan, so I'm thinking "Barack Hussein McCown" was never under consideration for her new little brother's name.
*********** Cool - Five Pac-10 teams in the top 25.
Consider the following to be a shot at Les Miles for taking a cheap shot at the Pac-10 a year or two ago:
How'd that game against Louisiana Tech go, Coach? 24-16, eh? That's a win, right? Yeah, I know, you could played better - but hell, a win's a win. Evidently that's what you've got the BCS voters believing.
Just goes to show what a great job you've done convincing the voters how tough the SEC is, because in the last two weeks you've lost to Alabama and then narrowly beaten Louisiana Tech - and you're still ranked eighth in the BCS standings, ahead of any Pac-10 team.
*********** Dear Hugh,
Sorry to hear that your season has come to an early end (We play the top-ranked team in 5A, largest classification, in the Regional Championship tonight, Friday the 13th oooooo scary). In regards to your football staffing situation, we coach up our team similarly to the situation you had in Vancouver, but we take to another level. We have a long history at Snider for excellent football and have taken on many graduates from our program as coaches. We have a staff of about 5 full-time offensive and defensive coaches (most of whom work for the school system), but we also have about 3 more "GA" type of coaches on each side that might be students or employed in jobs that don't allow for availability after school every day. The staff that leads the program has been in place since the 70s (three different head coaches and countless assistants, but essentially the same staff over that time, similar to Michigan's staff since Bo and before Rodriguez).
Also your aging ears are not failing you. Since Desmond Howard has been promoted up from the cheering throngs below to the seat next to Fowler, his diction has been improving.
Title I Math Support
*********** A sad story by Doug Ward in the Vancouver (BC) Sun
Bernd Dittrich grew up in Austria with an improbable dream for a boy from Vienna: He wanted to play college football in North America.
Dittrich eventually lived that dream, playing quarterback on Simon Fraser University's football team. He wept after helping the Clan end three seasons of futility - 25 straight defeats - by upsetting the UBC Thunderbirds in the opening game of the 2008 season.
Dittrich's gridiron journey on a new continent came to a tragic end Wednesday when he died at Royal Columbian Hospital at age 21, one day after losing consciousness in the pool at SFU's Margaret and Paul Savage Aquatic Centre.
The cause of death has yet to be officially determined. But SFU head football coach Dave Johnson said he learned at the hospital that Dittrich had a previously undetected heart condition.
Johnson said Dittrich was using swimming to rehabilitate an injured shoulder that had kept him out of the Clan's last two games.
"We're not treating it as suspicious and we have concluded our investigation," RCMP Cpl. Brenda Gresiuk said. "It's just a very tragic accident."
Dittrich's football teammates and friends were grieving the loss of the quarterback they called "Bernie."
"He really did have a dream and he lived to fulfill it. But unfortunately not to the fullest extent possible," said David Murphy, SFU's senior director of athletics.
"The whole university will be mourning the loss of Bernie because he was such a special person."
Dittrich guided the Clan in 2008, his second season at SFU, to a Shrum Bowl victory over the University of B.C. and to the Canada West conference final.
"This is a tragic situation and we are just so filled with sorrow," Johnson said.
"People always say nice things in situations like this and glorify a guy's character," he said, "but Bernd was awesome, the hardest worker, the most positive guy.
*********** I guess it's fair to say, after Ohio State's overtime win over Iowa, that the guys who told us that Keokuk, Iowa's James Vandenberg was the real deal knew what they were talking about---
Don Capaldo sent along this nice article on the Iowa QB - http://www.thehawkeye.com/Story/Vandenberg_122507
And congratulations to Ohio State - true champions of the Big Ten, without any need for a playoff or a championship game.
*********** Chuck Solberg - Would that be the guy Mike Riley played for? And how the hell did a kid in Oregon get the attention of Bear Bryant? Were there national recruiting pipelines back then or was there a special connection?
Christopher Anderson, Arlington, Virginia
The same Chuck Solberg, one-time coach at Corvallis, Oregon High School.
Mike Riley (coach at Oregon State) went to Corvallis High because his dad, Bud Riley, was an assistant to Dee Andros at OSU.
Bud Riley was an Alabamian. Mike's family was all from Alabama. His cousin, Major Ogilvie, was a hell of a runner for the Tide.
Christopher added - Major Ogilvie was the namesake of Major Applewhite (confirmed to me by the Major himself when I interviewed him in 2005 - he had no Bama ties, his dad just liked the name.
Was watching the Stanford-USC game on TV this past Saturday. Did you see what I saw?? Not only did Stanford kick USC's ever pompous a--, but they did it running Power O with O Line splits no wider than foot-to-foot! Have you been talking with Harbaugh?? It sure looked a lot like what I've been doing from the "I", and I know I haven't been on the phone with him! No matter, it was awesome! And the irony?? STANFORD - pass-happy Stanford - QB/WR tradition rich Stanford - gettin' physical!! Wow.
It would be sweet to see Stanford get to Pasadena and play Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. What a historical flip-flop that would be! A grind-it-out in your face Stanford offense vs. the wide-open finesse offense of Ohio State. Huh??
(Wonder what the pundits will call Stanford's "new" look?)
Talk to you soon.
Joe Gutilla, Toledo, Ohio
It was an ass-kicking, and apparently Pete Carroll let Harbaugh know that he didn't appreciate it. T.S.
*********** It was nice of the officials at the Pitt-Notre Dame game to take the time to call a chop block against the Irish. I am assuming that they did so in order that ND "associate head coach" Corwin Brown could see what an illegal block really is before he goes off on Navy again. (Assuming that he's coaching anyplace next year that has Navy on the schedule.)
*************** I realize that at this point probably 50 per cent of the Heisman voters have already sent in their ballots (that's the kind of hard-core football people they give Heisman ballots to), so there's no chance for Stanford's Toby Gerhart or Ole Miss' Dexter McCluster. But either one would get my vote.
*********** I'm not going to jump on Bill Belichick for going for it on fourth-and-two on his own 28. (Even though half the coaches in the NFL would have signed their own death warrants if they'd been the one making the call.)
But I do believe that if his thinking was that he was willing to take a chance on maybe not making it rather than simply punt and turn the ball over to Peyton Manning 40-some yards downfield, then he was risking alienating his own defense, which up to then had done a decent job on the Colts.
I've heard a lot of people on the talk shows attributing the decision to Belichick's arrogance (Belichick? Arrogant?), but I think the guy is smarter than that.
I think. Except on fourth and two, he felt he had to throw the ball.
Where his arrogance did show was in his unwillingness to explain his thinking afterwards. Nice not to have to be accountable to anyone.
*********** Regarding all the bitching about the "danger" to defenders' knees of triple option blocking, a poster to the Army board writes...
"If the technique was so unsafe, how could the (Navy) defense that goes against it every day in practice survive the season?"
*********** Jeez, even with that a**hole Chad Whathisface, you had to admire the turnaround that Marvin Lewis and the Bengals have been pulling off. And then they had to go and sign Larry Johnson.
*********** See that ball that Brady threw to Randy Moss Sunday night? Sixty yards in the air, and right on the mark. And Moss, despite being grossly interfered with, catches the ball anyhow.
Say this for Moss. Yes, he's a knucklehead. But he's not in the same league as franchise jerks like Chad 85 and T.O.
And he's talented. Compared with T.O., who's rapidly becoming a joke, a self-parody, Moss is still a serious playmaker.
Which reminds me --- why aren't T.O.'s drops charged to him, instead of the QB? When is football going to start charging receivers with dropped passes?
*********** Baltimore 0, Cleveland 0 at the half. 16-0 final. (Baltimore, of course.) An empty Cleveland Stadium as the clock ran out.
The NFL at its best.
Or was it that Cincinnati-Pittsburgh beauty on Sunday? (One touchdown - a kickoff return - and EIGHT FIELD GOALS (in nine attempts). Hell, there's more excitement in a soccer shootout.
Trent Dilfer on Cleveland: "The worst NFL team I've ever seen." Wyatt to Dilfer: "Haven't seen Detroit yet, huh?"
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2009- "I try to be cynical, but it's hard to keep up." Lily Tomlin
*********** Poor Notre Dame.
Navy goes and beats the Irish twice in the last 46 years, and it turns out it's because they cheat. And they're not good winners, either.
That's about what I got, between the sniffles and sobs, from a Notre Dame coaching staff supernumerary named Corwin Brown, speaking at a news conference. (On Veterans Day, yet.)
He whined about a cheap shot that a Navy kid took on a ND player. Check. It was, indeed, a cheap shot.
But then, he told the media assembled, Navy makes "illegal cut blocks." Hmmmm. Didn't we hear the same thing a couple of weeks ago from Frankie Beamer after Georgia Tech beat Virginia Tech? Is this the start of the campaign to make football safe for 300-pounders by eliminating one of the little man's few advantages? If he means "chop blocks," he should say so. They are illegal. But if he's referring to blocking low, which any good triple-option team does, there's nothing illegal about that. Coach your players, coach.
What really set thi guy off, though, was Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo's post-game comment that Navy pretty much knew what to expect from Notre Dame's defense. That Notre Dame really didn't change what they'd done in 2008. Oooooo. Coach Corwin was really angry about that. Said that Notre Dame was actually well prepared. Really. Then WTF I was watching, Saturday?)
Oh - and Navy was "unimaginative," besides. Nyaaa, nyaaa.
Evidently, if we are to believe this guy, "in this profession" (he used that term a couple of times) you're not supposed to even suggest that the other guy wasn't properly prepared. Not even when he's making $2 million a year. Plus change. With five years left on a ten-year contract. (Bear in mind that this is a "profession" whose members so honor their fellows that they don't even start to recruit a kid until after he "commits" to another school.)
Interesting. Here's an assistant with some bogus title like "associate head coach" or some damn thing, and he's lecturing a head coach on professionalism. He said he actually called coach Niumatololo to complain. Are you kidding me? An assistant coach calling and complaining to a rival head coach? Without the knowledge of his boss? Not a chance. Not in that profession. Not in a business full of paranoid head coaches that don't want their assistants getting too much face time. No, no. If that assistant called Coach Niumatalolo, it was because Charlie let him do it. Or, more likely, put him up to it.
Brown's comments at the presser? Gimme a break. You know he had to be reading off the script that Charlie sent him out there with.
Either that or, to use a naval term, Corwin Brown is a loose cannon.
Regardless, the Weis ship is listing. (To use another naval term.)
As for Corwin Brown's future after Notre Dame, I'd say that he just set his head coaching aspirations back a bit. Pretend you're an AD, and watch him at the press conference, and tell me you'd entrust your multi-million dollar football program to him. He said he's "absolutely" looking forward to playing Navy again. I wonder where he'll be when he does.
AFTER LISTENING TO THE WHINGING OF THAT NOTRE DAME DEFENSIVE ASSISTANT, INCLUDING TELLING WHAT HE MUST HAVE THOUGHT WAS THE WORLD'S MOST GULLIBLE GROUP OF SPORTS REPORTERS THAT NOTRE DAME WAS ACTUALLY WELL PREPARED DEFENSIVELY FOR NAVY, CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON, OF ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, SUGGESTED I GO BACK AND REVISIT WHAT I WROTE AFTER NAVY'S 2007 VICTORY OVER NOTRE DAME...
THE TIME MACHINE - FROM 2007
*********** It was Notre Dame 28, Navy 28, with 45 seconds left. And even Notre Dame's NBC announcers up in the press box expressed mild criticism when Jolly Cholly, faced with a fourth-and-eight at the Navy 25, passed up the field goal and went for it.
With a bye week to prepare for Navy, here's the scheme that ND came up with to defense Navy's triple option:
Knowing that the Notre Dame DT would be slanting to stuff the fullback dive, the Navy playside guard and tackle put the wood to him with a classic double-team. They mashed the Notre Dame tackles, actually hitting them with their shoulder pads (if you can believe that anyone in this modern age would still use such outmoded tactics), and driving them back into the paths of the scraping playside LBers. Hmmm. Anybody know anyone else who preaches doing that with their double-teams?
As an example of what Notre Dame's nose man had to deal with on plays going to his left (Navy's right), here are three different techniques he had to face. On the left, the center fires low to playside and the guard comes in second - not a chop block, because the first hit is low; in the middle, as part of the scoop technique, the center slips past the nose and up onto the backside backer, while the backside guard takes the nose man low. Again, not a chop block because the Navy center is making a bona fide effort to escape the nose and is not "engaging" him. Finally, the center reaches the nose with a high drive block, while the guard steps at the nose then fires up on the backer.
(Don't show this to Corwin Brown. It's too painful. He was the ND defensive coordinator for this game.)
Back to the present...
*********** A Georgia Tech fan, writing on the Navy forum, wondered whether Frank Beamer and Charlie Weis (if he's still a college coach after this season) might try to assemble a mob to try to change the rules permitting blocking low... "you think they could get some kind of political movement together to turn football into a game of 350lb fatass ticklepush?"
*********** "When Weis first arrived here, he hung a banner in the weight room that said, "9-3 is not acceptable." If this is indeed Weis' most talented team, someone is underachieving." Dick Weiss, New York Daily News
*********** By John Feinstein in the Washington Post - Tuesday, November 10, 2009
One of the more overused terms in sports these days is "inspirational," which is sometimes used to describe anything from a golfer making a putt to a millionaire athlete playing despite a minor injury. But real inspiration could be found on a football field this past weekend, in South Bend, Ind., where Navy again beat Notre Dame.
Inspiration is a division I-A college football team with a 5-foot-9, 193-pound linebacker and exactly zero future NFL players beating a team that has a quarterback who will go in the top 10 of the 2010 draft, one receiver who is a lock first-round pick and another who won't be far behind.
Inspiration is a team filled with players who weren't offered scholarships or even recruited by any division I-A schools -- kids who are up before dawn most mornings, who spend their summers on ships and who will someday soon be sent overseas to fight and perhaps die for their country -- beating a team that has its very own TV network, more money than any of us can imagine and a coach who thinks Knute Rockne might have qualified to be one of his coordinators.
John Feinstein's book, "A Civil War," although now more than 10 years old, is timeless in its look at service academy football in general and the Army-Navy game in particular, through the eyes of the men who played in it. HW
Coach, I would venture to guess that ZERO midshipmen were ever recruited by ND.
And you know, I, too, find Pat Haden to be refreshingly unpartisan.
*********** Meantime, reiterating my suspicion that ND might be overlooking UConn... the Huskies have lost five games - by a total of 15 points! They haven't lost to anyone by more than four, and could easily be undefeated.
*********** Hugh, You may have seen that the Sun Coach dissed a player to the press for saying the emperor had no clothes. A fellow named Ian Williams remarked that they were outschemed and that Navy played harder. Weis replied as follows:
"Well, I didn't read anything as you would imagine, but I did hear quite contrasting answers to the same question. I think that question was presented to Ian (Williams), it was also presented to Kyle McCarthy, and from what I understand, Kyle McCarthy's answer was quite different, where he said it had nothing to do with the scheme. So there's a reason why one guy is a captain and one guy is not."
He also said "we had players in position to make the plays" which sounds like code for "we did our job, they didn't do theirs."
When I first read the "there's a reason" quote, I didn't realize that it was Weis who said it. What a d--khead. HW
It's no shocker that teams are playing the we-started-higher-so-we-stay-higher game, but I'm not sure what Texas has done that Cincinnati hasn't - Cincy just beat UConn by 2. OK, Texas beat a lame OU team by three points, a team that just threw five interceptions against Nebraska. Cincy also has WVU and Pitt to play which would be big wins.
The Big East is getting the media shake as a joke conference, but they have four ranked teams with five losses between them. (Pitt would pick up some serious strength of schedule with a win over Notre Dame this weekend...heh heh.)
Should Texas and Cincy both lose, I'm not sure I have a big problem with TCU going to the big one (should they continue to pound their competition).
Actually, the funny thing is that just a year after the Big 12 was exalted as being on the same high level as the SEC, it is now somewhat suspect, with Kansas State atop the north and Texas pretty lonely at the top in the south.
This year, the Big East looks much tougher than the ACC and maybe even the Big 12. Pitt and UConn could really help things along by thumping ND, their greedy all-but-football brother.
Also --- You'll like this: you may have noticed that Comcast is considering buying NBC from GE. It has been speculated that if that were to happen, Comcast (which owns Versus) might execute a little-known clause in the ND-NBC contract allowing NBC to put some ND home games on cable instead of network television.
Assuming a Comcast purchase of NBC the long-range plan, I understand, is to give ESPN a run for its money. Imagine the sensationalism of a SportsCenter that had competition for viewers!
*********** Coach Wyatt,
I wanted to give you an update and let you know that the DW is alive and doing quite well at Trinity. Best wishes.
*********** Hi Coach,
Just wanted to update you on the end of our season. Our post-season 'run' was short-lived. We got beat by 2A-District 6 champion Davis County 28-26. It was a text-book double wing night though. We ran the ball 45 times for 248 yards. We would have had more yards rushing, but we ran back a kick off return in the second quarter, and intercepted a pass to set up a short field in the 3rd. We led 13-6 after the 1st, 19-16 at the half, 26-22 at the end of the 3rd. They scored the go ahead TD with 8:41 to go in the game. We then went on a 7:32 drive that allowed us to attempt a 32-yard field goal that missed by about a yard short. It was disheartening but it was our first post-season birth in school history and I felt good about that. The guys worked as hard as they could have, and no one had any regrets. I feel good about the direction of the program. We've been having workouts the last couple of weeks, and I've got a ton of football players, cross country runners, and even female volleyball players coming out to get better. It's fun working with young people that want to get better.
I have a couple of questions for you. If you've answered them in previous news postings, I apologize in advance! It's almost Xmas time (thank gosh for a supportive wife and mother!) and I'm looking at ordering a few of your DVD's. 1) Are you going to be selling an offensive highlight film of your team this season? 2) Have you ever thought about coming out with a defensive film? I know I would be very interested to see and hear your insights on the defensive side of the ball.
Again, thanks for everything coach. This season would never have been possible without your teachings and mentoring to me. I was told before the season by an assistant that we would never be able to run the ball...yeah right!! Above are a few pictures from the play-off game. We are in white. Keep Coaching!
Coach, Although I'm sorry that your comeback drive came up short, I am VERY pleased to hear that your season went so well. That's what your kids will reflect on, I'm sure.
As a matter of fact, I am getting to work right now on an offensive highlights video from this year (much of it Wildcat, I should add) and a defense video is next.
*********** Just watched Jay Cutler throw his fifth interception of the game. He's now one of only two Bear's QBs to throw four interceptions in two different games in a season. The other? Billy Wade - like Cutler, a Vanderbilt grad.
*********** WTF? Just heard Deion Sanders, representative of all that a Florida State education can do for a young man off the streets of Fort Myers, use the word "maturated."
*********** The SEC, the Super Conference, sure does things bigger than every other conference. While the occasional football player in the ACC and PAC-10 and Big Ten was getting drunk and maybe getting into a fight at a fraternity party, three Tennessee football players - er, "student-athletes" - were arrested Thursday and charged with armed robbery. Just a buncha college kids.
*********** Hard to believe, wrote Todd Bross, of Union, Maine regarding the Heisman candidacy of Alabama's Mark Ingram, that there has never been a Crimson Tide Heisman Trophy winner.
Whoa. Time to do a little research!
Todd Bross is right on. Successful programs tend to have at least one Heisman jewel in their crown. Only seven of the 24 different teams to have won or shared a national title in the modern era (since WWII) cannot boast of a Heisman Trophy winner during that time - Clemson, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Michigan State, Minnesota and Washington. And, yes, hard to believe, Alabama. Alabama! Perhaps it has had something to do with Coach Bryant's emphasis on Team First.
To illustrate the point, I remember a Bama QB named Jeff Rutledge being asked in an interview something about recognition or individual honors or whatever, and saying, "I didn't come to Alabama to be an All-American. I came to Alabama to WIN." It would be interesting to see all the Bama guys who might have been worthy.
Conversely, in the years since WWII only ten Heisman winners have come from schools that have not won a national championship in that time: Alan Ameche (Wisconsin), Terry Baker (Oregon State), John David Crow (Texas A & M), Dick Kazmaier (Princeton), Jim Plunkett (Stanford), George Rogers (South Carolina), Barry Sanders (Oklahoma State), Roger Staubach and Joe Bellino (Navy), Doak Walker (SMU)
Also hard to believe (at first) - Terry Baker (1962) was the first winner from the West Coast.
Hard to believe, that is, until you realize (1) how many of the voters then lived east of the Mississippi; (2) jet travel had not yet arrived on the scene to allow for much team travel to and from the West Coast; (3) only one college game a week was televised.
*********** A coach wrote to tell me that he had some problems with kids playing in a hockey game and then, later that same day, playing their football championship game. Dead-legged, they played at less than their best and hurt their team...
The hockey business is dismaying, but I suppose that it is what football coaches have to expect in a time when they - and parents as well - are fighting the pressure from coaches of certain other sports to concentrate entirely on their sport - which usually turns out to be soccer, hockey, or, increasingly, lacrosse.
Football coaches wind up settling for half a loaf.
Hockey really baffled me in Finland. It is deeply embedded in the Finnish culture, as is the idea of devoting one's self to just one sport, and I just couldn't get my hands on some of those athletes. All summer long, when they could have played football, they trained for hockey. Unfortunately, the dominance in most places of hockey and soccer meant that few good athletes could catch. The exceptions were those guys, mostly in rural areas, are who play pesapallo, a rather unique form of baseball, but they, too, devote themselves to it full-time.)
*********** Stewart Mandel in si.com...
To me, the devaluation of New Year's Day has been the single biggest negative by-product of the BCS. It started when ABC took control of the four major bowls in 1998 and, since it couldn't air them all on the same day, moved one to Jan. 2 and the title game to Jan. 3 or 4.
When the BCS added a fifth bowl and Fox took over in 2006, the network spread out the games even further, in part to work around its weekend NFL broadcasts but also to add buildup to the stand-alone title game. In the meantime, ESPN began exerting its influence on the rest of the bowl lineup. For one, it's created several of the newer, third-tier bowls (PapaJohns.com, St. Petersburg, etc.) that have helped increase the total from 22 to 34 over the past decade. Needing windows to show them, it started moving a couple (GMAC, International) into that extended period before the title game (now there are eight). But most of all, it has enabled some of the higher-profile games on their air (Chick-fil-A, Capital One, Outback, etc.) to generate larger payouts and exposure than two more traditional New Year's games (the Gator and Cotton).
Whatever sanctity still remained of Jan. 1 officially went down the toilet last year when the Gator Bowl -- relegated to third choice of ACC teams and fourth choice of Big 12 teams -- selected 7-5 Clemson to face 8-4 Nebraska, and the Cotton Bowl moved to Jan. 2. This year, there are as many games being played Jan. 2 (five) as Jan. 1, though that's primarily due to the fact the 2nd is a Saturday. Next year you'll see a real change. With ESPN regaining the BCS rights, the Gator Bowl moving from CBS to ESPN and the new Dallas Football Classic potentially entering the mix, I've heard from knowledgeable sources that the network plans to treat the morning and afternoon of Jan. 1 as one big lead-in to the Rose Bowl, showing overlapping games on its various channels. The good news is, there will be more New Year's Day football. The bad news is, more mediocre teams will get to claim they played in January bowls.
*********** The Dolphins not only ran some Wildcat against the Patriots - they also ran some plain old option, with Patrick White under center. No matter. It took the Pats a few plays to settle their defense down, and they went on beat the Dolphins, 27-17 - and outgain them, 432 to 334.
Wrote Judy Battista in the New York Times, "...those who call the Wildcat a gimmick point to teams like the Patriots as an example of why it will not last: if a team has a great quarterback, no coach will take the ball from his hands."
True enough. After all, Tom Brady himself accounted for 332 yards Sunday, just two less than the Dolphins' total.
But isn't that exactly the point? How many teams these days have a great quarterback?
*********** For making something out of the mess that was Cincinnati - and for resisting the temptation to strangle Chad What's-his-face - Marvin Lewis gets my mid-season vote for Coach of the Year.
*********** Great article in the Wall Street Journal... "Why Iowa is Good For College Football"
*********** Coach Wyatt: In response to your post about Iowa's new starting quarterback James Vandenberg, from Keokuk, Iowa....
*********** Ohio State may very well prove me wrong on Saturday - go Hawkeyes! - but until then, we are looking at one of the damnedest things that I've seen in my lifetime - the best college team in Ohio is not Ohio State (it's Cincinnati), and the best college team in Michigan is neither Michigan nor Michigan State (it's Central Michigan).
*********** Is it my hearing as I get old, or is Desmond Howard speaking more clearly?
*********** Texas' Brown wonders whether the running game would be well received by fans, accustomed as they have become to the "excitement" of the passing game. This is more than a minor concern to athletic directors, who depend on football to produce the revenues that pay for all the non-revenue sports, including those forced on them by Title IX.
Where is he on, F---king Mars? I guess he hasn't heard all the buzz around Georgia Tech and Navy. Maybe someone should tell him it's called, "Win Baby Win", not just "Look Good".
If the Spread Clones can't get the rules changed, just watch how long it takes for them to find an option QB, that can run. I think the Pros are already starting to lean that way.
*********** Friend and fellow Yalie Lou Orlando, cutting his teeth on HS coaching in Massachusetts, was speaking to Coach Bill Maradei, a true double winger...
I spoke with Coach Maradei and he really enjoyed when I told him you said hello. Wanted me to let you know that he is very proud to be the first DBL WING coach inducted into the MA HS football coach Hall of Fame. He’s a great guy, we will be scouting his opponent this weekend so hopefully I’ll get a chance to say hello
*********** Hugh, Just applied for a football job today. I have been thinking about managing a large team (45-55 kids) with 3-5 coaches. My question is mostly in terms of offensive team time. How do you keep from having too many guys standing around? What are your thoughts?
I would do it the way we did it when I coached under a friend named Jon Eagle at Evergreen HS in Vancouver Washington, a school with 2000+ kids and fairly large numbers.
The staff was totally offense and totally defense, and one half of practice we defensive guys had varsity kids, the other half we had JV kids. While we had varsity defense, the offensive staff was coaching the JV, and then we switched.
I'm guessing that it was about 40 kids varsity, 40 kids JV. (There were no freshmen then - Evergreen was fed by three junior highs.)
Offense or defense period consisted of position and group drills, then scrimmaging. On defense, for example, you can run two different scout teams, one right after the other, at your starting defense. On offense, you could run two offenses at the same scout defense. There was very little standing around.
What's unique here is that the players don't necessarily platoon - although there will be some guys who play only on one side of the ball. But the staff does. Each guy coaches only one position. There is no such thing as a "head JC coach," which isn't such a bad thing, since there are those guys who can begin to get a bit proprietary and lose sight of their place in the overall program.
It worked well for us. We lost a total of three games in the two years I worked here.
One obvious benefit is that a position coach gets to see - and coach - all the kids in the program. And all the kids get the same coaching (although JVs obviously get less), which strengthens the overall program.
And it's not nearly as difficult to move kids back and forth from JV to varsity.
One drawback from the head coach's standpoint is that if he chooses to coach one side of the ball or the other, he has to totally entrust the other side of the ball to a coordinator. It's either that or have two coordinators, and move around supervising like most college or pro head coaches.
Our head coach handled the offense and scarcely touched the defense. Counting myself and the defensive coordinator, he had two former head coaches on the defensive side.
He got the system from a very good coach in Oregon named Chuck Solberg who won several state titles at Corvallis High School.
The trick is to have the staff to do it, but if I did I would do it that way. Counting coordinators, we had four defensive and four offensive coaches.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2009- "For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' 'Chuck him out, the brute!'/But it's 'Saviour of 'is country' when the guns begin to shoot." Rudyard Kipling
Honor Veterans on Veterans' Day
It's more than 100 years old, but as Rudyard Kipling's "Tommy" shows, a country's taking its veterans' service for granted is nothing new, and a cancer that infests every complacent culture...
I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
*********** Still on Veterans' Day... Wednesday night from 9-10:30 Eastern Time, PBS will run a show called "The Way We Get By," about the devotion of citizens in Bangor, Maine, who unfailingly show up at the airport to greet all the military flights - six or more a day - to and from Iraq and Afghanistan that land there.
*********** Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps!
*********** A last-gasp comeback came up short Friday night, and the Woodburn Bulldogs lost to Silverton, 28-21, to end the season 3-7.
The Bulldogs took the opening kickoff and drove 65 yards in nine plays to take a 7-0 lead.
But Silverton came right back and on the next play from scrimmage threw 63 yards for the tying score.
Woodburn fell behind, 14-7, but two second-period scores put the Bulldogs back in front, 21-14. The first score came after the Bulldogs covered 63 yards in three plays, the second after they moved 45 yards in five plays to make the score 21-14 with 1:32 remaining.
Silverton, however, drove the length of the field to score with 3.8 seconds left. The extra point was blocked, and Woodburn went off with its first halftime lead of the season, 21-20.
Alas, Silverton put on a drive to make a Double-Wing team proud, taking the second-hald kickoff - and seven minutes - to go back in front, 28-21.
Silverton put on a fourth-quarter drive deep into Woodburn territory, but the Woodburn defense held on the five, and from there the Bulldogs launched a drive that would end on the Silverton 20 with an interception with under two minutes to play.
The final four games resulted ina pair of wins and two narrow losses (14-8 and 28-21), and the final record 0f 3-7 did mark the start of a turnaround in a program that prior to this season had won only two games since 2003.
*********** A Stones Award to Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson. It's OT and Tech is down, 27-24. Fourth and one at the Wake Forest five. Instead of kicking the field goal, and staying alive for another round of OT, Johnson goes for it. And gets it. And Tech scores the winning TD on the next play.
*********** Saturday, I suffered through losses to Duke, Army and Oregon and Washington's one-point loss to UCLA but, I was sustained by Stanford's terrific performance, and by the knowledge that (1) Notre Dame is officially out of the BCS picture and (2) Jimmy Clausen is no longer a "Heisman favorite."
*********** I have to laugh at all the Notre Dame people, coming to terms with the possibility that with Pitt and Stanford still left to play, there is the chance that the Irish could lose two more.
May I point out that sandwiched between Pitt and Stanford is UConn, which on Saturday scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to come within two points of Cincinnati?
*********** In my humble opinion, the Pac-10, perceived by most as a pass-first conference, has the best group of running backs in college football.
*********** Whew. Oregon puts up 571 yards of offense and still loses to Stanford by nine. Don't call it an upset. Stanford is that good.
Toby Gerhart, who rushed for 223 yards against the Ducks, is a beast, probably be the best classic run-over-your-ass tailback in the country. 245-pound Owen Marecic is undoubtedly the best blocking fullback. Line them up in the I behind some solid drive-blocking linemen - sometimes an extra one - and Stanford is a spread team's nightmare.
And the Cardinal can pass, too. Redshirt freshman QB Andrew Luck is already being called by many the best pro prospect at his position. What Jim Harbaugh is doing is putting together an old-school Big Ten-type team reminiscent of the ones built by the man he played for at Michigan, Bob Schembechler.
*********** All it takes is an Oregon loss to Stanford and a narrow USC win over Arizona State - and USC is right back ahead of Oregon, the team that whipped their asses only a week ago. You wonder why we dislike USC out here in the Northwest? The computers rank Oregon ahead of USC, but the polls - and the geniuses who vote in them - have USC ahead.
*********** Stewart Mandel, in SI.com, writes...
What once was viewed as a one-team league is unquestionably the nation's toughest, deepest conference this season (no offense, SEC apologists). Oregon found that out the hard way Saturday: Stanford (6-3, 5-2 Pac-10) is no longer a Pac-10 afterthought. Third-year coach Jim Harbaugh's team boasts a talented, physical offense that carried the Cardinal to a 51-42 upset of the seventh-ranked Ducks (7-2, 5-1).
The Ducks' defense came in allowing just 11.6 points per game in five Pac-10 victories -- but they'd yet to run into Toby Gerhart (38 carries, 222 yards, three TDs) and Andrew Luck (12-of-20, 251 yards, two TDs, no INTs). Stanford's potential All-American rusher and potential Freshman All-American quarterback) sliced and diced Oregon's previously stout defense much the way Jeremiah Masoli and LaMichael James did to the Trojans a week earlier.
*********** Stewart Mandel in si.com again....
One of the most inexplicable voting decisions of the season took place in the human polls this weekend. Obviously, Oregon figured to drop following its 51-42 loss at Stanford, but in an utter disregard for common sense, voters in the coaches poll dropped the Ducks from No. 8 to No. 16, six spots behind USC (No. 10), a team with the same 7-2 record whom Oregon stomped 47-20 just a week earlier. Voters in the AP poll reacted much the same way -- the Ducks fell three spots below the 11th-ranked Trojans.
This is a classic example of voters arbitrarily punishing a team for a loss without accounting for any context. Consider: Oregon fell more drastically (seven spots in AP, eight in coaches) for losing on the road to 5-3 Stanford than Iowa did for losing at home to 5-4 Northwestern (five sports in coaches, seven spots in AP). But more inexcusable is the failure to account for USC -- which itself rose two to three spots following an unimpressive 14-9 win at Arizona State. Not that the Trojans don't have their own gripe -- they sit two spots behind Ohio State.
*********** It seems like yesterday that my grandson, Wyatt Love, and his buddy Tony Mangilli, were ninth-graders helping me out at my Durham clinic, and now, their high school careers winding town, they are headed into the first round of the state playoffs.. Last Friday night, Wyatt, a tight end, caught a fourth-period TD pass from Tony, making his first-ever start at QB, as Durham (NC) Jordan High came back to beat Durham Riverside, 27-24. Tony's dad, Mike, a former coach at Arizona under Larry Smith, is a Riddell rep in North Carolina.
(If you watch the clip, you may wonder, like me, how "Mangili" can come out sounding like "Mongilla.")
*********** Sunday, there being no football to watch (unless you count the Seahawks-Lions on the tube), I found myself browsing through the football books at Powell's, in downtown Portland, when I came upon perhaps the most premature title in sports publishing history. It was "Return to Glory," and it was written by (actually, for) Tyrone Willingham - after his first season at Notre Dame. Coach Willingham is long gone from South Bend, and the Irish are still looking to return to glory.
*********** Alabama should have schools crawling all over themselves trying to get on the Crimson Tide's schedule. What the hell? Win or lose, you not only get a nice payday, but you also move up in the polls.
Think I'm kidding? Look at LSU. The Tigers lost to Bama on Saturday, but still moved up a spot in the BCS standings, from 9th to 8th.
*********** While stumbling all over themselves to tell us how great the SEC is...doesn't anyone in the MSM think it's odd that here it is November, when everybody elsewhere in the country is playing conference games, and mighty Florida, Alabama and LSU still have cupcake wins left against Florida International, Tennessee Chattanooga and Louisiana Tech, respectively?
*********** Q. What's the difference between academic powers Northwestern and Stanford and aspiring academic power Notre Dame? A. At some point in the last three years Northwestern and Stanford have both beaten ranked teams.
*********** When Iowa's starting QB went down, in came a freshman named James Vandenburg, who'd set state high school records for career yards passing and career TD passes at Keokuk, Iowa. I had to laugh. Not so long ago, good friend Don Capaldo was a very successful coach at Keokuk, running the Double Wing.
*********** “As great a tragedy as this (Fort Hood) was, it would be a shame if our diversity became a casualty as well.” So said General George Casey, the Army Chief of Staff, on Sunday.
Guess I'll never make general in this life, because I'm here to stand up and say, "Sir, thank you for your service. And Sir, you're full of sh--."
As any damn fool who knows our history knows, it's been our unity, not our diversity, that's made us great.
F--k diversity, General. E pluribus unum.
************ "One thing that helped us, and I really hope this doesn't come across wrong, but I think the thing that helped us this year was last year, because we knew they'd line up the same way," said Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo. "We had a pretty good clue that they were going to come back and do the same things as they did last year."
The upshot: Navy rushed for 348 yards. The Navy fullbacks accounted for almost half the total.
The triple option is not unlike the Double Wing in that no matter how successful your scheme might have been against us, if we know that you're going to do it again - look out.
(Can't you just see the ND defensive guys following last year's win over Navy, congratulating each other and saying, "Yessss. Now we know how to stop those guys. We'll just file away this year's plan and get it out again next year...")
With Notre Dame out of the conversation, do you think there is enough room to give TCU and Boise State both at-large BCS bids? Boise hasn't been too impressive since beating Oregon but they've won every one, and TCU is playing winning ball as well.
I can't see an unbeaten Boise State, simply on the basis of their having beaten Oregon back in August, being considered more deserving than a once-beaten BCS-conference team. There's been a lot of football played in the two months since, and Boise State hasn't kept pace with the BCS guys. (Exhibit A: Boise State 45, Louisiana Tech 35)
In my opinion they are gaming the system.
They like to claim that they're victims of the conference they play in, and their conference spends time and money lobbying Congress, yet when they had their chances to schedule up, they chose instead to play Miami of Ohio, Bowling Green and - Cal Davis.
TCU is different. TCU actually played a decent out-of-conference schedule - yes, there was a Texas State in there, and also SMU. But SMU can be excused as a traditional rival. And TCU has played two BCS-conference teams in Virginia and Clemson.
If TCU remains unbeaten they have a shot.
Not to mention the highest-ranked team in the state of Ohio - Cincinnati.
*********** In response to Mack Brown's dismissive wondering what a triple-option team does when it's three touchdowns down...
If I were Paul Johnson I would say, "well, running this offense we are rarely, if ever, down by 3 touchdowns." Whenever I get asked that question that is my response followed by, "what do you spread guys do when your up by 3 TD's" to keep the other spread team from coming back (we can put a game away).
Remember Houston Oilers-Buffalo Bills? (I'm sure Kevin Gilbride and Buddy Ryan remember that game.)
Another spread guy question - "what do you do on 3rd and long." My response "we haven't seen that many 3rd and longs." followed by "what do you spread guys do on 4th and 1 from the goal line." I love those questions - they are often not prepared for my follow ups. I'm sure Paul Johnson has the same sort of fun with these guys. I wonder how many times old Paul Johnson has been down by 3 TD's? I'd venture to say not too often
*********** In one of those "Pac-10 The Conference of Champions" promos, the conference featured athletes in various sports, including former University of Washington pitcher Tim Lincecome. Uhhh - this "champion" was pulled over for speeding on a freeway near us last week and, when cops smelled marijuana on him, was found to have drugs and paraphernalia in his car.
*********** The finish of the Houston-Tulsa game was near-unbelievable. With under a minute to play, Houston scored to pull within two - but on the two-point conversion attempt, the Cougars' QB was sacked. Tulsa wound up wishing Houston had made the two points, because they'd have gone into OT. As it was, though, Houston successfully onside kicked, drove into field goal range, and kicked the winning field goal as the clock ran out.
*********** Watching Tampa Bay upset Green Bay on Sunday, do you remember how long it took the original Buccaneers, wearing those same orange jerseys and those same white helmets with the gay pirate on them, to win their first game?
*********** "In a Rose Garden appearance on Friday, Mr. Obama urged Americans not to 'jump to conclusions' about the motives behind the Fort Hood shooting, a theme he echoed on Saturday." New York Times
In other words, don't do what I did when I said the Cambridge police "acted stupidly."
*********** If you haven't seen the play that injured Cal's Jahvid Best, take a look at the link below. It's pretty scary. I saw it live, and I knew right away that he was hurt.
He was taken to a hospital where he was treated for concussion.
The San Francisco Examiner reported, "Jahvid Best was already playing with the remnants of a slight concussion he suffered in a game last week against the Arizona State Sun Devils."
Uh-oh. Somehow, this doesn't square with everything we've been reading about concussions...
WTF are "remnants" of a concussion, anyhow?
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2009- "Make yourselves sheep and the wolves will eat you." Benjamin Franklin
*********** Prayers for all the soldiers and civilians killed and wounded in the cowardly shooting at Fort Hood, and for their families. (They don't have it tough enough as it is.)
And prayers for our country. May God give us leaders who are up to dealing with an enemy within.
*********** Today's Harvard, like my alma mater Yale, is about as unpatriotic and unappreciative of the blessings of America as it is possible for an American college to be. Neither Harvard or Yale, for example, allows ROTC on campus. Harvard and Yale both claim that their opposition to ROTC on campus is based on their opposition to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays serving, but my suspicion is that if the military were to dress in lavender and leather, the Ivy elites would simply find another reason to ban ROTC.)
Ironically, Harvard hasn't always been thus. William McGurn notes in the Wall Street Journal that since the Civil War, no fewer than 10 Harvard men have been awarded the Medal of Honor, placing Harvard behind only the Military Academy (West Point) and the Naval Academy (Annapolis) in the number of its graduates so honored.
*********** You can't say Urban Meyer doesn't run a tight ship. After viewing video of Florida's Brandon Spikes vigorously working his hand around inside the facemask of a Georgia runner as the guy was held motionless by tacklers, Gators' coach Urban Meyer was so shocked - shocked! - that he suspended Spikes for the first half of Saturday's game against Vanderbilt. The entire first half! But with time off for good behavior, Spikes could miss only the opening kickoff.
*********** Our TD last week came on a 60-yard run by sophomore Jaden Davis on a trap out of Wildcat---
*********** Not to say that nothing is sacred, but a mean and nasty Mickey Mouse? WTF?
Disney, afraid that the Mickey whom generations have come to love could become irrelevant to younger kids and wind up in the Old Comic Characters Home, will be releasing a video game next year called "Epic Mickey," in which the world's most beloved mouse is said to be "cantankerous and cunning."
No word yet from Heaven on what Walt Disney thinks of the remake.
*********** It runs through our town. First it was the Spokane, Portland and Seattle. Then it became the Northern Pacific. Then the Burlington Northern. Then the Burlington Northern Sante Fe. Now, it's just BNSF, and it's being acquired by Berkshire Hathaway, whose largest shareholder is famed investor Warren Buffet, of Omaha.
An unsung member of the Berkshire team is Vice Chairman Charlie Munger, who shares his philosophy: http://www.poorcharliesalmanack.com/index_pca.html
One bit of his corporate philosophy that might have kept us out of the jam we're in if more corporate heads had shared it:
"We try to behave as if Berkshire stock was all owned by crippled relatives."
*********** IMG, a leader in training young athletes at its IMG Academies, is combining with Under Armour to put on more than 100 one- to three-day combines around the world next year at which high school-age athletes will be scored in a range of areas, including physical attributes, mental stamina and sport-specific skills.
Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank described the term “combine” as a type of training. “First and foremost," he said, "our goal is to have the word ‘combine’ replace training." This year, for the first time, Under Armour sponsored the NFL’s annual scouting combine.
Although it's not yet certain what name the combines will be given, the new scoring index they'll use will be called Combine360. For years, Under Armour has operated combines using the Under Armour Combines name.
The Combine360 concept will test in three areas: core physical attributes; sport-specific skills; and a wide range of elements such as mental toughness, nutrition and reactive times. Each participant will get a score, something that an IMG spokesman called "the athletic equivalent of an SAT score."
The cost of attending a combine will range from no charge to $300 depending on such factors as the sport and location, and whether instruction is included.
Nike is already in the performance-measurement business with SPARQ (Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction, Quickness). SPARQ combines around the country provide participants with a SPARQ score to help them measure their athleticism and - here's where the profit potential of combines comes in - design individual training programs.
***********Hi Coach, I am the 4th-5th grade CCYF (Clark County Youth Football) coach for Camas. Your name is still very alive over here. I hope life is going good up north. This might be a different question than you are used to receiving, but I at least have to try and pick your brain. My defense runs a 4/4. We are playing a team that runs the Double wing. We have not had any experience at this so far and was wondering if you could give us some examples of how teams from the past have stopped your offense and what you think a double wing offense needs to concentrate on to defeat a 4/4? thanks for any information you would be open to give. I know its a different angle I'm coming from but, I though why not go to the man that knows it strengths and weaknesses.
You understand, I'm sure, that if I did have problems with certain defenses I would not broadcast the information except perhaps to tell fellow double-wingers how I dealt with them.
I think that the key to stopping what we do is to have a good understanding of what a Double Wing opponent does and how it goes about doing it, and then to be able to do a decent job of duplicating it for your team to see. That latter issue is probably the largest problem any team faces in preparing for a good Double Wing team.
At the least, a good Double-Wing team will be able to run a power play (which makes you have to reinforce yourself off-tackle), a counter play (which hurts you if your kids chase the ball as they've usually been taught), a wedge play (which makes sure that you don't try to get too tricky in the middle), and some sort of play action pass (to catch your defensive backs if they come up too quickly).
In addition they may be able to trap you and sweep.
I can give you some general advice and that is to tell your ends and linebackers not to cross the line of scrimmage, because that makes it easy for the offense to kick them out); to tell your linebackers and defensive backs never to chase plays that seem to be going to the other side (because that makes them vulnerable to counters), and to keep your interior linemen low (so they don't get stood up by wedge blocking).
Beyond that, depending on how much your oppponents are able to do, you are pretty much forced to pick your poison.
But I do wish you well.
*********** In a recent AP article, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel was quoted as saying that in his opinion the spread offense isn't as hot lately as it has been.
“It's not based on empirical evidence," he said, "but I just sense so many people run versions of the spread offense - even I-formation teams - that people are getting better at defending it because they see it all the time.”
Or is it just something Texas is doing? In the Longhorns' last four games, all against spread teams, they've held opponents to an average 166 total yards. That works out to 2.9 yards per play
Texas' Mack Brown said he has put an emphasis on recruiting defenders to play the spread. He said all players in the secondary must be able to be play solid man coverage, linebackers have to be able to cover in five-receiver sets, and linemen must be effective pass rushers so blitzing is less necessary.
All of which could mean, as offenses and now defenses become more focused on the spread, that it could be time for a return of more run-oriented offenses, such as Georgia Tech's triple option..
Texas' Brown wonders whether the running game would be well received by fans, accustomed as they have become to the "excitement" of the passing game. This is more than a minor concern to athletic directors, who depend on football to produce the revenues that pay for all the non-revenue sports, including those forced on them by Title IX.
And then Brown threw in the one big objection to a run-first system that even Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson hasn't been able to totally answer: “Would you be able to come from behind if you got down three touchdowns?”
*********** Before Notre Dame's game last weekend against Washington State, the South Bend Tribune ran a nice article about former WSU coach Bill Doba, an Indiana guy who coached high school ball in nearby Mishawaka, Indiana and is now enjoying retirement some 30 miles away from South Bend, in Vandalia, Michigan.
Some of his observations about living and coaching in Pullman, Washington:
"When I went to sell my house (in Pullman), I didn't know where the keys were," Doba said. "We never locked the doors."
Nestled in farm country just a few miles from the Idaho border, an hour drive from Spokane and a plane ride from Seattle, Pullman, with its "five or six stoplights," has a population of 25,000 - 18,000 of whom are students at Washington State. Doba calls the area the "lentil (producing) capital of America."
Recruits with a hankerin' for a good lentil soup are immediately sold. So are the parents who are looking for a safe environment for their sons.
"We sold safety," Doba said of his recruiting pitch. "If the parents had an influence on the kid's choice, we had a chance. If it was a 'city' kid, we'd just go on to the next one."
That's not to say the Washington State populace is all about church and temperance.
"In recent years, there's been a crackdown, but it used to be a pretty big party school," Doba said. "It used to be that you could hold an empty beer glass out the window when you started driving down fraternity row, and by the time you were at the end it would be full."
It's a great treatment of a great guy, with some interesting observations about how a coach can know it's "time," such as this: Time finally caught up with Doba. The fire still burned, but there were other things to do. Grandkids. Fishing. Doba learned that golf courses are still open in the fall. His son played four years of high school football and he saw two games. His daughter ran cross country for four years and he never saw a race.
Read the article: http://www.southbendtribune.com/article/20091030/SPORTS13/910309962/1130
*********** Sent to me by Frank "Franjo" Lovinski, who found it on pro-football-reference.com
Posted by Jason Lisk on Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Something historic happened Sunday at Lambeau Field—something that had never happened, but which appeared like it could be a possibility as of last November, and which we had to wait all offseason and eight weeks into this season to finally witness. That’s right, it was the first ever 38-26 game in the history of the National Football League. Bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you? Well, reader David Herson did.
Remember last year, when the Steelers and Chargers played a game that finished 11-10, and everyone was a-buzz with talk about the first ever 11-10 game in NFL history? Well, Sean Forman whipped up a game score finder http://www.pro-football-reference.com/blog/?p=749 so that we could find every game for each score combination. (click here to play around with it). http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/game_scores.cgi
David took that information and calculated that 38-26 was the score combination most due to occur out of those that had never happened. You can see his full list of most likely score combinations in the comments to that earlier post.
*********** Lots of cool things to browse through on pro-football-reference.com, including one writer's compilation of the best mythical pro teams representing players from each of several major colleges. http://www.pro-football-reference.com/blog/?p=730
*********** From Character Counts... A former successful college coach and athletic director once wrote me a note about the state of college sports.
The pressure to win in high-profile schools is so great, he said, that it’s almost impossible to resist rationalizing. When competitors cheat or engage in other unethical conduct, the tendency is to redefine the ground rules for competition rather than be at a disadvantage.
He compared the way win-hungry boosters blur the vision and undermine the integrity of coaches and administrators with the way money-hungry shareholders stress stock prices, which promotes accounting manipulation and other ethical shortcuts.
In sports, outsiders who aren't concerned with a college’s educational mission or notions of sportsmanship and character-building promote a “no excuses” demand on coaches that can transform an athletic program into a business driven by the pursuit of money and glory.
In business, shareholders (from day traders to money managers of mutual and pension funds) who aren’t concerned with the ethics or long-term viability of a company create pressures and incentives that can promote short-term decision-making and undermine the economic and moral health of their firm.
We need people to act as guardians who will understand and protect the soul of their enterprise. Coaches should be allowed to think about more than winning, and business executives should be given the opportunity to consider more than stock prices and short-term profits.
If we don’t recalibrate our incentive systems and insulate coaches and managers from unhealthy influences, things will only get worse.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts. www.charactercounts.org
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2009- "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." George Bernard Shaw
*********** Forest Evashevski died Friday night at his home in Petoskey, Michigan. He was 91.
As much as anyone, Coach Evashevski established Iowa as a Big Ten power. When he was hired at Iowa in 1952, the Hawkeyes had suffered through seven straight losing seasons, but by 1956 he had the Hawkeyes in the Rose Bowl, where they beat Oregon State. In his nine seasons at Iowa he won 52 games including two Rose Bowl victories.
His 1958 Iowa squad, which finished Number 2 in the major polls, was the first Iowa team in 52 years to win nine games in a season. Ironically, he died the day before this year's Hawkeyes, under Kirk Ferentz, would defeat Indiana to become the first Iowa team ever to start a season with nine straight wins.
At Michigan, Forest Evasjevski, a single-wing blocking back, was overshadowed by the fame of the team's star tailback, Heisman Trophy winner Tom Harmon.
Forest Evashevski did not invent the Wing-T - another teammate at Michigan, Dave Nelson, did - but he adopted what Nelson was already doing at Delaware and brought it to the attention of the nation by showing it off in spectacular fashion in his two Rose Bowl wins. Following the 1956 win, he collaborated with Nelson in publishing "Scoring Power With the Winged-T Offense."
He retired as Iowa's coach at the age of 42 to become athletic director, and never coached again.
Forest Evashevski's is an interesting story in many respects, and I can't do it the justice that the Des Moines Register can.
*********** Still on Forest Evashevski... A nice photo gallery from the Des Moines Register...
*********** While you were sitting in front of the tube, or playing Madden, or otherwise brain dead, your Saviour took a giant chunk out of a few of our constitutional amendments by signing a so-called "hate crime" bill into law. The bill slipped through Congress attached to a defense funding bill. In a nation whose constitution used to provide "equal protection under the law, this one give special protection to certain groups of people whose actions and conduct some of us, very frankly, find repulsive.
Not to worry. There will be compulsory state-funded attitude readjustment workshops for us old geezers. No need to worry about the kids - their brains are already sufficiently softened.
I do suggest that if you are the type who's given to beating people up, you make sure your next victim is white, male, Christian and heterosexual, and as you pummel him, you repeatedly shout, loud enough for all to hear, "Take that, you dirty white, male, Christian, heterosexual bastard."
Uh-oh. You say dirty bastards are protected now, too?
*********** Alas, our two-game win streak came to an end Friday night, as we lost to Dallas, 14-8.
And a most disappointing end it was. A few weeks ago we'd have considered playing someone that close to be a sign of real improvement. But we'd already shown improvement the previous two weeks, and we'd already reached the point where we were interested in a lot more than just staying close.
Running their wing-T quite well, Dallas won the game of ball control.
We managed to score midway through the fourth quarter and then got the two-point conversion to come within six, and then we held Dallas to get the ball one more time - but we couldn't move the ball.
One last game Friday night against nearby Silverton.
*********** (I wrote: "brace yourselves for the Attack of the Spread Clones, coming to an NCAA Rules Committee meeting near you.")
First it was the boys' basketball coach, who despite his second DUI was retained... then it was the baseball coach, relieved of his position after a spring trip to California during which he took kids to a strip club... then it was the football coach, fired in mid-season because of a "misunderstanding" with Portland police...
Now, it's the cheerleading coaches, who resigned last week after being ordered by the principal (yes, the same principal as the one in all the cases above) to reinstate to the varsity squad a young woman who had been demoted to JV for alleged violations of the team's code of conduct.
The other members of the squad, angered at the forced reinstatement and the loss of their coaches, quit en masse.
*********** Hey Commissioner Goodell--- yeah, you - the guy who said that Rush Limbaugh is "divisive." You did say "the NFL is about "bringing people together, right?"
Nothing divisive about that, huh? I mean, we all agree that Snoop, just like the NFL itself, is wholesome family entertainment, right?
*********** Commish Goodell has his work cut out for him trying to deal with the situation in Oakland.
It may be okay in his eyes for the Raiders' head coach to disagree with an assistant and for that assistant to somehow wind up with a broken jaw as a result (none of the other coaches present at the time seems to remember how, exactly, it happened), but it's quite another for the head coach to be accused of abusing women.
Tom Cable's f ormer wife Sandy Cable and former girlfriend Marie Lutz said in interviews on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" that the Raiders' head coach had physically abused them during their relationships.
Wow. I don't think Goodell's going to be able to weasel his way out of this one. There are no Belichick tapes to be destroyed here. At the least I look for a series of anti- domestic violence promos. (Just in case there are some guys watching the NFL who still think it's all right to hit women.)
*********** Seen the clip of "student-athlete" Brandon Spikes of Florida, gouging a Georgia running back's eye?
*********** What it's like being a Detroit fan: A minute to play and the Lions are down, 17-10 to the up-to-now winless Rams. Fourth and 20 for the Lions, on their own 10, and Matthew Stafford throws long. And out of bounds.
*********** One game will never put a guy in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, of course, but if there were ever any doubts about Brett Favre's worthiness, Sunday's triumphal return to Green Bay should have dispelled them.
*********** WTF? Can I possibly be so out of tune with where the NFL has gone that I heard an announcer say that even if the offense is ready to run a play, the officials won't let them snap the ball until the defense has made all its substitutions???
It actually happened twice on Sunday - once when the Colts decided to line up and go for two, and the game was held up until the 49ers could get the right defense onto the field.
Fellas, this league is f--ked up.
*********** And then there's the NFL's vaunted parity. Five of Sunday's 12 NFL "contests" were decided by 21 points or more.
*********** While I continue to be opposed to a playoff system, I feel I'm entitled to a little wiggle room, and after taking a look at the quality of teams in college football - Oregon puts 600+ yards on USC and can't climb higher than eighth in the BCS ratings - I'm willing to suspend my principles for just this one season... I know, I know. Every man has his price.
*********** Temple beats Navy and is bowl eligible for the first time since 1979!!!
And Duke beats Virginia, winning three ACC games in a row for the first time since 1994. Isn't Duke's QB Thaddeus Lewis deserving of Heisman consideration?
*********** MIssissippi State's Anthony Dixon is a HORSE.
*********** The things you see when you've got ESPN Game Plan... Vanderbilt led Georgia Tech, 31-28 heading down toward the end of the third quarter.
*********** I never would have come across this without the help of Ned Griffen, of New London, Connecticut, an avowed Anti-Spreader
NEW LONDON, CONN.--Maine Maritime set an NCAA Division II/III record with 730 rushing yards and scored a New England Football Conference (NEFC) record 76 points as the Mariners beat Coast Guard 76-49.
The Mariners carried 63 times in the record breaking performance, but fell 38 yards short of the NCAA All-divisions record of 768 yards (72 carries) set by the Oklahoma Sooners vs. Kansas State in 1988.
Maine Maritime (7-1, 5-1) scored on its first four possessions jumping out to a 28-0 lead after the first quarter. The Mariners rushed for 297 yards on 20 carries in the first quarter.
The Mariners led 41-14 at halftime and had 412 first half rushing yards.
Senior quarterback Tyler Angell carried 20 times for 186 yards and pair of scores while also throwing a 16-yard touchdown to sophomore Nate Duford, on his only pass attempt of the game. In all, the Mariners threw just three times, completing only the one touchdown pass.
Maine Maritime had four players rush for over 100 yards as senior fullback Jim Bower carried 14 times for 153 yards and three scores while junior Todd Murphy carried nine times for 106 yards for the Mariners.
The Mariners scored 11 touchdowns, turned the ball over three times and punted just once.
The alumni are probably unhappy because they don't throw it more.
"The timing is, in my mind, perfect to step out of our old paradigm and look at something new, and take it from more of a global perspective."
No, this wasn't a UN diplomat talking about nuclear disarmament or climate change. It was an Oregon high school athletic director talking about possible league realignments.
The guy has obviously spent too much time in educational administration. That's the only place you'll ever hear the word "paradigm" used, because it makes its users, most of whom haven't the faintest f--king idea what it means, appear educated to the great unwashed. Personally, I'll manage to make it to my grave without ever having used the word. (Or knowing - or caring - what it means.)
*********** Tennessee in black jerseys? Georgia in black helmets? WTF?
*********** Another great Jack in the Box commercial...
Slacker pulls up to the drive-in window at a Jack in the Box...
Slacker: "Can I get 99 Tacos? It says '99 Tacos for two cents.'"
Jack: "Dude - that's two for 99 cents."
Slacker (in amazement): "That's even less!"
Murray County Central 28 Westbrook Walnut Grove 16, MCC Section Semi-finals
It still works. Take on Adrian for a chance to go to state next Friday on the turf @ Marshall.
*********** Hello Coach Wyatt
*********** Give me a f--king break --- The UFL is what - four weeks old? - and already some of its players are woofing about how they could beat lower caste NFL teams. Running back Tatum Bell, now with the Florida Tuskers (nice name, guys) when asked if they could beat the Buccaneers by, say, 24-14, said,
"That's how much credit you give our defense? I see more than that. I see our offense putting up more than that and I see our defense shutting them down for less than that."
Sheesh. How did the NFL miss out on all that talent?