american flagFRIDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2009- "The Romans used to say that courage is not the only virtue, but it's the only one that makes the other virtues possible." Benjamin Netanyahu


brent judas
streer sign
"We'll never forget you - BRENT"
This one's not quite so subtle
Imagine! Defacing street signs, even!

*********** Talk about a weird experience. A couple of days after our game, I was listening to the podcast on our opponents' radio station - and the announcers were debating what to call our offense!

One of them said, "They're running a Wildcat, but they've got two running backs back there. Isn't it only Wildcat when the guy who's usually the quarterback is flanked out to the side and the ball is snapped to a running back?"

I wanted to say, "Wait a minute, Pal... who named this damn thing, anyhow? We had two running backs back there when I first named the Wildcat, and two it'll be. Or maybe three. Or four. Or one. Who knows? It's my Wildcat, and by God, don't tell me that's not what we're running."

Finally, the play-by-play guy simply gave up, and said, "Whatever they're doing on offense is unconventional. I don't know what to call it."

Continued, along with rest of the NEWS ...

*********** As a result of his outstanding performance last Friday night, Woodburn's Nevin Blem was one of two football players in the state of Oregon honored as Player of the Week by the Portland Oregonian

*********** I got home from practice Thursday night just in time to catch the post-game wrapup following the Thursday night district title game won by Beloit, Kansas, coached by my friend Greg Koenig.

With the win the Trojans gain the district championship and a home playoff game next week.

Beloit won, 36-0, and it was an ass-kicking for real.

Beloit had 441 yards of offense, and not only shut out Phillipsburg but held them to 34 total yards and ZERO yards in the second half.

I am so happy for Greg. He has carried some heavy burdens this year, including the loss to a fractured ankle of his senior quarterback, Jordan Adams.

My congratulations to Greg, his kids and his staff.

*********** From the time he was at Penn State and criticized Joe Paterno, who happened to be his father's boss, Larry Johnson has been a pain in someone's ass. But as usually happens in football with someone who is hugely talented, he was allowed to be, well, Larry.

But now, he's not only gone and publicly (tweets do get out) criticized his coach, but he's also been guilty of using the F-word. No, not that F-word. Not the one that all the high school girls use routinely.

The one that refers disparagingly to gays. A "homosexual slur," they're calling it in the newspapers, because they - gasp! - dare not print it.

Oh dear. And now, since Jhnson's talent has dwindled to the point where he's no longer of much use to the Chiefs anyhow, they're gladly throwing him under the bus as a sign of support for homosexual NFL fans everywhere.

*********** I believe I predicted that if Georgia Tech had success running the triple option, we would begin to hear calls for outlawing low blocks, and now, after GT upset Virginia Tech a couple of weeks ago, it sounds as if the whining and wailing has already started...

By Doug Roberson
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
7:22 p.m. Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson and Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer spoke Tuesday, a day after they publicly disagreed about blocking tactics used by the Yellow Jackets  in their 28-23 win over the Hokies two weeks ago.

On Monday, Beamer called some of Georgia Tech's blocks dangerous and illegal. He said he sent tape of some plays to the ACC and that the conference office agreed, informing him referees missed four illegal blocks during the game.

Beamer specifically cited one play toward the end of game, charging safety Kam Chancellor had been illegally blocked below the waist on the touchdown run by Josh Nesbitt that sealed the win. Johnson responded that the allegation was a joke, that Virginia Tech had been "out-schemed" and needed to go back and look at the tape.

Beamer did and on Tuesday clarified his statement to say that the play in question actually occurredin the third quarter. While specifying that Georgia Tech deserved to win, Beamer indicated he was more concerned with the language of the rule covering the chop block, when one player blocks a defender high while another player blocks him below the waist.

As written, the rule differentiates between players who are "engaged" opposed to those who are "blocked," according to ACC coordinator of officials Doug Rhoads. A defender who is only engaged with an opponent -- making unintentional or incidental contact --  may be blocked low by a second player without penalty. A defender who is considered being purposely blocked may not be double-teamed below the waist.

Beamer would like to see any player -- engaged or blocked -- protected from the second low block. Johnson has said his linemen often become engaged with defenders as they attempt to get downfield to block and are not purposefully trying to set up chop blocks. He also suggested if defenders would keep their hands down, instead of using them to prevent offensive linemen from getting into the secondary, they would not be vulnerable to a low block.

"That’s the only reason this is coming around, is I want to do what I think is right for the game," Beamer said. "And this is what’s right for the game. It’s not sour grapes. It’s not that Georgia Tech beat us. It’s not that. It’s just some situations came up that I think put guys in dangerous situations."

In my opinion, considering what GT did to VT in the second half, I'd think that Coach Beamer should instead be investigating his staff's inability to anticipate Paul Johnson's legendary halftime adjustments. For sure, GT didn't suddenly decide to start blocking low in the second half. So, while spending his time replaying a game he'd already lost, Beamer went out and pissed away a shot at a BCS bowl game by not being prepared for North Carolina. Meanwhile, be forewarned: brace yourselves for the Attack of the Spread Clones, coming to an NCAA Rules Committee meeting near you.

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

It's official...the North Cedar Knights have made the post-season for the first time. We defeated Wilton 28-21 in OT on our field this past Friday night. We concluded the regular season 5-4, and we're on a 4 game winning streak. It never would have been possible without the double wing.

Since I last wrote you, we've beaten West Liberty 26-6, and Wilton like I said. In the 2 games we rushed for a combined 519 yards on 92 carries. We've played extremely well. The last game we ran 4 Black-O on the 3rd play of the game and scored a 75-yard TD. It was hilarious watching the game film afterwards too, because after the 1st play of the game a woman shouts in the Wilton bleachers, "They run the ball every play!" She isn't far off, but that TD pass really changed her tune the rest of the game!

The guys are excited and so is the whole community. Thanks you so much for everything coach, I run the Super power all the time and the guys love it! It sure seems that your team really has turned the corner too, keep up the great work! Keep coaching!

Clay Harrold
Head Football Coach
North Cedar High School
Stanwood, Iowa

*********** I'm so up to here with listening to our environmentally-conscious school-age kids that I think it's time someone taught them a graphic lesson on the subject of tradeoffs.

I'd point out to them that at present, roughly 50 per cent of our electricity is generated by burning coal, with no reasonable alternative in the near future.

But burning coal releases large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.

Oh, I would tell them, if we could just reduce our use of electricity, we could take a significant step toward saving Our Planet....

Are you willing to help? I'd ask them.

Oh, yes, they'd all say in unison.

And then I'd ask them if they realized how many of their toys require electricity.

(Maybe you can see where this is going.)

Finally, I'd say, enough of this Save the Planet garbage. Talk's cheap, you little twits. Time to find out how much you love your precious f--king planet - give up your cell phones.

*********** Still on the Green Beat... Our local school district is sinking $5.4 million (before the usual overruns, of course) into a school for kids who don't want to go to school, aka an alternative high school.

In keeping with the political correctness of environmental consciousness, the building, according to a district muckety-muck, " will have various features that promote sustainability and energy conservation."

And talk about cutting edge environmental thinking: "air traveling through open windows - rather than an air conditioner - will cool students and staff."

Open windows! Instead of air conditioning! Wow. We're so far ahead of the curve. Wait till the people in the South hear about this one.

*********** We just missed the 40th anniversary of an historic football game - the October 27, 1969 Tampa-Florida A & M game, the first one ever between an all-black college and a mostly-white college. Read about it in the New York Times...

You may want to go find out more about FAMU's famed Jake Gaither, an all-time great coach.

*********** Former player and assistant John Lambert, who succeeded me so unbelievably well at La Center, Washington (home of the Wildcats AND the Wildcat) is a proud alumnus of Western Washington, which this season is going without football for the first time in its history. John wrote to in support of the worth of football...

"Football is a great value to us as a society. The danger inherent in playing football provides young men the chance to test their courage - to develop the courage and self-confidence to face other, greater dangers. More than ever, America needs brave men. America needs men who will put their fear aside and charge into burning buildings, chase down bad guys, and jump into enemy territory."

*********** I wrote - "I'm thinking about  football at the youth and high school level, and in my opinion, its days are numbered.  Funds to provide kids with the helmets they're wearing now are getting harder and harder to come by, and the plaintiff's lawyers are licking their lips.  I can see their sleazy TV ads now"

Frank Simonsen of Cape May, New Jersey, whose teams consistently compete for South jersey championships but whose high school appears heads for a second straight 0-fer season, adds,


Add another great way to do away with high school football:

Hire the worst coaches one can find, then after years of losing, the players lose interest and start quitting, and the parents get totally disgusted, and the School Board will have less opposition when they say," We just don't have the interest in football anymore, we can drop football and save all this money for the girls Basketball, Swim team, soccer,Tennis, Lacrosse, Field hockey, Volley ball, and whatever."

*********** Couple of great lines by Ken Goe in the Portland Oregonian-

"Why do we have instant replay in college football, anyhow? Duh. More chances to pitch ads for beer and erectile dysfunction."

"That was so long ago Charlie Weis was still an offensive genius."

*********** You may remember that just last week I wrote "...the only thing Big Football can truthfully claim is that on any given Sunday, you are likely to see a stinker of a game."

Ahem. According to the professional statisticians at the Elias Sports Bureau, so far this season there have been 26 NFL games in which the margin of victory has been 21 points or more. That is the most at this particular point in the season since the AFL and NFL merger in 1970.

*********** Last week, four days after a disastrous 57-15 loss (on national television) to cross-town rival Lowndes County, Valdosta (Georgia) High fired Coach Rick Tomberlin.

That was mid-season, guys. And this is a high school.

"I'm in shock," Coach Tomberlin told The Valdosta Daily Times. "I did everything I could do here. I've never worked harder in my life."

Coach Tomberlin has a 219-100 career record, but he was just 19-20 in his 3+ years at Valdosta, and at a school with six national championships and a national-record 863 wins, Valdosta expects wins.

*********** I had one of my regular chats the other evening with Mike Lude, who has come to be a very good friend.

Mike, because of his role in designing its line blocking, is truly the co-inventor of the Delaware Wing-T.

Mike, who lives part of the year in Bellevue, Washington and part in Tucson, Arizona, said he and his wife, Rena, had just been back east to a Michigan football game. Actually, they'd gone to Ann Arbor to "provide support" for Delaware State and its coach, Al Lavan (pronounced la-VANN), who once played for Mike.

Mike was head coach at Colorado State in the 60s, and in making use of the many contacts he'd made back east while recruiting for the University of Delaware, he found Al Lavan in Newark, New Jersey. Actually, Mike said, Al was "found" by his principal, an old friend of Mike's, who told him, "I've got a good player here. He's your kind of guy."

"Your kind of guy" means a lot when you're talking about Mike, and Al Lavan didn't disappoint.

Al had a great career at Colorado State, and following his senior season he told Mike he wanted to take Mike and Rena out to dinner. Mike said he tried to talk Al out of it, but Al wouldn't have any of it, so they gathered at Fort Collins' best steak house - Mike, Rena, Al Lavan and his fiancee.

Turned out, Mike learned later, that Al's reason for wanting the ladies there was that he'd decided that he wanted to be a coach, and he wanted Rena to help him prepare his fiancee for the life of a coach's wife.

Credit Mike for being such a great example that Al wanted to be a coach. And credit Rena for preparing Al's fiancee for the life she had ahead of her.

Fast forward to 2009. Al is still coaching, and he's still married to the young lady he took to dinner that night over 40 years ago.

about Al Lavan -

american flagTUESDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2009- "To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects." Margaret Thatcher

*********** It had to happen sometime, so why not Friday night? And so it was that on Friday night, the Woodburn Bulldogs scored 20 points in the fourth quarter to defeat the Lebanon Warriors, 33-21, and post their first league win in 12 years. That is not a misprint.

We went the entire way running the Wildcat, and senior Nevin Blem, born to be a single-wing tailback, put on one of the better individual performances I've ever seen. He carried 31 times for 222 yards and three TDs, one of them a 62-yard fourth-quarter sprint that gave us a 27-14 lead and started the believing that we were actually going to win the sucker. And he threw five times and completed three for 35 yards and another TD. His other two completions both got us first downs.

Defensively, we did an exceptional job against Lebanon's triple-option attack.

It was our third win, meaning that we have already posted the best win-loss record in years, and our second win in a row. We now have the school's first "win streak" in at least six years.

Our three wins also mean we have already won more games than the school had won in all the years between 2003 and the start of this season. (Woodburn went o-fer for the entire 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 seasons, losing 41 straight between late 2003 and early 2008.)

And now, at 3-5, we have a decent shot at winning our last two games and finishing .500.

*********** Motivating your players...

An assistant football coach at Kathleen High School, in Bartow, Florida was charged last week with threatening a player with a pocket knife at practice. Polk County, Florida Sheriff’s officials said the coach poked and tapped the player on the chest and helmet with the knife while threatening him.

The school's AD told sheriff’s detectives the coach told him he brought the knife to practice and told players “Don’t try me today.”

Players said they heard him curse and saw him opening and closing the knife several times, according to a report.

Detectives arrested the man and charged him with assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, and possession of a weapon within 1,000 feet of school property. Both charges are third degree felonies.

*********** While in Green Bay last week, David Maraniss told me about a friend of his who'd spent a season in Smith Center, Kansas, doing research for a book on coach Roger Barta and the amazing success of Smith Center High School football.. Now, the book is out. Thanks to my daughter, Cathy and her friend, Susie Kretschmar, for sending me this really nice article about Coach Barta and Smith Center...

*********** Coach,
As a “cheese-head”, I’m glad to see you’ve gotten to a Packers game. What a great experience for you, socially, culturally and economically. It is the heart of America and an unusual relationship for a pro franchise to its fans…see the article by famous Chicago writer and Bears fan Mike Royko,,86954 … As you know, we are a football family and for the most part could give a rat’s patootie about the NFL, except for the PACK!!!   There are a lot of Packer fans that are in the same boat. We can’t stand the NFL product and “party line”, but we can’t give up our PACK!!!
I’m also heartened to follow the success of Steve at Coe here in Iowa. Another  son, Cody coached for me at Assumption and is now a CFO of a major firm in eastern Iowa.
I love being an assistant again. I keep telling everyone, “That the only time I miss being the head coach is when I’m right!!!
Say ah hey-dair you-betcha
Coach Kaz

Mark Kaczmarek, Davenport, Iowa


What a great column by the late, great Mike Royko, one of my all-time favorite columnists.

Even without the football, Green Bay and its people epitomized everything I like about the Midwest.  

With the football, a trip to Green Bay is a pilgrimage that everyone with a reverence for our game should get to make.

By the way, you've probably noticed that as an assistant coach you have far fewer interactions with parents.

*********** Coach,
Great to hear about your trip to Green Bay with Dave Maraniss and all your Black Lion buddies.  I have to admit it reminded me of one of the best trips I ever had the pleasure of being a part of.  My Dad was in the 1st Marine Division of the Marine Corps in WW II and spent most of the war in the Pacikfic theatre.  He had a couple of buddies who use to come visit with their families and then they all started going to the annual 1st Marine Division Reunions.  They would be in major cities throughout the US and they would always meet each other there.  In 1962 it was in Chicago and all three of them took their families and we met in Valparaiso,, IN for about three days before going to Chicago.  The convention was at the Sherman House Hotel and that happened to be the last year that the College All-Stars played the NFL Champions.  The NFL Champions were the Packers and the college All-Stars were led by Ron Vanderkellen and Buddy Bell and both the all-stars and many of the Packers were staying in the same hotel as we were.  I rode the elevator with the likes of Boyd Dowler and other Packers and many of the all-stars.  Naturally, the Marines had tickets to the game at Soldiers Field and then they had tickets to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs play the Giants, with the likes of Willie McCovey and all.  It was a great weekend, and despite getting to see all of these great athletes, I had the opportunity to shake hands with "Mr. Marine", General Chesty Puller.  He was the guest speaker and took time out to meet family members before the banquet.  I had heard my Dad and his buddies talk about General Puller and what a soldier's General he was.  Since that time I have also had the opportunity to read his autobiography and I understand what they meant.  Youjr trip to Green Bay must have been wonderful and it reminded me of my trip in 1962 and brought back many memories of my talks with my Dad.  He died in 1992 and I only wish I could have more of those conversations.  Have a great week,
Keep Coaching them Up,
Ron Timson
Umatilla, Florida (Coach, I hope you're doing well and wished you lived on this coast because we could use a coach like you.

Those were great days, weren't they?

Thought you might like this article I wrote a few years ago...

*********** I wish I had a nickel for every time I've heard a sports announcer say, "I don't want to speculate..." I always want to say, "Fool, they're paying you to speculate!

*********** With Virginia and Nebraska both losing, it was a bad day for head coaches who dress for games as if they're at practice.

*********** Part of the NFL's scheme to add an additional two regular season games is its plan to play more and more games in foreign markets. Good luck.

*********** I suppose when you're rich enough to own the Dodgers, you're able to fire your wife for "insubordination, nonresponsiveness, failure to follow procedures and inappropriate behavior with a direct subordinate."

*********** Two minutes to play. Duke, leading 17-13, is forced to punt. Maryland goes all-out to block it, sending 10 men. Duke gets the punt off, and the Maryland kid who's back tries to field it - and bobbles it. And Duke recovers. Game over.

WHY??? Why even try to field it? As my wife pointed out, they'd have been better off rushing 11.

*********** NO CHARGE FOR CABLE, read the headline, but before I went ahead and cancelled my DISH subscription, I decided to read further. Turns out the story was about the inability of a California DA to come up with enough to charge Raiders' coach Tom Cable, accused of slugging an assistant and breaking his jaw.

So what's Commissioner Goodell gonna do about Tom the Cable Guy? Can he afford to let an alleged assault of an assistant coach by a head coach go unpunished? Is he as impotent as the Napa County DA?

Come one - does anyone really believe that the guy hit his head when his chair slid from under him?

The incident occured before a a room full of witnesses, but you wouldn't expect any of the other coaches present at the time to own up to what happened - not when you're talking NFL coaches whose jobs are on the line.

Oakland - the "O" stands for Omerta.

It's pretty bad when in a league of thugs the worst thuggery takes place in the coaches' room.

*********** Ray Ratto, San Fancisco Chronicle - People who like the Raiders and hate people who don't will say this proves Cable is clean and those who suggested otherwise are inherently evil. People who don't like the Raiders, or like the Raiders but don't like Cable, will say he got away with a crime because the other guys in the room took one for him. People who don't like the Raiders or Cable will call Cable a loose cannon and blame The Al for hiring both of them. Nobody ever changes their minds, because the positions are too well staked out.

*********** Coach,
I hope this note finds you doing well.  I know that you are currently in GB enjoying some VIP treatment, enjoy.  I have been watching football today and have noticed that all of these "no huddle" offenses trade huddling behind the LOS for essentially huddling at the LOS.  What good is the no huddle if you come out and spend 20 seconds of the play clock at the LOS in the formation you plan on running from.  It makes no sense!  Spending all of that time in your formation allows the defense plenty of time to get set and adjust.  I always thought that the idea of the no huddle was to pressure the defense and have them scrambling to get ready to play.  All I have seen are the offenses lining up spending an eternity at the LOS and then THEY are the ones scrambling to get the snap off in time.
On another note, our season here at Cannon is going well.  We are currently 5-1 with one more game left to play.  Our lone loss came to perennial power Charlotte Latin by 6.  Our 5 wins have been good ones, our closest game was a 9 point game.  We are averaging over 350 ypg of offense and we are giving up only about 150.  Anyhow, enjoy your trip and say hi to Connie.
Donnie Hayes
Concord, North Carolina

Very good point.  I still think that in a team game the huddle is very important, and so I don't push what I do as a "no huddle" system.  During practice it may be that, in order to save some time, but I think that from a team-building standpoint, the huddle is indispensable in getting guys to play for each other.

Glad to hear that things are going well!

*********** Coach,
I don't know if you remember me, but we exchanged e-mails a year or two back on the DW and the Wing T.  I ordered your dvd on tackling and I apologize for not responding sooner.  For the past two years we've taught tackling form and drills as outlined by your dvd and I think it's been great.  It's also the safest way to teach without pads and to encourage confidence in younger players.  Thank you again for your website and keep coaching!
Brad Ravlin
St. Albans Steelers
Colchester, Vermont

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

Please feel free to use this once you remove all identifying remarks.

This story may have a different hue to it, as football coaches in Canada are volunteers.  I am an English teacher by trade.

We were running a farily successful double-wing offense, with a record of 4-2.  Then the wheels fell off.  I had a 12 at practice Monday.  With the leverage of a non-conference game on the Tuesday, I decided to install Wedge, Power, Criss Cross and a bubble pass to the wingback and play the 12 who showed up for all three phases of the game in the first half.  I emptied the benches for the second half.  We lost 21-15.

We had a great opportunity to play our final league game.  A win would guarantee us a spot in the playoffs.  14 showed up on Wednesday.  17 were there last night.  I pulled the plug.  I could not fathom how players expected to show up for games and play when they had not practiced.

I have long felt that the ability to block and tackle will cease to be useful for most of my players in the blink of an eye.  Their need to consistently 'be there', whether it be on the job or in their personal relationships, will be far more useful.  I feel that I had failed to instill such a work ethic in a critical mass of players, exposing the remainder to high levels of fatigue and possible injury.  

As I write this to you, I wonder how I would have handled it differently if I were not an amateur.  I have received opinions saying I should have stuck it out, and others congratulating me for being a guardian of the game.  All I know for sure is that there are some players who have been there every day, and I let them down.


Sorry to hear this.

Paid or not, you have to decide how you wish to spend your life.  You have no obligation to cast pearls before swine.

Although your decision was made in-season, I came to a similar decision last summer.

Every week but one I travelled, three hours each way from my home in Camas to my "football home" in Ocean Shores, Washington, to hold workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.  My wife and I rented a condo there so we'd have a place to stay.

But I never had more than seven players show up, usually three or four.

Sometimes there were excuses, but more often than not the "stars" simply stayed away, doing whatever it was that was more important than spending an hour or two preparing for football season.

Finally, after weeks of frustration,  I said "to hell with it."  I'm sorry, but when the coach cares more than the kids - when the kids vote with their feet - it's time to move on.

I miss those kids and the wonderful people in that community,  and I really felt bad about the few faithful ones. They're not having a very good season. 

But as a wise person told me at the time, "You can't coach apathy."

Stay in touch.

*********** Of all the great youth coaches and middle school coaches I've had the privilege of knowing and corresponding with, why does one of my grandsons have to wind up with a cretin?

I guess the team's not very good to begin with, and last week they got beaten pretty badly. The coach was especially upset with their tackling.

So at the next practice, as the kids headed for the field, the coach shouted, "Where do you think you're going? You're not going there," he said. "That's the football field. That's only for football players, and you're not football players. We're going on the baseball field."

And there, they ran. And ran. Because as we all know, the solution to poor tacking is not to teach tackling properly and then practice proper tackling. Over and over. No, the solution is to run the kids until they become better tacklers.

He told the kids that he'd never been so embarrassed. "He'd" been embarrassed, huh? So it's all about him, is it? The kids are supposed to be playing so as not to embarrass the coach, are they?

He told the the offensive linemen they were "Pussies." Now, on occasion I have been known to say "we're playing like pussies," but I'm always quick to point out, "that's not us."

Hey - insulting kids by calling them names is a violation of the trust placed in us by those kids and their parents.

Speaking of parents, when they've come to watch practice, he has sent them packing, telling them, "We can't have parents here." Say, what? Point number one - it's school grounds. Public property. Point number two - the day you're doing something that you don't want parents to see is the day you need to turn in your whistle.

*********** VERY big Saturday for Iowans. First, Iowa State, an 18-point underdog, beat Nebraska in Lincoln for the first time since 1977. The Huskers didn't help themselves any, with eight turnovers. Paul Rhoads, in his first season, has the Cyclones at 5-3.

And then Iowa, with two seconds to play, dragged Michigan State coverage out of the way and threw a slant for a TD to beat the Spartans and leave the Hawkeyes at 8-0 for the first time in the history of the school.

Following the game, for want of anything intelligent to say, the wide-eyed sideline bimbo asked Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, "What does it take to win a game like this?"

*********** Q. Couldn't Nebraska have saved themselves a lot of heartaches by just keeping Frank Solich?

*********** Don't look now, but Bill Snyder is doing it again at K-State. His 5-3 Wildcats are on top in the Big-12 North.

But uh-oh. Still left on the schedule are Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

Meantime - what's going on at Missouri, where the Tigers, considered preseason Big-12 North favorites along with Kansas, have now dropped three straight?

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

I wanted to ask you a quick question. We usually double team 6 techs on powers and kick-out the next man to show. This week we are playing a team that will switch between a 5 and 4 man front. Either way they will crash a 9 tech hard off the TE’s hip and make the kick out tough. We will run a lot of sweeps at them early (we did that last year with some success); we will also run a lot of traps against them. One thought I had was to go ahead and assume that 9 tech will close hard and treat him like a 6, double teaming him and kicking-out the next man to show. I would love to have your input on this.

We take one or more of several approaches- not necessarily in this order:

(1) Reach him with the TE (scramble-blocking his outside knee) and run a sweep

(2) Doing as you suggest as treating him as a 6 tech

(3) Step our wingback up on the line, putting him in the D gap, and doubling him - pretty much the same thing as #2

(4) Making a "PIN" call - blocking the TE to the inside as called for, and then, with the TE squeezing down, pinning him to the inside with the wingback.

Hope that helps.  Glad you like the new look.

*********** Got NFL Red Zone because it was provided free by DISH. Spent most of Sunday watching it, rather than the Steelers-Vikings game on the set next to it.

It's a lot more interesting than I thought it would be.

It's made to order for Fantasy guys, gamblers, and short-attention-span types like me with no tolerance for the annnouncers' b-s and the usual stoppages in play.

They also introduced something that hardcore fans might enjoy - the ability to produce their own NFL highlights video.

*********** A coach I know had a parent come to him recently and ask him how come (another kid) was starting ahead of his son. Number one - you all definitely need a policy like the ones in place at so many schools now, which neuter the father/agent types by taking the issues of playing time and strategy off the table. It is a matter of school policy that those are simply not topics to be discussed with the coach. Any school administration owes its coach that much protection. Number two - mentioning another player in any discussion is absolutely taboo.

*********** This was addressed to the users of the Army Football Forum by its moderator---

It may interest you to know that many of our posters post under more than one name. We have posters with several dozen names, and we even have some with more than 100. And that's fine. Whatever name you want to use is entirely up to you. Up to a point.
Lately, we've had several instances of posters using different names on the same thread. Many times, the poster is using his second name to complement the wisdom of his own post under a different name. In a couple instances, we've even had posters start an arguement with themselves.
I think now it's gone too far. Seems to me when you post something and get responses, you should be confident that you're having a discussion with several people and not a conversation with one person with multiple personalities.
So please beware that if you post under more than one name in the same thread, your posts will be deleted. If it continues to happen, you will be suspended from posting. Also understand that if you want to use more than one name, go right ahead. Just not on the same thread.

Do you understand what's been happening? Some creeps have been holding conversations with themselves.

I'm told that this same thing takes place on at least one football coaches' forum. A certain guy will lob a softball question ("I'm having problems moving the ball"), another guy will answer it ("my video will solve your problem") and a third guy will endorse ("I bought that video and it's really swell"). And far too many poor schlubs on the forum just suck it all up. The problem is all three guys - the questioner, the answerer, and the endorser - are one and the same. The same guy using different names. In such a manner does a shyster prey on the gullible.

Yes, there are people on those forums who know what they're talking about, but how would an inexperienced coach be able to know who which was which? How could a tyro tell the wise coaches from the imposters? That's a major reason why I have never bothered with any of those forums and have always advised people to take anything written by the self-styled experts who post on them with many, many grains of salt.

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

In 2008 Glenbard East High School was part of the Black Lion award program.  I do not see our school listed on the website   I would like to continue with the award.  I will summit a nomination this week if that is alright.

Coach Dennis Lueck
Head Football Coach
Glenbard East High School

Coach Lueck,

Your school is not listed only because we are way behind in our posting.

We are pleased and proud to have Glenbard East as part of the Black Lion Award program.

*********** We all know how obnoxious street agents and AAU basketball coaches can be to a high school coach in the way they manipulate the careers of high school kids, but nothing in the US compares to the way the "buscones" of the Dominican Republic attempt to advance the careers of teenage baseball prospects by injecting them with drugs...

************ A guy in Cleveland named John Thompson is suing EA Sports for using his likeness in his video games. He's better known as "Big Dawg," the sad-looking mutt who wears a Browns helmet and sits in the Dog Pound at Browns' games. He wants at least $25,000.

Meantime, until I hear from Rollen Stewart's lawyers, I will continue to read the Bible.

You may remember Mr. Stewart better as Rock 'n' Rollen, the guy in the multi-colored afro wig who showed up at athletic events everywhere, holding up a sign reading "John 3:16"

It's as if he suddenly dropped off the face of the earth. Ever wonder where he got to? At the time of this writing, he is said to be serving three consecutive - consecutive - life sentences for kidnapping.

american flagFRIDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2009- "Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid." Ronald Reagan

*********** Considering that nearly one-third of the NFL teams have new coaches, and considering how uninspired many of the new hires were, it shouldn't be a surprise that the league is putting out a bad product.

The late NFL commissioner Bert Bell liked to boast that on any given Sunday any team could beat any other team, and the NFL has long prided itself on that "parity."

But baseball operator Bill Veeck exposed that for the false claim that it really is, pointing out that in baseball, bad teams win far more games on a percentage basis than bad football teams do. In baseball, he'd remind us, a team that wins more than half its games - that plays over .500 ball - is considered to be doing okay. Few teams fall much below .400. (In 2009, there were just three - Baltimore at .395, Pittsburgh at .385, and Washington at .364.)

But the NFL? Any given Sunday? Gimme a break. Today's NFL is a joke. Few leagues in the history of professional sports have had the percentage of bad teams that currently infest the NFL. At the present time, 10 of its teams - nearly a third - are playing .333 ball or worse.

Nearing the midpoint of its season, in the league that proclaims its parity, there are currently three winless teams (St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Tennessee), and three more (Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City) with only one win each. Two of the "winners" - the Lions and the Chiefs - got their only wins by beating the woeful Washington Redskins - more about them. The third, Cleveland, picked up a thrilling 6-3 win over 2-4 Buffalo.

How bad can the Redskins be? Let's put it this way - I saw the Lions play Sunday. They are one of the sorriest NFL teams I've ever seen, and my memory is long. Even before Daunte Culpepper went down, they looked like an expansion team. And they beat the Redskins!

How bad can the Redskins be? They have faced an NFL-record six straight teams that were winless at the time they met. And lost to four of them. (Can there have been a more boring, more give-the-fans-their-money-back game ever than last Sunday's 14-6 Kansas City win over Washington? Six field goals and a safety? Are you kidding me?)

Take the three teams who have yet to win and the three with only one win, then add in Buffalo, Oakland, Seattle and Washington, and the only thing Big Football can truthfully claim is that on any given Sunday, you are likely to see a stinker of a game.

*********** This past weekend I was able to get away to Green Bay to attend the annual reunion of a group of guys who first "got together" 42 years ago in Vietnam. There, they were members of the 28th Infantry, the famed Black Lions, and on the 17th of October, 1967, while on patrol they ran into an ambush by a force of Viet Cong ten times their number.

142 men marched into the jungle that day; when the fighting was over, all but seven of them were either wounded (75), killed (58) or missing in action (2). In that battle of Ong Thanh, one of those killed was former Army All-Ameriocan end Don Holleder, shot down while attempting to rescue wounded.

Like so many other Vietnam vets, the surviving Black Lions served out their tours and returned to their homes and the lives they'd left behind, and did their best to put Vietnam out of their minds.

It wasn't until 1989, and the NFL Films production of "100 Years of Army Football" and inclusion of an episode about Don Holleder's tragic death and interviews of two soldiers who were there that day - Tom "Doc" Hinger, an Army medic whose bravery despite being wounded earned him the Silver Star that day, and Jim Shelton, who as Brigade Operations Officer followed the battle as best anyone can by radio.

That lead to an annual reunion of survivors of the battle. They chose West Point as their site, and as their date they chose an Army football game as close to October 17 as possible.

My involvement came about when I got to know Doc Hinger and Jim Shelton and suggested to them the idea of a Black Lion Award, honoring Don Holleder and the men who died with him that day. The award was approved, and first presented in 2001, which coincidentally was the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Black Lions at Vancouver Barracks, Washington, which by another coincidence happens to be where I lived for 14 years and 10 miles west of Camas, Washington, where I have lived for the last 20 years.

In 2003, Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss released "They Marched Into Sunlight," his dramatic tale of the Black Lions and the Battle of Ong Thanh juxtaposed against the plot by anti-war radicals to blow up a lab at the University of Wisconsin.

In his typical way of researching his work, David spent hours and hours meeting with the Black Lions and interviewing them for his book. But it says a lot about them, and about David, that unlike most authors who would have used them as resources and then moved on to the next project, David formed strong ties with them based on his respect for them, and on their realization that, after years of reluctance to tell of their experiences, even to their wives, they had been able to trust him with their stories and he had treated them fairly.

My first - and until this past weekend, my last - Black Lions reunion was in 2003, where I met David for the first time. It as a great experience, and I've stayed in touch with them ever since. In 2005, I was made an Honorary Member of the 28th Infantry Association - an Honorary Black Lion. It's one of the great honors of my, being accepted into the fellowship of men whose service to their country I can't hope to emulate.

What a group these guys are. Their bravery on that fateful day more than 40 years ago can't possible be overstated. I strongly suggest you read "They Marched Into Sunlight" to get an idea of what these men went through.

Which brings me to this past weekend. A year ago, David Maraniss, a Wisconsin native whose accomplishments also include "When Pride Still Mattered," his masterful biography of Vince Lombardi, suggested that the annual reunion be held this year in Wisconsin. Specifically, in Green Bay, in conjunction with a Packers' game.

Not so fast, my friend - are you forgetting about tickets?

Tickets are a bit of a problem for anyone planning on attending a Packers' game. Packers' games have been sold out for years. But David, who in his research for "When Pride Still Mattered" spent a winter in Green Bay and got to know everybody in the Packer organization and hundreds of others who ever had anything to do with Vince Lombardi, and he made it happen.

Most of the guys arrived on Thursday, but with a football game Friday night, I had to make other plans.

Essentially, the schedule was (1) play the game and hustle home; (2) burn the game DVDs for my wife (who shoots our games) to deliver the next day to head coach Tracy Jackson; (3) load the game video into my computer; (4) get a little sleep; (5) wake up at 4:15; (6) lead for the airport at 5:00; (7) board the plane at 5:50

On the plane I was able, thanks to a very nice little program called TD Video, to break down the previous night's game video.

After a quick connection in Minneapolis-St. Paul, I was in Green Bay by 2:30, and by 3 PM I had joined the Black Lions on the floor of Lambeau Field, where they were halfway through their tour of the Packers' facilities. I'd just missed an introduction to the legendary Bart Starr, who evidently was hurrying through the building when he saw David and stopped to visit and then was introduced to the group.

Naturally, I arranged to have my photo taken in front of the giant statue of Lombardi outside the stadium. Not far away is another statue of longtime Packers' coach Curly Lambeau, who is pointing at Lombardi as if to say "There's the guy you want to talk to over there."

After the tour it was back to the hotel for some socializing, and a poignant moment in which a toast was drunk to fallen comrades. The wine was Chateauneauf Du Pape, the official wine of the Black Lions, dating back to their service in France in World War I.

And then, 13 guys packed into the hotel shuttle, it was off to dinner at an Italian restaurant named Bilotti's, in the nearby town of DePere.

Back to the hotel for more socializing, and then - for me, at least - a little well-needed sleep.

Sunday morning I was up early for breakfast with my roomie, Doc Hinger, and then we decided to walk to the game. What a great decision. It took us about an hour, but that includes an awful lot of time stopping and visiting with people along the way as they partied, or set up to party, in the parking lots of dozens of churches, businesses and private homes along the way. One boy scout leader told us that their kids made enough money parking cars at Packers' games to pay for canoes and camping trips.

The parking signs provide a great lesson in Economics. The first ones you come to advertise $10 parking. As you get closer, the rate increases to $15 and then, finally, to $20 - still a bargain in any other NFL town.

The best way to describe the festive pregame atmosphere that surrounds Lambeau Field is to compare it to a big-time college game. These are people who have been coming to Packers' games for years and know the drill. They are up early drinking breakfast, and beer is everywhere, but they seem to know how to handle it. I don't think I saw anyone who was obviously drunk, and the Monday's Green Bay paper reported that just two people had been arrested at the game and only 12 ejected, down slightly from earlier games this year. (Recall that in Philadelphia they had to set up a courtroom in the bowels of old Veterans' Stadium just to handle all the drunken fools.)

We shook the hand of Hall of Famer Fuzzy Thurston, and were introduced by David to the legendary Paul Hornung, who was with another all-time Packer great Ron Kramer.

We passed stalls offering green-and-gold football shirts with Brett Favre's number 4 on them, but above the number the name read "JUDAS". Another popular shirt read, "We'll never forget you, BRENT." The street sign at the intersection of Holmgren Way and Brett Favre Pass has been altered to read "Brett Favre ass."

Pregame, we gathered in the huge Lambeau Atrium, a giant hotel lobby where fans can mingle, buy food and drink and souvenirs, and, in cold weather, come in out if the stadium and get warm.

And then it was down to the field. David had arranged for field passes for us. Pretty cool. Everyone should stand at ground level of an NFL stadium and see how f--king high those punters can kick that ball. David introduced us to Mark Murphy, Packers' President, a Colgate grad and former All-Pro safety for the Redskins who got his law degree while playing and then spent time as assistant executive director of the NFL Players Association and AD at Colgate before coming to Green Bay. Very impressive individual to say the least.

Random observations from someone who has seen maybe two or three NFL games in their entirely - live or on TV - in at least ten years...

Lambeau Field holds 70,000, but it seems surprisingly intimate. It appears that that's because in the main bowl, all seats are bench seats, so there isn't as much room required between rows as if they were theater seats. And there isn't a lot of butt room either - maybe 18 inches. Long-time Packer fans know this: on a really cold day, when everyone's got plenty of clothing on, when the National Anthem is over - sit down fast.

The stadium's intimacy - no track around the field - means that no one is terribly far from the action.

The people are pretty much in their seats at game time. They are fans and they come for the game.

Beer is vended throughout the game. Again, perhaps because this is Wisconsin, people seem to be able to handle their beer. (With the lone exception of one young idiot behind me who did get a bit vulgar.)

Interruptions in play are numerous, and commercial breaks unending.

Self-celebrations are not nearly so obnoxious from a distance. And then you realize that they're being shown on the big replay screen...

They didn't do the chicken dance, but of course they hed to do "YMCA." I'm guessing that of those standing and dancing along with the Village People , about 90 per cent were female. "Roll Out the Barrel," which they probably learn in elementary schools in Wisconsin, is a big favorite.

I think one of the reasons why the NFL feels it must provide more than football is the large number of women in the crowd, but I don't think that applies in Green Bay, where the large number of women in the crowd have more to do with their having waited their turn for season tickets. True story - Doc Hinger heard a couple in our hotel telling a guy at the bar that this was their first year as season-ticket holders, after waiting thirty-six years. The guy shook his head, muttered an expletive, and said, "I've only been on the waiting list for seven years."

Pink is still everywhere. I get it. I really do. Meanwhile, does this open up the NFL to every cause that beats on its door? (Or threatens a boycott?)

Kohl's Department Stores runs a clever promotion. Before the game, they provide people with large sheets of heavy paper, blank except for the large KOHL'S printed in one corner, and marking pens, and invite them to create their own stadium signs. And then - I said they know the drill - at the appropriate time, the "Kohl's Sign Cam" pans the stadium, picking out signs at random and showing them on the replay screen.

When you see the entire field from up high, you realize what enormous pressure is placed on a pro cornerback. Tough enough to stop the pass. Sometimes it's even tougher to make the 1-on-1 tackle on a receiver that's the only thing standing between him and a touchdown.

The pro running game is b-o-o-o-o-o-ring. Looking at the game from up high, and from the standpoint of the everyday fan, I can't imagine anything more deadly dull than watching a game consisting only of running plays - at least the way the pros run the ball. True confession - I never said it out loud, but after one of those brainless traffic jams that they try to pass off as running plays, I would find myself thinking, "Throw the ball!"

Post-game, we walked back to the hotel, enjoying all the sights a great afternoon as it wound down. The tail-gating still went on, although by now there was less food on the grills and the bottles were not nearly so full as they'd been pre-game. But the people were still merry and friendly - the Packers' win didn't hurt any - and the walk was very enjoyable.

Dinner was at a place called The Tilted Kilt, whose tilt - or twist - on Hooter's was faux-Scottish waitresses in skimpy tops and even skimpier kilts. I did wonder at the tattoo on our waitress where one would ordinarily expect to see an appendicitis scar, but I almost gagged when she walked away and I saw the giant, grotesque dark-blue piece of ugliness that reached from the crack of her behind (had to) all the way up to the nape of her neck. Wow. That's gonna look neat when she's 50 and takes the kids to the beach and they ask, "What happened to you, Grandma?"

Back to the hotel and rounds of good-byes to a wonderful grouop of people, and then up at 4:30 Monday for an early flight that had me back to Portland by noon. I was able to put together an offensive game plan on the plane, and by 3:45 I was at practice and ready for another week. Whew.

I will be back. I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I will see another Packers' game.

black lions lambeau
Black Lions and guests on the floor of Lambeau Field: Front row (L to R): Guest Joel Stephens, Little Rock, Arkansas; Guest Don Kovach, Franklin, New Jersey; Black Lion Jim Shelton, Englewood, Florida; WW II Black Lion Mike Eliasof, Singer Island, Florida; Back row (L to R) Honorary Black Lion David Maraniss, Madison, Wisconsin and Washington, DC; Honorary Black Lion George Crume, Houston, Texas; Black Lion Joe Costello, Utica, New York; Black Lion Dave Berry, Sacramento, California; Black Lion Steve Goodman, Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Black Lion Woody Woodward, Huntsville, Alabama; Black Lion Tom Grady, Bluffton, South Carolina; Honorary Black Lion Hugh Wyatt, Camas, Washington; Black Lion Tom Hinger, Winter Haven, Florida

*********** Speaking of the Redskins, I hope Jim Zorn didn't sell his house back in Seattle, because things aren't looking good for him in Washington.

For example, a couple of weeks ago, someone in the "front office" hired longtime NFL assistant Sherman Lewis as an "offensive consultant." Um, I rather doubt they asked Zorn about it before doing it

And then, following Sunday's ugly loss to Kansas City, Zorn was informed, again by the "front office," that Lewis would be taking over the play calling. Um, isn't that usually the head coach's decision to make?

Evidently Redskins' owner Dan Snyder, perhaps the most odious of owners in a business full of odious owners, wasn't content with merely giving his lackeys slips of paper with play suggestions to hand to Zorn.

*********** Okay, okay. We know the economy sucks. We know that hundreds of thousands of people are out of work, there's no social security cost of living increases coming, teachers in some places are having their workdays cut and state employees are being furloughed.

But while we hear ad nauseum about skyrocketing health care costs, how is it that our f--king state universities have the stones to announce enormous tuition increases? (In Washington, it's around 13 per cent.)

Duh. Because they can. Because, just as with the health care system, so many of their "customers" are not actually paying with their own money. They are "paying" their tuition with government grants and government-guaranteed loans.

So while the latest Czar imposes pay limits on the officers of companies that took TARP funds, the secret scandal is the way state universities, recipients of billions of dollars of federal funds in one form or another, are able to continue screwing American families. And American taxpayers.

*********** The NFL is allowing the original AFL teams to wear throwback uniforms like the ones they wore in the 60's. I just read the following suggestion:

"On a side note. Considering the Titans wore their Houston Oiler throwbacks today, I think it would be cool if the Ravens wore their Cleveland Brown throwbacks when they play the Cleveland Browns."

Christopher Anderson,
Arlington, Virginia

Or Colts (Baltimore) uniforms when they play Indianapolis.

Actually, there shouldn't even be a need for throwback uniforms.  Good design (Colts, Giants, Packers, Bears) is simple and elegant - and lasting.

*********** It's not as if Florida, as good as they are, should get any extra help from the officials, but they did, and as a result they avoided being upset by Arkansas. And now the officiating crew, which somehow saw a personal foul that "on further review" (an after-the-game study of the game tapes) was nowhere to be found - a personal foul that enabled Florida to pull out the win - has been suspended for a game by the SEC. Lotta good that does the Razorbacks. But at the least, voters in the polls can rectify what the officials and the SEC can't by taking this Gators' "loss" into consideration before putting Florida first on their ballots.

*********** A note from an old friend...

Hey coach, just finished making a few recruiting calls and thought I would see if you have some players that might have an interest in visiting with me about our program at Coe College. We are currently 5-1 with 4 games to play. My son Tyler, who led the Fredericksburg Falcons to the Iowa state title in 2001 is my OC and doing a great job. You know it really doesn't get much better than this, retired and a full time college football coach, coaching with my son. I still read your news and enjoy your candid comments. You are so right about those hideous Bronco uni's. Have a great weekend.
Coach Staker

Steve Staker and I go back a ways. He was a highly successful (Double Wing) coach at Fredericksburg, Iowa, and we worked together at Brad Knight's camp in Holstein, Iowa. He is a very good coach and a very good man and he obviously has Coe College, highly-respected academically, doing good things on the football field. Let me put it this way - if I had a son looking for a place to play small college football, I couldn't think of a better man for him to play for than Steve Staker, so I've included his contact info below on the chance that one of my readers might have such a player on their team:

Steve Staker
Head Football Coach
Coe College
1220 First Avenue NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
Office: 319-399-8735
Cell: 319-929-3803

*********** It's called accountability, and it's a rare thing in today's society.

Prior to the D-Day invasion, General Eisenhower prepared two statements. One, we're all aware of. It sais we had succeeded in landing on the continent of Europe, and that the liberation of Europe was under way.

The second was prepared should the invasion go wrong.

In it, General Eisenhower stated that despite his having had the best advice of countless experts, the decision to invade, and the responsibility for the failure of the mission, were his alone.

*********** A first-year youth head coach whom I met at one of my clinics last year has very eloquently kept me abreast of his early struggles, and in the belief that his experience may be of some help to other new head coaches, I asked him for permission to print it, because among his "lessons learned," not the least of them is that, in terms of assistants, less is often more.

Essentially, he was overwhelmed by "assistants" whose main agenda was either promoting their own kids or their own ideas. Or both.

I told him that I learned long ago, from my experience coaching overseas, that if I have to, I can coach without any assistants. From that experience, I also learned that having ZERO assistants beats having even one who is not truly assisting YOU. This coach's approach, with which I concur, is definitely not what today's men in skirts would call "collegial," but the main reason we have so much collegiality in our lives in the first place is that, in every aspect of our society except sports and the military, we have a dearth of leaders - and I'm not always so sure about sports.  We are there to provide leadership. 

Hi Hugh. We have gotten over the coaches quitting and parent issues by now with three consecutive wins and lots of rain at practice which I believe kept the parents at home cutting down on the parking lot pity parties.
We lost three in a row at 2 and 3 during all the commotion but now we are back in the race with three more wins.
In the lessons learned arena, I have decided that I was to much of a nice coach reacting to much to parent concerns and assistant coaches ideas. I decided to be a bit more forceful and direct on the team vision and direction. The resistance was very unnerving but I held my ground and set the direction. This is mostly player position and the development of an A and B team with the B team getting the minium of the required four plays and sometimes more depending on the game.
The boy scout coaches wanted to keep two balanced teams which in fact was my initial idea to allow all players to get equal time. In reality this allowed some weak players to much time on the field and sacrificed one truly strong team over two balanced teams. I believe that costs us two wins.
That all changed and now we have three wins. The resistance at times was overwhelming. We are at 5 and 3 and need one more victory to get 4th place and make the playoffs.
I sometimes wonder if I’m taking all this to seriously, that it is a volunteer situation. I now think that if you are the head coach in this situation no one works as hard and if you want to win you have to make the hard choices and you just have to count on having only a few friends. Some families who we thought were friends now it seems would not even give us the time of day. I haven’t been overbearing it’s just the misinformation at the pity parties from the guiding coaches.
I would add that any Head Coach may still have to go through it to gain the strength you need to make the difficult decisions. I was aware of the issue to some degree but had no idea how ruthless and overbearing some assistant coaches and parents seem to be.
That may go with the territory, that some see a new Head Coach as an opportunity to cause problems. I guys that are giving me a hard time would never do that to some of the other Head Coaches around our four teams. I was there and seen it.
New Head Coaches must absolutely stand their ground from day one. The guys that gave me a hard time tried to take over the team, I stood my ground on that, they couldn’t handle that and quit right after they found out I was no push over.
The worst part is that they quit on the boys just before our biggest game of the year. The exposure comes from the fact that they were just out for their own pleasure and aggrandizement and not the boys.

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

I wanted to see if I could tap your expertise one more time. I have bought the series of video tapes you have created and found them to be an excellent resource. My 8-9 year old team is 8-1 and have scored 40 touchdowns. We have really put the fear of God in teams utilizing Wedge. Teams game plan to stop it. The team we play this weekend is the one team that has been able to stop it via good size and execution from their 5-3 alignment. I was thinking of going UnBalanced and Wedging at 4/5 to get some additional movement on the Wedge. In you experience, are there any plays that you like to use against this Defense?

A couple notes I should mention. Early on, we had tremendous issues running Super Power, so we "O" Block it with decent results. We also "O" block our Counters, like 47-C. The one area we have not done as well is getting outside from the DW. I have had to Spread them out in order to get outside. Most teams, like the one we play Saturday have brought their Corners in tight and blitzed them. We have been successful passing against this, but, it is not something we feel confident in doing more than 5 times in a game. My QB can run well, so, we do utilize him with Bootlegs and 6/7-G Keeper.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Not knowing your kids---

I would run Super Power with NO MOTION because it is going to hit tight, so tight that the blitzing corner can't get to the runner. Tell your running back to try to push with his inside hand on the back of the pulling guard.

Double the man on the guard with your G & T, and double the OLB with your TE and WB (TE goes inside the DE, WB goes over top of him.

Kick out the DE with your b-back.

Have your QB toss and go outside, which will soften up the DE and also give him a shot at the corner.  This can also set up a keep by the QB.

If you are only pulling the backside guard, continue to do it that way.  He is responsible for turning in (he MUST run a tight circle) and blocking the MLB.

We will also run trap and 6-G and we will also run NOMO 47-C and block it on the playside EXACTLY the way we do Super Power.  The WB does not go in motion but instead blocks on the OLB same as on Super Power.

Let me know how it goes

*********** I couldn't help thinking about our near-hysteria over H1N1 flu as I watched our quarterback warm up on Friday, licking his fingers before every throw

*********** In case you hadn't noticed...

Detroit lost its WNBA team to Tulsa... Idaho is on top in the WAC, and Kansas State is in first place in the Big 12 North... Virginia, all but given up for dead four weeks ago, leads the ACC Coastal, while North Carolina, everybody's pre-season darling, is dead last

*********** When a Boston-area youth coach ordered a kid to run laps because he was 10 minutes late to practice, the kid's dad objected, pulling the tired, old "you're punishing my kid when it's not his fault" line and loudly berating the coach, including making disparaging remarks about his weight. So evidently the coach decided it really was fairer to punish the dad, inviting him to go off where they could settle things privately. Dad's punishment consisted of a shattered eye socket, a broken nose, and a concussion.

Read more -

Thanks for the tip to Steve Tobey, of Malden, Massachusetts, who also wrote, "by the way, have you seen any UFL games? I've watched a little. The hardest thing for me to get used to is the officials being dressed like Tiger Woods (red polo shirt, black slacks, baseball cap)."

*********** In Sandy, Oregon, an overzealous dad at a middle school football game is in trouble with the law after (allegedly, of course) pulling an opposing team's player off his son and then shaking the player. His son had been running the ball and had stepped out of bounds whereupon, according to the Portland Oregonian, the opposing player tackled him and, while he lay on the ground, began pummeling him with his fists. Enter Dad.

*********** No good deed goes unpunished. A coach taught a losing program how to win (running the Double Wing) but now he finds himself not being retained for next year because he refused his league's order to "open it up." He writes...

We are doing well on the field, and I have tried to focus on just our team and developing our players, which is going well. 
I am a bit saddened at the prospect of not coaching next season, although it is my choice of course, but I really believe in the DW and how we are using it to minister to our young people. I just cannot stay at a club who is willing to toss the offense that turned their program around.
I also believe that, in this copy cat, Spread-infested football world, the DW is a successful, fresh and potent answer to the cookie-cutter, poorly blocked so called "opened-up" offenses that seem to be everywhere.
You can't swing a dead cat around here without hitting a Spread Offense team.
I hope things are will with you and Miss Connie.

american flagTUESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2009- "As I like a young man in whom there is something of the old, so I like an old man in whom there is something of the young." Marcus Tullius Cicero

*********** More on Friday about my trip to Green Bay. Let's just say it was an experience that exceeded all my expectations. I don't believe in being an ingrate, so in recognition of the class shown by the Green Bay Packers' organization this past weekend, I will postpone my usual diatribe on the NFL.

Except for this...

After watching the Packers and the Lions, two of the NFL's oldest and noblest franchises go at it, it was a shock to watch the Monday night game and those ludicrous getups the Broncos wore.

They took what were easily the silliest-ass uniforms ever worn by a professional football team (including the XFL) and made them even sillier.

All that was missing were pointed shoes and hats with bells on and the Broncos would have passed for court jesters. I swear I could hear a king leaning back in his chair and commanding, "Bring on the Fools!"

Despite the NFL's best efforts to protect its image, it just can't keep its players from putting on a freak show. The Broncos' vertical-striped stockings, objects of well-deserved ridicule for 50 years, now seem to be standard Denver gear every week. Sillyass? One guy twisted his stockings so his legs looked like brown-and-white barber poles. As bizarre as those stockings looked 50 years ago, they looked twice as weird with today's over-the-knees fashion statement and the team's decision not to wear white sweat sox.

At least the original Broncos wore pants that covered the knees, and that, combined with the white sweat sox worn over the stockings (I thought the NFL still required that, but the Broncos evidently didn't get the memo), mitigated the Broncos' experiment in bad taste by reducing the amount of stocking we had to look at.

Look - the original Broncos themselves hated those stockings so much that when it was decided to change the uniforms, they actually burned the stockings before a practice. Of course, those guys at least had good taste.

Where's my Zippo?    

*********** "Success is counted sweetest by those who ne'er succeed..." That was Emily Dickinson, who I doubt ever tried to turn around a football program, but after four weeks of losses, some of which could be described as trouncings, we got one of those wins Friday night, and it was, indeed, sweet.

We won, 28-18 over Parkrose.  The way it happened was astonishing.

Three weeks ago our starting QB, Tomas Sanchez, was diagnosed with a concussion, and for whatever reason, he hasn't returned. After working this past week with Xavier "X" Fernandez and putting together a presentable offensive package, "X" went down midway through the first quarter with a fractured elbow. Thank God for the Wildcat, because with no other QB, we were able to cobble together an offense. Using the talents of a very gifted running back, Nevin Blem, we managed to play a good offensive game, and combined with a very good defensive performance, it was enough to beat a team that had us scared to death. We'd seen personally a week earlier and their play in a narrow 45-42 loss to North Eugene scared the daylights out of us.

The first time Nevin took the Wildcat snap, he swept right for 24 yards and a touchdown, and he wound up rushing for 171 yards and two TDs. C-Back Ruben Hernandez, who'd just returned from concussion exile, scored the other two TDs and rushed for 90 yards. Sophomore Pedro Sandoval got 57 tough yards inside, and on defense his sack of the Parkrose quarterback in the end zone with four minutes to play put us 10 points in front. From there, we took the "ensuing" kick and ran out the clock.

team pregame

Woodburn head coach Tracy Jackson addressing the Woodburn kids before the game

nevin & ruben
Seniors Nevin Blem and Ruben Hernandez, Woodburn's leading ground-gainers in the win over Parkrose Sophomore B-Back Pedro Sandoval, who in two weeks has become an outstanding blocker and runner - and linebacker - for us

*********** Hugh,
I know no one will buy into this but I thought I would share it with you.  I had occasion to talk to my Pop last week after the 60 minutes show. 
My Pop was quite a football player in his day, he was in fact the first team all state MLB in New Jersey and the second team center (behind Al De Rogatis that year) anyway Pop said "if they really want to get rid of the head and neck injuries go back to leather helmets and no face masks.  Players would then be forced to learn how to tackle instead of knocking the crap out of people with their heads.  You may get a few broken noses, and some lost teeth, but far fewer concussions and neck injuries". 
Perhaps past is prolog?
Rich Golden
Mountville, Connecticut
(I have often thought this way. I doubt that all the engineers and designers and medical professionals who have collaborated on helmet design envisioned the helmet's being used ad a weapon. The very helmet that's designed to protect may actually cause as many injuries as it prevents.)
*********** Coach Wyatt,
I just wanted to say thanks for your inspiration.  I was visiting your website and you talked about how you went 0-9 at Madison High in 2005.  My name is Alfredo Bahena and I am a head youth football coach in Fairfax, VA.  Last year, I had 13 kids on my team went 0-7 and thought I was done.  I was given another opportunity to head coach, had 8 kids return from last year and we are now at 2-2 and in the playoff hunt.  I just wanted to tell you that reading your material has helped me learn how to defend the wing-t, and actually i think i am a convert and may introduce it to my kids next year.  I think we have the perfect foundation to run it.  My boys are a head shorter than everyone else in our division, but we are a power running team using the power I and running dive, lead, and sweep and not necessarily in that order.  I cannot imagine the results once i get these monsters to use misdirection.  Thanks Coach and I will introduce myself at one of your clinics I plan to attend this year. 
Alfredo Bahena
Fairfax, Virginia - Coach, not that I would wish it on anyone I like, but an oh-fer season gives a coach a lot of things he can't get any other way, including a sense of humility and the complete dispelling of any notion that he is invincible; a sense of gratitude for better years, when he has the talent to be competitive; an appreciation for the nobility of kids who keep coming back for more, even when they know, despite your attempts to convince them otherwise, that it's hopeless; an understanding that sometimes, despite your best efforts, you are going to fail; the knowledge that you can still do everything in your power to make the kids' season memorable (in a good way). Glad to hear that things are going better. Looking forward to meeting you.

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

Long time no talk but I was wondering about the Black Lion.  I haven't had this problem in the past but is it possible to have to winners on a team or just one.  I have one kid that was a QB that transfered to me and he told me he has never won a game and he told he would play any position to help win.  He currently plays guard for me and LB.  The kid is the best player on my team and the kids answer to him yes sir and no sir.  

Then I have another kid that plays my other guard and Mike LB.  On his previous teams he was the top running back.  He is a great kid who does whatever I say.  He runs the Defense and takes it very personal when the defense struggles.  He blames himself when the defense struggles.  He also speaks up when others wont.

So Coach I would like your opinion.


You and I may be lucky enough to have more than one Black Lion on our teams, but we may only make the award to one of them.

We determined at the start that we would not go the way our society is headed, with  Trophies for Everybody, and ten valedictorians at a high school graduation, and so we as leaders must make tough choices.

Thanks for your support.

*********** "...proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching..." 2 Timothy 4:2
Funny how, as I read the bible more and more, I find the parallels to situations in my life.  It sure seems especially so with this passage by Timothy.  For what is written above applies to our walk with Jesus and it also applies to our jobs as coaches, especially those of the double wing. The comparison and similarities prove to me I am following the right path for God and in football coaching with the Double Wing.
The passage continues... "For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will accumulate teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new. They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths." 2 Timothy 4:3-4
As recent as this weekend, at a game played by a younger team in our franchise, I witnessed the negative ramblings of other franchise coaches and board members in the stands, slamming the DW as the current team, who runs it, was struggling to be competitive.  This team had scored many points with the offense thus far this season, but they were down several players to injury and illness in this contest and were virtually playing with all second and third team, inexperienced players.  The score was 12-6 at half time. They had played an outstanding first half and what kept them in it was the "sound doctrine" of the Double Wing and (knowing their coaching staff) their faith in the Lord.
Even more mind-boggling, was the diatribe pointed directly at me and our Double Wing. As the coaches of the oldest level in our franchise, we have made no secret of our strong faith in God and the Double Wing. Thus far this season we are  5-1, 5-0 league, and averaging over 250 yards and 4 TD's a game. (We have also shut out all of our league opponents to date). Yet, as I sat there listening to this garbage, I was amazed at the negative comments and questions about why we run are still running the Double Wing.
-"Have you opened up your offense yet?" (which is slang for "Spread it out!")
  Yes, we opened up a whole can of whoop ass 2009 with our Double Wing Offense, thank you!"
-"You guys are too tight(splits), you need to Spread it our or you'll never be able run the ball later in the season."
  We are averaging over 250 yards per game. It's the 7th game of the season.  Later in the season?
-"I mean in the playoffs.  "Everyone knows what you are running (from a Spread Coach). You need to change or 
  you'll never win."
  Everyone has known what I have been running for the last 5 seasons in two different programs, only two teams 
  have been able to stop us, and only about half of those times it was because they knew how to.  It was usually
  a personnel issue or a coaching blunder on my part that cost us. 
We plan on "going to the dance with the ones that brung us. Jesus Christ and the DW.
Funny how I have never heard a mention of God or Jesus or faith of love from any of these coaches or board members and I never see them pray with their teams or talk about loving each other or playing for each other. 
Lost sheep. Their willingness cut down and slam other coaches and players in their OWN organization and shun what they don't understand or refuse to understand shows such a huge lack of faith; in themselves, in their teams, and in the Lord. Timothy was so accurate:  They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths!
Looks like I may be out of coaching after this season.  I have been informed that no matter how well we do this season, the organization is going to change the offense next season, franchise-wide. I have done a little investigating and it turns out that no other local team wants to run the Double Wing, so, looks like I have at least one year off.

Richard Scott, Tracy, California

************* Meantime, while others are opening it up...

Georgia Tech beat Virginia Tech 28-23 Saturday, throwing the ball seven times and completing exactly one pass.

It was the Yellows Jackets' first win over a top-fiove team since 1962.

Instead of passing, GT QB Josh Nesbitt ran the ball 23 times for 122 yards. It's not that he didn't get a lot of yardage throwing the ball -

As evidence of GT coach Paul Johnson's knowledge of his offense and his ability to make adjustments to what defenses are doing, and 272 of the Jackets' 309 yards came after halftime. That worked out to 6.5 yards per carry, with eight plays of 13 yards or more.

“They would be driving the ball, and we would be getting tired,” said Virginia Tech linebacker Barquell Rivers, who wound up with a game-high 16 tackles. “We were tired and ready to get off the field, but they kept getting the extra inch for the first down.”

Ever hear of a spread team wearing an opponent out?

*********** Read your news section finally. Come on, Coach you know I would know something about this. When I took Alan to the invite of the Miami game at Duke I met some guys from Miami with their kids and interesting enough they were all from the private schools.
Very smart on Coach Cutcliffe's part. He is recruiting the small private schools because there are always good players there. A lot of parents send their good football playing kids to these private schools even though a lot of them might start at the bigger schools but the gangs and all the problems keep them away. So these small private schools are loaded with talent. Better atmosphere and the football is more and more competitive.Interesting.I guess crime, bad schools,gangs,and violence do serve a purpose after all. Green Bay huh. Man I'm jealous. But hey at least I met Charlie Weis twice and you have not.
Armando Castro
Roanoke, Virginia
(Formerly MIami, Florida)

*********** Geneseo, Illinois, where the great Bob Reade once coached, lost to LaSalle-Peru for the first time in 90 years on a 38-36 last second field goal.

*********** This is VERY cool - Design your own Xenith helmet

Try not to look at the price.

I note that the high school/college helmet costs upward of $300, while the youth model costs $200.  I don't see many high school and youth organizations with the resources to replace their current stock of helmets with these, which cost roughly double what their competitors charge.

And we have yet to see whether they will actually reduce concussions.

People may argue that the price will come down, as happens with consumer electronics, but I have never seen that happen with football helmets.  One thing that keeps the price of helmets high is the need to for manufacturers to prepare to defend themselves against the inevitable lawsuit.  Lawsuits have already driven numerous helmet manufacturers out of business.


american flagFRIDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2009- “We need to try to do the right thing every time, to perform at our best, because we never know what moment in our lives we'll be judged on.” US Airways Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, noting that the one moment in his life for which he will be known was the reflection of years and years of learning and preparation.

*********** Coach Wyatt, Great column (not a blog) this week as always. I was also watching LSU v Florida on Sat eve. I tremendously admire Tim Tebow, leadership, toughness, just a fantastic football player. I heard Verne's 1950's comment and was thinking that Bronko Nagurski flipped one like that to Bill Hewitt (I think) in the 1932 NFL championship inside Chicago Stadium to clinch the game against Portsmouth. Caused quite a ruckus, whether he was fully 5 yards behind the l.o.s. Maybe Verne wasn't aware of that, I'll cut him some slack, he didn't grow up 10 minutes from International Falls, where every boy knows about the "greatest football player of all time" (Red Grange's words, written on a memorial to Bronko, in his museum)
Watching the FSU-GT game. The announcers were pleading with FSU to onside kick, down 1 score, with 4 + minutes left. Imploring them to take the gamble because there was no way they would stop GT, and they would run out the clock. Quite a bit of respect to the old fashioned offense. The announcers turned out to be right, FSU kicked deep and GT easily killed the clock, kneeling after advancing to the FSU 10 yard line. Great game.
Yours in football,
Mick Yanke
Cokato Minnesota (Nice to hear from you.  Man, if anybody could throw that jump pass, it would have been Bronislav Nagurski, one of few old-timers whose ability to stand out in the modern game is beyond dispute,

The GT offense really does scare people, doesn't it?  I love it.  I know a lot of the triple guys are concerned that with GT's success more people will start running it, but they needn't worry.  There just aren't that many guys out there with the stones to give up their powder puff football. Not that you can blame them, because sticking with what everybody else is doing is the closest most coaches can get to job security in a business with very little of it. HW)  

*********** Eat your heart out... I don't know where you'll be Sunday, but I'll be at Green Bay, down on the field. Lambeau Field.

Following our game Friday night in Portland against Parkrose HS, I'm flying out early Saturday morning - very early - for Green Bay, and the annual reunion of the Black Lions, survivors of the 1967 Battle of Ong Thanh. Although I'm an honorary member of the Black Lions, the storied 28th Infantry Regiment, I'll be attending for just the first time since 2003. Football coaching does tend to get in the way, but this one I can make.

Why Green Bay? Author David Maraniss ("When Pride Still Mattered," "They Marched Into Sunlight," "Clemente"), like me an honorary Black Lion, is a Wisconsin native, and he had the bright idea of hosting the annual get-together, normally held at West Point, around a Packers' game. To do so, though, he had to call in all the favors owed him by the Packers ("When Pride Still Mattered" is the definitive biography of the great Vince Lombardi) in order to secure a sizeable block of tickets all together. You try it.

I'll be arriving too late to take advantage of the traditional fish fry, a Friday night staple all over the Midwest, but I will arrive in time for the tour of the Packers' facilities arranged by David.

And Sunday, as the Packers get ready to face the Lions, David has managed to get us all field passes.

Look - I don't particularly care for the NFL and I make no secret of it. I could always find some tailgaters with plenty of beer and brats and wheedle my way into spending the game with them.

But, no, I don't think so - this is Lambeau Field, and this is the Packers, and I'll never get another shot like this one.

*********** Sports Business Daily reports that the Miami Dolphins killed a potential three-team Florida sponsorship with the two other Florida NFL teams back before the start of the season because they felt they deserved more than the Jaguars and the Buccaneers.

The Jaguars and Buccaneers have both struggled to sell out games and have encountered financial problems. The Jaguars, who have said they will not sell out any games this year, are a top recipient of revenue sharing, and the Bucs have spent nearly $30 million below the salary cap this year.

The Dolphins, on the other hand, under deep-pocketed new owner Stephen Ross, who says that winning isn't enough - that they have to provide more for their fans - have spent heavily to rebrand the team, and added several high-profile minority owners, such as Venus and Serena Williams.

The bigger implication is that Big Football is in for a fight between low-revenue and high-revenue clubs, a fight that could undo the financial parity that for decades has translated into parity on the playing field. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who to say the least has never been much a a league-first guy, has already said that revenue sharing should not be a part of a new labor deal, a statement for which he was fined by the NFL.

*********** I asked a coach at an inner-city school how things were going and I got this-

My back up qb got in a fight friday so he is out for 3 weeks and my starter just up and left out to maryland so everythign is just grand over here!

I write back: From past experience, I can tell you that the challenge of coaching at a place like yours is that things are in a constant state of chaos. The thought of all the athletes you will find at an inner-city school is enticing, but the reality is that improvement is difficult because with kids' missing practice for a thousand and one reasons, you wind up never coaching the same group of kids two days in a row.

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

This spread stuff is worse than the Black Plague - everyone is catching it and no one is immune.  Check this out - I copied it from West Va. Wesleyans website   

Head Coach: Dennis Creehan (72-58-1 overall, 13th season; 1-4 at WVWC, 1st season)
Formations: Offense: Spread; Defense: 4-3

WTF? I have to say it is a sad day.  

John Dowd
Caledonia, New York (So it would appear that after years of touting the Wing-T and his videos on the subject, Denny Creehan, who once told me that he knew he could run the Wing-T successfully at the Division I level - Army, to be precise - now evidently feels that he can't run it in Division III.  Going to the spread, would in essence mean abandoning every coach who ever bought his Wing-T stuff. Say it ain't so, Denny. HW)

*********** Roger Goodell. What a stoneless piece of sh--.

He condemns Rush Limbaugh as "divisive," but kisses the rings of the race hustlers who claim to speak for all 30 million or so American blacks, accepting as gospel truth the things they claim that Limbaugh is supposed to have said year ago.

The least of those things was Limbaugh's accusing the sports media of wanting a black quarterback (Donovan McNabb) to succeed. Oooooh. Racist. Actually, I thought I saw the same sort of favoritism, but I didn't think that was necessarily a bad thing. Hell, I wanted McNabb to succeed, too. Still do.

But based on the way the Lords of Football have treated Rush Limbaugh, it would appear that if you are a conservative white male, you would be well advised to go underground and keep your opinions to yourself.

You doubt me? How else can Rush Limbaugh be treated like a leper, while Al Sharpton, who pushed a young woman's false rape accusation to the point where innocent men went to jail, and Jesse Jackson, who once referred to Jews as "Hymies," and New York as "Hymietown," have standing to lecture the NFL on anyone's qualifications to be an owner?

My fervent hope is that St, Louis, which has already had to suffer through the realm of gold-digger Georgia Frontiere, will get new ownership on the order of Bob Irsay, the drunk who sneaked the Colts out of Baltimore and whose son now serves as chairman of the NFL's Speech and Thought Control Committee. (Just kidding, Commissioner Goodell. I know how strongly the NFL supports free speech.)

*********** Memo to Charlie Weis: it would be a very good idea to defeat Southern California Saturday. An eighth straight loss to the Trojans is likely more than the Irish fans will take. Better coaches than you (Lloyd Carr and John Cooper come immediately to mind) have been fired for a lack of success against big rivals.

*********** There are men regarded today as brilliant economists, who deprecate saving and recommend squandering on a national scale as the way of economic salvation; and when anyone points to what the consequences of these policies will be in the long run, they reply flippantly, as might the prodigal son of a warning father: “In the long run we are all dead.” And such shallow wisecracks pass as devastating epigrams and the ripest wisdom.

...the whole of economics can be reduced to a single lesson, and that lesson can be reduced to a single sentence. The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.

Written in 1946 by Henry Hazlitt - "Economics in One Lesson"    

*********** "Brenda Monk, a learning specialist hired to work with athletes who had learning and physical disabilities, was accused of improperly helping students type, edit and write their papers. Monk, who testified that some of those athletes had a second-grade reading level, was accused of committing academic fraud. In one case, she was said to have let students use a study guide that had answers to exam questions for an online music course."

That's from the report on Florida State's multitude of academic abuses, and it all happened on Bobby Bowden's watch.

No, nobody will ever accuse me of carrying Bobby Bowden's water. I'm up to here with the guy's folksy, aw-shucks coverup of FSU's big-time cheating. But I'm going to stick up for the guy. A little.

The Seminoles are now 2-4, and some very high muckety-mucks want Coach Bowden's head.

But three of their losses are by a touchdown or less. In the opener against Miami, an FSU kid dropped a last-second potential game-winning pass in the end zone.

Let those three games go the other way - and they could have - and FSU is 5-1 and nationally-ranked.

I'm sure that what really sticks in the craw of the people calling for Ole Bobby to resign is not the cheating and the discredit it brings to their college, but that 17-0 loss to South Florida, and the realization that the 'Noles are no better than the fourth-best team in Florida.

*********** Since the Dolphins beat the Jets Monday night - by four points - the headline writers have gone nuts raving about the Dolphins' Wildcat, and the analysts continue to say that defenses have "no answer" for it.

Uh, not to disown the child I named, but let's look at the facts...

The Dolphins rushed for 151 yards on 36 carries, not exactly overwhelming. The Jets rushed for 138 yards on 30 carries. If the Jets had matched the Dolphins in carries, they'd have outrushed the Wildcat team.

Taking nothing away from the Wildcat, I'd think that Chad Henne's 20 of 26 for 241 yards and two TDs - and NO interceptions and NO sacks - might have had a little something to do with the Dolphins' win.

*********** Coach, Saw that 60 min crap, my head nearly exploded.  Doesn't anyone want to point out that in their little highlight video about our "violent" sport that nearly every hit shown involved leading with the helmet and was therefore illegal.  Unless I'm totally missing something the issue isn't the game, the issue is a lack of rule enforcement.  How they didn't flag that hit on Tebow is beyond me.  
Gabe McCown                                         
Piedmont, OK-USA 

Hard to say conclusively that the UK player led with the helmet.   Doesn't some of the blame go to coaches who send out five receivers on every pass and hope that their protection will hold up?  

*********** I disagree with you coach. There is too much money involved. (For football to be threatened by the "concussion epidemic.")

I believe technology will solve the concussion problem.

On board sensors in the helmets will measure G forces. Too much and player will come out.

This will decrease helmet to helmet contact and will change how players play.

Dennis Cook,
Roanoke, Virginia

Coach, Since you are talking about all the money involved, you have to be thinking NFL.  

I'm not. Screw the NFL.

I'm thinking about  football at the youth and high school level, and in my opinion, its days are numbered.  Funds to provide kids with the helmets they're wearing now are getting harder and harder to come by, and the plaintiff's lawyers are licking their lips.  I can see their sleazy TV ads now:

"If you or someone you know has been involved in a high-speed football collision..."

Eliminating helmet-to-helmet contact isn't going to change a whole lot. The problem isn't helmet-to-helmet contact. "Helmet-to-helmet" is a clever phrase they've come up with to skirt the real issue. 

The real issue is helmet to anything contact.

The rules are in place right now to punish not just helmet-to-helmet contact, but leading with the head in any act of blocking and tackling, and yet officials cosistently refuse to enforce them. Meanwhile, the bozos on the tube continue to encourage unsafe play by glorifying the Big Hit, however it may have been delivered.

Actually, I don't give a sh- about the NFL.  Couldn't care less if the whole damn thing folded.  If nothing else, it would rid the colleges of a lot of the bums who are only there to prepare for the NFL anyhow.

*********** Hi Coach, This is ---- ---- from -------. (Please withhold if you happen to use this for Friday).
My theory on the increased diagnosis of concussions is that as school districts' contract "independent" sports medical services or athletic trainers there is an expectation that they are there not to keep kids on the field, but rather to compile enough data to get their contracts renewed. "When in doubt, sit 'em out" has been our program's motto for the past 3 seasons.
Another aspect is that kids learn that they can play the concussion card if a game gets out of hand as they sometimes do when you are consistently missing key players with concussions. At times a JV Soph or Varsity Senior will claim concussion if they are behind younger players on the depth chart.
My personal rule is that if I can't find it on the film or verify where it occurred, I am skeptical of it's legitamacy. I would never put a player in position to play with an injury, but there is a certain amount of accountability and trust required on everyone's part to make a program successful.

*********** From the Weekly Standard...

If Darwin Ran Baseball - A modest proposal for ensuring that the best teams play in the World Series.
by Willy Stern

Craig Robinson, proprietor of, has made a study of the correlation of regular-season baseball records to World Series success, since the wild card was introduced. His findings:

* The team with the best record in baseball has only won the World Series once (1998 Yankees). The 2007 Red Sox tied with the Cleveland Indians for the best record and also won the series.
* The playoff team with the worst record has won two World Series (2000 Yanks and 2006 Cardinals).
* Only in 1995 did the teams with the best record even meet in the World Series (Indians and Braves).
* In only three seasons did the best eight teams go on to the playoffs (1996, 2002, and 2004).

His suggestion for making the regular season mean more?

Give the better team a leg up. In the first round of the playoffs, the team with the best record in each league would square off versus the club with the fourth-best record, while the second and third seeds would pair off. In each round, the winner is the first team to attain four victories.

But here's the kicker: In the first two rounds of the playoffs, the team with the better record is automatically awarded a victory before the games start. The better team over a 162-game season must, then, win just three of six, whilst the lesser team must prevail in four out of six. This new format could further favor the better regular-season squad by giving that side a decided home field advantage. Of the potential six games played in each series, the first two could be at the better team's home park, followed by two away, then two back home.

american flagTUESDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2009- “There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men.” Edmund Burke

*********** This ripping the ball loose business, which I deplore, can come back and bite its practitioners, which delights me. Army's Trent Steelman, on 3rd and goal from the Vanderbilt 2, tried to sneak it in. He fell on top of a downed player and, since he was not down, continued to struggle. He broke outside, where he was hit by several Vandy players, who could have taken him down, but appeared instead to hold him up while they tried to rip the ball loose. As they pried at the ball rather than take him to the ground, he twisted loose and into the end zone for the touchdown.

Ditto trying to advance a fumble rather than simply recovering it and letting the offense do its job. A Florida State lineman tried to run with a Georgia Tech fumble and wound up having it taken right back by the alert GT quarterback.

*********** I am not trying to defend or attack Bobby Bowden, but come on - Florida State's narrow loss to Georgia Tech is supposed to be evidence that he's losing it and his team's in turmoil?

*********** Hmmm. A few weeks ago, Georgia Tech was struggling a bit, and some of the geniuses were saying that maybe people had figured out the triple option.

So Saturday night Tech goes out and puts 48 on Florida State.

andy avgi*********** Happy 17th Birthday for our #17, tight end Andy Avgi, who celebrated on Thursday night with a touchdown catch, his third in the last two games. Andy, 6-5, 225, is a very good basketball player who initially took the "advice" of certain basketball folks and decided not to play football, then, after watching our first game and realizing how much he missed football, changed his mind.

*********** With some of the sneakyass coaches' stunts we've seen, such as the famed "This is the wrong ball!" play on YouTube, football provides us with a great opportunity to teach kids that just because something is  technically legal that doesn't make it right.

Ethics must stand tall when rules fail us.

And so a friend of mine wrote me...

Boy did we learn that the wrong way last Saturday. We got our butts kicked 36-6, but their last touchdown came on a deep fade pass with two minutes to go. Our coach told their coach after the handshakes that he thought it taught bad sportsmanship to throw a deep pass under those circumstances. The other coach refused to shake his hand.

After the game, the opposing coach approached us in the parking lot and delivered a half-assed non-apology. He claimed "that kid had never played an offensive snap, we didn't expect to score...I just put him in to shut him up."

I call bullsh** - they'd won their first two games 35-7 and 12-0, so I think they had plenty of opportunity to put in anyone they wanted.

Their program has got a leaguewide rep for being a$$holes. He told us he'd gone winless last year, which only strengthened my impression that he was having fun with the shoe on the other foot.

********* If you saw "60 Minutes" Sunday night, you saw a feaure on concussions, and heard them use the phrase "epidemic of concussions," two days after I predicted on here that we would soon hear it.

Thank you.  Thank you very much.

Actually, this was a bit sooner than I thought the deluge would come.

Meantime, mark my words - our game is in trouble.

This is a battle we can't win.

*********** Wow, Hugh. Your latest "NYCY" lead topic really hit home.  I recently had the same conversation with my fellow freshman football coaches -- after seeing our trainer exucse yet another kid from this week's game and practice, due to a "mild concussion." The kid says he's had a headache since our last game.  And the trainer -- despite having tested him at halftime of that game and proclaiming him "fine" -- reacted.
Been coaching this team for six years and I can't remember a single week that we haven' had at least one kid sidelined with the same symptoms.  It's become an "over-under" joke among some of us -- "Over-under on number of kids who get consussions in today's game is 2.5.  Who's in?"
It's a no-win for coaches, to be sure. No one wants to make light of head injuries. But at the same time ... I mean, football being a collision sport -- who DOESN'T have a headache during and after a game?  I know I always did. I also know I've been knocked out cold in at least two games -- one in college againt Bloomsburg, and one in the old Seaboard semi-pro league against the feared Lackawanna County Eagles -- and went back in after a few plays and a healthy sniff of smelling salts.  (Some might argue I've never been the same, since, but that's a different discussion...)
Not sure if there's a solution to this.  Maybe a different way of baseline testing?
Mike Brusko, Zionville PA

Not to get overly political, but I hope that no one in the current White House knows about Theodore Roosevelt calling the presidents of Harvard, Yale, etc. to the White House and ordering them to make football safer - or else.

Football had experienced an alarming number of deaths, and the rules changes that came about as a result of that White House conference made the game safer and, most of us would agree, better.

With the inflated concussion statistics that are sure to result from the current testing, I fear a modern-day White House conference, with today's White House "suggesting" that colleges and high schools :

(1) remove the points from the ball, enabling it to roll better
(2) outlaw the use of the hands in carrying, throwing or catching the ball
(3) outlaw "blocking" as it is now defined
(4) eliminate scoring by any method other than kicking
(5) award one point for a score (to be called a "goal")
(6) eliminate all current "football" equipment and require players to wear only shorts and pullover jerseys, with a skateboarder-type helmet recommended, but not required

Because of its popularity, the name "football" would be retained, although in an attempt to bring America more in line with our "global partners" in "this shrinking world, its spelling would be changed to the more phonetic "futbol."

*********** Dear Hugh,
I read your article on concussions, you are right - what the heck is going on?  Last Friday our team took a baseline test online to determine how severe a concussion is by taking the test  after they have been reported to have a concussion.  This past year the team purchased a new helmet called the ION ($200 a pop) that is supposed to help prevent concussions (help, I guess). We have had at least 5 kids (using the Ion) out for more than ten days because of it.  I wonder if trainers and doctors are asking leading questions - did you black out? Does your head hurt?

I think it is a big problem. It is like the ADHD diagnoses, sure just fill out the questionnaire and a doctor will basically give you the diagnosis.  Being a special teacher I have seen this happen. 

But as a football coach the concussion thing is starting to put up red flags and is it just how trainers and doctors are surveying the situation that has caused some of the hype.
Last Night's 60 Minutes episode will cause even more caution
Doug Bilodeau
Wilsonville, Oregon
link for the ION 
The baseline test costs 10 to 20 dollars.

************ George Perles, architect of the Steelers' great Steel Curtain defenses, which featured such as Joe Greene, Jack Lambert, Andy Russell, etc., told about his thinking in lining up Greene on the nose, in a tilted stance: "If they couldn't run inside, I didn't have to put up with Chuck Noll. If the secondary couldn't stop them, that was their problem."

*********** Has anyone ever heard the word "ensuing" used other than in football?

*********** You haven't heard a motormouth until you've heard Jason Sehorn, former Giants' DB, who is inflicted on Army fans every week.

*********** heard on the Giants-Raiders broadcast... "You're allowed to do a wedge if it's only two people..."

They told us it was "in the interest of safety."

Uh, to be a "wedge" doesn't it have to have a point?

And wouldn't that, then, require three people?

*********** Coach Kevin Williams is off to a 5-0 start at El Camino Real High...

*********** Yesterday about midway through the Ohio State-Wisconsin game, ABC unveiled its #23 play on its Top 25 College Football plays of all time: The Reggie Bush pushes Matt Leinert into the end zone to win against Notre Dame a few years ago. After a few minutes of the announcers going on about what a GREAT play THAT was. Matt Millen speaks up and says "What a real heads-up play by Reggie Bush" and I'm thinking to myself yes its really heads up if you can get away with it, absolutely against the rules and illegal. Then again I've never thought Matt Millen was the brightest candle in the box.

I think its a REAL Shame that some kid probably saw that and will try it next week at a little league game and his coach, maybe having seen the #23 ABC Sports play himself wont know any better. Hopefully the refs at that game WILL know the rule on assisting a ball carrier forward.

Tony Douglas
Kenova, West Virginia

*********** Coach:
I usually don't get into the whole nit picking of the football broadcast media but these were too good to let slide (there is some paraphrasing here):
1) Ron "Jaws" Jaworski on ESPN Sunday Morning NFL Breakdown - GOES TO THE FILM!!!!   "Lets take a look at how the Miami Dolphin's Offensive Coordinator has really taken the Wildcat Package to a new level.  Here we see a crazy package of FOUR RUNNING BACKS AND (gasp!) TWO TIGHT ENDS.  The running backs are lined up as wings to the outside of each tight end with two backs at direct snap depth.  NO QB!!  They send the wingback Ricky Williams in motion to force the playside linebacker to false step and then they run a lead counter back the other way with the guard and fullback kicking out.  The backside linebacker gets over top and we see a 17 yard gain!"   HOLY SH#@T JAWS, ITS A COUNTER TRAP PLAY AND ITS ONLY BEEN RUN FOR ABOUT 75 YEARS EVERY WHERE ELSE IN THE FOOTBALL WORLD EXCEPT THE BLESSED NFL!!!
2)  Saturday Verne Lundquist stated this beauty, "Inside the five is the place where Tim Tebow likes to run that Jump Pass play.  That is a play that was first run in college football in the late 1950's!"   Verne, no chance it was ever run in the first fifty years of the century?
3)  The great Matt Millen was watching the clip of Reggie Bush pushing Matt Leinert over the goal line to beat Notre Dame a few years back and his reponse was as follows, "What a heads up and smart play by Reggie Bush in that situation to help win the game!!"   I guess the fact that it was illegal was not important at the time!
So glad these guys are professionals and know what they are talking about!!!

Bill Lawlor
Crystal Lake, Illinois

*********** Man, Wisconsin really kicked Ohio State's ass. Twenty-two first downs, to Ohio State's eight. EIGHt FIRST DOWNS! 368 yards of total offense to Ohio State's 184. Forty-two minutes time of possession to Ohio State's 17.

Final score, 31-13. Ohio State.

Guess there's more than one way to win a game.

How about three touchdowns on returns? (89- and 32-yard interception returns and an 86-yard kickoff return?)

*********** When you pull for the people I pull for, days like last Saturday don't come along very often... When Army upset Vanderbilt, 16-13, on Saturday, it was their first victory over an SEC team since they 1990, when they also defeated. They are now 3-3, the latest in a season that they have been .500 or better since 1996.

And then Duke, my daughter's alma mater, beat North Carolina State for the first time since 1989. Read what Duke Coach David Cutcliffe had to say about his quarterback's performance...

RALEIGH -- When Duke quarterback Thad Lewis trotted toward the sidelines late in the fourth quarter with a victory over N.C. State assured, Coach David Cutcliffe greeted him with a hearty handshake and a jarring declaration.

"I told him it was the best game I've had a quarterback play," Cutcliffe said. "They can get mad at me if they want."

In Cutcliffe's world, "they" includes the likes of NFL superstars Peyton and Eli Manning, of Tennessee legends like Heath Shuler and Tee Martin.

"They" might not like it, but they'd have a hard time disputing it after Lewis became the Blue Devils' career leader in touchdown passes with a career day and a career-defining victory.

Lewis completed 40 of 50 passes -- half the incompletions coming on drops -- for 459 yards and five touchdowns as Duke downed the Wolfpack 49-28 on Saturday evening at Carter-Finley Stadium.

*********** Does anybody know anything about Miami's Gulliver Prep? Two Duke receivers come from there and between them they had 17 catches Saturday for 240 yards. Conner Vernon (10 catches, 86 yards) is a freshman and Donovan Varner (7 for 154) is a sophomore.

*********** Gee, the 49ers were 3-1 without holdout Michael Crabtree. How much better, you had to think, would they be once they signed him?

Well, lessee. Sunday they celebrated his signing by going out and losing to Atlanta, 45-10.

*********** Could there be anything be more inequitable, anything more emblematic of the NFL's deadly-dull and suspenseless reliance on the field-goal, than Denver's coin-toss OT win over New England, with the Patriots and Brady never even getting to touch the football?

*********** The future of football... There were 13 games played in the NFL Sunday, and only half the 26 teams rushed for more than 100 yards. The once-hardnosed Steelers were not among those who did. Only the fact that the 49ers managed to hit 100 yards on the button kept the league from being under .500 for the day.

Just one team out of 26 - the Giants - rushed for over 200 yards.

This week's Flag Football Award goes to the Texans (45 yards) and the Cardinals (44 yards), who didn't have 100 yards combined.

*********** Hugh, Law of unintended consequences:  Although the spread does not care about Time of Possession it should, because (drum roll please) ... it puts a lot of pressure on the defense.   More 3 and outs and 1-2 play drives equals more possessions for the opponent and thus more opportunities to score.  And if the opponent runs spread - that could be a lot of scoring.  That is why the Big 12 has so many shootouts.  To me the best defense is a good ball control offense.  Limit their possessions and keep their scoring machine off the field.  Also, don't let their QB get into his "groove."  Funny story regarding this point though.  A few years back we played a fast paced East Rochester team running no huddle 4-5 wide spread.  We tried to grind it and use TOP against them to keep their offense off the field.  Only one problem - we scored so quick in the double wing that they got the ball a lot and scored a lot (talk about weird).   The game lasted forever, because we scored on a lot of big plays and so did they (plus their incompletions and sideline catches stopped the clock).  John Dowd, Caldenia, New York

I think an interesting phenomenon is taking place on the West Coast, where Jim Harbaugh has Stanford - Stanford, for God's sake, the place that practically invented the concept of pass-first - going the contrarian route and playing hard-nose, grind-it-out football, with an unbalanced line of 300-pound linemen, a 245-pound fullback named Owen Marecic, and a 235-pound tailback named Toby Gerhart.

Yes, they lost to Oregon State Saturday, but they are causing problems for all those Pac-10 defenses set up to stop spread teams.

american flagFRIDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2009- "A man who doesn't read the newspapers is uninformed; a man who does read the newspapers is misinformed." Mark Twain

*********** We played onThursday this week (statewide in-service day on Friday) so you'll perhaps understand why I'm late in publishing.

Let's just say that a short week is not that big a problem if you're running our system. I mean, how much do you have to change from opponent?

But - I know, I know. Excuses, excuses - playing without an offensive lineman and three-fourths of your starting backfield, including your quarterback, CAN be something of a problem in any offenses. Four of our players were, um, "diagnosed" before Monday's practice as having sustained concussions of varying degrees last Friday night, and must sit out tonight.


Listen - I have been coaching since 1970 and in all that time I haven't had four players experience concussions. (That I know of.)

This is not to say that we didn't use laxer standards in the past, but I must say that our current highly conservative approach to sports injuries does not bode well for the future of a contact sport.

As the number of concussion "diagnoses" increases at more schools such as ours, look for alarmist headlines about the "growing epidemic" of head injuries among young football players, and then look for more and more mommies barring their sons from playing football.

(Why work hard and risk injury when you can get all the thrills - and be The Man - playing Madden?)

So anyhow, like a six-cylinder car hitting on five cylinders most of the time, we were a model of inconsistency, and we paid dearly, losing 48-7 to Corvallis.

We went out and did our best. Occasionally. But we also managed to fumble the ball several times, including once on our own one yard line after a heroic goal-line stand; to run east-west on a kickoff return, then reverse our field, giving ground in the process, until being tackled on our own three; pin our opponent deep in their own territory and then, on the final play of the half, give up an 93-yard run on a counter play.

None of us thought it would be easy, but none of us thought it would be this challenging. It's enough to give a guy a headache. Whoops. Not allowed to say that word around here.

********** The Nobel Prize makes a nice consolation after losing the Olympics.

What the hell - while we're at it, Obama for Heisman.

*********** How important are the counters in your offense?  Is it a case that base plays set up the counters as well as counters make the base plays better?
We have struggled on offense more this year.  Honestly a lot is personnel.  But as a coach I have basically ignored counters.  Haven’t called them or worked on them enough in practice, give up to easily.

We have repped the hell out of them this week and I am curious to see how the rest of the season goes.

I started running the run and shoot in 1982 because I was intrigued by its counter, and when I made the transition to the Delaware Wing-T the next year it was because I felt it was the best misdirection offense there was.  (Still do)

I was then coaching at a big HS and we seldom had a lineman over 200 pounds and yet, thankds to misdirection,  we consistently moved the ball.

At first our counters caught people with their pants down.  The we went through a stage where they were so counter-conscious that they gave us powers.  (At first, I wasn't smart enough to realize this.)

There may have been stretches where I would go too much to the power side, but I always have a counter - and several ways to run it - and it's been very good to me.

Sometimes - such as when we don't have a strong fullback, we will run a counter as our power play.

*********** Hugh, 
I still tune in to your web page during the season because I really enjoy reading it.  I have not corresponded with you in some time, as my son is playing college football now and my weekends are for the most part consumed with traveling to the games and getting the tailgate stuff cleaned up on Sunday.  I especially enjoyed your recent comments on the submarine force and women.
As a Retired Submariner of 25 years I can tell you that your observations onboard the Alaska about limited space are magnified on the attack boats.  An attack submarine is only 360 feet long and over half of that is the propulsion plant. There is no place, and I mean no place to do anything but eat, sleep and work...with the occasional movie.  They normally deploy with about 20% more people than bunks, so hot racking is the norm, in torpedo room on empty torpedo skids...In order to put women aboard, they would have to take a private berthing area; normally reserved for the more senior enlisted men and give it to the women.  There is the first morale issue, because after these guys pay their dues to finally get their own bunk, they lose it.  These attack submarines typically deploy for 6-9 months at a time and spend most of that underway and submerged (80%).  Then there are some engineering and health issues, first sanitary napkins cannot go into the sanitary tank as they will clog the inboard and outboard sanitary overboard valves. Next, there is the issue of the head, in a 688 it is located between two berthing areas...If the evaporator breaks down, you cannot shower or wash clothes, some times we have to store trash for weeks at time, because we cannot dispose of it where we are operating...think back to the sanitary napkins; that would need to be for the human issue, unlike surface ships that pull into port after a few weeks underway, submarines stay submerged for months at a time. After about a month or so submerged, people get edgy, we rub against each other in the passageway all day long and to be honest one gets a bit horny without any female company if you know what I mean. Put women onboard and as the men pass by them in the passage way they will rub against things that could create issues; you know like Mae West used to say; "is that a gun or are you just happy to see me?" I just cannot imagine any circumstance on attack submarines where this would work well.   I find it incredible that people try and compare a submarine to J.C. Penney.  Oh yeah one more thing...A funny but serious side note brought up by my office partnerI suspect that the women would require more toilet paper than the men do...not being a wise guy; but there is just enough storage space for it now, to put it in perspective, you need about 10-12 thousand rolls of it for a 6 month storing an additional 5000 rolls is not a minor issue.Life on a fast boat is tough enough without doing social engineering experiments. 
Good luck in the rest of your season...I'll go back to reading now.
Rich Golden
Montville, Connecticut

*********** "Army Football - In the Trenches" is a weekly show done by Time-Warner for showing on New York-area cable systems. It's a decent look at Army football.

With Vanderbilt playing at Army this Saturday, there's a nice article in the Nashville Tennesseean on a Nashville area kid playing football at Army...

*********** At first, all a new West Point cadet (plebe) is permitted to say in response to a question is "Yes, Sir!", "No, Sir!" or "No excuse, Sir!"

Last Saturday, Army lost to Tulane when a last-second field goal went wide, and following the game, in the Army "No Excuses" tradition, Army coach Rich Ellerson neglected to mention what many of us would have considered a perfectly good excuse for his kids not to play their best.

Here's what happened: Traditionally, the Army team spends Friday night off-campus, at a New Jersey hotel about an hour from West Point. But a fire broke out at the hotel, forcing evacuation, and by the time the team arrived back to West Point, it was 1 AM, with kickoff scheduled for noon.

But to his great credit as a coach of future military leaders, Ellerson said nothing about it in his post-game press conference, and in my e-mail exchanges with different Army coaches, I heard nothing about it, either - an event that would have driven most coaching staffs crazy. (I'm not at all pleased when the school bus is five minutes late.)

A friend of mine who knows someone in the athletic department just happened to hear about it, and now the word is gradually getting out. I admire the coaching staff even more than I did before.

As for the players - at a place where some of their former teammates are now sleeping in tents in Afghanistan, I imagine they just accepted this as another test of their readiness for combat.

*********** Not to overload you with Army stuff, but this great article on high school Homecoming when Dad's away in Afghanistan appeared in Thursday's Portland Oregonian -

*********** Coach, Just read your site. You know the old saying { keep the faith and good things will come}. Hope you and your family are doing fine. I am just letting you know about our game Friday night, it one of those games where I wondering what the other teams coaches were thinking . I have run your system for ten years, eight in youth, two at middle school. the high school I help runs the broken bone option, so just year I am running the bone in middle school. we were playing a wing t team that had a bye extra to get ready for our option. they also came out with a new o=look the double wing. the first play they ran 99 power cut back un touched for a 70 yard td. we fumbled our first play, they recovered it ,ran 99power for 20yards. got back in wing t for no gain. ran 2 wedge for first down. went back to wing=t . had to settle for a field goal. had us down ten =zip  in the first three minutes. we finely tie them up right before haft time. it stayed ten=ten until 4 min. left in game . we scored three touchdowns in three min and won 31-10. they defended the option well , we scored on three straight 36 power plays, 30-35-40 yds. I told our coach I sure glad they quit running  the double wing at us.  they never ran it again after the first quarter. and I thinking why. good luck the rest of the year. coach Honeycut, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (Back when I was a Wing-T guy, when games were won I would get into double wing just for security's sake, and we'd just run a few simple plays and yet we'd keep moving the ball and I just didn't understand it, because I thought we always had to have at least one split end. HW)

*********** Q. Name the four Division IA coaches that have yet to play a D-1AA team since the two-division arrangement was set up in 1998:

A. Notre Dame, USC, UCLA and Washington.

Not so fast, my friend. Not Washington. Not any more. The Huskies just bought their way out of a home-and-home with BYU so they can schedule homers with Eastern Washington and Portland State.

Call it greed, if you want. But if you do, please suggest another way an athletic department can raise the funds to needed to provide scholarships for women rowers, and air fare for women's basketball teams to fly to places like Los Angeles and Tucson without playing more home games? (And forcing its season ticket holders to pay Division IA prices to watch Division IAA teams.)

*********** So Georgia scores late and the kid scoring the TD gets hit with an excessive celebration penalty, which is assessed on the following kickoff. LSU, given a short field, scores at the the to win. Who's to say that LSU wouldn't have scored anyhow - they scored on a run of 30-40 yards, and it could just as easily have been 70 - but even the poohbahs at the SEC admit that the official erred on the unsportsmanlike call.

This time last year it was Washington's Jake Locker getting nailed against BYU.

I'm ready to compromise: put a team on the clock - give them 30 seconds following a score to do any f--king thing they want.

But slap a THIRTY yard penalty on any jackass who signals "first down," or does lunges toward his opponent's goal after a sack, or cups his hands to his ears, or walks over a fallen opponent while getting off him, or gives it the old "raising the roof," or signals "throw the flag," or gets in an opponent's face for any reason.

*********** Hi Coach-
Long time no talk.  I'm 2 schools removed from the last time we spoke (an attempt at rebuilding a once proud but fallen program did not go well.  No staff in the building and an inability to remove the stink of the previous staff left me 2-25 in my 3 year stint...)
Anyway, Im back as the OC at a nearby school (not running DW though...long story.)  We played one of our division rivals last friday, with both of us going in at 4-1.  Their TB had over 300 on the ground (special kid) and we had over 400 total. 
So...let me set the stage.  We're up 28-27 with 8 seconds left.  Then this happens.  Biggest travesty I've ever been a part of in my career.  Now while I admit our kids should have been more aware of the situation (and we should have done a better job coaching it up,) the facts of the matter are these....
1.  The holders knee was down after recovering the ball, resulting in a dead play.
2.  Our kids are staring at the white hat after blocking the kick, and he admits to saying "thats it...thats it...dont touch him."  Even though there was no whistile, what the hell are my kids supposed to do?  Level the holder when the ref is telling them not to?
3.  When the other team scores the "touchdown," there are two members of the opposing coaching staff as well as about 10 players on the field.  At the VERY LEAST it should be a penalty for illegal participation and replay the down.
So we're 4-2 and it's us against the world.  And I'm betting on us....
Brian Rochon
Plymouth Michigan

"That's it, that's it... don't touch him." Nice of the official to think of the holder's (or kicker's) safety, but wasn't he assuming that the play is over, and, in that case, shouldn't he have blown the whistle?

While we're on the subject of officials' intrustion into the game, h ow about this one? A friend of mine wrote me to tell me of his game last Friday.

His team was down, 19-14. It was his opponent's ball, fourth and eight, with 10 seconds to play.

"... the QB said he was going to take a knee and the officials all told our kids 'He's taking a knee. Do NOT hit him.' The White Hat admits that when the QB faked the knee and then took off running, it took them by surprise and they didn't know what to do. I can live with that - they are human, and honestly, how often in a career will you come across another coach who would have his players do that?"

My friend said he confronted the coach about it after the game and he said (I paraphrase), "I'll do whatever it takes to win."

For the record, that coach's name is Scott Grabenhorst and he coaches at Toutle Lake, Washington. He has been a successful coach for a long time. I've coched against him without incident, and it's disappointing to hear him associated with a story like this.

Perhaps if he reads this he would like to respond. HW

*********** Went toe-to-toe with the conference favorite for a half and went in down 10-7.  Unfortunately as you know, football is played in two halves.  Not sure who the team was that showed up for the second half of the game but it certainly wasn't the same one we saw in the first half.  Final score 30-13.  Lost TWO pooch kicks, fumbled three times, threw two interceptions, and gave up two scores on 3rd and LONG - in the second half!  Very disappointing.  First time this year you could hear a pin drop on the bus on the way home.  Still have a lot of work to do, but we have to grow-up in a hurry and get better senior leadership.  Hope things went well for you.

You are undoubtedly going through what we are going through, and yesterday I tolf the kids it was like having to shed their old skin.  They just haven't done it yet.

I really do think that after growing up in a culture unlike what you are trying to instill, it is very unusual for seniors to be able to step up and lead.  They just don't have the confidence in themselves to enable them to get out front and tell others what they want done.

You'll get there.  So will we.

*********** Ned Griffen, of New London, Connecticut, sends me this...

AP College Football Writer

NEW YORK (AP) _ Who's got time to worry about time of possession? Not Pete Carroll, Mike Leach, Rich Rodriguez and many other college football coaches

As offenses have become ever-more reliant on the pass, more capable of breaking off big plays and more likely to skip the huddle and hurry to the line scrimmage, time of possession - often a deceiving statistic - is becoming less and less relevant.

Never was that more apparent than Saturday, when No. 10 Cincinnati and its up-tempo attack jammed four touchdowns into about 16 minutes of possession time during a 28-20 victory against Fresno State.

The week before in the NFL, Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts became the first team since 1977 to win a game while having the ball for less than 15 minutes.

Those are extreme cases, of course. Rarely can a team win if its opponent has the ball more than twice as much.

"Time of possession doesn't come into play unless it's 4 minutes left and we're trying to close out a game," said Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly, whose high-speed, no-huddle has taken off this season.

The days of 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust offense, the type of grind-it-out-football that brings to mind coaches such as Bear Bryant, Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes, are long gone.

College football now is mostly about passing, with spread offenses and long gains.

Basketball equivalent:

Princeton (at least under Pete Carrill, not to be confused with Pete Carroll): pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, layup.

Most other schools (and probably Princeton, as well): pass, pass, 3-point shot

Baseball equivalent:

Old style: hit by pitch; walk; sacrifice bunt; sacrifice fly

New style: swing and a miss, swing and a miss, swing and a miss, swing and a miss, home run

american flagTUESDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2009- "When fortune is fickle, the faithful friend is found." Marcus Tullius Cicero

*********** (Relative to the USC player who dropped a bar on his throat)

Coach, Substandard bars get bent over time, especially when used for squats and dead lifts.

A bent bar is a disaster waiting to happen.

Imagine coming out of the rack with a close grip and you are holding the bottom of a 'U' shaped bar. Very unstable. Tends to roll when you come out of rack.

All coaches should inspect bars regularly and replace them with ones made from hardened steel. Costly, but worth it.

Also, separate bars should be used for squats and deads.

Also, I'm seeing more kids using a false grip on bench press. This is where the thumbs do not wrapped around the bar. When you combine this with a bent bar, someone is going to drop one on their chest.

No coach should allow a false grip under any circumstances even when light weight is used.

Dennis Cook,
Roanoke, Virginia

All good tips.  I've seen plenty of bent bars.

I doubt, honestly, that a substandard bar was a factor at USC, a place that evidently can find the money someplace to pay a player's family's rent, but whatever - I guarantee you that the bar in question is under lock and key as evidence.

*********** The Woodburn Bulldogs showed the first signs of real offensive life Friday night, but just for one half, as we lost to South Albany, 49-20.

Putting on drives of 85, 70 and 53 yards, we had just under 250 yards of first-half offense, and went off at the half down 29-20. But we were informed by the trainer at halftime that our B-Back had a suspected concussion, and that was that for him. Unfortunately, we had no adequate backup, and that was that for us offensively.

A blocked punt, a fumbled kick return and a stalled offense put too much pressure on our defense and we fell for the third straight week. We are still looking for our first league win in over ten years. This Thursday night, we play Corvallis.

what time?In the photo at left, our kids are not checking to see what time it is - they're double-checking the play call - and their assignment - on their wrist coaches.

*********** Thanks to everyone who sent me a link to the story of the Vermont high school player who spiked the ball in joy after fielding a short last-second field goal - only to watch a player from the kicking team pick up the ball (a fumble) and run it in for the game-winner.

***********On Saturday, CBS College Sports Network will salute our nation's Armed Forces and service academy football teams with a tripleheader this Saturday featuring Vanderbilt at Army (NOON, ET), Navy at Rice (3:30 PM, ET) and TCU at Air Force (7:30 PM, ET).

*********** Hugh, On your comment: “On the other hand, what, really, is the distinction between a firing and a coerced resignation?”
Answer: There is no f…ing difference between the two!
Question: What is the only thing you have if legal recourse doesn’t work?
Answer: Your dignity!
I applaud the head coach who didn’t resign, if he was doing the right thing with his interference!
God Bless,
Don Capaldo
Keokuk, Iowa

*********** Tsk, tsk. Despite the Great One's flight to Copenhagen (courtesy of us taxpayers) , Chicago is not going to get the Olympics. (Or be burdened with them, depending on which Chicagoans you talk to.)

Call it narcissism on the rocks.

It was an ignominious defeat. For Chicago, for the President, and for those of us who believe that the prestige of the Presidency should never have been cheapened by pandering to a bunch of corrupt international bureaucrats.

Put it this way - If it had been "Survivor," Chicago would have been the first one asked to leave the island.

If it had been a sports event, it would be called an ass-kicking.

Not so much for Chicago, a wonderful city that certainly would have made a great Olympic site, as for a president who actually believed that he had the charm to get the world to do his bidding.

(It had to be racism. Why else would anyone turn down the World's Most Popular Person?)

*********** Jim Brown, who made $85,000 in the final season of his Hall of Fame career, has a message for the 49ers' first-round draft pick: "Mr. Crabtree, get your butt in camp," he said. In an interview with Sirius XM radio, Brown told host Joe Madison that Michael Crabtree's current stance is "totally ridiculous" and said that an athlete's career is measured by the way he plays, not the contract he signs. "You don't realize that your legacy will be based upon how you perform, not how much money you made," Brown said on the show.

************ Coach,
I have no idea why you'd be interested but here I go anyway.
Just a little update on my 2009 football so far.
Three high school games, most prominent being Canton McKinley at Lake in Hartville, Ohio.
The biggest one in my neighborhood this year is Massillion at Steubenville Big Red on Friday. Stadium is 4 miles from here. It will be a major zoofest so I don't know yet if I want to fight it all. Don't bet against it tho. I probably will
Kutztown at St. Anselm in Manchester, NH
Plymouth State at St. Anselm
Morgan State at Akron, first game in new stadium 
Indiana at Akron, second in new stadium
Colorado at West Virginia
I didn't really add them up until just now. Even I am impressed .. and out of breath.
Add Michigan State at Kent State women in soccer where I took grandson Theo and I have quite an impressive list so far.
bold indicates new teams for my lifelist but I swear I have seen Indiana play once before but cannot remember when or find my list. I think it was at Michigan State.
"Franjo" - My old friend Frank Lovinski - has seen a "life list" of "245 or so" college football teams.

*********** According to a story in a book written by a guy who worked at a cryogenics facility, where bodies are kept suspended in liquid nitrogen in case future generations learn how to revive them, workers there mutilated the frozen head of baseball legend Ted Williams - even using it for a bizarre batting practice.

*********** Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount could be reinstated from his suspension for punching a Boise State player in the aftermath of the season opener.

I certainly hope that this all works out for first-year Oregon coach Chip Kelly.

This episode was the last thing any coach needs, least of all a first-year coach.

*********** Maryland, the alma mater of Under Armour founder Kevin Plank, has as many changes of costumes as Oregon, the alma mater of Nike founder Phil Knight.

*********** Notre Dame's Golden Tate is really good.

*********** NBC (Notre Dame's own network) is the only network that gives us NFL crap at the halftime of a college game

*********** Notre Dame unveiled a statue of Knute Rockne before Saturday's game. Of KNUTE ROCKNE?

One of the greatest coaches in college football history. Guy hasn't coached a down of football since 1930. And they're just getting around to it?

*********** The Golden Screw Award goes to the Washington Huskies. A late Washington touchdown was - upon further review - disallowed, but even Notre Dame house boy Pat Haden had to ask of the replay, "Was that conclusive?"

Well, no. It wasn't. But if you're a midwestern official and you'd like to be invited back to officiate another game at Notre Dame, well...

And then Washington's coach, Steve Sarkisian , with four punches from the one and a 6-3, 225 quarterback, acted as if he'd never heard of the single wing. Or Tim Tebow. He might be a hell of a coach from outside the 10, but inside it, he sure came up dry. What does it say when you've been outcoached by Charlie Weis?

Notre Dame ran in for a two-point conversion, aided by one lineman pushing the runner and another pulling him. Nothing but praise from the commentators. Are double-wing officials the only ones who know the rule?

Cheating bastards. Let me help the runner and I'll show you a wedge that even the pros can't stop.

************ Our local newspaper listed one of Saturday's games as "Central Connecticut against Sacred Heat."

Sacred Heat, eh? Sounds like a hell of a team.

*********** Dan Jenkins, one of my favorite football writers and an illustrious TCU alum, was honored Saturday at the Frogs' game against SMU.

If you want some great football reading, get his "I'll Tell You One Thing" ("The Truth about Texas, America and college football. With pictures to prove it.") If it's a part of Texas college football history, it's in there. And written in Jenkins' unmatched style.

*********** We get ever closer to full conversion to flag football. Going into this past weekend, 10 of the 32 NFL clubs were averaging under 100 yards per game rushing.

And, worst of all, one of the 10 was the PITTSBURGH F--KING STEELERS!

Are you kidding me? The symbol of hard-nosed football?

And then - whew - and then came Sunday night, and the Steelers rushed for over 300 yards.

*********** Speaking of Steelers - this throwback crap has definitely gone too far when the Pittsburgh Steelers wear a uniform worn by some of the worst teams ever to play professional football.

*********** Okay, okay. Look - the fact that I have seen enough pink on a football field to last me the rest of my life does not mean that I am not aware of breast cancer and that don't believe that breast cancer is a dreadful thing. I pray for the families affected by it and that I wish fervently for a cure.

But enough already. I get the point.

***********The chairman of the Florida State University trustees said Monday the arrangement with Bobby Bowden as head coach and his successor, Jimbo Fisher, as offensive coordinator isn't working, and Coach Bowden should retire at the end of the season.

"We've got too many bosses out there," he said. "Jimbo is in a very, very tough situation where people assume he has a whole lot more authority than he really has. He's getting blamed for a lot of things that's just not his fault."

The Seminoles are now 2-3 overall and 0-2 in ACC play, their worst start since 1976, Coach Bowden's first year at FSU, with Georgia Tech coming up this weekend.

Coach Bowden said Sunday that he has no plan to quit any time soon.

*********** We actually had a very good officiating crew last Friday.  During warm-ups, Minneapolis had their varsity DL tackling the pullers on their scout team.  The officials showed up to talk to me at just the right time, so I pointed it out as we watched a couple more plays on the Minneapolis end.  Sure enough, on our first offensive series, they called defensive holding.  The poor kids from Minneapolis looked at their coach on the sideline with their palms up, as if to say, "Now what?"  It was classic. Greg Koenig, Beloit Kansas

What kind of men get into our profession and then teach their kids to cheat? They are sure not coaches. (Beloit 58, Minneapolis 29 HW

*********** The head coach at powerhouse Jenks, Oklahoma, who has won nine state titles since taking the job in 1996, has been suspended for the remainder of the season for what appear to be "eligibility" - read recruiting - issues.

Three other members of the staff, including the AD, an assistant coach, and a booster/volunteer were also suspended for varying lengths of time.

The suspensions came about after the Jenks School District hired a Tulsa law firm to do an internal investigation.

That investigation revealed:

A transfer player, good enough that he is being recruited by Oklahoma, resided with the now-suspended booster in a rental house inside the district.

The player in question took part in a workout in front of coaches during spring break 2008 before he was enrolled at Jenks.

The player participated in a summer camp in 2008 even though he wasn't yet enrolled in the district. The district also reported that the player paid "substantially less" than the $275 fee to attend the camp.

The AD failed to investigate the situation thoroughly.

The coach did not inform district personnel that the player was residing with the booster.

Although I am always suspicious of "perennial powers," especially those on the level of Jenks, I know absolutely zero about the Jenks program and I'm in no position to comment on whether this incident is indicative of a pattern.


american flagFRIDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2009- "I shall never believe that God plays dice with the world." Albert Einstein

*********** What do Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow and Walter Thurman, Oregon's highly-rated corner, have in common?

All three are seniors.

All three passed up the NFL to return for their senior years.

And now, to varying degrees, all three are injured. Bradford has yet to return from an injury a few weeks ago against BYU. Tebow will miss at least one game. Thurman's season is over.

And now we're subjected to the money-is-everything chorus, lamenting the riches that those three, and others like them, may have sacrificed by staying to play college football one more year.

No doubt agents everywhere are slipping the word to draft- eligible juniors to come out ASAP. No doubt this will be a hot topic on the Sunday pre-game shows.

Next: with high school kids committing to colleges after their junior years, why should they risk injury by playing their senior seasons? Two years ago, a local kid who had signed early with a major midwestern Catholic football power (which will go unnamed, although perceptive readers will know that there is only one major midwestern Catholic football power) missed his senior high school season under, shall we say, "mysterious" circumstances.

Why, for that matter, should anyone with a college offer in hand risk injury playing football? Surely, with all the money a high school star will be making some day in the NFL, there'll be an agent out there who'll slip him money under the table (I hear they sometimes do that) so he can hire some other kid to take his place in the lineup.

*********** Many thanks to old friend Frank Lovinski for a great article about Canadian, a small town in the Texas panhandle that manages against the odds to keep itself - and its football team - thriving.

*********** On the Yale-Harvard telecast they were talking about the Yale QB - a Nebraska transfer - and one of the announcers said that at Nebraska there was a sign in the locker room the read "C'S GET DEGREES!"

Any truth to that?

*********** Coach- You told a story that Connie experienced in school: telling a kid to work in school so he could get a job, and the kid said "I don't want to work!"

I've found something like that with these kids. Asking them "do you want to lose the game because we fumbled?" and they give me a blank look. They don't know what "winning" really feels like, so they aren't motivated by it. NAME WITHHELD

*********** At Woodburn, Oregon, we've survived two tough games - but it doesn't look as if it's going to get any easier.

Two weeks ago it was 17th-ranked Crescent Valley. Uh-oh. Crescent Valley 47, Woodburn10.

Last Friday it was Class 5A's top-ranked team, West Albany. Thanks to a nice opening drive and solid defensive play, we took an early lead, and we went off at halftime tied, 7-7. But in the second half we couldn't get anything going offensively and as a result we wore down defensively, and we wound up on the losing end of a 35-7 score.

Next up? This Friday, always-tough South Albany. Next week, perennial power Corvallis.

Tracy (head coach Tracy Jackson) told me this league was tough and he wasn't lying. It's like coaching in the SEC. There are no easy weeks.

But our kids still work hard and despite two losses in a row, team attitude and morale are better than ever.

We are practicing with a new-found enthusiasm and we're starting to see the bodies fly around in our scrimmages. The kids are starting to get it.

And one of these days, we're going to turn that corner.

nick poplin*********** Nick Poplin, one of my seniors at North Beach last year, stopped by our practice Wednesday.

Nick, an outstanding guard and defensive tackle (he's #73 on the highlights video) is now a redshirt freshman at Haskell Indian Nation University in Lawrence, Kansas, and he was headed to Ocean Shores for a long weekend.

He sure looked to me as if he's thriving under the weight program at Haskell.

*********** I mentioned last week the incident in which three coaches at Portland's Lincoln High School got themselves in a jam after interfering with police officers following a UFC event.

As a result of the school district's investigation, two assistant coaches accepted the district's offer to resign. They are done for the football season, but they can be re-hired for a spring sport.

The head coach, however declined the offer, whereupon he was fired. That means he is now ineligible to be rehired by the district for a full calendar year.

Who knows why he said, "Fire me?" My guess is that had he resigned, he would have had no legal recourse, no right to claim wrongful termination.

On the other hand, what, really, is the distinction between a firing and a coerced resignation?

*********** Look out, Notre Dame. Yes, you should beat Washington. But God isn't necessarily on your side this week. Jake Locker is Catholic.

*********** After Brett Favre's last-play heroics last Sunday... how fast can Minnesota get a stadium funding bill on the ballot?

*********** WTF is going on in coaches' meetings, anyhow? First the head coach of the Raiders slugs an assistant and breaks his jaw, and now the head coach at New Mexico punches an assistant and cuts his lip. Whatever happened to the good old days of Woody Hayes when all they did was throw projectors at each other?

*********** Remember this, the next time you're being gored by a bull...

Near Bremerton, Washington, a sheriff's deputy, who undoubtedly has some farming in his background, saved a young woman from being attacked by a bull by distracting the ball, who then turned on him.

As the bull tossed him around, he somehow managed to grab it by the nose and squeeze. Hard.

The bull ran off and the guy survived.

*********** There are few teams anywhere better than the crew of a submarine. There is great camaraderie and pride in the mission.

That's important, because the mission is not without stress.

But for all the stresses of serving on a sub - including weeks-long underwater "cruises" - sexual tension is not one of the problems.

Not yet.

But welcome to the Great American Makeover, part of which is a call for allowing women to serve on submarines.

Said a government spokesman,  "I believe we should broaden opportunities for women." (He undoubtedly didn't choose his words carefully.)

Guys, I've been on a submarine. My son-in-law served on the USS Alaska, and he arranged for me to go on board while it was in drydock in Bangor, Washington. It is a "boomer" - essentially, an underwater missile carrier. The mother is BIG. It is as long as the Space Needle or Washington Monument is tall. It has five decks. It carries God knows how many missiles, all standing up and ready to launch. (The collection of missile silos is jokingly called "Sherwood Forest.")

But because of the missile silos, space, as on any submarine, is still at a premium. The sleeping quarters are TIGHT. As many as nine crewmen (crewpersons?) sleep in one room, tiny cots stacked three-high against three of the walls. There isn't enough headroom to sit up in bed.

Hot-bunking - two guys working different shifts and sharing the same bunk - is not unheard-of.

But, hey - what's the military for, if not broadening opportunities for women?

Stupid me. Here I had to go and read that damned Constitution and all that crap in there about "providing for the common defense."

*********** The Wall Street Journal recently listed its top five "Youth Friendly Cities"

1. Washington DC (the lure: government jobs)
1. Seattle (the lure: jobs in high tech, universities, quality of life)
3. New York (the lure: jobs, action, etc.)
4. Portland (the lure: quality of life, funkiness, outdoors)
5. Austin (the lure: jobs in high tech, state capital, university)

Portland, eh? Look - I love the Northwest and I love Portland. Moving to this area 34 years ago was one of the best things that's ever happened to me.

But kids, before you move out here - did you notice that nothing was said about Portland's job opportunities? That's because right now, there aren't many. Unemployment is high.

And yet the dreamy young folks keep coming. And they stay. They like the mountains. And the trees. And the water. And the fact that there's a lot of people out here just like them. So what the hell. Why go anyplace else?

Alas, says one researcher, "You can only sleep on someone's couch for so long. At some point you have to get a job."

*********** Coach:

It's Coach Torrence from Philadelphia.  I was reading your response to the "assistant coach' who coaches the lineman for a youth football team.  I would like to add on or offer the same perspective.  I was a first year coach who didn't have any experience doing any kind of football coaching and I had to sit and learn under a head coach for about two years or so.  I read all I could read about football and coaching.  During practice (all within the structure I was provided) I applied the techniques I learned during my study.  So if my coach wanted me to teach the kids drive blocking, I read on how to coach it better or any new techniques that were being taught.  Eventually, through conversations with my coach AFTER practice, I was eventually trusted to teach the cornerbacks, the QB's, and other positions (simply because he knew I would teach it the right way).  After my stint under this coach, I was given a head coaching gig in the organization.

Fast forward a couple of years.  I moved on to coach in another organization and installed your double wing.  I had a coach who hadn't really done any coaching and I really needed help because this was a new situation for me (the organization was a fraternity and I was the only non-fraternity brother as a head coach).  This coach did everything I asked him to do (regardless of his opinion on the double wing..he didn't have one).  I had to leave coaching for two seasons and I am now back in the organization.  THIS time though, HE is the HEAD COACH and I am his ASSISTANT.  He follows another double wing theory (Which was our first "disagreement") and I now have to teach it the way he wants the double wing to be run.  He gives me a whole lot of latitude because he knows I know what I'm doing, but out of respect for him and my prior experience (with him as my assistant), I teach it the way he wants it taught.  Why?  Because he is in charge.  Just like a job.  When you're the boss, you get to do things the way you want it.  In our organization, we have converted the weight class below us to the Double Wing (because the head coach was an assistant coach with us last year and he likes it) but we have enough problems defending the offense to other coaches in our organization, that we don't need the infighting on our staff.

Just thought I'd give my two cents.

Coach St. Martin Torrence

*********** All my assistants ( 6 of them for a pee wee team for ------- sake ) came to me and told me the team was crap because the head coach would not listen to THEM. I fired them all. I'm now running a whole team by myself with the help of my 14 year old son.

They have not won a game, but we have not lost by more than 7 points.

They were getting blown out before.

Parents hated me at 1st. After all, I fired 6 dads. But now that they see the results, they hate me less.

Coach, you got stones! HW

*********** I have had some good success blitzing middle linebacker head up on center.

In Pee Wee everybody goes on 1st hut. So once he gets timing down, he's going full speed when ball is snapped.

I have taught him not to go helmet to helmet with center and have not been  flagged for it.

Other coaches say this is dirty play for 7 year olds.

Your opinion?

I've told other teams to go on 2 and I will probably stop doing it.

I wouldn't call it dirty.

Woody Hayes used to say that one of the few advantages the offense had was that it knew when the ball was being snapped. These people are forfeiting that advantage.

It's time they taught their kids another snap count.

*********** Ever watched a kid bench pressing and imagined that he might let go of the bar? Ever imagined that he might drop it and have it land on his throat?

That's what happened Monday to USC's star tailback Stafon Johnson, who's now recovering after more than seven hours of surgery to repair a crushed neck and larynx.

Johnson's father told ESPN that his son needed a tracheotomy to enable him to breathe. According to the Los Angeles Times, a source close to the family said surgeons worked to realign Johnson's larynx in hopes he will regain use of his voice.

"I've seen players have the bar slip and fall onto their chest, but never in my 25 years of coaching have I heard of someone dropping a bar on their throat," said USC strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle. "We're fortunate he was being spotted."

Also that he was a highly-conditioned, well-muscled athlete.

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

Funny - we have been talking a lot about nepotism and how it kills good coaches.  Dan Hawkins plays his son at QB in Colorado, Steve Spurrier had his son call plays in SC last year (same w/ Bobby Bowden who had to fire his son).  This crap happens all the time even at Div. 1.   I always sort of thought the same with Lou Holtz, but Skip has proven to be a pretty good coach (although I wonder how he ever got to be on the football team at ND.)

You forgot Bobby Ross at Army and his son, Kevin. Kevin Ross's credentials to be an offensive coordinator were scanty, and, in the opinion of many, his lack of success as OC was a major factor in Coach Ross' resignation.

*********** I was wondering if you ever considered something like the “pistol” formation, out of the wildcat ? It strikes me that it could  give some downhill component to power, and might get you outside a little better on pitch sweep.. If you have a good tailback type runner, it seems like it creates a little more space and momentum. Finally, with the exception of lining a wing 4 yds behind qb, everyone else could stay substantially the same.

princeton pistolThe pistol has some things to recommend it.  We've screwed around with it, but how much can you do?

I do think, though, that one of the virtues of the single wing - and of my Wildcat - is that the ball can be snapped to either of two backs.  This is not the case with the pistol.

When everyone knows who the ball is being snapped to, the defense is aided. One reason why I think that a wing-T or triple-option oriented QB-under-center offense is tougher to defend than, say, an I-formation or one-back attack is that although everyone knows that the QB has the ball, every play in a series starts out looking the same, and therefore defensive recognition is delayed.

The pistol is nothing new, by the way.  Shown here is a screen shot of Princeton back in the 1960's experimenting with the stacked-back look from the single wing.

Interestingly, Princeton showed a play in which the up-back took the snap and "rode" the tailback, looking very much like the triple option stuff that would come along in another year or two.

*********** Whose f--king idea was it to light the Empire State Building red and yellow to honor the 60th anniversary of the founding of Red China? "Honor" is a funny word to use to describe a nation that was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans in the Korean War - a nation whose founder, Mao Tse Tung, was a ruthless murderer who made Hitler and Stalin look like sissies.

*********** NFL appears headed for big problems with the release of the results of a study commissioned by the league itself. The study reports that Alzheimer's and similar diseases are being diagnosed at a far greater rate among former pro football players than among men in the general population.

Michigan researchers found that 6.1 percent of players age 50 and above reported receiving a dementia-related diagnosis. That is five times higher than the cited national average of 1.2 percent. Players aged 30 through 49 showed a rate 19 times greater than the national average.

Expect to see numerous lawsuits filed by players, both former and current.

And to defend itself, expect the NFL to  lift the lid on its heretofore covered-up ugliness, arguing that the players' overfeeding (seen how many of them are now over 300 pounds?) and use of drugs and "supplements" contributed to the problem.

Either way, this ain't going to be good for Big Football's business.

*********** More on the youthful soccer diva whose parents want him to be a part-time football player, practicing and playing when it doesn't conflict with The Beautiful Game...

"My kid loves football but wants to play two sports, and he's going to prioritize soccer over any conflict with football, even if the soccer games are moved, and we're not going to tell you about soccer games being moved until my kid misses a practice without telling you. Should he still play football?"

I don't think a lot of parents really understand how much football requires 11 guys all synced up and that missing practice seriously hurts the team, and no matter how special your kid is, there's no way to prepare for contact football without putting the pads on. NAME WITHHELD

Ask those parents if they think the band director would let their kid miss half the rehearsals and still play in the school concert. Ask  them if the drama director would let him miss half the rehearsals and give him a major role in the school play.  

I know band directors and drama directors, and I know what they would say.  Are you telling me they have bigger stones than a football coach? HW

*********** Hugh, We sit at 1-4 after another blowout loss to another state-ranked team.  Our schedule looks like it will put seven teams in the playoffs, four of them ranked in the state (two more to come).  It's been rough.
So, after losing 49-6 on Friday, how could I walk off the field happy?  Because our kids really got after it out there.  They communicated on defense and tried to swarm to the ball.  Offensively they tried to make their blocks and moved the ball at times.  Down 21-0 at halftime last Friday felt totally different than when we were down 20-0 the week before.  I asked our kids to "Play hard.  Have fun.  Leave it on the field.  Have no regrets."  They did and I was proud.  It was the best game we've played this year.
Thanks for everything.


When you create a culture on your team where you are all in it together, you can deal with losing.  And when you're outmanned, there is glory in fighting hard.

You should be proud.  Your kids, too.

I have been through an 0-9 season, and I still respect those kids for the way they fought.

Keep Coaching!

*********** Texas Tech's Mike Leach says he thinks Twitter is "stupid."

Calling the guys on his team who Twitter "a bunch of narcissists that want to sit and type stuff about themselves all the time," he said, "We'll put mirrors in their lockers if that's necessary."

He added, "I think a guy that plays college football gets more than enough attention."

Ooo-whee. There's that N-word - Narcissism - again. Narcissism (llook at me! aren't I wonderful?) is at the heart of so many of our society's problems.

Meantime, expect the ACLU, claiming a violation of First Amendment rights, to worm its way into the Texas Tech locker room.

me? wuz watchin sum tv & went to da bathroom & now im gettin a beer

*********** The highly unusual names so many of today's parents give their children is a reflection, say psychologists, of the narcissism that infects our society.

The point, the psychologists say, is that these people want their kids to stand out, not fit in.

Can you see the implications this has for a youth football coach, trying to build a team?

The interesting thing is that while we've always prided ourselves as being different from Europeans, one European characteristic we did retain was the importance of "fitting in," of taking one's place in society.

Ironically, though, as we now become more European in so many areas - lack of competitiveness, willingness to sponge off the state - we are devaluing the idea of fitting in.

Now, teachers find themselves having to deal with the fools who send their kids to school the first day with pink mohawks - because they want them to stand out.

*********** It's after practice and I'm watching the replay WVU-Colorado game, and on the crawler across the bottom of the screen I keep reading about some basketball player who committed to West Virginia "over Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford, North Carolina and Syracuse," and I want to say, "What did Huggins have to do to land a kid who's smart enough to get into Stanford and good enough to play for Michigan State and North Carolina?"

*********** So, Clevelanders - what are you planning to do now with all those "We Want Brady" signs?

For the rest of us - does Brady Quinn's benching mean we won't see any more of this new breed of athlete (Reggie Bush?) who endorses products before he's even played a game? (That was a rhetorical question. I know better.)

*********** I was talking to Coach Salomone (at Brockport State) just the other day about there not being too many guys with "that look in their eye" anymore.  I think the reason for that is all the bully training, sensitivity training etc.  We are becoming soft and telling on other kids more rather than being assertive and learning to just deal.  Now kids from a bad home would rather cut their arms up than beat kids up and steal their lunch money ... John Dowd, Brockport, New York (Amen. Our schools - and out feminized society - are neutering our boys. HW)

*********** Hi Coach,
I read in the Spokesman Review a Valley Christian player, Drew Swank, passed away after a game vs. LaCrosse-Washtucna-Kahlotus. He took a hit to the head on friday and was declared brain dead. His parents had him taken off life support on monday, I can't imagijne their suffering. Of course, in addition to their grief, the parents will have mounting medical bills. Any donations may be made to Valley Christian School. This is B-8 football eastern Washington. By ALL accounts he was a fine young man. I'll be giving my kids a extra hug today.
Mike Studer
Kittitas, Wa

This is very sad. Our prayers for the young man, his family, and his coaches and teammates.

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