american flagTUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2009- "The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase. If you pursue happiness, you'll never find it." C. P. Snow

*********** Hi Hugh. Well I did it. Fired a coach who just won’t go along and is trying to take over and change the offense. He had my guys so confused and they are still suffering from it. This all happened in two days. Another coach quit because his son, the QB, melted down and got demoted. Oh boy those QB dads. Now I know he's just out for his son.
Unfortunately, sometimes fathers are the only ones available to help.  But knowing how they are when they are on the sidelines, I always caution people against letting them coach, if it's all avoidable.

What you did was simply eliminate a cancer that no business could afford to endure.  Microsoft doesn't pay people to work on the Mac operating system.

Nepotism has been the death of more than one football team - even at the pro and college level.

Favoritism by a coach is a dreadful thing for other kids to see.  It is dishonest for the head coach to talk in term of "team" when kids know that not everyone puts the team first. As coaches, we have to do everything we can to assure all the kids that their team is a meritocracy.

Best of luck.  This is a major step in your development as a coach, and  a positive one at that.

*********** (After reading this) Our head coach made a "deal" with a select soccer player so he could fit in football when he could; it was done under the agreement he would miss one game for a pre-scheduled soccer game, the rest of the football games he was good to go.

Tim Brown, of Jackson, Tennessee writes...

STICK HIM AT WIDE RECEIVER sounds like he has the making or already is a "PRIMA DONNA"

He got that right. I'd like to stick him somewhere else.  

I guess this is one of those youth leagues where every kid gets to play a certain amount, even if he doesn't come to practice.

Sounds like Socialized Football to me.

*********** The "crowd" at 60,000+ seat Yale Bowl to watch the Yale-Cornell reminded me of one of those HS playoff games played in a college stadium.

*********** Maine picked up $450,000 to Play Syracuse, but the 'Cuse only had to pay just $250,000. The remainder was paid by Florida State and the ACC. FSU was scheduled to open its season against the Black Bears but dropped Maine to play Miami instead.

*********** A coach had to let some assistants go and was thinking about how to handle practice...

I told him...

Kids are more resilient than we give them credit for.
Just give them a normal practice as though nothing ever happened and they'll respond as if nothing ever happened.

*********** One nice thing about watching a service academy game is that at least one of the teams won't have any guys with dead animals under their helmets.

*********** Is there a more excessive display of crass commercialism than that "O'REILLY AUTO PARTS RED ZONE" graphic that covers the field at ACC games? It would be worth the price of a ticket to go to a game just to avoid having to look at that sh--. Go Pep Boys. Go NAPA.

*********** So some self-important place that calls itself the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (I usually run when I see a title like that) has given the NFL a grade of "B" for its "hiring practices to increase diversity."

It gave Big Football an A- for "racial hiring practices," but only a C on "gender hiring practices."

Okay, okay. A- for racial hiring. I'll go along with the idea that the NFL should aggressively seek out qualified black coaches, managers and owners, even if I don't accept the diversity pimps' position that because the league's players are 70 per cent black, the league's coaching, management or ownership should reflect that fact.

However, since the league's players are ZERO per cent female, shouldn't the league's hiring reflect that fact? Shouldn't the NFL get an A for not hiring any females?

*********** Getting to the 4-4...  If people fear the blitz, I advise them to work hard on blocking down, and then - block down.  Blocking down is essentially dedicating every lineman on the playside to protecting his inside gap.

We have certain advantages going for us against blitzers:
(1) nonexistent splits
(2) We're back off the ball far enough that we can get to the gap before the defender
(3) Our stances provide for making the correct first step into the gap

We tell our kids, "When in doubt, block down."  Our center is instructed to call "DOG" any time he sees the need for it, and every man comes off at an angle as if his gap were being threatened, and if it is not, he continues on that path.  Make sure they keep their eyes up.  Kids have a tendency to look at the ground as they come off the ball.

I don't like it as a steady diet because it deprives us of the double-team at the point of attack.

*********** Hey coach, I am a first year assistant with a local youth football team that was brought on to help with the linemen.  The problem I am facing is that a lot of my ideas get thrown to the wayside.  For example, the only method of blocking we teach is drive blocking, which in my opinion at this age group often leads to a stalemate that clutters up the line of scrimmage.  However, anytime I try to coach some different blocking technique, I am met with the head coach stepping in or changing to a different drill.  The are several other examples I could use but I will spare you.  My quesion is, how do I prove that I know what am talking about, without stepping on toes? 


I suspect you may be setting me up with this one, but just in case this is serious, someone has to tell you...

I don't know where you got the idea that the head coach wants your ideas, but someone needs to tell you that your job as an assistant is not to provide him with ideas, but to help make his ideas work. Period.

He does all the heavy lifting, and he takes all the heat, and in return, he gets to call the shots.

You prove you know what you're talking about by showing that you can teach the techniques you've been told to teach the way he wants them taught.

If you are coaching some "different technique" from what the head coach wants taught, you are undercutting him.  In simple terms, that is an act of disloyalty, and I would fire you for it in a heartbeat.

If you are not comfortable with supporting this head coach, you have an obligation to resign. Staying and continuing to be disloyal is not an option.

 Go find a head coach you can support.   But for God's sake, support him.

If you get a reputation for disloyalty, you will be a leper in the coaching profession. You will find coaching positions hard to come by, and the ones you get won't be with head coaches who know what they're doing.

If you want people to listen to your ideas, pay your dues first.

I hope this helps you change your thinking regarding your role, and I hope you have a long and sucecssful coaching career.

*********** In addition to great defensive line play and a blocked punt recovered for a touchdown, give credit for Iowa's big win over Penn State to a bunch of foreigners.

To prepare his players for the 107,000 screaming State fans at Saturday night's game (actually, subtract a few thousand Iowans from the total_, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz piped in some crowd noise at Hawkeye practices.

"I think it was an Australian football game or soccer game from Denmark or something like that. It sounded like a foreign crowd."

*********** Hey Coach,
Bill Rivera from Excelsior in California here coach. We are 3-0 this year averaging 486 yards on the ground per game, thanks for all your help this summer !!!!  Need some more advise, we are now seeing teams attempting to cut our Big Dogs up front down on every play and taking away Wedge Play. We are killing them with the Toss & Trap plays.

Coach, What you are seeing is not unusual.  You can't expect every play to be live at all times.  By doing certain things defensively, they can take one or two plays away from you.  But they can't take them all away.

Apparently your opponents are willing to make that sacrifice in order to take away your wedge, but in the process, they have to give you other things.  They can't stop everything.

If it ain't there - don't run it.

Best of luck for continued success

*********** The Seahawks read the league memo wrong and thought they were supposed to wear throw-up jerseys.

Did you catch those lime-green scrimmage vests they were wearing?

By the time the Bears stopped giggling, they were down, 7-0.

*********** You guys on the East Coast... if you went to bed at a normal hour Saturday night, you missed the Houston-Texas Tech game, one of the better games I've seen in some time.

*********** You don't suppose, do you, that after whipping Cal's ass while wearing normal-looking uniforms Oregon will tell Nike to let somebody else be their runway models?

*********** A clearly upset TO in his post-game press conference: "I'm just goin' with the plays they called."

Remarked Tony Dungy, "That's what you get with Terrell Owens."

*********** Based on the pre-game introductions Sunday night, the Cardinals never had a chance. While the Colts' offensive guys all played college ball, the Cardinals' defenders, sounding like a bunch of doofuses, claimed places like "Paterson, New Jersey", "Woodlawn High School," and the "West Lafayette Red Devils."

*********** There are a lot of complaints about the computer rankings the BCS uses, but I say the BCS system's weakest point is the coaches' poll, a you-scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours travesty that's part of the BCS formula. Just take a look at this week's USA Today/coaches poll...

Houston (3-0) beat Oklahoma State. Yet the coaches ranked Oklahoma State 12th and Houston 15th.

Iowa (4-0) beat Penn State (3-1). Yet the coaches ranked Penn State 13th, Iowa 17th.

Oregon (3-1) clobbered Cal (3-1). Absolutely demolished them. Yet the coaches ranked Cal 19th and Oregon 25th.

This week's AP poll actually administered justice to Houston, Iowa and Oregon by ranking them ahead of their vanquished opponents.

It sure would be interesting to see the coaches' ballots. Imagine, if you will, Congress voting in secret.

*********** A few weeks ago, an Arizona high school quarterback broke a state record by throwing nine touchdown passes in his team's 67-0 victory.

"Our kids have worked hard; the captains came up and said they wanted to do it," said the winning coach, who also happens to be the quarterback's dad.

*********** We lost Saturday 20-13 in overtime. Our quarterback called the first 'hut,' the center thought he heard a quick 'hut-hut' (which we've never done) and snapped it. Fumble, ballgame. We were about equal to the other team, both sides made mistakes that could have turned the outcome. As I've quickly learned, it's easy to explain a loss when you are the underdog - it's much harder explaining to 12-year olds that they played well enough to win but didn't!

Actually, the BIG lesson football provides kids, in my opinion, is that in football,  "good enough" is often NOT good enough, and left undone,  the tiny little details  that they are allowed (frequently encouraged) to overlook in their daily lives will beat them on the football field.

Football, like golf, can be unforgiving.  Where else in our great Land of the Second Chance do kids ever learn this? HW

*********** Coach, I played West Genesee (when I coached at Central Square) in 1996 and there was nothing like wildcat there at that time and their coach at that time still coached for several years after that.

John Irion
Queensbury, New York

(This is regarding the absurd claim in some places that the Wildcat got its name from the mascot of West Genesee High in upstate New York. A former West Genesee coach is now on the Dolphins' staff. Problem is, he coached at West Genesee from 2005-2007, a little late for him to have any claim on the naming. Worst part is, all the guy has to do is say that there's no truth to the West Genesee story. HW)

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

"They have that look in their eyes, where you're not quite sure what they're going to do. You have to have some of those guys, but you put them on defense." Dick Tomey, then-coach at Arizona, at rhe 1995 Coach of the Year Clinic

Amen to that.  Theres a place for those guys (not too many on one team though) and it is definitely on the defensive side of the ball.

West Genny ran the spread as far as I know.  So sure they ran zone read and QB counter, but it was not anything like our/your Wildcat.  

John Dowd
Caledonia, New York

*********** From the Philadelphia Inquirer...

Lower Cape May forfeits Friday football game
By Marc Narducci

Lower Cape May has forfeited its football game Friday at St. Augustine because it doesn’t have enough available players. The Tigers had just 19 players dress for last week’s 54-6 loss to Holy Spirit.

Lower Cape May athletic director Mark Schiffbauer said he hopes that it will be the only game this season that the Tigers won’t play.
"We’re low on numbers, but we plan on playing the rest of the season,” he said.

He said that there are three or four players expected back for the next game, Oct. 2 at home against Bridgeton.

“We didn’t want to forfeit this game, but if we lose two or three more kids this week, we could be done for the year,” Schiffbauer said. “It was a tough decision.”

Suppose I tell you that Lower Cape May's youth program runs the Double Wing and year after year wins or challenges for first place in South Jersey middle school football? Suppose I tell you that despite the best efforts of the youth coaches, Lower Cape May HS has refused to run the Double Wing, and with the same kids that win titles in the youth program, has had one winning season in the last 10?

*********** Coach,
 I love your take on the Oregon fan in your NEWS this morning.  It should be reprinted on every high school football program in the country for the remainder of the season.
Greg Koenig
Beloit, Kansas

*********** Ask young people why they get high on drugs or alcohol or seek sex without intimacy or commitment and they’re likely to tell you it’s fun and they just want to be happy.

It’s tempting to envy the life of fun-loving “party animals,” “playboys,” and “good-time girls” until one thinks about how they feel about themselves and their lives when they’re alone without the hyped-up stimulation they seem to thrive on.

It doesn’t take a psychologist to realize that if happiness is the destination, these folks are on the wrong road. The problem is, the intense sensation of fun or feelings of pleasure experienced by a substance-induced buzz or an exciting sexual encounter are quickly replaced with a consuming sense of emptiness that drives a need to start all over to fill the vessel again.

Each time drinkers, drug users, or sex addicts discover that getting what they wanted isn’t making them happy, they fall into the despondency conveyed in the famous Peggy Lee song: “Is That All There Is?”

People who make pleasure-seeking the focus of their lives are like drug addicts who need continually stronger and more dangerous doses to get high.

Happiness is different than fun and pleasure. It’s a less intense, but more durable, feeling of well-being. It’s not a continuous state. A good life is usually seasoned with moments of joy and despair, play and work, success and failure. Happiness is a kind of emotional resting place of quiet satisfaction with one’s life.

The art of living a happy life is not having more of what you want but getting better at enjoying what you have.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.


american flagFRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2009- "What we're going to leave on this earth won't be the races won or the Super Bowls. It's influence on others." Joe Gibbs

*********** An Oregon fan, upset with the play of his team at Boise State - and then the postgame antics of LeGarrette Blount - sent a bill for $439 to Oregon coach Chip Kelly for reimbursement for his transportation, tickets, and lodging in Boise.

Coach Kelly asked the guy for his address, and sent him a check for the amount.

Great move, in my opinion. Get rid of the a**hole. People like that have no business going to sport events.

See, he'd never understand - fans are not guaranteed a win. They're not even guaranteed a good game. All they're guaranteed is a seat to watch a game. And not always on the date or at the time shown on the ticket, either. (ESPN might come along waving bills, insisting on an earlier kickoff. Even a move to Thursday night.)

Maybe it's time that fans understood that.

As coaches, we understand this quite well, and we drive this point home to our kids - we're going to ask you to work harder than you've ever worked before. And we're going to ask you to undergo physical discomfort unlike anything you'ye ever experienced. And we're going to take up large chunks of your time that you could be spending with your buddies, or your girl friend, or your video games.

And after all that, when Friday night comes, there's still no guarantee that you'll be successful.

Sort of like life.

Maybe it's time for certain fans to get one.

*********** Finlandia (Mich.) is adding football in 2012. All I can say to that is HYVÄÄ

*********** "They have that look in their eyes, where you're not quite sure what they're going to do. You have to have some of those guys, but you put them on defense." Dick Tomey, then-coach at Arizona, at rhe 1995 Coach of the Year Clinic

*********** I heard Coach K at halftime of a recent Army game. He is a West Point grad, and he said "This is where I learned about leadership."

And he went to say something very instructive:

"I'm always looking for leaders," he said. "A leader takes responsibility. It's hard to find kids nowadays who'll take responsibility."

*********** Our government's treatment of Israel as an aggressor, and our welshing (apologies to all my Welsh readers) on our agreement to provide nuclear protection for Poland and the Czech Republic brings to mind a quote I came across recently. It's attributed to a Turkish general back in 1952, shortly after Turkey joined NATO: "The problem with having the Americans as your allies is that you never know when they'll turn around and stab themselves in the back."

*********** Good for the Cowboys and all that, but when your crowd of 115,000 includes 30,000 standing-room spectators, you are courting BIG security problems. On the other hand, 30,000 people at $29 a pop... ah, what the hell.

*********** I've heard it said ad nauseum that the death penalty is not a "deterrent." Yet the funny thing is that in states that still have the death penalty - although it's seldom used - it still scares criminals. Just recently, a creep convicted of the brutal rape-murder of a young Oregon woman agreed to reveal where he'd disposed of her body in return for the state's promise not to go for the death penalty. This despite the fact that there is almost no chance that oh, so liberal Oregon would ever put the bastard to death anyhow. But evidently, criminals haven't got the word that the death penalty's not a deterrent.

*********** You wrote: when people aren't immediately successful at running the Double Wing - when it isn't the instant fix they'd hoped for - they often bail out early.  Back to whatever they did before. But many spread guys seem to stick with it long past the point where it's obvious to even a casual observer that they are a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.

BUT WHY???  It just don't make sense. 
We had the same problem with our JV. (our 5th. and 6th. grade team).  Our  Raiders coaches spent a whole practice this week, running their line on the circle drill, with the backs involved until they finally stopped turning their toes out, and getting up field and forcing the Bs to follow the Ts rather then trying to run outside.  I think the main problem is that they just do not understand how much the little things mean.
They ran Sup Pow, 47-C, and Gs, very well last night and now they are seeing the success needed to motivate them.
If we were not there to keep them motivated and help I guarantee they would have gone back to whatever.
We had another very good O game.  However we are still not happy with the De.  they won the toss and after they punted, the next 4 times we touched the ball, 3 were for TDs.
Lower Cape Raiders 44 Middle Township 31.  We let the 7th graders play most of the game, and just running the first team enough to keep a safe cushion
Frank Simonsen
Cape May, New Jersey

*********** The NCAA has just accepted its first member from outside the US.

Simon Fraser University, of Burnaby, British Columbia, has officially accepted an invitation to become the 10th member of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, an NCAA Division II conference with members in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.

Simon Fraser's teams will begin competing in the conference in the fall of 2010.

*********** Wildcat column in the Philadelphia Inquirer

By Bob Ford
Inquirer Sports Columnist

There is a story in one of the national magazines this week about a high school football coach in Arkansas who has decided that punting and placekicking are just things he's not that into any longer.

If you look around every season, you can find something like this, some strange twist on the old way of playing football, some team out in the boonies that puts in lefthanded players for plays to the left, or snaps the ball sideways, or has finally perfected the hidden-ball trick.
It gets boring as you stand around monitoring fourth-period gym class and the mind tends to wander. You come up with things.

Kevin Kelley, the football coach at Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, hasn't punted since 2007. He doesn't much like to try field goals, either.

"The average punt in high school nets you 30 yards, but we convert around half our fourth downs, so it doesn't make sense to give up the ball," Kelley told Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated. "Besides, if your offense knows it has four downs instead of three, it totally changes the game. I don't believe in punting and really can't ever see doing it again."

I don't know if Andy Reid subscribes to SI, or if he has time for idle reading during the football season, but if he does, look out, Sav Rocca. This is, after all, the season of copycat innovation for Reid, who has become infatuated with the Wildcat offensive wrinkle, apparently to the extent that he added a convicted felon to the roster just to make the playbook even more fascinating.

The Wildcat and its various offshoots came along for essentially the same reason that Kelley decided not to have a punter on his roster. If Pulaski Academy had a punter who could consistently net 50 yards, Kelley would punt. If there were a placekicker on the roster who was reliable on field-goal attempts of up to 40 yards or so, he'd try some field goals. That's not the case, however, and the odds tell Kelley he's better off going for it on fourth down.

In the same way, the option packages and direct-snap wrinkles came along because teams didn't have good passing quarterbacks. The Wildcat may eventually become a forgotten orphan - at least at the pro level - but right now it has a clamoring mob of fathers.

Some believe it developed (from murky mists of the single-wing and wing-T formations) at West Genesee High School in New York state, where Steve Bush, now an assistant with the Miami Dolphins, coached the Wildcats.

Others give parentage to Hugh Wyatt, a mad blackboard scribbler for the La Center High School Wildcats in Washington state, or to the coaching staff of the Kansas State Wildcats a decade ago.

It is probably all the above with variations thrown in, the way jazz musicians can improvise on a melody. For the Eagles' purposes, with the whole Michael Vick tangent, it's just a good thing the offense didn't start at a high school where the nickname was the Pit Bulls, or the Fighting Dogs, or the Jumper Cables.

Last week against the Saints, with Kevin Kolb at quarterback, the Eagles ran some form of what Reid calls their Wildcat a total of 12 times, according to the coach. Nine of those plays had direct snaps to either a receiver or a running back, and the three others snaps to Kolb that initiated a sprint-out or Wishbone-type option package.

Overall, the Wildcat was 16 percent of the offense, which is a deep wrinkle, almost a crease. In the first half, before the game became a chuck-and-duck affair for Kolb, it was 23 percent. In other words, Andy likes his toy.

The strategy is defensible for the time being because it worked reasonably well, but mostly defensible because it took heat off Kolb and because the wrinkles came while the regular group was on the field. That dynamic will change, however, with Vick now eligible and whenever Donovan McNabb returns to the lineup.

There is an undeniable element of surprise that helps the Wildcat. That element will disappear every time Vick runs onto the field to join the huddle. (Indeed, the only logical use of Vick is as the regular quarterback in an offense that is 100 percent Wildcat, but that's fodder for another time.) As it is now, when Vick comes into the game for his five or 10 plays or whatever it might be, the surprise is lost and the advantage swings to the defense.

Then there is the question of why it makes sense to use the Wildcat at all when McNabb is playing. This is an offense that was invented to cover the flaws of quarterbacks who can't throw as well as McNabb. Turning McNabb into a wide receiver and placing someone who isn't as good at the quarterback position may be exciting and different, but eventually it will get you beat.

Kevin Kelley is a smart man and an innovator, but if he had a punter, he'd punt. And if he had McNabb at quarterback, he'd damn sure leave him back there. Sometimes it doesn't pay to get too smart.

Find this article at:

What a crock - this guy Bush coached at West Genesee from 2005-2007. I published my Wildcat article in 1998. You mean to tell me they'd already been running the Wildcat at that high school for seven years when he arrived on the scene? Why didn't anybody say something?

K-State? Yep, they're the Wildcats, all right, and they were using Michael Bishop in a Wildcat-type offense back in 1998. But they were too imaginative to name it after their mascot. I wasn't. HW

*********** A coach wrote me decrying the lack of a desire to compete and to play aggressively, and I made a few suggestions, including incorporating my version of the "West Point Drill" into his practices. He wrote back...

Dear Coach Wyatt,
Thank you for your suggestion.  We did incorporate this into the first practice after the game.  I also followed your lead and tried some other drills that challenged the players to compete.  We saw a marked improvement in our play this past week and will “West Point Drill” our players again this week.
Thanks again for your help.

And I wrote... Today's modern theories of education tend to omit competitiveness and so a characteristic that made America great is being neglected, in our boys especially.  Schools - and single moms and skirted daddies - also discourage roughhouse play. 

From what youth coaches tell me, this is really showing up in football.

*********** From the New York Post...

Plaxico Burress got a zero's welcome behind bars at Rikers Island (New York prison), including taunts of "a - - hole!" and "The Giants suck!" according to jail guards. "He was depressed," said one guard from Rikers, where the former Giants superstar spent his first-ever night behind bars. "He was trying to keep to himself, but everyone was yelling at him." "These people got nothing," a second guard explained of the taunts. "What else are they gonna do?"

*********** So Peyton Manning broke one of John Unitas' "Colts" records, did he?


Nothing against Peyton Manning. I really like the guy. He's as good as there is, on and off the field. And he's certainly the best passer the Colts - the INDIANAPOLIS Colts - have ever had.

But while the Irsays may have sneaked out of Baltimore with the equipment, and even, damn them, the name, the colors, and the horseshoes on the helmet, they have NO F--KING RIGHT to claim the records of BALTIMORE Colts. Unitas himself said so, and maintained that position until his death.

On somewhat the same subject, The Band That Wouldn't Die is a film about the Baltimore Colts' Marching Band, which lived on long after the team left for the midwest. It's done by famed director (and Baltimore native) Barry Levinson, and I know I will bawl when I see it...

The trailer:

*********** Grove City High isn't playing football this year.

Read Andy Staples' story about what happens in a small Ohio town when the school board decides to cut sports...

*********** Until last Sunday's huge crowd in Jerry Jones' new Pleasure Dome, the old attendance record for an NFL game in the US was 102,000+, in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, to watch the (Los Angeles) Rams play the 49ers.

In 1957.

But wait - haven't we all been told that pro football didn't really come of age until the Colts (Baltimore) played the Giants for the NFL title, in 1958? ("The Greatest Game Ever Played?")

Memo to all young readers - they actually played football before you were born. Read all you can about it. Don't believe today's sports guys who act as if football was invented in 2000, since that's all the football they know.

Speaking of Los Angeles - unless you're numb, you're aware that the Southern California area no longer has a professional football team.

(Brief pause to get all the USC jokes out of the way.)

It's not as if there aren't people highly interested in owning an NFL franchise - the ultimate rich man's toy - in America's most glamorous market. They are ready to pay big bucks to own one. (Not to mention at least a half-dozen current NFL owners who would divorce their towns on the spot if they thought they had a shot at moving to L.A.)

But there's just one problem - estimating the cost of a stadium at $1 billion or more, economists say that the figures don't work unless the stadium houses TWO teams.

Oooh- wee. So the NFL has to award TWO new franchises. (Or maybe one new, one relocated.)

Remember this: Southern Californians are doing fine without a team. Every weekend, they can sit back and watch every NFL game (provided, of course, they subscribe to a certain satellite service) on their 60-inch high def screens. The TV people aren't exactly upset either. They are said to be paying the NFL large sums of money to broadcast its games, and they have nightmares about having to blackout the entire L.A. Metro area because an L.A. team hasn't sold out.

So picture two teams - let's say the Rams and the Raiders - using the same stadium. Picture one or both of them not selling out. Picture the NFL then blacking out the nation's second largest media market when that team is home in the fall. Picture TV executives paying visits to Commissioner Goodell. Picture Southern California congressmen summoning Commissioner Goodell to Washington.

One other thing to think about - L.A.'s value in extortion. So long as that market remains empty, every other NFL owner can threaten to move his team to L.A. as leverage in coercing the local yokels to build him a new stadium.

*********** A gentleman named John Archbold, from Denver, wrote to the Wall Street Journal in response to an article in which a scientist argued against the existence of God...

"My friend and erstwhile neighbor, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, was asked by reporters in the 1960s for his reaction to the fact that intellectuals thought God was dead. The President replied, 'That's odd. I was just speaking to Him this morning.'"

*********** Our head coach made a "deal" with a select soccer player so he could fit in football when he could; it was done under the agreement he would miss one game for a pre-scheduled soccer game, the rest of the football games he was good to go.

Sounds kinda like we were lied to. At the end of Monday practice, in which we provided extensive coaching to this kid, he informed  us he wouldn't be playing Saturday after all. This left us a day  short in coaching up a new guy at the back position.

Further, his parents neglected to inform us that he had qualified for a tournament before he joined the team which puts him out of another ballgame.

We thought this kid wanted to be a ballplayer and was stuck in year-round soccer by his parents. We've noticed this isn't the case; he thinks he's  special and smarter than the coaches, doesn't have to do what his teammates do, complains about his teammates, doesn't listen to the coaching or try to change.  Even our poorest players have improved dramatically since the start of the  year - something I am quite proud of as a coach - but he has made little progress. I don't doubt his non-teamwork attitude is a prime reason. Since he  isn't playing Saturday, we gave him support jobs like scout D and holding  the bags in drills - jobs his teammates have done for him. He whined he "wasn't doing anything" and BS'ed about a minor injury.

I'd feel differently if he were from a family that couldn't get him to practice on time and he never learned how to be successful, but I expect more from kids who get dropped off at practice in a Volvo.

If you're going to have a half-asser on the team, don't give him positions of responsibility; tell him he will play where he can best help the  team, which in this situation usually means where he can do the least damage. I can  only provide a football experience to those who are present, and they deserve first crack at the positions.

Head coach admits he was blinded by the kid's potential but now sees that  was a mistake. Isn't it funny how these things work out?



american flagTUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2009- "Give me a choice between an outstanding athlete with poor character and a lesser athlete of good character, and I'll choose the latter every time." Tom Landry

*********** More on the Wildcat

I was interviewed recently by Austin Meek, a reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal, and he asked me if I considered K-State's Bill Snyder to be a pioneer of today's Wildcat. I said I did, and later I dug into my writing and found this...

1998 December 6- Just finished talking to my high school coach, Ed Lawless, back in Pennsylvania. He is a single wing guy, and he agrees with me that the offense is made to order for the so-called "slash"  player - imagine Kordell Stewart as a single wing tailback!  In fact, a lot of what Kansas State does with Michael Bishop out of their "shotgun" sure looks like single wing stuff to me. Some of the guys I've seen just this year - Akili Smith at Oregon, Ortege Jenkins at Arizona, Corby Jones at Missouri - convince me that it's just a matter of time before somebody brings back the single wing. (Whether they'll have the guts to call it by that name is another matter!)  Ed played his college ball in the late '40s, at Penn, then a single-wing power whose center was Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik. Penn's George Munger was one of the East's top coaches, and year in and year out, his Quakers held their own against the nation's best, but when Penn's administration decided to join the no-scholarship Ivy League, while still honoring its long-term scheduling commitments against the likes of Notre Dame, Penn State, Virginia Tech and California, Coach Munger said no thanks - and retired. His successor, Steve Sebo, was a good football man, but he should have listened to George Munger: his teams would lose more than 20 games in a row before Penn's schedule finally came down to the level of its talent.

Here's Austin Meeks' article...

*********** We spend billions to buy a car company that we don't even own, in order to save the jobs of union workers so they can keep pouring their dues into Democrat pockets, who then can do more favors for the union workers, etc., etc. - and the best we get in a GM commercial is a guys who says he's the CEO of the "new" GM, but looks and sounds like a glorified dealer as he walks through a glorified showroom telling us that we can trust GM. And this time, he means it. Really means it. Honest.

Oh - and if you're not happy with your car, you can return it and it won't cost you anything. What the hell - the sucker American taxpayers are paying for it.

*********** On any Friday afternoon, freeways around Portland are a nightmare. But Interstate 5 south of town, where it merges with I-205, is especially bad. Start and stop. Mostly stop.

That's where Brother Speed, a Portland-based outlaw biker club, was driving last Friday, en masse, when it came to a halt in the traffic. The bikers didn't stop fast enough, not all of them anyhow, and at lest 26 of them wound up going down. Nine of the bikers were injured seriously, and one side of the Interstate was shut down for four hours.

*********** With 11 seconds to play, the Steelers' kick return man - a f--king professional, mind you - can't protect the ball and prevent fumbling. So he fumbles. Game over.

*********** That poor Michigan State quarterback. Did a great job all day and had MSU within striking distance of an upset of Notre Dame, when two consecutive passes turned him into something of a goat. First, he overthrew a wide-open receiver in the corner of the end zone, but then, with the Spartans already in position to kick a field goal and send the game into overtime, he threw off balance, and into the hands of a Notre Dame defender.

*********** TV shows us fans at home a lot of things the poor fans at the stadium can't see - like that great closeup shot of Frank Gore's visor for the last 20 yards of his 80-yard touchdown run. I kid you not. Somebody in the director;s truck thought he'd win an award by going in tight with a camera and looking into a guy's eyes as he ran down the field.

*********** I'm sorry - in my mind I have an image of what a football player is supposed to look like, and it's so deeply ingrained that I can't deal with the sight of linemen whose hips are wider than their shoulders, or backs whose pants end four inches above their knees.

*********** Lincoln High School, located on the edge of downtown where a lot of Portland's elite make their money, at the base of the West Hills, where a lot them live, is a classic "have" school in a district full of have-nots.

Lincoln kids come from wealthy, intact families. They are well-housed and well-fed and highly motivated, and Lincoln provides them with the kind of education rarely found in a big-city public high school. In return for not having to move to a suburb or pay private school tuition, Lincoln parents support the public schools politically and financially.

Having coached at one of Portland's have-nots, I know quite well first-hand Lincoln sits at the head of the table, while other Portland public high schools eat the crumbs off the floor.

So there is a certain schadenfreude (great German word) that comes from seeing what Lincoln's been going through lately.

(1) The Lincoln basketball coach picked up a DUI. Turned out to be his second in a year. But it was playoff time, see, and the Principal said it wouldn't be fair to the players to take their coach away from them. The coach remains, and following the season, his contract is renewed. In eduspeak, everyone has learned a lesson from this "teachable moment."

Well, nearly everyone.

(2) The baseball coach was one of those who did not. On a team trip to California last spring, he (reportedly) took three players with him to a SF strip joint. He resigned.

Meantime, the district, getting heat because of what appears to be lax control at Lincoln, passes a Code of Conduct for all district coaches, specifying that they are accountable for their behavior any time they are out in public, just in time to catch a few Lincoln coaches.

(3) Following the recent UFC championships, several Lincoln football coaches, including the head coach, were accused by police of drunkenness and interfering with officers. Police said the men were intoxicated and uncooperative as officers investigated a woman's complaint that a 23-year-old man, a former high school football player whom the coaches ran into at the light rail platform, had pinched her.
Police said the coaches were "verbally interfering" with the investigation, smelled of alcohol, were "play fighting" and causing problems with others on the platform.The coaches were maced and one of them was taken to the groung. Three of them wound up being handcuffed.  They are now suspended with pay.

"I guess I learned a valuable lesson," the head coach said, "which is 'Let police do their business.' "

Right. Never too late to learn something useful. Just another teachable moment at Lincoln High.

*********** "NFL Red Zone," eh? Catch all the excitement, eh? What about all those white flags of surrender in the Red Zone? The people who are pushing the "NFL Red Zone" channel ought to give a discount for every field goal kicked.

Sunday, fans at four of the 15 games played saw more field goals than touchdowns.

Red zone excitement?

How about Washington 9, St. Louis 7? (One touchdown, three surrenders.)

Jets 16, Patriots 9? (One touchdown, five surrenders.)

Oakland 13, Kansas City 10? (Two touchdowns, three surrenders.)

Denver 27, Cleveland 6? (Three touchdowns, four surrenders.)

*********** Suddenly I'm not hungry any more. A Washington (state) guy, claiming that his pet python is a "service animal" (you know, like guide dogs for the blind), wants to be able to go into restaurants with his "service animal" draped around his neck.

*********** According to the Wall Street Journal, 40 per cent of all NFL telecasts last season contained at least one "erectile dysfunction" ad, which is why I laughed my tail off at the Louisville tourism promotional spot which did a great job of spoofing those tasteless ads---

*********** I am surely not the biggest Charlie Weis fan there is, but not even he deserves to have to be hectored in those post-game interview by Alex Flanagan.

*********** You know you're listening to a sideline bimbo when she starts out a post-game interview with, "What does it mean...?" and she sends it back to the talking heads in the box with, "Guys?"

*********** Did you see how close Shipley, the Texas punt returner, came to getting his cojones hung up on Bevo's horn?

*********** Forget the fact that USC was coming off a huge game at Ohio State. Forget that they were playing with their number two quarterback. Forget that Taylor Mays, possibly the best defensive player in the country was not playing.

The Washington win over the Trojans was not a fluke.

It might not happen again if the two teams played nine more games, but the Huskies, losers of 12 games last season and just one week after ending a 15-game losing streak by beating Idaho, displayed a level of play not seen in Seattle in years, and beat the Trojans on both sides of the ball.

I've been singing Washington QB Jake Locker's praises since he was in high school. He is one incredible athlete, and under the direction of the new coaching staff, he's looking to me as if he belongs with the elite - the holy trinity of Bradford, McCoy and Tebow.

*********** How much you wanna bet Pete Carroll got a call Saturday night from Mitch Mustain's mommy?

*********** Ever seen a faster postgame handshake than the one Urban Meyer gave Lane Kiffin?

*********** If Charlie Weis is such a coaching genius, how come his team gets so many stupid penalties?

*********** When I was in college, our backfield coach used to stress that if you went out of bounds, you made sure you stayed out of bounds, and not close to the sideline. Too much of an invitation to cheap shot artists, he'd tell us, over and over.

That was before they started throwing flags for any hit at all out of bounds. And runners started taking advantage of that fact.

If a runner stays in the white sideline area running parallel to the sideline and not headed farther out of bounds, he should not be entitled to protection. Too many of these guys continue upfield, suckering tacklers into taking a shot.

*********** Friday night, we played our first road game, travelling to Corvallis, Oregon (home of Oregon State) to play Crescent Valley High. Ranked #9 in Class 5A, Crescent Valley proved to be way better than us, and overcame an early 10-0 deficit to whip us, 47-10.

It was our first league game. Near as anyone can figure, WE HAVEN'T WON A LEAGUE GAME IN TEN YEARS!

*********** Our opponent this coming week, West Albany, of Albany, Oregon, is the defending state Class 5A champion.

West Albany won a tight one Friday night over Hillsboro, blocking a field goal attempt in the last minute of play to preserve the win. Actually, twice blocking the same field goal attempt.

The first time they did it, they celebrated the apparent win. But as they celebrated, an alert Hillsboro player, evidently understanding that a blocked kick behind the line of scrimmage is a free ball, picked the ball up off the ground and ran it in for a Hillsboro victory.

But wait - an official had blown the play dead.

Hillsboro got another try at the field goal, but this one was blocked, too.

Big win. Tough loss.

The news media all referred to the official's act as an "inadvertent whistle."

Inadvertent, my ass. That was a case of an official who didn't know his rules. (If you can imagine such a thing.)

*********** Hi coach - My youngest son and I went to the Oregon-Utah game this past weekend. We sat opposite the Oregon pre game and notice something "different" about their uniforms. Wala, The Duck Vision screen showed them up close..."FUGLY". You know F***ing Ugly. White helmets, green Jerseys & gray or slate pants. Word around campus is that Casey Martin (yep Mr golf cart) has had input on the scheme. Maybe he should stick to golf. On another matter I wanted you to know that I purchased a Mac Book Pro and am absolutely impressed. I should have taken your advice at the first clinic of yours I attended.


Norm Barney
Chiloquin High School, Chiloquin, Oregon

*********** Lord, Nike - can't you give the Oregon Ducks a break and let them go back to wearing real football uniforms? Do you have to put added pressure on them by making them look like clowns.

Those drab, gray pants? Worn above the knees the way all the stylers like to do, they looked like girdle pads. Or cutoff sweats. The matching jerseys - which, thankfully they didn't wear - probably say PROPERTY OF OREGON ATHLETIC DEPT

*********** The Newlywed Game has announced plans to have a gay couple on.

*********** Coach, just got back from our JV game tonight.  During the course of the game you could actually hear the other team's coach screaming to his defense "When they pull, grab their ankles!"  We know their varsity team does this (two years ago my left tackle had bruised calves from their defensive linemen grabbing them), but you never hear them yell it during the varsity games.  The head coach was not at the game.  I am guessing he never relayed to his assistant something like "Shhh, this is an illegal tactic so don't broadcast we are doing it."  Incidentally, though we did point it out to the officials, it was never called.  Their defensive linemen weren't quick enough to pull it off.
Chad Beermann
Head Football Coach
Valley Community H.S.
Elgin, Iowa (The AFCA is pretty clear in saying that there is no room in coaching for people who teach their kids to break the rules, but what would the American Football Coaches Association know? Sadly, there aren't many officials with the stones to recognize and call defensive holding in this case. HW)

*********** On September 25, 1948 Bennie Oosterbaan coached his first game as the head guy at Michigan, a 13-7 win at Michigan State. The Wolverines would go on to finish the season unbeaten (9-0), the first time a head coach had gone unbeaten and untied in his first year season. Since then, it's been done four times, most recently by Larry Coker at Miami in 2001.

*********** Bob Novogratz serves on the Board of Advisors of the Black Lion Award. Bob is a former Army All-American, who served his country in Vietnam and was a successful businessman after retirement from the Army. He and his wife, Barbara raised a large family whose achievements are exemplary.

I've already mentioned one son, Michael, a former Eastern wrestling champion at Princeton whose generosity made it possible for New York City's public high schools to offer wrestling as an interscholastic sport.

And a few weeks ago, the New York Times featured an article on Bob and Barbara's daughter Jacqueline, whose Acumen Fund helps fund and build infrastructure - things as basic as water systems - in impoverished Third World countries.

In the article, Jacqueline related a humorous story of a job interview after graduating from college.

I studied international relations and economics at the University of Virginia. I paid my way by working as a bartender in the summer and at three part-time jobs during the year. When I graduated I wanted to take a year and do something fun. My parents were smart. Instead of yelling at me, they said that it was a fine idea, but that I should go on a few interviews, for the experience.

I had an interview at Chase Manhattan Bank, and when the interviewer asked me why I wanted to be a banker, I told him I didn’t. I was just assuaging my parents.

The man said that was too bad, because I would have gotten to visit 40 countries in the next three years and learn all about them. I almost died, because that had been my dream. I asked if I could start over. He asked me again why I wanted to be a banker, and I told him that ever since I was 6, it was my biggest dream in life. We laughed. I got a second interview and was offered the job. I started in 1983


american flagFRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2009- "What would happen if someone came out with the single-wing offense? It would embarrass the hell out of us." Vince Lombardi

*********** Coach Wyatt, We just had our first game and things went very well using the double wing compared to last year. I followed your advice and talked to the ref before the game. I learned at that time that I was unprepared for the discussion. The ref insisted that a back is not allowed to push a blocker. I discussed it with him but he pulled out the old “I’ve been reffing for so and so many years and I know for a fact that the back cannot push a blocker in the wedge or out.” So I was forced to adjust the back and recoach him to not assist the wedge. Can you help me out and give me the reference in the rule book that I can carry with me to help me out on the next encounter?

No one is "prepared" for a discussion with a fool.

Forget the rule book. He won't listen to you anyhow. You might ask him to show you where it says he CAN'T push on a blocker (he won't be able to).  Anything not specifically prohibited is permitted.

But don't worry - you can run the play without the push if it's going to cause you problems.

*********** Hi Coach Wyatt, I am at the end of a very frustrating evening.  I coach a 7th grade team in ---------.  I just finished watching our game tape after getting beat 51 to 20.  I am not overly concerned with the loss since we were playing above our division.  I am more concerned with the way the score got that way.
I have your tackling tape and have used those techniques and drills this fall.  The methods are sound and work when the kids use them.  In drills and practice the kids will execute and engage their teammates.  They do not seem to have a problem with contact in that context.  Our game tonight showed a defense made up of something other than willing tacklers.  They weren’t in full matador mode, but it was close.  They simply would not step up and make full contact – it was almost entirely arm tackles.
I have spent considerable time with a book you recommended by Bob Reade this off season and am wondering if this sounds like a motivational issue (and if so do you have any suggestions to help me motivate these boys), or based on the limited info above is there something else in the teaching part that I am missing?
Any thoughts or recommendations you have would be appreciated.

Sorry to hear what you've run up against.

It may be something as simple as kids who aren't aggressive by nature not being able to translate the drills you put them through into play.

We've always used the "West Point Drill" to get kids acclimated to rough contact - to put them in a situation where they have to compete - and also, going into a new situation, to identify the kids who are eager to play.

Hope this helps some!

*********** You have got to see this slide show about an 8-man team in Unity, Oregon (population 87), about eight hours east of Portland...

*********** Coach Wyatt, I am continuing to struggle with getting the right kids on the field.  Oline is a major concern.  I cant get 56 black 0 blocked very well due to issues with my right guard.  He cant block the end yet.  We have been running the play for 2 weeks.  Ive resorted to keeping my left end home and running a 3 man pattern.  I closed practices to parents because one parent wants to give me advice on a daily basis.  He doesn’t like my method of tackling because he things they should dive at the runners legs to cut them.  He said I could not tackle him if I used my method,  His son hurt his neck the next  because he had his head down  Although it wasn’t serious,  I won’t play his son on defense until he can demonstrate that he has mastered my way of tackling.  My plan is to move my two better athletes from rt and left end to guard and tackle.  One of my qb’s is a pretty good athlete and he will do fine at end and he is only playing qb part time now anyway.  So far I have the support of my principal.  We coached football together about 16 years ago.  When the team is playing poorly stuff like this is bound to creep up.   We spent half of yesterdays practice on tackle drills.  Wrapping and turning over a one man sled, the pancake drill onto a mat and driving a dummy through our tire gauntlet. The tires are  set up for running backs to blast through,  but I saw it used to teach tackling using a dummy being pushed through it at the University of South Carolina The players are constantly hearing from us. “ Keep your feet moving, squeeze the runner with your arms, drop your butt and head up.”    The thing is I know that if the kids do what we tell them properly we will do fine in the games.  Its just a matter of getting them to have confidence in themselves and listening to what we preach.  My wife said to me this morning,  “Quit your b@tch’n, anyone can coach a bunch of superstars.  Good coaches get results from lesser players. “  After 20 years with me she sounds too much like a coach.   

Coach, Sorry you're going through this--

(1) You know enough about the offense to make whatever adjustments you think are necessary to make a play work.

(2) I could tackle the dad high.  Especially if he didn't see me coming

(3) His son has been listening to him too much

(4) Hang in there.  You know you can coach and I know you can coach and  this season isn't going to change that.

(5) Your wife is right

************ A football mom/coach wrote me asking for advice about the center snap. On the one hand, the quarterback-center exchange at her son's school is very shaky, with a lot of fumbles. On the other hand, when the quarterback does get the snap, he blames errant passes on the center, for not "giving him the laces."

I wrote...

Ignore this business about "giving the quarterback the laces."  The point is to get the quarterback the BALL. And if he doesn't have the manual dexterity to find the laces before he throws, he shouldn't be playing quarterback.

As for the "laces" business... how do you suppose shotgun centers are able to put the precise number of revolutions on the ball so that the quarterbacks always get the laces where they want them?  (That was a rhetorical question. They don't, of course, and somehow the quarterbacks manage.)

A simple drill for finding the laces is for you to toss him a ball, underhanded with a little spin on it,  and see how quickly he can find the laces and throw it back.  Very shortly, he will have no trouble at all "dialing up" the laces.

*********** On what planet do marketing people look at those old Patriots' uniforms and decide "we need to ditch those and go to silver and blue with a Patriot logo that looks like Elvis?"  Same with the "standing Buffalo" logo.  Love it. Ed Wyatt, Melbourne, Australia (Some focus groups must have indicated that people who buy NFL jerseys don't like bright colors.  I don't get it. I mean, the American public has such poor taste, you'd think they'd go for bright and garish, instead of the industrial drab the today's NFL teams seem to favor. HW)

*********** Whoa - now even the Wall Street Journal - second most-circulated newspaper in the United States, and the one I've respected the most for at least 25 years - acknowledges that the Wildcat was named by a Washington high school coach. Ahem.

College and high school have long been the Petri dishes of football innovation, and it is there that the Wildcat's recent emergence can be traced. In a 1998 article for Scholastic Coach and Athletic Director magazine, a high-school football coach and Yale graduate named Hugh Wyatt wrote of a direct-snap, single-wing style formation that he named the "Wildcat," after the mascot of the school where he coached at the time. Seven years later, Gus Malzahn, the offensive coordinator for the Arkansas Razorbacks, implemented a single-wing style package that he'd used successfully coaching high school ball. Conspiring with Razorback running back coach Danny Nutt to get their best players on the field at the same time, he put the multidimensional running back Darren McFadden, now of the Oakland Raiders, in the quarterback position and fellow running back Felix Jones at wingback. The Wildcat was soon spreading like wildfire.

The whole article -

*********** Coach, Once again, thanks for maintaining your website. What a great resource.
I must share with you a recent coaching experience.
I am a JV assistant coach. Yesterday, Monday, our Varsity coaches and team convened to review film of our recent victory.
Our JV Head Coach was out of town on business. I was "in charge" of approximately 25 players, may of whom played as Freshmen for me last year. By that I mean, I didn't expect any behavioral issues, and there were none.
Our administrative staff, as I am sure those across the country, engage in the custom of observation of the faculty in the classroom. The situation is now such that since "Coaching is Teaching" (and vice versa), our football staff and the staffs of other sports can expect similar observations and subsequent follow-up, via a rubric. This rubric is designed more specifically with the teacher and class in mind and not particularly coaches.
So, here is the practice agenda:
I. Flex & Stretching and Form-Running
II. Skills Review
A. Tackling
a. A clinic on "Form Tackling" consisting of 2 lines, face to face, 12-13 a side, teaching proper form and fit. (Easy to manage, safe and good visual of group)
b. One on one
c. Two on two (Modified Oklahoma)
d. Two lines, Upright Tackling dummy, each individual on command, attack the dummy and drive thru and wrap up.
and so on
So, after practice, I check my mailbox and find a copy of my "Observation Rubric".
Two items are handwritten:
1.) "As observers arrive, students are participating in a 1 on 1 tackling drill. Next, he runs a 2 on 2 tackling drill"
Then, under "General Observations" our principal adds, "Think about how you can get more kids directly engaged at one time.
Now, I can add a "Teacher Response" but am reluctant to do so. I hope my motivation is obvious.
I would like to learn your thoughts, if you are willing to respond, realizing I may leave questions unanswered.
Thanks in advance.
Coach-This one is easy.

Your answer:

"The safety factor is so important that I must observe each individual demonstrating the skill that we just worked on."


"The other players are mentally 'engaged' in that they must observe and listen to my critiques, a situation not unlike what happens in a classroom when one student is called to recite.  (That latter technique may be unknown to many of today's modern "educators," or derided as old-fashioned, but it is still employed with some success at West Point, which I note was just named by Forbes as America's top university.)"

Educrats can be such asses.

*********** After seeing empty seats in Oakland - in the NFL opener, a Monday night game yet - and then, just before halftime, sitting through long, tedious deliberation over what appeared to be a Raiders' touchdown (Aha- but did he take two steps after the catch? And can the ground cause a fumble after all?), I suspect that the NFL is attempting to juice up its product by combining two very popular American activities - football and litigation.

*********** The dirty little secret that the NFL won't let the media talk about is all the unsold tickets at NFL games. And unsold tickets mean local TV blackouts. Which means pissed off local fans. Which means some of them are smart enough to call their congressmen. Which means dozens of congressmen jumping at the chance to play champion of the little guy by calling for lifting of the blackouts. Which means... what?

Which means, among other things, that the NFL "marketing" people are going to start doing the one thing they've never had to do in at least 30 years - MARKET!

In other words, get off their asses and sell tickets.

For years, their only problem has been how to tell fans that the season tickets were all sold out, but that they'd be put on a waiting list, in the unlikely event that any season ticket holder were to give up his tickets.

Now, I can just see the suits having to go door to door, like Jehovah's Witnesses. Or calling people at home at dinner time.

*********** So call me a racist...

BLACK PEOPLE I WOULD VOTE FOR FOR PRESIDENT - J.C. Watts... Clarence Thomas... Michael Steele... Shelby Steele... Thomas Sowell... John McWhorter... Ward Conerly... Condoleeza Rice... Walter Williams... Armstrong Williams... Ken Hamblin...

WHITE PEOPLE I WOULD NEVER VOTE FOR FOR PRESIDENT - Nancy Pelosi... Patrick Leahy... Tom Daschle... Diane Feinstein... Harry Reid... Barney Frank... Rahm Emanuel... Arnold Schwarzenegger... Barbara Boxer... Charles Schumer... Henry Waxman... Arlen Spector... Howard Dean... John Kerry... Dick Durbin...

********** A friend in another state who's been at it awhile and worries that he might be lacking his customary zest for coaching, wondered about getting out and then getting back in, and asked me how long I'd stayed in one place...

I wrote,

Coach, The longest I've spent at one place was eight years.  I thought I was going to spend my career there, but a principal thought otherwise.

Since then, I've realized that I am better suited personality-wise to build than to maintain. I do think I'm pretty good at turnarounds, but I find the routine of keeping it going begins to get old quickly.

Maybe you're feeling a form of midlife crisis.

If you take a break, I don't think it will hurt your coaching. It might help.

Over the years, I have been out of the game on a couple of different occasions for a year or two, and I always came back fired up, a better coach than I was before.  For one thing, the chance to observe other coaches from the stands taught me a LOT.

And if you don't want to get back in full-time, I'm sure there are places that would love to have you as an assistant.  That's what I'm doing now. I won't lie and say I don't miss my own program, but I'm working with a great guy and really getting to liek the kids and staff, and it's nice to go home after practice and know that the day is over!

I'm not encouraging you to take a respite, but I just thought I'd point out that it's not the end of your life if you do.

Once a coach always a coach!

*********** Jimmy Carter says that there are some Americans who can't deal with the notion of a black president.

Could be. I wouldn't know.

But there sure were an awful lot of us who couldn't deal with the notion of a white president - named Jimmy Carter.

*********** Writes a youth coach of my acquaintance...

In case you were wondering how the soccer-parent mentality is affecting our game, this comes from a youth coach...

Just got an email from the league commish.

 If a player is on the roster, at the game in uniform, they must play if physically/mentally able! No club, administrator, or coach, can discipline a player by holding them out of a game, or any portion of a game, for any reason.

Excuse like missing practice, late for practice, conduct, etc., are issues to be dealt with between the coach, parent, and commissioner.    

What pisses me off about this is that reasons to not play a kid who hasn't lived up to the requirements of the team are termed "excuses" in the league's rules.

I'm tired of coaches being thrust into the role of social workers, as therapists for social miscreants. Unfortunately I think this image is encouraged by every college coach who argues he's doing a (really talented) troubled kid a favor by keeping him on his team.

Name Withheld

*********** I would love to go to the library and get the book that tells this story but they're remodeling the library here (Probably to get rid of those damn books so they can put in some more Internet computers...).

Anyway, the Story of American Football in this book states that the narrowing of the football field was the LAST MAJOR ACT of Walter Camp in setting the rules.  After a short period of time, the other members of whatever Rules Committee  existed came back and said that the field was too narrow and it would, like, really be swell 'n all if the field were widened back to its original width.

One Problem:  Harvard had already poured the concrete for its stadium and they would have to demolish the structure and rebuild it and they were not going to do it.  Hence, the field remained too narrow even though everyone knew it.

I don't care anymore.  The field is too damn narrow.  Now, I don't know if it should become Metric Football ("First down and Ten Meters to go!") but something has to happen.


Charlie Wilson
Dunedin, Florida
(Loved the bit about the library.  Makes you wonder - back when all that libraries had were books - where did all the transients go to look at porn online? HW)

*********** Telling quote Number One...

"We should have won that game (the Tennessee loss to UCLA) by a couple of touchdowns. We ran the ball a lot in the red zone, which is unusual for us. We normally throw it more down there, so we had to settle for too many field goals and not enough touchdowns."

So said Lane Kiffin, Tennessee coach whose rise to the top of his profession despite a lack of significant leadership experience could never happen in politics, begging the question of whose job it was to decide to "throw it more down there."

Telling quote Number Two...

"You know, everybody has to choose to do things their way. We were very pleased with what we were able to accomplish the majority of our time at Tennessee. And we did it without having to be brash and so on. This is his style, the way he chose to do it. It's his turn to do it as he thinks he needs to do it. The problem in this league, you are going to play great football teams every week once you get into the SEC schedule and if you are going to be brash, you better be able to back it up."

So said Phil Fulmer, former Tennessee coach, commenting on his successor, Kiffin, who in his brief reign as UT coach has passed up numerous opportunities to keep his mouth shut.

*********** A coach who has experienced success as a Double Wing coach and now in a spread program wrote me regarding my recent take on the number of spread coaches who appear to be driven either by insecurity or ego to run an offense not suited to their kids' talents. I wrote back:

I appreciate your taking the time to write.

We do seem to agree on this point:  As I always try to make clear, I believe it is the job of the coach to run what his experience and his knowledge of his kids leads him to believe gives them their best chance for success.

That may be a Double Wing or Wing-T, or an I-formation, or some sort of triple option, or a form of single wing. A full-house T.  Or a form of spread.  I know of successful coaches running all of those.

My point in writing what I did is that there are an awful lot of kids being cheated out of a chance to be successful by coaches who in my opinion have made their decision to run the spread out of insecurity or ego.

The most interesting thing, I find, is that when people aren't immediately successful at running the Double Wing - when it isn't the instant fix they'd hoped for - they often bail out early.  Back to whatever they did before. But many spread guys seem to stick with it long past the point where it's obvious to even a casual observer that they are a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.

Anyhow, glad to hear of your success and hope you're doing well.

By Jeff Kramer with Kirk Kriskovich
This article was published this month in The Washington Coach, the official magazine of the Washington State Coaches Association. Their web site is and should be available for download soon. Thanks to Jerry Parrish, Secretary-Treasurer of the WSCA, and Mike Schick, past president of the WSCA and editor of The Washington Coach. Both volunteered space in their publication after WIAA Assistant Executive Director Andy Barnes denied our request to appear a the Kickoff Classic on September 5th to disseminate information about our cause.

A year ago the thuds and grunts of young men preparing for another football season echoed through the woodsy Western Washington University campus. Now the practice fields stand silent and empty except for an occasional jogger. Did it have to be this way?

When WWU President Bruce Shepard announced Jan. 8 that the school was eliminating football, it made national news as a telling sign of hard times throughout the country. But in a matter of weeks, it was clear to our organization,, that the reasons cited for ending a century of small college football tradition in Bellingham didn't square with reality.

As fuel prices sank, the Administration lamented rising travel costs as a prime reason the program could not be maintained. It grossly overstated the annual cost of maintaining a football team, and put the annual athletic department shortfall (one year reaching as high as $500,000) squarely at the feet of the football program - money it falsely claimed would go "toward education." New WWU Vice President for University Relations Steve Swan, less than a week on the job and without ever speaking to a football alum, internally circulated a document citing a need for an "$11 to $12 million dollar endowment" to maintain the football program, when the University's entire endowment is $20 million. Football became a handy scapegoat for the university's larger fiscal woes and to protect an athletic department dogged for years by poor management, lack of spending controls, an administrative staff of six that accounts for $480,000 in annual salary and benefits and a marketing program that was allotted less than 2% of a $3.2 million budget.

Equally misleading was the Administration's assertion that Western was somehow cheapened by playing a home-and-away schedule in the 5-team Great Northwest Athletic Conference. (That format seems to suit the NFL quite nicely.) Conveniently overlooked by administrators were the loud rumblings coming from other schools in the region that were exploring joining the Division II conference.

• Southern Oregon University, whose athletic director is a WWU alum, is studying a move to the GNAC. A decision is expected by the end of this coming school year.

• Simon Fraser University, once a football rival of Western, and just 90 minutes away, recently became the first Canadian school to become a member of the NCAA and will be playing football in the GNAC in 2011.

• Just last month, officials in the Golden State Athletic Conference met to discuss possibly moving the entire league to NCAA Division II in the next few years - which would provide a wealth of potential opponents for GNAC teams.

• "I don't know what schools are lined up yet, but everybody is looking at it," GSAC commissioner Cliff Hamlow said.

None of this was -- or should have been -- news to the WWU administration. But for reasons that seem more political than financial, the blinders were on tight. WWU Vice President of Student Affairs Eileen Coughlin, for example, steadfastly told WWU Football Boosters at the Rotary Bowl in December of 2008 that Simon Fraser, "wasn't interested" in playing football in the GNAC (never mind that Simon Fraser had sent observers to the game). Her comments were echoed by Shepard in a private meeting with football boosters. Informed by our organization of Shepard's defense of Coughlin, Simon Fraser's Athletic Director, Dr. David Murphy, became agitated and stressed that Western had known of Simon Fraser's intent all along.

It's notable that as Western was ignoring the growing interest in its own conference; it was also bucking a national trend: Many schools are adding football to help stem the tide of lagging male enrollment, and, in some instances, to spur alumni donations.

PacificUniversity, which saw a lag in enrollment and charitable giving following the elimination of its football program 19 years ago, is set to renew the sport in 2010. George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, which last fielded a football team in 1969, is considering playing Division III football within three years. Georgia State will field a team, kicking off in the Georgia Dome, in 2010, while South Alabama and Old Dominion will root for new teams this coming season. Even four state Junior Colleges -- South Puget Sound Community College, Tacoma Community College, Green River Community College and Yakima Valley Community College -- will field football teams in the coming fall. In fact, more schools have been adding football than dropping it in recent years: In the 1980s, 42 football programs were added in the United States, 22 in the 1990s, with 28 to follow this decade.

To see what schools gain from football, one need only look at what has been lost at Western:

• The reduction of male athletes will force a reduction in female student-athletes to maintain compliance with Title IX. Between 60 and 70 opportunities for women (in what WWU calls a ‘roster management adjustment') will be cut.

• Some 60 percent of the minority athletes in the Western athletic program were dismissed from competition; football accounted for over forty minority athletes at the school, and 13% of the African-American population of the entire school.

• Western now has only one non-white coach in its athletic department.

Meanwhile, the decision has rippled beyond Bellingham, proving especially hurtful to rival Central Washington University. That institution was forced to reschedule games at a cost of $10-$60,000 per contest to make up for the holes in their schedule, an expense that is stressing the resources of athletic programs there. As the years go by, thousands of young men in Washington State will have to take their college football dreams elsewhere, or give them up entirely. This program can, should, and will work if run properly at the state's third largest state school, and the largest university in the GNAC.

At, we believe our fight is your fight. We're under no illusion that Viking football will be restored anytime soon, but neither do we doubt for one moment that it will be restored. We're now 700 members strong and growing, and we're not going away.

We invite you to learn about our group via our web site and join us.

Our organization, like the WIAA, understands that sport has immense benefits beyond wins and losses. When the sound of clashing shoulder pads and helmets returns to those practice fields at WWU, more than a football team will have been restored. There will be more opportunities to learn and grow for men and women, more diversity, more graduates heading into the workforce knowing what it means to strive and sweat for a collective goal.

In 100-plus years, the Vikings have fielded great teams and poor ones and many in between. But the real story is the journeys of our student-athletes and our coaches. With your help, the journey will continue.
Jeff Kramer is a 1985 Western graduate in journalism and an award-winning humor columnist for the Post-Standard. He played football for the Vikings in 1981 and 1982. Jeff lives near Syracuse with his wife, Leigh, daughters, Miranda and Lily, and canine freeloaders Larry and Rondo. You can read his award-winning humor column on

Kirk Kriskovich is the Vice President of Communications and webmaster for, an organization working to reinstate football at Western Washington University. A WWU alum, he coached football for 15 years in the state of Washington and served 12 years teaching in the public school system. He is presently a department manager at Sublime Media in Seattle.

american flagTUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2009- “The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; the optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Sir Winston Churchill.

*********** A recent article in the Wall Street Journal went on at great length to praise NFL offenses, going so far as to declare that offense now rules the game, blah, blah, blah.

An alert reader pointed it out to me, knowing that it represented something of a contradiction of my long-held view that with rare exceptions, NFL offenses suck.

But that same WSJ edition also contained an article by Allen Barra in which he noted that despite great increases in speed and athleticism, not to mention specialization, in the NFL, from 1958 to 2008 the average points per game barely increased, from 42.6 to 44.

And thanks to kicking specialists and their 84+ per cent effectiveness, a lot more of today's points are coming from field goals, scarcely a testament to the NFL's offensive potency.

Conclusions: (1) NFL offenses still suck; (2) the first article was a dose of NFL propaganda.

(For the record - this past Sunday, the average points per game was 39.6.)

I continue to argue that the NFL HAS to widen the playing field.  They are playing on the same size field as 50-100 years ago, but with players who are 10-25 per cent larger and faster than the players of 50 years ago.

*********** Hugh, how did you do last weekend??? We lost our second straight. The new offense we are running ( the spread) has produced a total of 230 yards of total offense through 2 games. Last year running the Double wing we had over 800 total yards..... last Friday the offense turned the ball over had no first downs in the 1st half and the opposing team's defense scored 2 TD's and a safety in the first half and their offense didn't start one drive the whole game on their side of the 50. Anyway I hope you did better??

We got it together Friday and won, 47-0.

We executed fairly well. Our Super Powers and Counters looked pretty good, and our Wedge is decent this early in the season. Our C-back, Ruben Hernandez, rushed for 135 yards and two TD's, our A-back, Nevin Blem, rushed for 98 yards, our B-Back, Jaden Davis, scored three TDs, and our QB, Thomas Sanchez, threw for two scores, both to A-Back Blem.

The opposing offense was coached by ex-NFL QB Neil Lomax. Surprise - they ran a spread.  Lots of sets and plays. They simply didn't have the talent to do it.  They got maybe three first downs toward the end of the game when we were playing all our kids.

I think that the spread and its many variations may be the first offense I've seen come along that coaches have turned to without giving any consideration to whether they have the people to run it.  Coaches, whether insecure or ego-driven (or both), are putting their kids in hopeless positions just so they can walk around at clinics and say, "We run the spread."  

Running the spread without an honest appraisal of whether they have the ability to run it successfully is going to end a lot of young coaches' careers.

*********** What a shame that Brian Urlacher is done for the season. It's always sad when one of the game's greats is lost.

*********** Coach Wyatt:
On Friday, you mentioned that you have had enough of listening to college football announcers talking about which players will "play on Sundays." I agree with you 100%; to the sportscasters, the NCAA is merely the NFL's farm system, and hyping players early merely increases brand recognition for when those kids possibly get into the NFL.
Have you had the chance to watch any of the high school games that occassionally get played on ESPN? The same thing goes on there; the announcers do nothing but talk about "star ratings" and how big of an impact a particular kid will make when he goes to college.
I almost wish that I had the strength of will to destroy my TV so that I could just enjoy a football game for being a football game and not a promotion for the next game up the ladder.
Dan Polcyn
Oak Hill, Ohio

Glad you mentioned that.  I am sick to my stomach at the way these games are being used to promote one recruiting service or another.

They are such geniuses.  They never miss.  Except that  while Notre Dame with all its "Four Stars" struggles, Utah and Boise State (with a bunch of "One Star" kids from around the West) kick ass.  And at the time I write this, D-IAA schools are 4-4 against D-IA competition. Oh wait - you say coaching has something to do with it? HW

*********** From the South Bend Tribune---

Irish wide receiver Michael Floyd took 15 stitches to his right knee after cutting it on the hard track that surrounds the field at Michigan Stadium. Floyd left the game with 6:22 left Saturday and did not return.

May I suggest coaches require all the show ponies to wear knee pads IN THE MANNER (SUPPOSEDLY) REQUIRED BY NCAA RULES?

This one is so-o-o-o-o easy. So why won't the officials enforce it?

*********** Coach,
On this morning's news you posted:
In a promotional video created by, Gregg Brandon (UVa offensive coordinator) teaches the new spread offense to his players. In this video, Brandon tells his players, “Our no-huddle offense will limit the defense's ability to make adjustments.... You quarterbacks are gonna have to get the ball to the playmakers, so they can do their thing.”
When will these genius coaches realize that in all of D1 there are probably less than 10 quarterbacks who can really master the no huddle spread that everyone is trying.  Not everyone gets a Bradford or a Tebow or a White.  Speaking of Bradford before they go to it they should call Norman and ask how it feels when you have one of those rare QB's and he's laying on the ground crying after getting leveled for the 4th time by BYU.  Build your house on sand and when the sand shifts the entire house falls. 
Once all these fad coaches get canned maybe they can go on dancing with the stars.  It seems from all the dance off hand signals those guys are doing they should be well practiced. 

Gabe McCown                                         
Piedmont, OK-USA          

*********** Dad..I"m sure you read abut Terrelle Pryor writing a pro-Michael Vick message on his eye black...this is Pete Carroll's response.

Love, Ed

At USC's practice on Thursday, Coach Pete Carroll said he relies on equipment managers to monitor what his players write on their eye black.

The coach said "Hi, Mom" is acceptable. Also, "I love Coach Carroll."

"I'm still waiting for that one to show up," he said. "It's on the suggested list."

It saddens me whenever I hear about this young person or that needing to "express himself" through a tee-shirt, or a tattoo, and now eye-black patches, but then I hear the kid speak and I'm like, "You know, um, maybe the eye patch speaks better than the kid, you know what I'm sayin'?"

*********** A friend sent me some clips of his game and wrote... "Here is the offensive clips from the 1st quarter of last night's 30-0 win over -----.   HEHEHE they used to run the DW and quit, said it didn't work, told me they could stop help from two of their HS coaches who also used to run it and were in the press box...I love those guys...=)

Damn shame it only works for people who take the time to learn it and coach it.

*********** After watching people flail away at golf balls at a driving range, a teaching pro told the Wall Street Journal, "To me, the intriguing thing is that they keep coming out here, doing everything the wrong way, and they expect that someday suddenly everything will get better."

*********** Hello Coach,
I hope everything is all working out well for you.
I had purchased your dynamics materials a few seasons back, and we have had quite a lot of success over the years. As you know we are a Turkish club team participating at the college-age level. Last season was a bit of a let-down for us as we barely missed the playoffs in the Turkish League. My absences from practices due to work , and the full-on 10man rush that we have been seing lately - coupled with our inability to pass successfully played a major role i believe (we were still however, one of the highest scoring teams, also had quite a lot of problems with defence). So there i go back to the drawing board, along with a newly transferred QB with real quick feet and exceptional passing skills, and voila the answer is right there in reading the B-F-D...The fullback on plays such as 58_Black-O is so open, that its not even a pass thats required, just quick feet and a little dunk over the close-corner who was so intent on stopping the power running game. Expect good things to come out this year - and even my previous QB has picked up on this passing scheme to success. A few successful passes(!) of these (and this new guy has been even successful to read the 4th receiver correctly in practices) and we should have a better running game out of it when defenses stop cheating. By the way we have had about equal success with the QB set-up by opening on the left side, as in Lightning set up, as with opening up from the right and turning left as in Black. Your take on this?
My question for you was this. I am interested in ordering some more materials from you. I am glad that you now accept paypal. What extra costs would be required for you to send the materials out to Turkey? How much percentage-wise or flat-fee-wise would i have to include in the cost?
Kerem Ates
Anakara, Turkey
(As a service to American football coaches in countries where there are already more than enough obstacles in a coach's way, I do not charge extra to ship internationally. HW)

*********** Hey coach, We are less than a week away from taking on a very powerful doublwing team. Their playbook consisits or six plays the superpowers, traps, and criss-cross counters. They run a very, very quick rip and liz motion and sometimes no motion at all. What I am asking, and im sure you have been asked before is simply how to defend this type of play. I myself am a Dwing guy and know that what ever they throw at us we can counter almost every time. Anything you reccomend would be greatly appreciated.

As you might imagine, I don't spend a lot of time helping people who want advice on how to stop a fellow Double Winger.

I can give you some general advice, which applies to anyone facing a trapping, misdirection offense, and that is to be careful about penetrating, and making sure your players stay home when the play seems to be going away.

But that still leaves the problem of dealing with power and play-action.

*********** Hugh, How are you? Hope all is well! Love the news as always. I have a blocking question for you. If you have a 3-0-3 front and are running power (or super power), who is responsible for the backside 3 tech? Either center or backside TE could get him if the DE is in a 6 but the TE might not be able to get him with a 7 tech.

Depending on how that 3 is playing we would either block it as a tnt and center gets him or have the te get him. Even with a man in a "7". That is why the te lines up deep. HW 

*********** Time to consider getting out of coaching... Toward the end of the Alabama-Virginia Tech game, Brent Musburger talked about the pressures of coaching at Bama. Said that in talking with Nick Saban, the Bama coach told him he'd given up drinking, for fear that if he were seen out in public enjoying himself, people might get the idea that he's not putting enough of himself into the job.

*********** When someone on the Army Forum suggested using a soccer player to kick off, someone else wrote that in his opinion most soccer players wouldn't want the pressure of playing football...

It's much more within their personality to play a sport where there's no individual pressure.  That's why most little kids (who end up not liking/following/playing sports when they grow up) play soccer instead of anything else.  They don't have to stand at the plate and risk being hit by a pitch or striking out.  They don't have to stand at the free throw line and display skill or lack thereof.  They can just happily run up and down the field, kicking the ball in a general direction if need be.

Soccer suits them. 

(Unless they feel the pressure from Mom and Dad to play year-round so they can get a scholarship.)

*********** Lessee- On CBS, 60 Minutes was featuring Barack Obama and Teddy Kennedy... On NBC there was a pro football game.

Easy call, right? But wait - Keith Olberman was on the halftime show. Hell, I'd miss an entire Michigan-Ohio State game rather than spend one minute looking at that commie slimeball.

I decided to go with the women's tennis final.

*********** Anybody catch the dispute over the disallowed Cleveland TD? Braylon Edwards was interfered with, forcing him out of bounds in the process, and he returned to make a TD catch, but didn't, in the eyes of the officials, "re-establish himself" back in bounds?

Listening to the broadcast team discuss the possible rulings while the officials conferred, thought I was listening to the Supreme Court debating the number of angels who can dance on a pinhead.

Lord. All I wanted to do was watch a little football. Compared with the deliberations, that's about all I got.

*********** Since officials and rulesmakers are justifiably concerned about sportsmanship... how is it that a dance in the end zone, celebrating an accomplishment, merits a penalty... how come only thr captains can talk to the officials... but a receiver can wildly gesticulate for a pass interference call, and he's given a pass?

*********** Rich Rodriguez may have had his problems lately, but after beating Notre Dame, he could be an axe murderer and Michigan people would look for the Bud Light.

*********** Hey Lanie - you ain't at USC anymore. Next time you diss Florida, you'd better not overlook UCLA. There's hope, though. For what it's worth, Rick Neuheisel used to be a brash, mouthy f--k just like you.

*********** In those Golden Gopher costumes, Minnesota looked like the poor man's Oregon Ducks

*********** If they're able to transpose those enormous down-and-distance graphics on the playing field, surely they have a way to make the Oakland Coliseum baseball infield green.

*********** The biggest problem we faced was the fact that we had a ----- County officiating crew who allowed the ------ County players to do anything they wanted - before, during, and after the play - until our players started to retaliate. THEN the crew decided they needed to "get control of the game". By that time our guys had let the dirty tactics get so far into their heads that we could never really get them back on track. I am very disappointed with some of our guys because of the way they acted. I asked one of the ----- County coaches if they were OK with the things their players were doing, and his response was "We won, didn't we?" I really can't stand coaches like that.

Jeez, going into those jerkwater towns and running into jerkwater officials and jerkwater coaches with jerkwater attitudes toward the game is something thing I definitely do not miss about small-school football.

Coaching is tough enough without having to deal with that crap.

*********** Coach:
A good week three win but I would be lying if I didn't mention that we were sloppy on criss crosses and also put the ball on the ground three times.  We need to tighten up the counter and passing game.  We are now 2-1. (1-0 in conference)
Crystal Lake Central 28
Elgin 14
We rushed for 520 yards and B Back Adam Smyth went for 242 yards and three touchdowns. Two fumbles were while we were about to punch it in and really put the game out of reach. 
Bill Lawlor,
Crystal Lake, Illinois

*********** Who IS that guy on at halftime of the CBSCS games? How did he get the job? Who HIRED him? Who decided to save money by not sending him to speech class?

*********** A veteran of several successful Double Wing seasons writes, "We are open next week. I plan to spend the next two weeks working with our offensive line. I discovered that my "O" line coach has changed some rules and added some calls on his own. Frankly I am pretty upset. I thought he was on board, but I may have to "kick him to the curb!!" I have found that the best O line coaches I have ever had in the DW did not play offensive line.

I think your observation about your best (Double Wing) line coaches not having played the line is right on the mark.  Amazing how tough it is for experienced line coaches to adjust to something different from what they know. I think they want to please, but they just can't help themselves.

I know you will get things straightened out.

*********** Coach, Enjoyed your blog today as always. One of the names of the coaches of the colleges that have added football caught my eye.

(My son) Ian used to go to a football camp at the University of Maine when he was a youth player, and the coach who ran the camp was Bobby Wilder. He was a great guy who really connected with the kids...I can still see him in his straw hat.

Season opener on Sunday. I do need to share one item with you....last year I had a boy who used to shake my hand and thank me after each practice and I mentioned it in passing to the boys at the banquet last winter. Now, there are about 12 boys who do the same thing after each practice.

Rick Davis, Duxbury, Massachusetts (My head coach, Tracy Jackson, tells our kids to hug three people after every practice. I think it's pretty cool. HW)

*********** I don't particularly like the Raiders, but I don't like the NFL at all, and after that inexplicable call disallowing a Raiders' touchdown before halftime last night, I have less use for the NFL than I ever did.

*********** September 17, 1966, in his coaching debut, Joe Paterno won his first game at Penn State as the Lions beat Maryland, 15-7. The Terps drove to the Penn State one yard line in the fourth quarter but, sadly, Maryland QB Phil Petry threw an interception. I would later have the privilege of coaching Phil Petry in Hagerstown, Maryland.

*********** To a coach who's struggling at a "rescue" program:

Before you can start to get anything done they have to understand what coaching is.  They're probably never been coached before.

You'd like to be patient but you also have to get them ready for a game, and I hate to say this, but it could take a year.

Hang in there and understand that it's not a reflection on you or your coaching.

There's been a lot of damage done to those kids before you arrived and it isn't going to change in a heartbeat.  We adopted a rescue dog back in January and the dog is only now starting to let me near it.

*********** Anybody able to tell me something about "Vibe Plate?"

*********** As I promised. It was back to basics for me in coaching your offense to a brand new team. We have worked hard at getting the base plays down, and still need a lot of work, but we had a good start. I won’t get into the details, but we had a total of 41 Offensive Plays. 17 of them were Super Power. 88 SP went for 153 yds on 11 att for 13.91 per attempt and 99 SP went for 65 yds on 6 attempts for 10.83 per attempt. 3 Trap at 2 went for 18 yrds on only 3 attempts. Total yards on this teams first game running your offense, 271 yrds. I’ve got to get the B Back more involved this week and our passing game was very weak, but that’s because we just haven’t worked on it enough. Back to work on getting better at the basics starting today!

Coach, That sounds encouraging.

I find myself in the same spot in a program that has been really down, and now that we've found out what we can't run (yet), we are pared back to the core - Super Power, Wedge, Counter and Roll outs right and left.

But we're starting to look better running them.

A thought - the lack of production by the fullback may not be your doing. People can stop your fullback.  Since he only runs from tight end to tight end, he is the easiest for people to shut down.  Usually what they do to stop your wingback attack and your passing is what creates opportunities for the fullback.  So don't feel bad if it's not yet "there."

american flagFRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2009- "We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." Winston Churchill

*********** I wish that all college football announcers could be gagged, ordered to say nothing about the NFL. Enough. No more of this, "he'll be playing on Sundays" crap. I'm tired of the NFL networks shills fostering the belief that the pro game is better - more important - than college football.

It's not. Maybe to some people it is, but not, I submit, to large numbers of the people who watch college football. NFL and college football each has its own audience, and there's a surprising lack of overlap. Yet to accomodate the pro-only bozos who stumbled onto a college game while putting on their NFL face paint, the TV people feel the need to explain that in college the receiver only needs to have one foot in bounds, and that in college ball the overtime works like this, etc., etc....

Realistically, of course, as heavily invested as all the networks are in the NFL, they'll never stop promoting it on college games, just as they'll never stop promoting "60 Minutes" on NFL telecasts.

*********** Whew. Recorded the Georgia Tech-Clemson game and then came home and watched it after practice. All I can say is, if Georgia Tech is the Number 15 team, Clemson is no worse than 16th.

*********** Been trying like crazy to find the origination of the term “shotgun snap” to no avail…do you know why they described the snap in such a way? Thanks

The term "shotgun" was given to a direct-snap series introduced by the 49ers in the 1960 season by a coach named Red Hickey, who used three quarterbacks, one of whom, Bobby Waters,  stood deep behind center mostly to give him more time to throw the ball.

It wasn't anything particularly new, since TCU and other Southwest teams used passers lined up deep in a spread formation, and the Giants for years employed the "A" formation with a deep tailback.

But the 49ers had some success against some good teams, and peoples' attention spans were short even then and so they thought they were witnessing a reinvention of the game.

Don't know how the name "shotgun" originated, but it started then and it has stuck, and now it - and the direct snap that goes with it - has come to be applied to just about any formation that doesn't have a quarterback under center. (Except "Wildcat," of course, which by now everyone knows was given the name by...AHEM)

*********** A great piece, written to Army football alumni by one of their former coaches, Barney Gill, recalls the sensation caused in 1958 when Army coach Earl Blaik split end Bill Carpenter wide to a side. Blaik's effort to keep Carpenter from wearing himself out running to and from the huddle involved Carpenter standing way off to one side or the other while rest of the team huddled. The matter of how Carpenter got his signals was a matter of considerable conjecture among fans and sportwriters all season long. Army went 8-0-1 that season - last Army team to go unbeaten - and Carpenter, running back Pete Dawkins and guard-linebacker Bob Novogratz were named to All-American teams. Dawkins won the Heisman Trophy.


I’m not sure if all concerned are aware of where the Armys’ famous “Lonesome End” got his name tag from…??? For those “Muscle Heads” who are not sure, let me bring you up to speed….

As the’ Gate Keeper ‘ of the “Beastie Boys” (better known as the “B” Squad),I had numerous other additional duties….One of these missions,which I inherited , was to represent the Army at the weekly press luncheon which was held at “Toots Shor's” in New York City every Monday during football season…This luncheon was attended by the majority of the most famous sports writers of that time.Also in attendance were coaches from all the major schools in the general area and also the coaches and a few players from the N.Y. Giants.To give the press a better viewpoint to base their writings on,they also had coaches there from the opponents that local teams were playing the following Saturday.If Army was playing Notre Dame,there would be a Notre Dame coach there... If we were playing Syracuse, there’d be a Syracuse coach there, and so on…

The normal procedure when you were called upon to report on your team was to cover the game just played and then other topics that would be considered of national interest or “newsworthy”. You ended your spiel by opening your part of the program for “Questions and Answers”…..!!!

You might recall…..Our first “outing” with the formation was in our opening game against South Carolina,and we just stomped the hell out of ‘em…!!! And of course,for the first time, Carpenter didn’t come in to the huddle……Well……You can imagine what that next press luncheon was like for me…..!!!???

At that luncheon, when I opened  the end of my remarks for questions and answers,Stanley Woodward,a nationally recognized award winning reporter asked me,”Well,Barney….What did Carpenter say out there….What were his comments”…??? And I replied……..He said……..”HE WAS MIGHTY LONESOME!!!!
And that “Muscleheads,is the way it was in 1958……Who in the hell thought we’d be around this long to even discuss it?

*********** Peggy Noonan, writing in the Wall Street Journal the other day, noted that many, many of the President's aides are quite young.

This is bad, she says, on two levels. First, there is their arrogance. "Nothing can stop them," she says. "Let's do big things, let's be consequential," they say. (As opposed to such mundane things as, um, just running the country.

But then there's another reason to be concerned.

You see, she writes, "they've never been beaten up by life, never been defeated. They haven't learned from failure because they haven't experienced it. They don't know what the warning signs of trouble are. They haven't spent time on the losing side."

You might say the same about their boss.

Any veteran football coach can understand what she means.

*********** Coach Wyatt,
It seems we are going back to teaching fundamentals and are at square one.   We lost our game 32 – 0.  We have much work to do.  Our defense gave up 4 long touch down runs because they can't seem to run to the ball until they hear the whistle.  On two touch downs we allowed the back to escape after we had 2 players  hit him in the backfield.  Another long run was after I called a slant right to the play and we failed to get there on a sweep.  On offense we cant block anyone.  They were putting their backers on the line of scrimmage and we couldn’t block down and allowed penetration between the guards.  Yes we were overmatched physically, but we can do better.  Both qb’s thu an int. because they wont throw quick enough.  One was picked off and ran back for a TD.  (It was a simple pass to the B back from Blue Blue 99.)   We still have issues with players missing practice.  I usually state that players who miss practice cant start a game.  My new rule is if they miss they wont play period.  The madness has got to stop!    The rest of our schedule is only going to get harder.  I do have a couple of guys who are playing their hearts out but its not enough.   I’ll make sure to emphasize the things we did well even if its tough to find them.  We will make tackling and blocking down our priority this week.  

The resemblance to our situation is uncanny.  Our first game score was also 32-0.  Against.

Same sort of problems on defense, same sort of problems on offense.

Your insistence on being at practice is, I think, a very good thing.

If we are supposed to be using football to teach kids life skills, it's a great way for them to learn that if they don't show up for work, they're not going to get paid.

In America, Land of the Second Chance, we too often reward kids - or at least fail to penalize them - even when they don't perform.

Part of the problem, I think, is that in today's America, the same people who sit on their asses and expect the goverment to solve all their problems for them,  turn their kids over to a football coach and expect him to perform magic tricks.

Hang in there.  We will get better and so will you.

*********** You can be pretty sure that the former Seahawk who now does college football on TV doesn't really follow the college game when despite all the furor over the LeGarrette Blount incident he pronounces "Blount" the way it's spelled, instead of "Blunt," the way it's pronounced. Probably never even heard of Steelers' Hall-of-Famer Mel.

*********** It's hard to believe that it's been seven years since former Ohio Congressman Jim Traficant, a former Pitt quarterback, was sent to prison. I always liked the guy. I've missed him, and I'm glad to see him out.

*********** Todd Bross now lives in Union, Maine, but sent me this from the Herald Sharon, Pennsylvania ( "where I grew up")

By Ed Farrell
Herald Assistant Sports Editor

THE RECORD will show Sharpsville defeated Hickory 17-14 Saturday evening, but everyone walked away a winner from McCracken Field.
A very powerful pregame ceremony honored the memory of U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. David Wallace, the Sharpsville High alumnus who lost his life in the ongoing War to End Terror conflict.

Several of Wallace's 2002 Blue Devils' football teammates and coaches donned his uniform No. 68 on black jerseys, and a plaque honoring his memory was displayed. Watching were Wallace's family, a couple of his former friends from the corps, and a capacity crowd.

What made the ceremony special, though, was a unique, unified display by the two school districts that included players, marching band members, cheerleaders and coaching staffs. The players stood shoulder to shoulder - alternately, Hickory, Sharpsville, Hickory, Sharpsville, etc. extending from one goal line to the other, while the similarly melded marching bands collaborated on a rendition of "God Bless America."

Paul Piccirilli, who doubles as Sharpsville's head football coach and athletic director, said his Hickory counterparts, Barb Dzuricsko and Frank Antuono, as well as both school districts, were on board with the concept. "We wanted to make (the ceremony) special, with former players coming back, and we were just going to dedicate (the retired uniform and plaque) to the school."

As Piccirilli continued to explain, however, Wallace's family made it known they would attend, and soon the schools mutually wanted to play a part, starting with the cheerleaders and bands and their respective advisors.

" ... Then I called Frank Antuono and said, 'Do you mind, if your team, for 25 minutes, we could show unity and give something back for what (Wallace) gave to our country?' And it all worked out. What (Wallace) did is more than just a game that we play."

"I thought that it was awesome. I had tears in my eyes," Antuono admitted afterward. "It was a beautiful ceremony. God bless that young man and his family. ... I thought about my own children the whole time.

"It was an amazing thing, for both communities to be together on that field. A very powerful ... a loud message was sent that, people can work together, especially for the things that are really important in life. Sometimes we think football and games are important. But there are so many other things so much more important than just a game," Antuono added.

"Hopefully," Piccirilli pointed out, "other teams get wind of this and do something special before each game. ... My hat's off to (Hermitage School District). I know it's a tough way to end the game (the narrow loss), and a lot of things can happen. You get out of your routine to play the game (after the emotional pre-game ceremony). But it was equal for both teams, and it made it a very special night.

"I remember Dave Wallace. He was a kid that just gave 120 percent on every play, at every practice," Piccirilli recalled. "Unfortunately, he was with a great team that year and it was tough to start. But he made our team better in practice, made (Sharpsville's) players better.

"And when he got in the game he made a difference for us when he was in there, 'cause he didn't want to let the team down. And thatís what he did in the service of his country."

*********** Five colleges have launched new football programs this season, with several more to follow over the next few years (which makes a new president's decision to eliminate football at Western Washington all the more reprehensible and indefensible.)

Those kicking off this year...

Old Dominion University (Norfolk, Va.): Head Coach Bobby Wilder.
University of the Incarnate Word (San Antonio, Texas): Head Coach Mike Santiago
University of New Haven (West Haven, Conn.): Head Coach Peter Rossomando
Anna Maria College (Paxton, Mass.): Head Coach Marc Klaiman
Castleton State College (Castleton, Vt.): Head Coach Rich Alercio.

Those scheduled to start between 2010 and 2013...

University of South Alabama (Mobile, Ala.): Head Coach Joey Jones
Georgia State University (Atlanta, Ga.):Head Coach Bill Curry
Lamar University (Beaumont, Texas): Head Coach Ray Woodard
University of Texas at San Antonio (San Antonio, Texas): Head Coach Larry Coker.
University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C.): Head Coach TBA
LeMoyne-Owen College (Memphis, Tenn.): Head Coach TBA
Pacific University (Forest Grove, Ore.): Head Coach Keith Buckley
Presentation College (Aberdeen, S.D.): Head Coach TBA
Stevenson University (Owings Mills, Md.): Head Coach TBA
Hendrix College (Conway, Ark.) Head Coach TBA
Lindsey Wilson College (Columbia, Ky.): Head Coach Chris Oliver
Notre Dame College (South Euclid, Ohio): Head Coach Adam Howard

*********** Alabama players wild about Wildcat formation
From the Birmingham News - Tuesday, September 08, 2009
News staff writer
TUSCALOOSA - You can call it the Wild Elephant. You can call it the Wild Pachyderm. You can call it the Wild Tide.

Nick Saban isn't wild about creativity.

"I call it Wildcat," the Alabama coach said Monday as he talked about his football team's new formation.

That's how it was known originally, and it's how the fad that is sweeping through college and pro football commonly is known. But when Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt was at Arkansas, he went wild with the formation and called it the "Wild Hog."

"We have different names for it, some different formations for it, but it's all the same thing," Saban said. "Wildcat is categorized as somebody that's not the quarterback in the quarterback position. You've still got to call your formations and all that. Our terminology is a little different for all that, but I'm not going to sit here and tell you what we call our plays and formations. That's not for public knowledge.

"I don't think it makes a difference what you call it. You can call it Houston. As long as everybody knows where to go line up."

Alabama ran from the formation on roughly one-eighth of its 79 snaps Saturday in a 34-24 season-opening victory over Virginia Tech. Running back Mark Ingram took each of those snaps, including one on the Tide's first play from scrimmage. He faked a handoff to wide receiver Julio Jones, who had gone in motion, and ran inside for a 3-yard gain. Ingram went on to rush for 150 yards.

"It was a big surprise," Ingram said when he learned that the Tide was joining the Wildcat trend. "I was excited. It gives the offense a different look, and it's a way to get our playmakers the ball in space.

"We started in (fall) camp, working people at different positions. All of our skill-position players took turns at the wing and quarterback. It was just different players, seeing what personnel worked out best."

The formation originated in 1997 at La Center (Wash.) High School. At least coach Hugh Wyatt, now the coach at a high school in Ocean Shores, Wash., takes the credit for the formation and the name. La Center's nickname is Wildcats. Wyatt introduced a direct-snap version of his Double-Wing offense.

Alabama is late to the party. After Arkansas copied La Center High, other college coaches copied Arkansas. Then the Miami Dolphins brought the trend to pro football, and other teams have followed.

"You saw it in the NFL last year," said Saban, who previously coached the Dolphins. "When people see something new and difficult to defense - which it is - because you create another gap on defense ... the quarterback's no longer the quarterback.

"If we play man-to-man, nobody's got the quarterback. Now you put him out at receiver and put the tailback (in the shotgun formation behind the center), you've created another gap to defend on defense.

"Everybody's developing their ways to try to defend this. But I also think people are expanding what they do in this more and more, so if you're not defending the middle of the field properly, they're going to have some passes to take advantage of that.

"It's one of those things. The defenses will catch up with it."

Ingram was not called upon to throw a pass, but "if I have to throw it, I will," he said.

Greg McElroy, who technically did not make his first college start at quarterback because he was split to the right as a wide receiver on the first play, was asked if he is more of a receiving threat than Ingram is a passing threat.

"That kind of depends on the defensive coverage," he said, grinning. "I'm not real good off the press, but if they give me off coverage ..."

Linebacker Cory Reamer is pleased to see the new wrinkle.

"We knew they had it in, and to see it as early as we did - the first play - it was real interesting to see," the senior from Hoover High School said. "We kind of enjoyed it, to see a different look. You don't usually see that from us. You never saw it last year. Everybody's going to it all over the country.

"It's really going to help us out to have an offense that can run it, because we're going to face a bunch of teams that do that." Check out Kausler's blog at

For those of you who may still think that the Dolphins named the Wildcat ---

of- and I videotaped this in 1998, in making "Dynamics III" ---

*********** I’m really careful about my son but after the game the parents were a bit concerned about their sons not getting the ball like the week before. Interestingly, no one mentioned my son comparing them to some of the other players. I’m hopeful they are understanding that my son Anthony is earning the opportunity and they realize we went with the guy we all know can run the ball and score especially in a pinch. My assistants are behind this so that helps. In the end it may become more about protecting him from getting worn out or hurt.
As a head coach I’m thinking about the fact that if the other teams key on him I can use that to our advantage getting the ball to other players.
Sounds as if you are dealing with parents who think football is baseball, where everyone gets his at-bat, when in reality it's more like basketball, where the kids pretty quickly sort themselves out and very early in their development the more dominant players take over.

Yes, there will sometimes be those games when you can "spread it around" and give every runner a chance to shine, but the reality is that in a tight game, you find yourself doing the things you have to do to win.

And, of course, the setup of the defense often dictates what will work best.  I have had occasions when a back has put up big yardage one week and scarcely had a carry the next.

If that means giving the ball to your own son more than some people would like, so be it, so long as the results justify it.  Maybe they'll key on him, maybe they won't.  They still have to stop him.  

My concern is that some of those parents may be filling their kids' heads with the idea that they are victims of nepotism, and that is destructive to the team.

 *********** Last year, Michigan, coached by a man who is unexcelled in his knowledge of the spread offense, went down in flames; Auburn sent the Master of the System packing after a couple of games in which they had trouble putting any points on the board.

This season started out with Oregon's offense, undoubtedly one of the nation's best over the last few years, being shut down, held to ZERO first downs in the first half, by Boise State...

And then on Saturday, Virginia, formerly a pound-it-out team, introduced its new spread against D-IAA William and Mary - and got thumped.

Dennis Cook, of Roanoke, Virginia, sent me an article from which I gleaned this -

In a promotional video created by, Gregg Brandon (UVa offensive coordinator) teaches the new spread offense to his players. In this video, Brandon tells his players, “Our no-huddle offense will limit the defense's ability to make adjustments.... You quarterbacks are gonna have to get the ball to the playmakers, so they can do their thing.”

None of what Brandon said during the video took place during Virginia’s loss on Saturday. Virginia did, in fact, use the no-huddle offense, but the plays were relayed to the quarterbacks in such a slow manner that the defense was never on its toes.  

Now, it is WAY too early to suggest that there is something going on defensively, but for sure, not all spread offenses are unstoppable.

And yet, and yet - there seems to be a certain "they can't stop us" boastfulness about a lot of the spread people that is unbefitting our game. 

*********** We have already lost one player who wanted to focus on soccer. Now word comes that our head coach told another player to choose after he missed practice Friday to play a soccer game. He's a good kid and a great athlete, but it's not fair to kids when their teammates serve two masters.

Some of our kids do Boy Scouts, but it really amazes me that parents think they can sign their kids up for two sports in the same season. Not to mention you can play soccer year-round and football only comes in the fall.

Yes, but they can go to the Olympics and play in the World Cup in soccer. Provided they play it year-round to the exclusion of all other sports. HW

american flagTUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2009- "People who believe they can make a difference are always right." Michael Josephson

*********** I think I'm not so sad that one of these days I'll soon be too old to coach HS football...

A reality series called The Ride is now in production in Florida and scheduled to debut on Fox's regional sports networks in October.

It consists of eight high school football quarterbacks from around the country competing for a possible slot in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January.

It's being produced by a New Jersey firm that created and now produces the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, in addition to running sports camps.

“A majority of the nation’s top NFL instructors believe that great quarterbacks can be made,” said the guy who's the president of the firm- and the show’s creator.

“This show is essentially testing this idea of truly making and developing a great quarterback -- technically, physically and emotionally.”

Actually, I'd have preferred it feature eight keekers.

*********** North Marion 32, Woodburn 0. Whew. This is definitely a building job. I do not recommend taking over a new program, one that's had trouble winning over the years, and playing a game with only ten days of practice. But you play the hand you're dealt, and we didn't play it very well. Lots of trouble offensively that will require some strong action, but based on Monday's practice - a very hard one - we are on our way to getting those things straightened out.

*********** Jeff Jagodzinski got the hook at Tampa Bay, and now Turk Schonert is out at Buffalo, bringing to three the number of NFL offensive coordinators let go since the opening of training camp. WTF?

*********** Interesting article in the Tacoma News-Tribune about the way big-time high school football has become a year-round deal...

*********** Hugh, One of our coaches just graduated from a local high school. They  were a Wing-T program for years, but decided to go a spread offense this season.

In any event, their starting quarterback came down with mono this  week. Then the second stringer broke his collarbone. So they are going into a brand- new offense with a third-string quarterback, and no relief ahead for at least a  month. Whew!

Screw them.  They have it coming.  They built their house on sand and  never gave a thought to  the downside. They are like the people who  flipped real estate, thinking the market would never go down. HW

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

After last night's Oregon incident, I want to suggest the walk-away drill to our head coach...can you tell me more about it?

We did it last week. I pre-arranged for one of our players to walk up to me in front of the team and give me a shove, and call me "Pussy!" (You may want to use some other epithet.)

And after being shoved, I simply turned my back to him and walked away.

It's a good way to accompany a lecture on the stupidity - the official will probably miss the other guy but catch you when you respond - and selfishness - your selfish act of vengeance will hurt your team - of responding to antagonism.

*********** "It used to be, 'When in Rome, do as the Romans do.'

"Now, under multiculturalism, it's 'Tell the Romans what to do.'"

Dr. Thomas Sowell

*********** To all the fools who think that trash-talking and sack dancing and strutting and chest-thumping and finger-pointing and "raise the roof", ad nauseum, are simply boys having a little fun...

May I submit in evidence the LaGarette Blount incident following the Boise State-Oregon game?

Blount, who was quoted in Sports Illustrated back in July as saying "We owe them (Boise State) an ass-whupping?"

Blount, who stunk out the joint and was reminded after the game by a Boise State player of his failure to back up his braggadocio?

Blount, who responded to his helmetless tormentor with a sucker punch?

Blount, who came close to going after a spectator or two?

NOW can you see how the future of our game is endangered by coaches and officials who refuse to do their jobs and eliminate - entirely - all acts of taunting and boastfulness?

If the game itself isn't fun enough for these jackasses, send them back to the street corner.

*********** Coach Wyatt,
Below is an email I received from a parent whose son played for me the past two seasons:
"Steven and I have a big thank you. He was trying out for a baseball team last weekend he really wanted to play for. He did not know anyone at the tryout. I told him to "do what you do", be yourself and carry yourself with confidence. We could tell the coaches were impressed with his athletic ability and baseball knowledge, but their remarks after the tryout were all about how polite he was. The coach even said Steven is the first player he has ever had introduce himself, look the coach in the eye and give a firm handshake. That was you! So thank you for teaching him the confidence and doing the handshake drill."

This young man was my Black Lion Award winner, last year.  Although his mom gives credit to me, the credit should go to the man who came up with the concept of the Black Lion Award.  It's an award that changes kids' lives.  It is a confirmation that they are living their lives the right way and taking on challenges that may well initimidate others.  This award gives them the confidence to know that their approach to life has been acknowledged and that they are on the right path.  Thanks Coach.
Dave Potter
Durham, North Carolina

*********** My grandson broke his hand Friday night. Uh-oh. Senior year gone, right? Wrong. He's lucky enough to live in Durham, North Carolina, home of Duke University and its world-renowned medical school and hospital, and the next day he went into the Duke sports medicine clinic. There he was advised that while the usual "conservative" approach would normally be to cast it for 12 weeks - TWELVE F--KING WEEKS!!! - the point of sports medicine is to make it possible for the athlete to return to play as soon as it is safe to do so. In my grandson's case, that will mean missing one game - if surgery is required. If no surgery is called for, he'll be able to play Friday night with the hand immobilized.

*********** I made a trip over to the valley to see Atascadero High take on the Clovis East T-Wolves. I really needed a DW fix! Well, I still need one......... AHS over came a 21-20 4th quarter deficit to be EC 33-21. I do not know what has happened to CE, but, their version of the DW and my version and pretty far apart. They place a wing on one side and ran out of the I, entirely! They had a really fine set of backs and it looked like they want to run downhill. Sure made AHS's job easier. 33-21 AHS Varsity; 27-14 AHS JV; 8-6 CE Frosh

I was disappointed to say the least. Only the freshmen ran partly from the DW. WTF!

Hope this finds you well.....

Go Woodburn and best to your family and WHS staff,

Mike Norlock, Atascadero, California (I have been told that Clovis East coach Tim Murphy is taking this season off. Please correct me of that is wrong. HW)

*********** Most puzzling call of the day Saturday: Navy pulls to within two points of tying Ohio State with 2:23 left, and they go for two. And they THROW???? Navy??? One of the best running teams in college football??? (PS- It's intercepted and returned for two.)

*********** Greg Paulus sure did his share to make things exciting at Syracuse. Not that he isn't used to pressure after playing four years of basketball at Duke, but the guy's playing his first football game since 2004 and it's in the Carrier Dome against Minnesota and he gets the Oregon into O-T - where, sadly, he throws an interception.

*********** Did you see all that Kentucky blue in the stands at Miami's "home" game in Cincinnati?

*********** Terrelle Pryor - sheesh, the kid is good. If the pros let him go to waste because he doesn't fit their one-size-fits-all mold... if they don't find a way to accommodate his talents... somebody ought to start a league where guys like him and Tim Tebow can play quarterback.

*********** With its victory over Eastern Michigan, Army got its first opening-game win in 13 years and, as it has rarely opened away, its first-ever opening game road win.

*********** Wow. First Hawaii, now Nevada. Notre Dame is back. Close the polls. The balloting is over. Jimmy Clausen wins the Heisman. Charlie Weis is Coach of the Year.

*********** I never thought I'd say this, but it's exciting to see Miami back playing good football again.

*********** If I were a DB I definitely would NOT want to come up and tackle Stanford's Toby Gearhart. Talk about punising tacklers.

*********** There's was a cougar loose in a Seattle city park last week. Until they managed to trap it and release it miles away, in the Cascades, they were going after it with dogs. Not just any dogs. Karelian Bear Dogs. They are a Finnish breed, originally from Karelia ("Karjala" in Finnish), on the Russian border. The name of the breed, in Finnish, is karjalankarhukoira. The word looks like a jawbreaker, but a simple lesson in Finnish explains it: Finnish employs a lot of compound words, so "karjalan" ("KAR-yah-lahn") meaning "of Karjala," "karhu," meaning "bear," "koira," meaning "dog."

You have got to read about this dog. Karelian bear dogs are possibly the bravest dogs in the world. One of them will attack a bear and keep him at bay untilk his master arrives.

*********** Oh, dear. Making his color-analysis debut Saturday, a former NFL player's idea of color commentary was telling us what we could see for ourselves. "He broke the tackle." "He just couldn't haul it in."

*********** I'm sorry for OU and Sam Bradford, and happy for BYU. And I thank the Lord the OU kicker missed a 54 yarder at the end. I wouldn't have wanted either team to win it like that.

*********** Probably you've seen this....

His reputation is expanding... faster than the universe.

He once had an awkward moment... just to see how it feels.

He lives vicariously... through himself.

He's the world's most interesting man.

"I don't always drink beer... But when I do - I prefer Dos Equis. Stay thirsty, my friends."

or this...

People hang on his every word... even the prepositions.

He can disarm you with his looks... or with his hands.

He can speak French... in Russian

He's the world's most interesting man.

"I don't always drink beer... But when I do - I prefer Dos Equis. Stay thirsty, my friends."

Or these bits of wisdom...

On "Packages:" "Fellas... Leave the tight pants for the ladies. If I can count the coins in your pocket... you'd better use them for the tailor."

On Careers: "Find out what you don't do well... and don't do it."

*********** Who told Dan Hawkins to get his hair styled?

*********** Now that they're portraying poor LeGarrette Blount as a victim, we can only hope that he won't die anytime soon, or he'll get the sort of posthumous rehab that Michael Jackson and Teddy Kennedy got.

My wife wonders if maybe Oregon will go the hardship route and ask the NCAA for another year of eligibility for him.

*********** Bu coincidence, the very day I got an e-mail from Coach Troy Fry, in Dixon, California, USA Today ran an article about the little town of Dixon and the efforts its people are making to keep kids' sports going in the face of deep budget cuts...

I read the USA Today article. Dixon is a special little place and the community always finds a way to do what is right. That is why I live in Dixon with my family even though it is several hours away from the city I work in. Sports will stay in Dixon one way or the other. I am a Police Sergeant and I fear the day when kids have nothing to do but rob and shoot people. They need to keep busy to stay out of trouble. I believe kids learn a lot from sports (especially football) and that sports are more important than most people think. I love the game of football because it taught me how to be responsible, it gave me a strong work ethic and I learned how to respect and work well with others among other things. I have coached youth football for 25 straight years now and I will probably die on the sideline some day but I will die doing what I love. I love having the opportunity to make a difference in a kid's life. I have 5 kids and sports have been a huge part of their lives. One of my sons is a National Champion Wrestler and a Black Lion Award winner in football. I know all of my kids have learned a lot of lessons from playing sports and that it has helped mold them into confident young men and women with good values. I attached an article that I read a few years ago called "17 Reasons Why Football is Better than High School". I think you will enjoy it. I did! Thanks again Coach!     
Troy Fry Dixon Rams Youth Football 
Head Pee Wee Football Coach
Dixon, California

*********** We have used the bloody nose voodoo 3 times this year with 100% success.

Brad Knight
Athletic Director/Head FB Coach/Head Track Coach
Clarinda Academy

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

I've ordered your tackling video after seeing the NATA heads up video below.

As a youth coach, I must admit, it shocked and frightened me to think I might be putting young boys at risk for serious injury because of my instruction. Of course we teach head up, eyes on the target and never lead with the helmet, but using a low aiming point technique (base of the numbers, waist high, etc) makes this is very difficult to do as the natural tendency is to drop your head as you lower your shoulder. In trying to find better teaching techniques for low aim tacking, I ran across a forum post that discussed chest plate tackling and suggested your video. I was a bit skeptical but after seeing the video clip of the live tacking drills at your website, I was both convinced and impressed. Our first game is in 2 weeks and I need your DVD YESTERDAY!

Coach, If you authorize it, we will Express Mail your video today.

In the meantime, here's a short demo that will illustrate that we do, indeed, teach staying up.  You will note our "pancake drill" - it's the only one in which we take a runner to the ground...

*********** "We're not used to people cutting us." That was the Bingham, Utah coach explaining one of the problems his kids had in playing Euless Trinity in Texas, using the NCAA rules that Texas schools use.

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

Hello! I hope you are enjoying your Labor day. I hope your season has started off well.

I received the "Dynamics of the Double Wing" package last week. Thanks for the extra dvd. I dove right in and think it is a great starter and will soon be ordering the dvd's on installing the system and offensive line play. I am a coach for the North Pittsburgh Catholic Ironmen. We are a newly formed grade school program. We play in the diocesan league in the diocese of Pittsburgh. This year we have a developmental team (3 & 4th graders and 5th graders w/ no experience) and a 5th & 6th grade team. Next year we will have a 7th & 8th grade team as well.

Because this is the first year of the program we see this as an opportunity to install the DW the right way. During camp we installed the wing-T with some DW plays in the mix. After two games we have moved more towards the DW plays. So far we are 0 - 2, losing 12 - 6 in OT in our opener and 6 - 0 yesterday but we know this takes time and is a work in progress. The good news is that we ran 22 plays in the first half yesterday, the bad news is that we did not punch it in. Your system makes things easier to explain and teach and we will move forward with it as the year progresses. We have 38 players and 26 have never played before so simplicity is a key. Your DW is near and dear to my heart. I played my high school football in Ohio at St. Clairsville HS. St. Clairsville is 15 minutes west of Wheeling, WV. I played for a coach by the name of George Strager. Coach Strager is in the Ohio High School Coaches HOF with approximately 250 wins. I played QB for him and we ran full house T and DW. I loved playing in that offense and I love coaching it. With the age group we are dealing with do you have any coaching points that we should emphasize with our backs and lineman?

Thank you for your time and I hope to be able to attend a live clinic in the future.


Nice to hear from you. I hope that my Double Wing serves you well.

I would say that the biggest thing you could do for your linemen when you have the funds is to get a copy of my "A Fine Line" video.

In the meantime, the biggest thing to drill the kids - backs and linemen - on is to make sure they do not stop on contact. Every day we do a "12-step cure" drill in which we expect kids to take 12 steps (hard, running, of course) after they have made contact. We practice this against hand shields.

We stress that we don't want to push a man away from us - he'll just get back into the play. We want to stay stuck to our man - "welded to him" - for the entire duration of the play.

Hope that helps some.

*********** Their coach said in the newspaper after the game that he felt like they totally dominated the game with us (was he at the same game I was?)

Their stats

49 rushing attempts for a whopping 96 yards
10 of 32 passing for 122 yards
218 yards on 81 plays (just 2.69 yards per play)

Our stats
A 21 carries 83 yards and 3 fumbles
C 14 carries for 155 yards and 3 fumbles
B 8 carries for 115 yards and 1 fumble 0 for 1 passing
TOTAL 37 carries for 455 yards. (or simply 11.97 yards per play)

Is their coach a total a**hole? Can't he give his opponents credit where it's due?

I mean, you beat their asses. It's churlish of him not to at least concede that point.

When you beat somebody and he won't admit it, you file that one away for future reference. It's not every day you kick somebody's ass and still get to say "we owe them one." HW

american flagFRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2009- "Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent." Adam Smith

*********** It was back in June at our spring camp in Ocean Shores, Washington when one of the kids got hit in the nose and it started to bleed.

"On your back," said Maynard Reed, one of my assistants. And then, as the kid lay on his back, Coach Reed kicked the kid in the sole of a foot. Hard. WTF?

The kid was as startled as everyone watching, but when he got up, the bleeding had stopped. WTF?

Maynard said it was a trick he'd learned as a wrestling coach.

You have to kick the foot on the side opposite the nostril that's bleeding. Right nostril, left foot, and the converse.

A few weeks later, we tried it at our camp in Beloit, Kansas - and it worked.

And now, the latest testimonial...

I got to use the kick the foot trick yesterday, worked perfect.  Shocked everyone.

Gabe McCown                                         
Piedmont, OK-USA 

The Chinese have probably known about this for centuries, but I'm thinking about trademarking it as the "AccuKick." Maybe it'll work on other ailments. Maybe I can open a nationwide chain of clinics. Maybe my father was ahead of the curve when he'd threaten me with a kick in the ass. Will ObamaCare cover it?

*********** How did the Boise State-Oregon game turn out? I was busy watching the Michael Jackson burial.

*********** Whew. Jeff Jagodzinksi's been fired twice in 2009 with a whole season left to be played.

*********** David Maraniss, author of "When Pide Still Mattered," reminded me that Thursday, September 3, was the day Vince Lombardi died in 1970.

*********** In the first five minutes of the Boise State-Oregon game, the oh-so-clever ESPN camera guys were so busy showing us crowd scenes and field-level shots that we missed the start of three plays. And three times I shouted "You f--kers!"

I repeated myself several times the rest of the way.

We hadn't even made it to halftime when the first sideline interview overrode the action on the field.

Looks like it could be a lo-o-o-ong season.

*********** Boise State's QB, Kellen Moore, is a Washington kid. You telling me he wasn't good enough to play for Washington or Washington State?

*********** Mark Jones, the ESPN play-by-play guy on the Boise State-Oregon game, trying hard to sound erudite, used a word he didn't know hoe to use, saying "in-con-GRUE-us" when we all know that "incongruous" is pronounced "in-CON-grue-us, " right?

*********** Did someone tell Bob Davie to speak slowly, like Al Gore?

*********** For those of you in the East who had to go to sleep, the Boise State-Oregon game degenerated into a slopfest in the second half. Boise State, which looked unstoppable in the first half, began losing its grip on the ball, while Oregon, which didn't make a first down in the first half, did at least manage to make one in the second half. Of course, it was halfway through the third quarter when they did.

*********** If you went to sleep at a reasonable hour in the East, you missed a truly ugly scene following the Boise State-Oregon game. But not to worry - you'll be seeing plenty of it on SportsCenter.

I don't envy new Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, who not only has to answer to disaffected Oregon fans, but also has to deal with the disgusting postgame incident in which the Ducks' troublesome running back LeGarrette Blount threw a sucker punch at a Boise State player and then had to be dragged off the field, struggling and protesting, by a healthy contingent of coaches and security people.

*********** PORTLAND OREGONIAN'S JOHN CANZANO SAYS BLOUNT MUST GO - read it, and readers' comments...

*********** Coach I hope all is well!  I need your insight on football injuries.  I know football injuries are a part of the game, but how do you prevent injuries at practice.  My boys are 9 years of age and hitting very hard, do you go full speed on tackling drills?  Please advise.  By the way Coach I have been running the double wing for the past three years with these boys and we 16 - 3 in the past two seasons.  And this season we are 4 - 0 this season.

Coach, While I have no hard evidence to support me, I believe that the major cause of practice injuries is falling or being fallen on, so we never take a player to the ground in practice, either in scrimmages or tackling drills.

If our player is using correct tackling technique, we know he will be able to take a man to the ground without seeing him do so.  We don't want the tackler or the runner on the ground and we are pretty emphatic about that.

Good football is played on the feet.

For what it's worth, I have had a "no taking to the ground" policy everywhere I've coached since 1983.

And when it comes to tackling I will put my teams up against anyone's.

*********** How do you take your kids to the next level and get them ready for the playoffs.......when it comes to motivation and conditioning?....these kids are playing teams and blowing them on film you can see them taking plays off and slacking off.  I want them to excel and give a 100% all the time.  I realize they are only 9 but they are really smart and quick.  Thanks again Coach....I appreciate your time.

The challenge is to convince them that they are really playing against themselves - that it doesn't matter who they're playing, because the point is to become as good as they can be. This doesn't happen overnight.   It's an ongoing process, as the cliche goes.  But it is one of the things that you'd like to think that football can teach kids.

*********** Coach Wyatt, I read something you wrote a few years back that I wanted to read again and share with my fellow doublewing coaches here in Dixon, California. All of our youth teams run the doublewing. We have all been using it for about 4 years now and are starting to get pretty good at it. Some of our coaches are still having issues with some of the officials penalizing them when they wedge block. Can you send me the thing you wrote and shared in the past regarding what coaches should discuss with officials prior to the game. I would appreciate your assistance.  Thanks for all you do for the great sport of football!
Troy Fry
Dixon Rams Youth Football
Dixon, California

Coach Fry,

I think this is what you want---

Hope that helps.

Good luck to the Dixon Rams!

*********** Videotaping Erin Andrews nude through a peephole in her hotel room door was bad enough, but then posting the video on the Internet was the height of sleaze.

She's the victim of a creep who deserves to be horsewhipped.

I can sure understand how she felt violated, and why she'd want to put this behind her.

So why, then, in view of all the trauma she's suffered, is she going on Oprah next week to talk about it?

*********** If you haven't been worried about what's happening with your country, then you probably won't see anything wrong with His Excellency beaming his message of Hope 'n' Change to all the little school children in America next Tuesday. Just don't be surprised when your first grader comes home and tells you that America needs universal health care. And you need to trade in your F-350 pickup for a Prius.

*********** Coach- Of note, if someone were to tell me 6 mos ago that I would be using words like Rip, shoe shine, O-block, etc, I’d wonder what planet they are from….


I always start out by telling kids that they are about to learn a new language, and the better you learn it, the better you'll be. I draw on my experience coaching on Finland, and tell them that when I first arrived I didn't know a word, and then I could say "bathroom" and "water" (and "beer"), but that was about it...  but as I got better at the language, things got a lot better for me.

*********** In the last 25 years, the Bears have had 30 different starting quarterbacks.

*********** Considering the way the NFL has jiggered the rules to try to protect quarterbacks, I thought it was pretty chickensh-- of Brett Favre to throw a peelback block at the knees of an unsuspecting opponent?

*********** Ever wonder why we have to endure silly ass touchdown dances, chest thumps and fist pumps?

Or why kids wear pink mohawks? Or cover their bodies with tattoos? Or pierce themselves in ungodly places?

Or why people willingly make fools of themselves on reality shows, and regale their "friends" on Facebook with details once considered highly personal?

Or saddle their kids with names that make you go WTF?

There is a reason, and it's called narcissism. The word means excessive love of one's self, and it comes from Narcissus, a young man in Greek mythology who saw his image in a pond and fell so deeply in love with his reflection that he pined away until he changed into a flower (the narcissus).

On the subject of babies' names, Jean Twenge, co-author of "The Narcissim Epidemic," believes there is a correlation between the increase in narcissism in our society and the desire to give their kids names that make them unique. "We know that the desire for uniqueness is going up," she says, "and we know that narcissisim is going up. That doesn't mean we can say it's definitely a cause, but the two are clearly related."

I suggest there's another factor, too. In a society which is increasingly feminized, those kids are being named by women.

Hey, mamas - if you really want your little boy to be unique, name him "Hugh." Of the top 1,000 names listed by the Social Security Administration, Hugh ranks 998th.

*********** The Wing T was on ESPN today, Aplington-Parkersburg (Iowa), the same school that you had discussed earlier when Head Coach Ed Thomas was murdered during a practice, was on TV today. Two former NFL players/coaches (Herman Edwards and Chris Speilman) were doing commentary and said some pretty harsh things about the NFL while praising high school football for being pure and focused on teamwork. Chris Speilman was one of the commentators and he was talking about how Brandon Marshall was being completely stupid and how he deserves to be suspended for his conduct. Here is a synopsis of what went down:
Edwards: "Young people implement young players in our league, and when you do things like that it becomes embarrassing."
Speilman: "Well here's the deal, it's the total opposite of what's going on here tonight as far as team goes..." (Interrupted by game play) "...After watching each of these high schools practice the one thing that we notice at the end it is one, two, three team, 123 wolverines, or 123 Falcons, with Brandon it's a 123 ME because it is all about him in his world and in his eyes. And I think that it's got to take everything for Josh Mcdaniels and that whole Denver Broncos organization not to get rid of him... But not get rid of him to give him what he wants. But to systematically suspend him until he gets nothing. He Deserves Nothing! Anybody who goes through practice and does this to a ball (makes pushing gesture) or punts the football in practice is a joke and an embarrassment to the NFL and I am sorry that I am emotional because I have too much respect for the game and the I am emotional because I am watching what football means in real life
and to real America."
It should be noted that Speilman went to Masilon (OH) Washington High School, a school that had a rich high school football tradition that was documented in the 1999 documentary Go Tigers! which documents Masilon the town, team, and features Chris Speilman.
Ben Rushing Fort Worth, TX
P.S. I went to my old high school's game tonight and thought that they were going to be running the spread. I was surprised to see them running out of a Winged I formation and only passing twice. They won 28-6 and got me out of there sooner rather than later. Maybe it was a good idea to buy them you DvD series it might have opened them up to some of your ideas.

*********** During my 47.4 mile drive to and from practice every day, I am bedeviled by road construction and - flaggers.

Ever notice how many highway flaggers are women? Women who smoke?

But I digress.

Flaggers are well-paid, because any project receiving federal money (can you say "stimulus?") requires that workers be paid "prevailing wage," which isn't necessarily the wage that prevails at all and really means "union wage." Union wage for a flagman usually means in excess of $20 an hour.

Yes, I know that a flagger's job is dangerous, and flaggers are out in all sorts of weather, and they take abuse from impatient motorists.

And on top of all that, the job requires an education. To be qualified, at least in some states, you have to go to Flaggers' School, a one-day course in... in what? I'm guessing that a large part of the curriculum consists of knowing which side of the sign says "STOP" and which says "SLOW." On the other hand, as an ex-teacher, the thought of a day in Flaggers' School sounds pretty stimulating when compared with an inservice day.

Now, I'm certainly not going to say that highway flaggers do not earn their money, what with the danger and the weather and the abuse, but it does seem to me that a country that once sent a man to the moon could surely get a company in India or China to make some sort of reliable, inexpensive signal system.

*********** Kentucky and Western Kentucky will play a four-game series beginning in 2010 calling for two games at UK's Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington and two games (WKU "home" games) at Nashville's LP Field. The best part of it for WKU - besides the money - is that the Nashville crowds count in their home attendance totals in meeting the qualifications for D-IA (aka FBS) membership.

Similarly, Kentucky's opener this weekend against Miami of Ohio in Cincinnati, a "home" game for Miami, will give Miami's home attendance a boost.

*********** A local high school will play a nine-game schedule, and seven of them will be on the same field.

They're at the district stadium, where all four high schools in the district play their home games.

When they are "away", their "travel" will consist of moving across the field to the visitors' side.


american flagTUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2009- "If you're good enough, you're big enough." Woody Hayes

*********** The NCAA, mainly to dodge the issue of paying college athletes, insists on using the fulsome expression "student-athlete" to describe the semi-pros who play its revenue sports.

And to further the deception that college football players are supposed to be college students, the NCAA imposes limits on the amount of time colleges may spend practicing, or meeting. (So they can, you know, go to the library and study.)

There are also safety considerations behind the rule, as well as attempts to prevent rogue programs from gaining an unfair advantage over those that still recognize a responsibility to their players' educations.

Now, according to the Detroit Free Press, several Michigan players, insisting on anonymity for fear of retribution, have accused Rich Rodriguez of holding practices and workout sessions those limits.

Now, this may simply be a couple of malcontents, or it may reflect some real dissension on the Michigan team.

But either way, imagine - Michigan! A school that's never even given off a whiff of scandal. Michigan! The Michigan of Bo Schembechler ("this is Michigan, son!"), who loved to beat the sh-- out of you, but would have died rather than cheat you.

Michigan cheats?

Oh, well. Not to worry, Wolverines. Nothing's going to come of this. Just like nothing's going to happen to USC, either, even though you'd have to be a fool to think that it knew nothing about the Reggie Bush payoffs. Like the large banks that you and I bailed out, Michigan and USC are "too big to fail."

Hey - favored athletes get favored treatment. So, why not favorite schools?

Now, if this were Eastern Michigan...

*********** Steve Jones, at Biloxi, Mississippi High, is back running the Double Wing and he's now 2-0. He told us at my Atlanta clinic that tried "The System," the much-publicized Tony Franklin offense without a lot of success, and got a good laugh from the attendees when he quipped that he "fired Tony Franklin" even before Auburn did. Biloxi has a very nice Web site --
*********** Interesting article by Eric Lacy in this past Sunday's Detroit News about the Michigan State's taking a look at the Wildcat

*********** Given my new-found lease on life & that I am in training to compete in 2011, I was curious if you, as a coach, have had to deal with kids using/taking OTC testosterone boosters or, worse yet, PHs.

I consider myself fortunate in that, for the most part, I've coached at places where few kids even had money for a McDonald's hamburger, much less HGH or testosterone boosters.

My current head coach, Tracy Jackson, and I were just talking the other day about the time we were coaching at an inner-city type school and we had to play a rare Saturday afternoon game after our game scheduled for the night before had to be postponed after a gang fight (at our opponent's school) that afternoon.

We met with the kids at 11 in the morning, and one of us, for some reason, happened to ask a kid what he'd had for breakfast. He said, "nothing."  And then, lights  suddenly going on in our heads, we asked, "how many of the rest of you have had any breakfast this morning?"

Not a damn hand went up.  So we coaches put up some money and a couple of us went out to McDonald's and bought double cheeseburgers for everybody.

Many a night, driving home after practice, I'd see a bunch of our kids waiting at the stop for the 72 bus (the "7-Deuce"), and I'd fit as many as I could (and sometimes more than I should) into my van and drive them to McDonald's for coach's treat.  I still marvel at watching them, like chemists or old fashioned soda-jerks,  mixing their drinks with varying, measured amounts of every available flavor of soft drink.

Unbeknownst to us, some of those kids may have been involved in some sort of street drug activity (although I would hope not), but performance-enhancers were not a part of the world they lived in.

I would not enjoy coaching children of privilege, kids who not only have the sophistication to be aware of performance enhancers but also the means to indulge in them.

*********** GEICO,, Progressive Insurance, Procter & Gamble, and SC Johnson have decided to move their advertising from Glenn Beck's program because... his views are too conservative for them.

*********** The evolution of American resolve...

1775 - Don't Tread on Me!

1836 - Remember the Alamo!

1898 - Remember the Maine!

1941 - Remember Pearl Harbor!

2009 - Take part in a National Day of Service on 9/11! Attend a concert!

*********** I had a nice talk last week with a fellow named Bill Armstrong, who's doing a documentary about Canadian Football called "Gridiron Underground," dealing with the large number of American black football players who found greater opportunities north of the border. He'd seen my story on the great Johnny Bright, and asked if I'd be interested in seeing a copy of his video. What do you think I told him?

*********** Hey Coach, been awhile since I have written. I got a team where I can run Double Wing again.YAHOO! 13 and 14 year olds. There are 2 teams in town and there has been a fair amount of trash talk from the other side and from some of our own parents about our offense and whether it is "Real Football" ,how bad we are going to get beat up by them etc. We scrimmaged last night and I thought you might enjoy the results.We wiped the floor with them! They never came close to getting a stop. They knew all about how to stop a Double wing and went TNT which were prepared for and killed.There passing "attack"?? resulted in one score[ for us]! Interception return for a touchdown. The highlight of the game for me came when we were on the 3 yard line and my head coach and the staff from the other team were jawing a little and he turned around where everyone could here and said run wedge on set. The other coach said "what"? so he repeated "we are running wedge on set". Then we ran them over for the score! No more talk circulating about our offense! Hope things are going as well for you in your new school. Regards, Kirk Melton, Burlington, Washington   

*********** Burl Toler, the first black man to officiate in the NFL (1965), died last week at the age of 82. Mr. Toler played on the University of San Francisco team that included such standouts as Ed Brown, Ollie Matson, Bob St. Clair and Gino Marchetti.

*********** Recorded and watched a half of the St. Thomas Aquinas (Florida) vs. Upper Arlington (Ohio) game. Whew. That Aquinas crew is good.

The broadcast crew, on the other hand was straight out of Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour.

When they weren't telling us all about the ESPN 150 ratings (Subscribe! Subscribe!) or telling us how many stars each player rated or what colleges were after him, they provided us with a wealth of trenchant observations about Upper Arlington...

"They've got to get in a rhythm." (Uh, "rhythm" wasn't the problem. The score was 21-0, Aquinas, in the first period, and the problem, as even a person who didn't understand football could quickly see, was speed."

"They hang their hat on the option" (I never saw them run an option)

"They run a variation of the Wing-T" (Sure looked like a slot-I if ever I saw one)

*********** Sent out to West Point Graduates...

The Man They Called “Holly”                                                                  for 27 Aug 09

On 26 August 2009, members of the Class of ’56, family, and friends of Donald W. Holleder ‘56 gathered in the foyer of the Holleder Center to dedicate a portrait and display case in honor of a unique soldier athlete known as “Holly.” Don, a local boy from Webster, NY, was pretty impressive as an end with a career total of 32 receptions for nine touchdowns in his first two seasons on an Army team that favored rushing over passing. Impressive enough to be selected first-team All American in that position for the 1954 season on the strength of 17 receptions for five touchdowns and 495 yards—an amazing 29.1 yards per reception. Army was 7-2, ranked seventh nationally, and the next year looked like more of the same for the agile, athletic Holly. But it was not to be. Coach “Red” Blaik needed a quarterback, and Holly was asked to sacrifice a chance for a second All-American selection at end in order to quarterback the Black Knights in 1955. Coach Blaik needed an athletic leader more than a passer, so Holly agreed to “take one for the team.” His opposite number at Navy, George Welch, commented: “I don’t envy Holleder. I’ve been playing quarterback all my life and I’m still learning.” At the same time, Holly took command of Cadet Company M-2, and moved it from “also ran” to champion.

Holly’s quarterback debut was less than spectacular. Although the Cadets won their first two games by a combined 110 points (Furman, 81-0; Penn State, 35-6), they lost at Michigan, 2-26, and were shut out at home by Syracuse, 0-13). After a 45-0 victory over Columbia and a respectable 27-7 win over Colgate, Holly’s team missed two extra points and dropped a close one to underdog Yale, 12-14. Following that game, it is alleged that Holly and several teammates visited the German-American Club in New York City to drown their sorrows and sing off key for a few hours. Enter more than double their number of members of the Navy team, who had come to town to play Columbia and now were celebrating a typically lop-sided victory similar to that enjoyed by Army a few weeks earlier.

As leader of the Army team, Holly was anxious to teach the Squids some manners, but cooler heads prevailed. An incident was prevented, and many punishment tours were avoided. Instead, Holly and his teammates were vindicated a few weeks later in Philadelphia by means of a 14-6 victory over Navy, something that had eluded them the previous year. Holly threw only two passes—one interception and one incomplete. Navy had an All-American end that year and a passing quarterback who connected on 18 of 29 passes for 176 yards. Holly, playing both ways, personally stopped two Navy scoring drives. Army was only 6-3 that season, ranked 20th nationally, and Holly wasn’t even close to claiming All-American honors as quarterback, but he “took one for the team” and acquitted himself admirably and honorably. He also received the Nils W. “Swede” Nelson award for sportsmanship from the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston. By the way, Holly, who had never played quarterback or in the backfield before, managed to complete 22 out of 65 passes, including six for touchdowns.

Holly was an Infantry officer, but he retained some ties to football, coaching an undefeated 7th Infantry Division team in Korea while garnering best company commander honors and coaching at West Point. Then, in 1967, he volunteered for duty in Viet Nam with the 1st Infantry Division and was assigned as brigade operations officer. Flying over a heavily engaged element of the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, the famed “Black Lions of Cantigny” in World War I, he saw soldiers withdrawing from an ambush. Landing, he ran forward, found a medic and a few other soldiers, and rapidly moved toward the enemy in search of wounded American soldiers that may have been left behind. Holly simply said, “Come with me. We are going to help get the wounded out.” Then he took the lead. A few minutes later, mortally wounded, he died in the arms of the “Black Lion” medic on 17 October 1967, again “taking one for the team.”

Enter a Pacific Northwest high school football coach tired of the greed for personal recognition that had come to dominate high school football. Instead, he wanted to honor players who inspired others by putting team ahead of self. Coach Hugh Wyatt was impressed more by Don Holleder’s 1955 season as transformed quarterback than by his All-American season at end and impressed by his unselfish sacrifice on the field of battle more than anything else. Thus he named his team award the Black Lion Award, set Don Holleder as the standard, and offered it to other high school coaches for their use. West Point later petitioned Coach Wyatt for permission to extend the award to intercollegiate football at West Point. At the dedication yesterday, Coach Ellerson spoke of the importance of the Black Lion award to the West Point football team.

Many classmates rose to speak about Holly and his many virtues, as did one of his daughters, but they can be summed up simply in the motto Duty, Honor, Country and team before self. Don Holleder, the man they called “Holly.”

Your humble servant, J. Phoenix, Esquire

*********** Hugh, I'm no personnel expert, but the continuing Favre saga (apologies for the Vikings pun) further illustrates to me major problems with the NFL's talent development system.

Ironically, the game appears to have gotten more specialized and thus simpler on per-player basis for other positions (cover corners, pass blockers), while the quarterback position is so overloaded with demands they can't get more than a handful to play decently in any given season. I can't ignore the impatience of organizations living in a 1- or 2-year success plan - draft him, start him, see him beat up, and send him somewhere else, then fire the coach - nor the player turnover.

With the number of QBs that have come into the pros since Favre first started his retirement-whisper carousel years ago, it looks bad when none of them have developed to the point they can beat out an aging, self-absorbed superstar with days of experience on the team. Then again, since the NFL bases many decisions on off-field factors I am not naive enough to think the Favre name and marketing cachet don't influence the decision.

The NFL might want to claim the colleges aren't producing passers* (not four years ago, no less than Bill Walsh said that complaint was insane) but they sure aren't doing a good job once they get them.

*This points out the problem of using an organization you don't run as your unpaid minor league.

Christopher Anderson, Arlington, Virginia

NFL offenses reflect the insanity of relying so heavily on theories that exceed the ability of current technology to make them feasible.

NFL teams don't have the people to run the stuff they'd like to run, but still they persist.

Yes, it would be great if we could run cars by burning tap water. But it's rather visionary, and right now, gasoline is a better bet, and only a fool would keep pouring water into the tank.

The problem is not necessarily the quarterbacking.  There's also the lack of consistency that comes from all the personnel turnover created by free agency.   (Notice how free agency leads to an emphasis on the star performer rather than on the system.)

And then there's the absurd amount  of coaching turnover. Nine of the 32 NFL teams - nearly 1/3 - have new head coaches this year, and there's undoubtedly a few others with new offensive coordinators.  That means one-third of the NFL teams are running their offensive systems for the first time - and not necessarily with "their" kind of people.  No one doubts the coaching ability of Rich Rodriguez, but how well did he do at Michigan last year, without "his" kind of players?  Yet here's the NFL with fully one-third of its teams in their first year of a "rebuilding."

In few cases do NFL teams have the personnel to run their highly-theoretical offensive systems to full effect, yet rather than rein in their egos and tailor their systems to the people they do have, they continue to pour water into the gas tank.

And, conveniently,  they can blame their failures on the quarterbacks - and the colleges' inability to "develop" them.

The predictable result is offensive ineptness. Bring on the keekers.

*********** "In my final year of play (at Yale), 1889, our center, Bert Hanson, bent over and bounced the ball back between his legs with his hand. The fullback and the halves that year stood quite close in, in what is now known as the T Formation. The quarterback was almost down on one knee, reaching low to get the 8- to 10-inch bounce which the center put on the ball." Amos Alonzo Stagg, in The History Of American Football, by Allison Danzig (Prentice-Hall, 1956)

*********** Every once in a while you receive a cute e-mail that warms your heart and you just want to pass it along. 

A salesman goes up to a house and knocks on the front door. It's opened by a little ten year-old boy with a lighted cigar in one hand, a glass of whiskey in the other and a Penthouse magazine tucked under his arm. 
Salesman: "Hello son. Is your mom or dad home?"                        
Little boy: "What the f--k do you think?"  

*********** Heard during the DeSoto-Cedar Hill telecast: "Just joined the team. Doesn't speak much English. Came over from soccer."

Damn. Even in Texas.

*********** Coach, This morning before we started practice I had to suspend 3 players for three games and another for 1 because of drinking. They came to me and it had to be delt with. We now have 23 guys for our opener on Saturday. It may hurt us in the short run, but in the long run it will be positive. I made sure that I cared about them and it was a closed issue when they came back. They have to attend all practices and must assist the managers as well as be at the games as gophers. I hope that the lesson never has to be repeated. Please withhold my name and location.

Try as we may, we just can't insulate ourselves as coaches from the attractions of an anything-goes society.

*********** BY Daniel Kaplan in Sports Business Journal...

Up to four times the number of NFL teams are at risk of having at least one of their games blacked out locally when the season begins next week compared with last year, the latest sign the down economy is taking a toll on even America’s most popular sport.

According to NFL and team sources, the league showed club owners at their meeting in Chicago on Aug. 19 a video slide with the names of 10 to 12 teams that may not sell out every game. A game that is not sold out within 72 hours of kickoff cannot be broadcast locally.

Last year, only three teams — Oakland, Detroit and St. Louis — suffered blackouts. Collectively, those three teams had nine games blacked out, just one more than the eight regular-season games the Jacksonville Jaguars alone are expecting to contribute to this year’s total. The Jaguars have already said that in all likelihood no contest in their eight-game home schedule will sell out this season.

FLAGFRIDAY, AUGUST 28, 2009- "The humblest individual exerts some influence, either for good or evil, upon others." Henry Ward Beecher

*********** You were worried about what outsourcing has done to American manufacturing? How about outsourcing college football?

Syracuse playing Notre Dame "at home" in New Jersey was bad enough, but now comes Indiana, playing Penn State in - Washington, DC????

Indiana, based, as most of us know, in Bloomington, Indiana, has agreed to play a 2010 "home" game against Penn State in Laurel, Maryland, at FedEx Field, the home of the Redskins. Hell, Hoosiers' fans - that's just a hop, skip and a jump from Bloomington. Okay, okay - a 12-hour drive.

Money is believed to have played a part in Indiana's decision.

*********** WEST POINT, N.Y. - Members of the Class of 1956 returned to West Point on Wednesday to participate in a dedication ceremony for a new display that was unveiled in honor of their fallen classmate and College Football Hall of Famer Don Holleder. The display is housed in the lobby of the Holleder Center, one of the main athletics facilities at West Point erected 21 years ago that is home to the Army basketball and hockey teams.

Several vintage team and individual pictures of Holleder during his days as a football and basketball player were included in the display, along with his plumed firstie hat, a cadet saber and an authentic game-used football thrown for a touchdown by Holleder during his senior year. A portrait of Holleder that the class had commissioned to be painted was also revealed during the ceremony.

In addition to his former teammates and classmates, members of Holleder's family, including his three daughters, were in attendance.

"On behalf of my sisters and our family, I thank you very much. This is a great tribute to our father," said Holleder's eldest daughter, Susan. "We appreciate the generosity that made this possible. We think that it is a testament to his class as a whole and their vision and generosity. I know that even though we were very young when he was killed, you have all kept his memory alive for us. And so for that, and for this honor and for continuing to celebrate his life, we thank you very sincerely."

Holleder was presented with the Nelson Award in 1955, given to the player who "by his conduct on the gridiron, demonstrates a high esteem for the football code and exemplifies sportsmanship to an outstanding degree." Holleder, a highly respected leader who had attained the rank of Major, was killed in action in Vietnam on October 17, 1967. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1985.

"This magnificent building, complimented by this fantastic display adequately shows the transition from cadet-athlete to commissioned officer of character," explained Army Athletics Department Chief of Staff Col. Sam Johnson. "Don Holleder represents everything we want our cadet-athletes to be and we can't thank (the Class of 1956) enough for letting us display his name on this facility and to talk about him daily with our athletes. Because we hope they all turn out like Don Holleder."

The most prestigious and important award the Army football coaching staff hands out every year, the Black Lion Award, is presented in memory of Holleder and the men of the 28th Infantry Regiment (nicknamed the "Black Lions") who died with him.

"We only have one award hanging in our locker room: the Black Lion Award," explained Army football coach Rich Ellerson. "It is a large plaque on the wall that has the Black Lion Crest and an image of Don Holleder next to a list of past award winners. Much of what goes into a player winning the award is selflessness and perfect effort. Leadership and fierce competitiveness manifested through perfect effort. That is Don Holleder. His name, his story and his example are alive on the Army football team today."

(Sign up your team to give the Black Lion Award)

*********** Hey Coach, I hope all is well. Practice starts Monday and we had a good turnout this summer. Got all the base plays in. I have a couple of questions. I just read your news column about the coach with three players missing practice. One thing I have always struggled with: how do you deal with players who miss practice because of illness?

My second question is unrelated to the first but one I have been thinking about over the summer. What is your philosophy and experience been with pregame? Do you jack the kids up so that they are foaming at the mouth, or take a calm reserved approach, or somewhere in between? What about the pregame speech?

Thanks and good luck this season.

Coach- Illness bad enough to miss practice usually calls for a note, but it will always result in some curtailment of playing time.  We are dealing with precious playing time and somebody else has earned it.  Obviously, this sort of policy is a lot tougher in a small-school situation, where there's always the danger that certain kids will figure out that you "need" them. I once heard a coaching legend named Paul Briggs, from Bakersfield, California tell a clinic that once you let a kid think that way, "he's got you in the shower with a bar of soap in his hand." (Sorry, kids, but Coach Briggs had a pretty graphic way of making his point.)

For sure, we are not well preparing them for a world in which they're expected to put in a day's work for a day's pay (yes, that world still exists in some places) by allowing them to miss work (practices) and still get paid (playing in games).

As for your second question - I was asked in a job interview what I did to motivate kids, and I said that I motivate kids by preparing them - by giving them confidence that they are ready to play.

The fire of a pre-game talk lasts maybe through the first two or three plays.  Maybe.

Perhaps age has done this to me, but I am calm in getting ready for a game.  I see that as my job.  The kids are plenty excited as it is, and I think it's important that they see me as stable and under control. And confident. I talk to them matter-of-factly and I go over things that they can't afford to lose sight of in their excitement, such as

(1) When substituting, run on, run off, call the man's name
(2) Unless you are a captain, don't talk to an official
(3) Don't talk to anyone except a teammate or one of your coaches
(4) Walk away from trouble and pull a teammate away
(5) Protect the ball at all times
(6) If you make a mistake, flush it
(7) Be a tower of strength for your teammates
(8) Understand that something is going to go wrong - it always does - and how you deal with it will make all the difference

I think that taking care of stuff like that is more important than getting kids "fired up."  

I might give a little talk in which I point out something about this particular opponent ("never forget what they did to you last year") and I might try to sneak in some little thing that might serve as a rallying point should we need it.

But nothing you can do pre-game will come close in importance to solid preparation.

*********** Before our first offensive session I told the kids that talent was always nice but it wasn't going to be enough

That if you want to play...

1. Be here (When you're not here you create an opportunity for someone else)
2. Be coachable (Take correction positively)
3. Don't make mistakes (fumble, jumping, not knowing assignments)
4. Give maximum effort at all times

If I were a soccer referee I'd give them (figuratively) a yellow card the first time I told them to hustle, and the second time they'd get a red card.

*********** We are looking to add SLOT to our offensive package.  Could you please share the in/outs of slot. We have your playbook on paper, but were wondering if your 2008 highlight film or video playbook would be a great teaching tool.  If so could you please give me a price

The highlight would be very helpful.  it's $29.95 Order here

With slot are you running Super O or Super Power?

Super O - most defenses won't let you get away with pulling the tackle and with your end outside the free blocking zone you have no way of cutting him off

47/56 - C stays the same correct? 

Yes - but without that TE on the backside to shoeshine you can't lead with the fullback

6-G/7-G are good or not good??

Not there.  But 4-X/5-X are usually good.

How large is the split between the ends & tackles???

Base is 1-2 men outside the wing.  The wing is tight with the tackle, just as if he had lined up as TE and taken a step back.

Do you put TE type players or WR type kids @ X/Y??

Tough question - we usually wind up with a hybrid kid. Maybe not fast enough to be a WR, and not big and strong enough to be a TE.  I think of a bigger, slower running back.  The more athletic the better.

Is there anything you will not run from slot???  What are some strengths/weaknesses of slot??? 

Not many weaknesses. You really can't run G, and you can't run power (have to run O). Advantages - a look that people never see. Better releases for pass routes. You usually see a guy in a "5" technique. You can make use of smaller, faster ends (they still have to block, but they get some great angles on inside LBers).

for a quick look at my slot at practice...

*********** Hugh, DC must be some kind of secret Steeler Nation outpost. I'm sure the Super Bowl has produced some front-runners, but they are incredibly popular for an out of market team. I see car magnets with "luv ya black and gold" and the Stiller logo all over the place. When I went to the Monday Night game between the Skins and Steelers, 30% of the crowd was Steeler fans.

Christopher Anderson, Arlington, Virginia

Stillers fans do travel well, but also, the collapse of the Steel industry sent so many people from Western PA packing, so now there is a diaspora of former Pittsburghers in every city in the US.  I doubt that there is a major city  US that doesn't have a Steelers bar someplace  where fans from the Burgh get together on Sundays.  In Portland (which has one), that means starting to drink shots and beer at 10 AM.

It's the same thing with Buffalo fans, too.  They're everywhere, and very passionate about the Bills.

In soccer, it's the Mexican National team. Anytime they play in the US against an American team, no matter where it is, their fans always outnumber the host team's.

It's the opposite of Jack Kent Cooke's statement when he first brought NHL hockey to the LA area and it was not exactly a success.  When someone remarked that that was strange, since there were so many Canadians living in Southern California, he said, "and they all must moved here because they don't like hockey."


A former assistant coach at a high school in San Antonio is responsible for the rule change.  He was in the box last year and was knocked down by an official as he was following the play.  He suffered a head injury and according to the lawsuit is permanently disabled.  He is suing the official and his crew claiming that they were negligent in performing their duties by not making sure that everyone was out of the way.  The brief also states that the official was “aggressively” running down the sideline.  The National Association of Sports Officials filed an amicus brief with the Fourth Court of Appeals to challenge this ridiculous lawsuit.  Here’s the link to it:  The overall tone is that anyone who is even remotely familiar with the game understands that being on the sidelines is a potentially dangerous place to be and you are there at your own risk.  Apparently, this coach is trying to get money for an incident that he created (he’s a coach he knows officials are running the sideline) and now the rest of us are affected.
Joel Mathews,
Independence, Missouri
(Well, that certainly makes sense. Just like the reasoning that took slides off our playgrounds and diving boards from our swimming pools. Now, after the article in Sports Illustrated about Mark Buonoconti and his courageous life since his catastrophic football injury, I suppose someone will suggest outlawing tackling. HW)

*********** Coach Wyatt, I agree, this rule is absurd and will cost several games.

I think this is the reason for the rule.  I've read several other articles.  Basically, the coach's insurance company sued the referees and their union saying the referees were responsible for the injury because they did not enforce the existing rules.

Jody Hagins, Summerville, South Carolina

Make me laugh. I'm just waiting till someone breaks his neck lowering his head and his lawyers (rightfully) get on the officials for not enforcing the rule against leading with the head. HW

*********** Coach,
A kid I used to coach is now a ref, and when I asked about it, he said the reason for it is because some side judges were injured while running with a play. I have been involved in football since 1964 and have been coaching since 1977, this is bullshit. Do they get these guys from soccer?  

Bert Ford Jr.
Head Football Coach
Army and Navy Academy, Carlsbad, California
(When I first heard of the rule, that's what I suspected, seeing as how sideline officials have been dropping off like flies after collisions with coaches, but apparently this one is just one more in a long line of "proactive" moves to avert a lawsuit. HW)

*********** Coach, Looked at the X Post Y Crossing route yesterday for the first time, wow...that's a good one!  I couldn't believe how open it was and how our DC didn't even know where the open reciever came from.  They were totally confused by it. 

Gabe McCown                                         
Piedmont, OK-USA  

One of the great benefits of our tight formation is that it's easy to get guys across the field, and if the defense happens to be playing man, your receiver automatically has the jump on the guy covering him, who has to line up outside as part of his run responsibility!

*********** Coach, We scrimmaged ------ this past Saturday.  They are a very senior-heavy team that is ranked #1 in AAA in several polls.  Our kids did a great job.  While we failed to put it in the end zone, we moved the ball more effectively than we had in the past two years.  I'm very proud of my kids and excited for our first game.  One thing we did have trouble with was wedge.  We had trouble getting push, as the DL was going low.  Any suggestions?  Also, the down blocking worked well against their 3-5 scheme.  Hope all is going well for you and your team.

I'm pleased to hear that things went well.

It is always possible that the wedge will not be there, but usually what that means is that they have decided to give up their line to stopping one play.  That's a good trade for you, because it makes them vulnerable to down blocks, makes them likely to overpenetrate and therefore be susceptible to traps, and will also make it difficult for them to pursue.

We are just two days in with a lot of work to do, but we do have some very good speed at the wings.

Continued good luck

*********** Hi Hugh. I’m working on the play sequence now for the first game. Can you share with me the any play sequence ideas or recommendations I should install or a general thought about your approach to play order? When would you pass?

I have no prearranged play sequence.  The pros do it and it works for them, but our games are too short,  our ability to observe and analyze is so inferior to theirs, and our dependence on controlling the ball is so important that we could blow a couple of drives and find ourselves down by a couple of scores before we figured out.  Then, too, there is the fact that they pretty much know what they're going to see on the other side of the ball, while we frequently have no idea what we'll see.

I'll have a play or two that I intend to start with - maybe wedge, maybe Super Power - because they're the sort of play that people know they have to stop, and I want to see how they're set up to stop them.

If they don't stop it, they're going to see it until they do.  Why should I stop it?

But I am also trying to see what they're doing, so that if they do stop it, I have some idea why.  At least 50 per cent of the time, I'd say, the play is stopped because of something we failed to do, not something the defense did.

It's hard to say when to pass.   For sure, the best time for a running team to throw is when your running game is working and the last thing they're worried about is pass defense. But then, since your running game is working, why would you pass? 

 If it succeeds, you're a genius.  If it fails, you're an idiot. Certainly, you have to consider the downside, including the effect of an interception or sack on your kids' morale.

To use a boxing analogy, you keep jabbing and picking up points (running the ball) and setting him up for a knockout punch (the pass). But to throw the big one, you expose yourself to a punch.

If your jabs are rocking him, it may be best to keep sticking the jab in his face.

For sure, I am unlikely to pass when I am supposed to pass - in long-distance situations.  On the other hand, I don't plan on being in those situations. One of the reasons I run the offense I do is to avoid long-yardage situations, and everything I do in our coaching is directed at not losing yardage.  Usually, the culprit is holding, and that's why we work so hard on how we block, making sure we keep our hands in.  Unlike passing teams, which treat holding as just a part of the risk you take when you teach blocking the way they do, we don't have the ability to make it up in one play and we're nuts to think we can.

There are certain passes that the defense gives us in gearing up to stop the run, and we know what we're looking for.

But when you get down to it,  it's still largely a matter of feel - an art, not a science. After a while, you just feel it in your gut.

*********** It mystifies me that we continue to debate the merits of allowing Michael Vick to play a game, while celebrating the life of a man who for the sake of his career left the scene of an accident - and left a young woman to die - and yet was allowed to spend 47 years in the United States Senate.   

*********** Arizona State has a 6-8, 237 pound true freshman named Brock Osweiler. At quarterback. He originally committed to Gonzaga to play basketball, and when he had a change of mind and decided to play football, said ASU coach Dennis Erickson, "Gonzaga doesn't have a football program; that helped." The kid's from Kalispell, Montana, and Erickson said he had heard about him from "all my friends in Montana," where Erickson played his college ball.               

*********** Coach, You will notice that my tailback is running at full speed when he catches the ball and still has room to run to daylight. His initial depth of 9-10 yards makes this possible. He does not run at a pre-designated hole but actually runs straight up the center line until he catches the ball, and then he is free to run anywhere along the front (although he knows where he is most likely to be successful). This is only successful if the kid is a natural tailback type.

Coach-- I noticed on your Hyak Highlight video that your TB in the stack I is very deep.  Obviously it works for you, but could you explain your reasons for putting him that deep?  My TBs when I ran the I formation were at 6.5-7 yards.

*********** was just watching this movie that was loosely based on football back in the 1920's called "Leatherheads."   There were a couple of terms used of illegal plays that I never heard and they never explained what they were.  I was wondering if you ever hear of pig in a poke, chasing a cat tail or, crusty bob.  I've researched this online but found nothing.

Never heard of them, but I've always had a few plays myself, "specials", whose names were known only to our team.

*********** Say what one may about Coach Carroll, but this is just awesome: Todd Bross

when practicing a play, should I just read off and walk thru their assignments or give a copy of the written play to them or what?  This is all new to me.  I know I can do it but what is the best approach the first year doing this?
An old coaching adage is - "TALK IT, WALK IT, RUN IT, REP IT" (some say, "CHALK IT, WALK IT, RUN IT, REP IT") --- In other words, explain the play (diagram it if you have to) and demonstrate things yourself; next, have the players walk through it until it's apparent to you that they understand. Then gradually pick up the tempo until they are running it full speed. Then, once it appears that they can run it - REP it - they need many, many successful repetitions. Emphasis on "successful" - you have to be able to make corrections. They won't learn anything good if they merely rep the play poorly.
I haven't given out play sheets since 1982.

*********** Suggestions on troubleshooting the Wildcat snap---

First of all, it could be  simply a matter of their needing reps. 

But reps won't help if they're doing it incorrectly.

Typically if it rolls on the ground he's got too much weight on the ball... If it goes too high it's the tail coming up but it's also his hands coming too high on the follow-through.  


Move their grips closer to mid-ball.

Get weight off the ball. 

Keep their heels on the ground. 

Make sure their heads are up. 

wildcatbungeeIf problems persist, stretch a band (bungee cord?) between the snapper's knees. The photo at left shows how it serves as a restrictor, teaching the snapper where his snapping motion should stop. This will end the problem of the high snap caused by a high follow-through.

We have practiced the snaps against one of those low beach chairs with the plastic webbing - the kind that sit flat on the beach. It's about the right height and if the snap us too hard it'll knock it over. 

*********** Tyrone Willingham of Washington. Gone. Stan Brock of Army. Gone. Both good men, both unable to turn losing programs around. And both, I submit, victims to some degree of their decisions to close their practices to "outsiders."

In Coach Willingham's case, it meant the Seattle media and big-buck Husky donors.

In Coach Brock's case, it meant Generals having to take orders from their alma mater's football coach. Coach Blaik, maybe. Coach Brock, uh, no.

Now comes new Oregon coach Chip Kelly's announcement that Oregon's practices, at least until the opener with Boise State, are... closed. To everyone. He was very emphatic about that.

Well, it turned out, not everyone. At practice the other day with a small group of friends was Oregon alum Phil Knight, co- founder of Nike, writer of large checks to assorted U. of O. causes.

Chip Kelly is not stupid.

Not for nothing did former UCLA head coach Bob Toledo call Phil Knight "the best owner in college sports."

*********** Hey Coach I have been given the honor of being the offensive coordinator of our varsity football team this year and of course I wasted no time installing the Double Wing. A former assistant coach of the school who has retired helps from time to time and was excited about the offense. The coach said he actually coached with Markham during the early 90's and understood the offense. While installing the power and super power me and him began to disagree on the fullback Kick out block. He believes that you kick out the defensive end no matter where he lines up and I use the 6 and 9 call to determine the kick out. There are some other differences in system we run into. I do enjoy his help most of the time but when we differ in strategy it disrupts practice. I have the support of the Head Coach who says it's my offense to run. Is there a way I could better explain the 6 or 9 to him to get him on board or should I just make the decision and move on?I don't want to lose him but know the 6 or 9 makes more sense.


"Disrupts practice?" Out on the field is no place to hammer out your differences.  

But the main point is that, if you know what you want taught, then there can be no differences. It's his job to help you, not provide advice. He does it your way or he is no help at all.

You need to let him know that the offense is your responsibility and you accept that responsibility and you are looking for help in coaching your offense, but not suggestions on alternative ways to run it or teach it. In short, it is your offense, and if it fails, you fail.   If he can't accept that, cut him loose.

No assistant at all is better than an assistant who bucks you.

*********** Just curious...

Whatever happened to all the war protestors? Anybody remember Cindy Sheehan?

And w here are all the photographs of the flag-drapped caskets at Dover Air Force that the Bush-haters fought to have released?

Come on, lefties. For once, be consistent. Are the American lives being lost in Afghanistan these days any less precious just because of your worship of the current occupant of the White House?

*********** Remember Caleb Campbell, the West Point graduate who was drafted by the Detroit Lions last year only to be told that because of a change in Department of the Army policy his NFL career needed to wait until he'd completed his service?

Now, while his West Pooint classmates dodge bullets in Afghanistan, the same Caleb Campbell has managed to wangle a place in the Army's "World Class Athlete" program - pushing a f--king bobsled.

And now, with a 10th place finish last Saturday at the U.S. Bobsled Federation's "push championship qualifier" in Lake Placid, New York, he has probably earned himself a spot in the national team trials in mid-October.

To say the least, there are some West Point people who are unhappy, not just about Campbell's borderline shirking, but about an inconsistent Army policy which seems to state that somehow pushing a bobsled is an appropriate form of service while playing in the NFL is not.

A couple of letters to the Army football forum...

***I think many of you miss the point.

You see, the Army's NFL policy was a bad idea, because it didn't contribute anything to the Army and allowed players to not serve with units. 

The army's bobsled policy, on the other hand, makes a TON of sense because it doesn't contribute anything to the Army and allows players to not serve with units.

See how this works?  This is army ingenuity at its finest.  It is so top secret and clandestine that NOBODY can figure it out--therefore, it must be a wonderful idea.

*** Caleb Campbell is really training for an elite counterinsurgency force that will be used in snowy climates in the future. This expands the Army's ability to fight and win in all weather. When the C-130s and 141s can't get troops on the ground, we'll bring in the "bobsled" team.

If you look REALLY carefully at the pictures, there's actually a M240 mounted on the rear of the sled. Caleb Campbell is, in essense, the tail gunner.

The "Olympics" *wink* is just an elaborate and well thought-out cover for this covert operation. In fact, CC has been on board with this all along -- do you actually think someone would be happy to be signed by the LIONS? No, this conspiracy not only includes Department of the Army and Department of Defense, but the NFL, USAOC, and countless others.

*********** I’ve been studying the 6, 9 call from the play book concerning the TE, A and C back blocking assignments. I’ve been watching the DVD’s over and over again and maybe not looking at the playbook as much. First game is this weekend.

Drill them over and over on their calls.

Whenever we practice it with just the QB, backs and ends, I have two people with shields lined up in the area of the playside TE and WB and I move them around before each play.

*********** Starting with the 2010 season, the Pac-10 has agreed to send its number 2 team to the Alamo Bowl to meet the Big 12's number 3 team. Wait a minute, the Pac-10 fan in me said. Our number two plays their number three?

Kind of insulting, right?

Not so fast, Hugh - we're talking about some pretty tough opposition here. The way the Big-12 is set up, North against South, either Texas or Oklahoma is going to miss the conference championship game, and wind up number three.


FLAGTUESDAY, AUGUST 25, 2009- "Nothing more detestable does the earth produce than an ungrateful man." Ausonius

wyatt love*********** It was the opening game of our grandson's senior season, and my wife and I were able to sneak off this past weekend to see it. Wyatt Love is a tight end/linebacker for Jordan High in Durham, North Carolina, and considering how proud of him we are, and how hard he's worked, there was no way we were going to pass up the opportunity.

We'd flown back a couple of years ago only to run into a postponement because of wet grounds that meant we had to fly home unsatisfied. Friday, as game time approached, it was warm and humid, and the skies darkened and the winds started to blow. As we entered the parking lot we caught a few raindrops on our windshield. And electrical storms were predicted.

But this time our luck held, and the Jordan Falcons came through with a 17-7 win over a game Orange County squad. Playing its first game under a new coach, Orange misplayed the opening kickoff with an "I've got it/You take it" miscommunicaiton between the return men that started them off deep in their own territory, and two plays later they fumbled. But Jordan couldn't score from close in and had to settle for a field goal.

And that was it for the Jordan offense for more than a half. The four-wide spread, the one that everyone seems to want to run, relied almost totally on the passing game, and ran into problems with errant and dropped passes and a host of sacks. There was no running game to speak of, other than the yardage the QB himself picked up when he was forced to run.

And then - voila! - the Jordan staff decided to jump into the I, and what do you know? With two tight ends and a flanker, and a tailback who up to that point had been used exclusively as a wide receiver, the line began to fire off the ball and the Falcons began to shred the Orange County defense. The tailback scored on runs of 40 and 20 yards, the fullback picked up good yardage up the middle, and the quarterback, although not throwing so often, threw more effectively.

Other than the fact that there would undoubtedly be some grumbling among the unemployed wide receiver corps, it would appear to most coaches to be a no-brainer that that team is well suited to the I formation, but who knows? Yes, I know that I'm sounding like a meddling grandparent here, but I'm also a long-time coach, and based on what I know about today's coaches, I'm willing to bet that they'll continue to devote most of their offensive time to the spread.

I mean, hell, it works so well for major colleges (such as Michigan in 2008).

And, besides, it makes you look smart. And it looks so cool.

Wyatt, meanwhile, managed to play on offense whenever they needed a tight end, and when one of the starters at inside linebacker hurt his shoulder, he stepped in on defense, too. And he snapped on punts and PATs and field goals.

And, as big as anything, his team won.

All in all, a night to make grandparents glad they made the trip.

*********** Coach, Moments ago I just finished reading your news. Your comments regarding practice attendance were excellent and I hope that all coaches were able to read it.  Excellent points on making a stand.  Suspending a player for unexcused absence makes a bigger impact on the team than any words ever will.

Just curious, how do you deal with a kid that misses a practice in the pre-season because they say they were sick, but shows up the next day not having called or not having a note.  They just say there were sick/hurt.  Do you consider that unexcused?  I assume that your rules say that players need to contact you if they are going to be absent.


"Sick" doesn't cut it without a note, and no absence is excused if a player doesn't contact me or a designated coach in advance.

I hear - and read - story after story about young people who are aghast to discover that their employer expects them to be at work. On time. Every day.

If we are to justify football as an educational activity, we have to instill in kids the kind of accountability and dependability that an employer will expect, and that is how I justify it.

On that basis, I don't see how we can duck our responsibility to young people.

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

I recently bought the Dynamics of the DW DVD & Playbook and we are very excited as we are implementing it with our 13 yr old youth team.  We have established the following plays as our 8 "core" offensive running plays with the idea of being able to attack each area of the defense with traps, powers and counters: 1) wedge,  2) trap at 2,  3) trap at 4,  4) 88 super pwr,  5) 38 G-O reach,  6) counter trap at 2,  7) lead 47-C inside handoff and  8) lead criss-cross 47-C. (Of course each play has it's mirror to the other side.)  In addition, we have a couple of the play action pass plays off of this series as well (Rip Red Red, and Rip Stop 88 Blue), giving us a total of 10 core plays out of one basic look.  We would expect that we may add in some of the other wrinkles/options in your playbook as the season progresses, depending upon how things go.

My question is that if I were to scout ourselves, I would tell my LB's to read the Guards, as they will always lead you to the play.  If the LB's can flow to the LOS fast enough they could disrupt the the play by taking on the blocks at the LOS, creating congestion, etc. Having not run the offense yet, I don't know if this is an issue or not. Have I left out some important plays from our "core" set of plays that would address this? Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks,


I wrote this in 1996 in an article in Texas Coach magazine---

I would be less than candid if I didn't point out that there are certain pitfalls to running the offense, many of which are familiar to Wing-T coaches:

(1) People claiming they key your guards. First of all, don't let them worry you. "Keying the guards" sounds great at clinics, but they've only got a week to teach it, and even if they do teach it, at some point in the game their linebackers are going to begin standing up a little straighter, looking into your backfield, trying to find the ball! In any event, here is our clinic response:

(a) Key-breakers. For example, it's possible to run the power while pulling both guards to the backside, crossing the guards, or not pulling either guard;

(b) Unbalanced sets. This forces a defense either to stay put, and be outflanked, or to shift over, and play against unfamiliar keys.

Nothing has changed in the years since. There's one thing I didn't add at the time, and that's the ever-present possibility that the guard is going to be in their face with a base block or wedge.

Here's my favorite keybreaker. I call it "88 Base, Guards Left" -

Looks like you are well prepared with your play list.

*********** Coach Wyatt, Yesterday was my first youth football game this year using your offensive system that I purchased from you 4 months ago. I have been working on it with my 8 & 9 year olds for 1 month now implementing the system. At first I had parents questioning whether or not it would work. I told them" be patient give it some time, trust me it will work", now they are all believers. Here are some stats from my game. My offense gained 250 yds on 5 possessions, my FB had about 100 yds rushing, my QB was 3 of 4 passing for 56 yds and he had 1 carry for 25 yds, his only incompletion was on the 2-point conversion, my A-Back had approximately 30 yds rushing and a 16 yd reception and my right TE had 2 receptions for 40 yds. This was all done using only the following 7 plays, Tight Rip 88-O, Tight Rip 88 Super-O, Tight Rip 3 Base(TD), Tight Liz 2 Base, Tight Liz 99-0, Tight 2-Red(all three passes completed 2 for 40 to TE, 1 for 16 to A-Back), Tight Liz 29 G-O Keep Right, Tight Rip 6-G Pass(2-pt. conversion). We only won 6 - 0 because we fumbled three times, 2 of the times were within the opponents 15 yard line. I can't wait until next week for our next game. I also attached some pictures from yesterdays action.


Coach Craig Kolnick

Head Coach Prep Chargers of the WCFL in Wellington, Florida

Chargers 8-9

Coach, Thanks for sharing that with me.

It offers another testimonial to those who wonder if younger kids can run my system. The answer, of course, is "Yes" - if the coach is willing and able to teach it.

By the way, I sure do like the looks of that little QB's set up. It appears he's been well coached! (Coach Kolnic replied, "Thanks again!!! By the way the QB is my son. He learned the system in only 3 weeks of practice. He has to sometimes remind me of the plays because I sometimes call them incorrectly."

I know my quarterback has arrived when he can get me out of a bad call! HW

*********** On Friday I mentioned the Marine vet who challenged my weeinie Congressman Brian Baird.

Turns out the guy is - ahem! - from Camas, Washington, and damned if Charlie Wilson of Dunedin, Florida didn't send me a video clip of the scene -

Now, the guy's becoming a national hero. I listened to Laura Ingraham while driving home from practice and heard her pronounce it "Cam-OO" Washington, no doubt thinking it was named for Albert Camus (pronounced "Cam-OO"), the French philosopher.

Actually, our town was named for the Camas plant, a sort of lily that grew all over the area. Its bulb, something like a sweet potato, was a source of food for the native people who once lived here.

*********** Yesterday at practice, a kid came up and asked "when are we going to get our positions? Because I'm going to be gone for the next six practices." As if we hand them out of a hat like seats in a classroom.

Every teacher has had at least one kid who comes in and says "we're going to Disneyland (or wherever) and I'm going to be gone for two weeks.  Can I have all my work?"

And this is a week after you got back from Christmas (sorry - "Winter") Break.  See, they can get better deals on vacation packages if they're willing to wait.  And inconvenience the teacher.

*********** I was reading about Senator Arlen Specter's town hall meeting in Lebanon, Pennsylvania recently and I came across this: "Because of concerns about a potentially unruly crowd, the Capitol Police sent three extra officers from Washington."

Say, "Capitol Police?" In Lebanon, Pennsylvania? Doesn't Lebanon have its own police force? Doesn't the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have its state police?

To think that my representative, the Honorable Bryan Baird, actually accused protestors of using "Brown Shirt" tactics, when back in Washington, D.C. we have our very own Stazi.

*********** As I noted earlier, I was in North Carolina this past weekend to watch my grandson's team play in its season opener.

We weren't four minutes into the 2009 season when we had our first violation of the obnoxious new rule that says even head coaches must be behind a restraining line at the time the ball's snapped. The penalty was called twice more during the game.

Now, wait a minute, I thought... do those officials really need to be watching that? Doesn't what's going on out there between the sidelines require their full attention???

Was there any reason on God's earth why three plays had to be called back?

I never did hear the original reason for this beyond-stupid rule (did anyone?), and I hope those who pushed it through will hear from enough coaches and fans to realize that in their overzealous efforts to solve a problem that didn't exist, they have created what is going to turn out to be a big one.

Just wait till the first time a team loses a big game because an official flagged a coach for being two feet away from the sideline instead of three.

*********** No question - Oregon's economy continues to slip. From June to July, construction lost 2,500 jobs; leisure and hospitality lost 1,300; manufacturing lost 3,100; financial activities lost 900.

But government added 3,400 jobs.


*********** Hugh, Great comments today to the coach (Signed, Befuddled, but OPTIMISTIC) who is trying your system anew this fall!
I wish I would have employed your thoughts during my first game experience with my new team two seasons ago! A 5-3 team with sound plan and great personnel….we lost 19-6 and could only muster one good possession the entire game. The kids and the coaches quickly went south on the DW. That spelled the beginning of my end after only two seasons. Name Wthheld (But a very good coach)

*********** Coach, Although I think I’ve purchased every video and DVD you have I can’t locate the Wildcat DVD’s I picked up at your Providence clinic in April. I was wondering if you could explain the footwork for the FB on the 6G and the 88 and 77 from the wildcat spin series. I checked with the two other coaches in the Pop Warner program who are running the DW and they didn’t have the Wildcat DVDs.
I was running it at practice last night and it didn’t seem right with the FB in a full spin.  I just realized that one of my assistants took those DVDs on a business trip with him and he returns on Friday.
Coach, If you are running the spin as shown in the video of the 8-man team, he actually does a full spin.
I have found that you don't need to overcoach it - the main thing I do if they're having trouble is have them step so with their outside foot so that it is right in front of the inside foot - up against the toe, and not an inch farther away and pivot on it (the outside foot). 
Hope that helps.

Coach, Thank you that fixed everything. The kids are having a blast with the Wildcat, so am I.

*********** Hi Coach, I've been catching up on News You Can Use and read a couple of interesting points you brought up.  I am sure it was a hard decision to leave your team up in North Beach.  I for one am glad you are back in Oregon.  I will make it a point to come watch a Woodburn Bulldogs football game.  I know the kids will be well prepared and more importantly will be positive ambassadors for the great game of high school football.

Coach I totally agree with you on the six classification situation in Oregon.  I am waiting for our state to throw out scoreboards and give a big group hug and declare everyone the winner!  Here is another great idea OSAA is tinkering with because of the cost of travel etc.  We may have hybrid leagues in our state the next go around.  So in the case of our school (class 2A) we will mix with other 2A schools as well as 3A schools in our area.  The 3A schools that will most likely be from a league that dominated the 3A level, but also the 4A and some 5A schools as well (incidentally one the teams run the Double Wing).  That could spell some long nights for our team.  I am glad my three boys are gone.  Congratulations Coach Wyatt and I look forward to watching a Bulldog game this fall.

With Respect

Norm Barney
Chiloquin High School

Oregon is REALLY nuts with this idea that you can get kids ready to play your first football game in only 10 days.

See you at a game!

(Did I say Oregon was nuts? We had our first practice Monday. Because our teachers are now subjected to (my choice of verb) in-service, we can't start until 4:30, so we're going from 4:30 to 9:30 all week. We have no choice. HW)

*********** Coach, I have a problem and wanted your advice please.  I have only about 15 kids on my team and we have been hit hard by injuries.  I have 2 pretty good WB's and I have a WB who played last year, has good speed, pretty good hands, but runs soft, forgets plays, and doesn't block that well.  I have moved him out as a  WB for a kid who runs hard.  Now my problem is I Have to put this other kid at either TE or FB until a couple injured kids can get healthy. Where would you suggest I put this kid to basically hide him, which spot can I hide him the most- I know it sounds ridiculous, but this is my only option at this point. Desperate times call for desperate measures I guess in this case.  I was thinking about putting him at TE because he has pretty good speed and hands. His blocking is poor, but I thought if I keep him at FB he could really screw up our other 2 backs who are tough kids running the ball.  The only other option I have is to keep him at WB, but then I have only 1 tough WB and would have to hope and pray that he steps up which he hasn't done for the past year now. He's a great kid, just soft!  Thanks coach,  

Coach- For sure you don't want to be soft at B-Back, so that is out.

You could swap your TE's so you always have a good blocker on the playside.  Defenses would probably never figure it out. Or you could split him out and flip him and the TE.

A major yet seldom-mentioned part of coaching, especially when you're short on players or talent,  is using your offensive and defensive systems to make optimum use of the kids you have.

*********** Jason Whitlock calls Brett Favre's starting an exhibition game Friday night after ZERO practice reps with his new teammates "a remarkable sign of disrespect for the game and the difficulty of playing quarterback at any level.."

He goes on to say" We know Favre’s ego is out of control. Years of listening to John Madden compare him to Jesus Christ have justifiably warped Favre’s perception of himself. Favre believes he can complete passes with both hands tied behind his back."

"But why," he asks, "would Brad Childress allow Favre to disrespect the game in such an obvious manner? Why send Favre into battle in a meaningless preseason game?"

And then he answers his own question.

I mentioned in my Saturday column that the Vikings are desperately trying to get a new stadium built. The Twins and the Minnesota Golden Gophers are moving out of the 27-year-old Metrodome. The Twins will have a baseball-only facility. The state anted up for the Gophers to get a new football stadium.

The Vikings are stuck in the Metrodome. Their lease runs out in 2011. It appears the 2010 election season (new governor) will be a make-or-break time for a Vikings stadium initiative.

Brett Favre is a swiftboat. He’s a political football. He’s a tactic in a $700 million negotiation with Minnesota taxpayers.

Zygi Wilf gave the Hall of Fame QB a two-year, $25 million contract so he could use him as a prop in a game that has little to do with winning a Super Bowl.

The Vikings signed Favre to sell tickets and jerseys and generate excitement for a new stadium.

It’s so freaking obvious that I’m embarrassed I didn’t recognize it before I canceled my trip out West.

Read it all:

Thanks for the tip to Matt Oravetz, of Milford, Connecticut


FLAGFRIDAY, AUGUST 21, 2009- "The celebrity is a person who is known for his well-knownness." Daniel J. Boorstin

*********** What is it about Notre Dame that they get caught up in these things?

Back in the 1920s, the NFL title was taken from the Pottsville Maroons because they played an exhibition game against the famed Four Horsemen (they had no more eligibility) - in Philadelphia, which happend to be the territory of another NFL club.

But colleges do not respect each other's territory, and now Syracuse, which has been making the ludicrous case in New York City, hundreds of miles from Syracuse, that it is "New York's Team," seems to want to be New Jersey's team as well.

And once again, Notre Dame's involved.

Starting in 2012, Syracuse will play three games in the Meadowlands - one with USC and two with Notre Dame.

Forget the fact that Syracuse is a long, four-hour drive from the Meadowlands, and fellow Big East member Rutgers is a half hour down the turnpike.

Perhaps this is Notre Dame's way of giving the finger to Rutgers, which last year turned down a chance to play Notre Dame at the Meadowlands on terms highly favorable to the Irish.

Don't expect the ESPN guys to have much to say, because a large percentage of them are Syracuse grads.

The people at the Meadowlands, undoubtedly miffed at Yankee Stadium's booking Army-Notre Dame, are the ones who initiated talks about the game. For Syracuse it's all about the big money in a game in the New York metro area, but shame on Notre Dame and USC, both big enough draws that they can make money in more legitimate ways than being party to Syracuse's encroachment on another college's turf.

*********** Follow-up on the coach who had three starters miss the first week of camp...

I may be in a real mess this time.  Our HC has now decided to reverse positions on the boys we discussed who missed the first week of practice.  They will miss no games or scrimmages, in fact I've been asked to start repping them with the #1's today.  I guess the prospect of a potential loss because of starting 2-3 JV players at key spots to teach a moral lesson is just too much.  Now more players are starting to miss, yesterday it was a starting wingback...he even made up an excuse that turned out to be totally false.  How the heck do I handle this one while remaining loyal to the HC and at the same time not totally bowing to something that is way off base?


Sounds as if you are in a mess.  I am older and I have a few more coaching options, and I probably wouldn't be in bed with a guy like that in the first place, who can't think of anything but winning. But that doesn't help you.

I don't know the head coach, so I'm only able to judge him by a few actions, but I couldn't be loyal to a worm like that.  I think that a program like that is hard to justify to taxpayers on the grounds of developing character or teaching good work habits. Is winning that f--king important?

You do not owe loyalty to a person like this, but you do need to inform him that he has lost your loyalty.

I would tell him that I was working "under protest," and that I would "work to rule,"  but beyond that he has lost the right to my loyalty, and my remaining on the staff was not out of loyalty to him but out of loyalty to the kids.

I would tell him that I will not badmouth him publicly, but if asked what I think, I will say,  "you'll have to ask Coach ----.  That was his decision."

If asked whether I support it, I would repeat, "That was his decision."

Oh. And he - not you - has to tell the team and those "JV" kids (and their parents)  that it was HIS order - not yours - that those kids be inserted in the lineup. Let's see if he has the balls to do that.

Funny you say it that way cause that is how I handled it.  I told him if he was going to pull our three kids who had been at TE and guard to insert these kids he would have to tell them.  I explained again my objections and he said "I just want to win ball games, there going to end up there eventually so we might as well do it now".  He said we don't owe them an explanation, just call them out with the first huddle and call the guys we yanked with the second huddle. 
I'm staying for the kids but this really is a heart breaker for me, yanking those kids in that way just plain hurts.  You could see it on their faces and you could see their effort level drop from it, that's the type of thing some kids don't get over.  I'm ashamed to be a part of it but walking now would not help the kids at all.  I figure it's my role to stay on and be a positive example to the kids at every possible opportunity.

All you can do is coach your kids, and that ought to be enough to keep you occupied.

You are more valuable than ever as a man that they can look to for an example.

My real concern is how those coaches might act if/when you lose a game.  Sounds like they have way too much of their egos invested in this.

*********** What does it tell all the poor schlubs who've been sweating it out at Vikings' camp when a 39-year-old guy who hasn't been in camp at all starts at quarterback in their first exhibition game?

What does it tell all those agents who'd just as soon their clients didn't go to camp, either?

What does it tell anyone who's been buying the NFL's B-S about what a great brand of football it plays?

*********** Coach: We just finished up our first week, and here's what we have in from tight formation:
Power, O, Criss-Cross, Red/Blue, G (both sides), G-O Reach, Trap, and Wedge
Do you try and run those basics from a new formation starting week 2? We have a scrimmage this Saturday, and our first game will be next Friday August 28th.
I really appreciate any response you can give...I know how busy this time is.
All the best,


Just looking at last year...

First game, we ran only from TIGHT

Second game, we added STACK and TORONTO

Third and fourth games we added RIGHT, LEFT and SPLIT

By the fifth game, we had added SLOT.

Sixth game we added A-UP and C-UP, and TORONTO OVER

Seventh game we added TORONTO LEE

Eighth game (weather starting to get nasty) we added TORONTO STUD (Unbalanced, offset I)  

That's about it.

If I had it to do again, I'd have added SLOT sooner.

*********** "It seems to me that there are three stages in the evolution of a ball carrier. In high school he learns where the play is going. In college, he learns who is blocking for him. In the pros, he learns what the defense is doing. A good player will visualize a play while he is running it and where everybody on the field is going to be, or at least supposed to be. His reaction is so fast it seems instinctive, but it comes from a highly developed sense of awareness. And the only way that awareness can be cultivated is to study films, work, study, and work again." Frank Gifford, "The Whole Ten Yards" 1993

*********** 18,000 people on Facebook are calling for a boycott of Whole Foods. How many of them do you think have ever even shopped at Whole Foods?

*********** Thank God the Obama Express is slowing down, or the next thing up might be the resurrection of the old metric system bunko and this time he might win, and we could be looking at first and 9.144.

*********** Notice how fast the NFL had official Michael Vick number 7 jerseys on sale, following the announcement of his signing? For only $259.95, you have your choice of black (?), white, or "midnight green", that hideous color the Eagles wound up with when someone at the dye works showed up drunk and spilled some black dye into the Eagles Green vat.

You may have to order yours direct from the NFL or the Eagles, though. Dick's Sporting Goods, probably the nation's largest chain, has announced that it's not going to be selling the jerseys. Yet.

(Can you believe that there are fools in the US who would pay $260 for any f--king football jersey, much less to publicly honor a lowlife? You say that soon rappers will be wearing them? Ho, ho, ho. The rappers aren't fools. They'll get their Michael Vick Eagles' shirts free - their fawning fans are the ones who'll pay the $260 for their jerseys.)

Before we give any humanitarian awards to Dick's - they're probably just waiting until things die down. And they start getting calls for the jerseys.

*********** You forgot one other thing McNabb has had to deal with during his career - the Neanderthal segment of Eagles' fans

Think about it - they booed him before he even signed a contract

McNabb isn't the best quarterback I've ever seen, but history is going to be very good to him

Some will knock him for never winning the Super Bowl, but pro sports are littered with greats that never won a ring

Put Archie Manning in a Steelers' uni during the seventies and I'm sure he would've won a Super Bowl (or two) and be considered a legend. Ditto Ken Anderson

McNabb has carried an Eagles' offense with pedestrian receivers. He's the least intercepted passer in NFL history (2.09-percent of attempts) despite playing in one of the most pass-heavy systems of this decade. And he's taken his team to five NFC title games and a Super Bowl. That qualifies as a winner in my book

Ned Griffen
New London, Connecticut

Believe it or not, although McNabb did get a horrible introduction to Philly fans, I get the sense, in my visits to the old home town, that the fans have come around.  They won't admit it - they have openly loved very few athletes - but I think for the most part they actually love him.

Right on about the Iggles' receivers.  I won't judge a QB by whether he's won a Super Bowl. Lots of great ones did great things just keeping their teams competitive.

*********** Todd Bross, a Pennsylvania native, writes, "by 1 vote it's still the same." Pennsylvania will not shorten its football season, which doesn't surprise me. But it also voted to continue with the present four classes.

I must say that I'm surprised that a state that large persists with just four classes.  Oregon, with a little less than a third of PA's population, has six.  More trophies for more kids.  So what's not to like?

*********** (You wrote) "there are going to be occasions when he will bounce outside and it will cost you a first down.  Or a game. Take that from someone it has happened to."

Or, take it from someone that lost a Championship game last year. 

Frank Simonsen, Cape May, New Jersey
*********** A guy blows up an airplane and kills 280 people. Pretty cold-blooded, wouldn't you say?

But thanks to great detective work, he's caught and sentenced to life in prison.

Now, a mere eight years later, the guy's dying of cancer. So authorities in Scotland have granted him a release.

They call that "compassionate."

*********** By now, you've probably read about the Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane, beting the sh-- out of a Buffalo cab driver because the cabbie was so thoughtless as not to come up 20 cents short of giving exact change.

Kane said some things about apologizing to all the people he "let down", but the funny thing was, he never got around to mentioning the cab driver - you'd think that after a 62-year-old guy got through being whipped up on by a 20-yer-old professional ahlete, he'd at least feel let down - and said it was time to move on. (Where did this crap come from, anyhow - the idea that the perp should the one to tell us when it's time to move on?)

But we've moved on, and now young Mr. Kane is trying out for the US Olympic team. No, not the elder bashing team. The hockey team. You know, the Olympics, whose most-watched event is the opening ceremonies, where all those glamourous, athletic young people march in wearing their designer outfits, and some stiff says something about the Olympic ideals, and they carry the giant BIC up to the big urn and light the Olympic torch? Those Olympics!

And while we're worried about Michael Vick playing for dough, we're going to sit back and watch them select this goon to our Olympic team.

Of course, this is different. Nobody really needed Michael Vick. But we need Patrick Kane on our Olympic team, because - he can score goals!

Brian Burke, the general manager of the US men's Olympic hockey team, said the incident "does not affect my judgment of Patrick Kane."

"I do believe character is a vital element in putting together a winning team," he said. "I've always stressed it. I always will. I think it's possible for a young man to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and make a poor decision. I know when I was Patrick Kane's age I did a couple of things I would not want to talk about up here."

Besides, said Kane, "I haven't really told anyone my side of the story."

Hey - who knows what that means? Maybe the old cab driver faked all his injuries - got a friend to beat him up so he could claim the rich hockey player did it and sue the guy.

*********** Notice the way President Obama extended an olive branch to, uh, "white, lower-middle-class folks" (he loves the word "folks"), by hosting NASCAR drivers at the White House? Actually, things have reached a sorry pass when the drivers show up in suits, looking like a bunch of bankers.

*********** Larry Stone, in the Seattle Times, claims that Willie Davis, who played for the Dodgers in the 1960s, is the fastest baseball player ever.

There's no way to win this argument anyhow, so I'm going to put in for Deion Sanders.

Yes, the Cowboys' Deion Sanders. For those of you too young to remember that he played both sports at the highest level, Sanders played major league baseball.

For all his nauseous self-promoting, he gets my vote.

He is considered to be one of the fastest men ever to play in the NFL, where speed is prized - and measured - far more than it is in major league baseball.

In his baseball career, he stole 186 bases. And as further evidence of his speed, in 1992 led the majors in triples with 14.

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

That pre-game handhshake that the NCAA wants, is it with every player or just the captains?

Also, two seasons ago, when a big deal was being made out of the postgame meetings between Bill Belichik and Eric Mangini, this article came out in the Boston Globe.
I found Bud Grant's comments interesting, that if you could turn it off that quickly after a game, then it didn't mean that much to you. I'm not sure if I agree with that or not.  I guess every sport has its own traditions, but if two boxers could beat the living daylights out of each other for 10 or 12 rounds and hug after it's over, I don't see why football players or coaches couldn't shake hands. I don't think the three fights between Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti were any less competitive than anything we see in the NFL.

On the other hand, when Grant, and Lombardi and Halas were coaching, players' and coaches' jobs were probably less secure than they are now. After losing a game, I could understand not wanting to shake the hand of somebody who may have just put you out of a job.
Good luck this fall.

Steve Tobey
Malden, Mass.


As I understand it, it is entire teams.  Given the sheer number of players and the number of them who are knuckleheads, there's always the potential for one loudmouthed fool to cause problems.

I'm with the fighters.  They don't, for the most part, come from the upper echelons of society, and there's no question about their toughness or desire to pound the other guy, but along the way one of the great traditions of their sport - shaking your opponent's hand after thr fight - has been ingrained in them, and they uphold it.

*********** The best thing about this Town Hall business is the up-close look it gives the American people at the shysters they send to Washington, and how shocked those knaves are when ordinary people don't genuflect in their presence, but instead dare to ask them questions they'd rather not answer.

Which brings me to my congressman, Brian Baird. After accusing protestors of "brown shirt" tactics, and holding a bogus "telephone town hall," he finally gave in to community pressure and held a real town hall the other night, in an outdoor concert amphitheatre that holds maybe 18,000.

He stipulated that there be no signs brought in. No bottles, either.

It was 90+ degrees at 6 PM, with the meeting set for 7, and when people waiting outside in the sun began to grumble about the fact that concessionaires were selling water for $4 a bottle ($6 for a Polish dog, $5 for popcorn), the Baird people relented and said it was okay to bring in bottles of water - provided the caps were removed.

The tone was set early when the moderator, the president of the local Washington State University campus, looked out and saw the audience (abetween 2500 and 3000), and, unwilling to pass up a chance to speak, began to tell of his experiences in such places as Sweden and Cuba, and how they had infant mortality rates superior to ours. Some guy in the crowd brought the harangue to a stop by hollering, "Don't advocate - moderate!"

After a warmup act like that, things could only go downhill.

Baird really caught heat when he suggested the government needs to provide help for parents, including federal guidelines on "potty training."

My favorite was the Marine vet (at least he said he was) who said to Lord Baird, "I kept my oath - when are you going to keep yours?"


FLAGTUESDAY, AUGUST 18, 2009- "I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen." Martin Luther

*********** In a sign that threatens Doomsday for professional sports, corporations are bailing on the idea of luxury boxes, which have become an increasingly important source of revenue for teams.

It came too late to affect basketball and hockey, but just in time to hit baseball. And football's next up.

The feds, getting deeper into the economy every day, are seriously questioning the idea that business actually takes place when companies entertain clients in $100,000 a season sky boxes or, in the case of the Yankees, $2500-a-seat box-seat sections behind home plate.

Large clients are so sensitive to government scrutiny that they've begun issuing directives to their employees that if they accept anything from a supplier worth more than a certain amount - say, $100 - they're on their own for the difference.

The Yankees' $2500 seats have since been slashed to a low-low, everything-must-go $1250 - and still there are no takers. Surely, visibility has something to do with it. Hell - everybody and his grandfather can look at who's sitting there and draw his own conclusions.

Think the feds couldn't?

Remember the story of the 1954 Giants? Their long-secret was that they won the pennant by stationing guys with binoculars out in the centerfield scoreboard, stealing opposing catchers' signals?

Wonder if the feds have thought of that one yet. Of course, they wouldn't be stealing signs. They'd be taking pictures of the fat cats in those box seats.

*********** Hugh: I remember my grandpa telling me a story about a Jewish fella at Maryland who stepped up and helped recruit and then roomed with the first black football player at Maryland (Then somewhat considered the "South" to a point).  I want to say the first in the ACC but I could be wrong.  Fishman, the only Jew on the team, would go and eat with him on the road and on campus and it caused quite a few bare knuckle brawls at some local establishments.  Is this the same guy that is on your web site that flipped them the bird?  This guy was definitely a free spirit, ahead of his time and not about to back down from prejudice...... Bill Lawlor, Crystal Lake, Illinois

You learn something new every day... The first "negro" to play in the ACC - at any major southern school, for that matter, was Maryland's Darryl Hill, in 1963. I was living in Baltimore at the time. It's the same Jerry Fishman from the "flipping off the Middies" incident. I did not know that he and Darryl Hill were roomies. The Maryland of that time, while not so overtly segregationist as the Deep South, was nonetheless very southern in a lot of its thinking, and Jerry Fishman (and Daryl Hill) were not seen then by a majority of Marylanders as the heroic figures that hindsight now shows them to be.

This from Wikipedia...

Fishman attended Norwalk High School in Norwalk, Connecticut,[2] where he played football and baseball.[3][4] In 1960, he became the then second all-time single-game rusher in the state of Connecticut when he rushed for 342 yards against Danbury.[5]
Fishman (#31) and others close in on Roger Staubach (#12) during the infamous 1964 Maryland–Navy game.
Fishman attended the University of Maryland where he played football primarily as a linebacker. He also served as a tailback, and in 1963 was the team's leading rusher with 480 yards on 116 carries.[6] In 1964, he was named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) first team as a guard.[7]

Fishman gained notoriety and is most known for his actions in the 1964 game against the Naval Academy, an intense in-state rival. Rough play marked the game, and Fishman responded on two occasions to taunts from the stands with an extended middle-finger. Afterward, with respect to his rough play, Navy head coach Wayne Hardin called Fishman, "a disgrace to the game."[8] Maryland head coach Tom Nugent conceded that Fishman may have been "a little wild-eyed, [but] I can't chastise him publicly. I didn't see him do anything deliberate."[8] Navy officials cited that incident as the main reason for refusing to renew the series for 40 years.[9] Several times, University of Maryland officials asked Fishman to apologize for the gesture, but he refused and said, "What for? It's a game. It's a silly game. It's football, it's not a diplomatic blunder."[10]

Fishman was the only Jew on the team at the time, and became close friends with Darryl Hill after he transferred from Navy.[11] was the first black player on any ACC football team. Fishman said, "He being the only black and me being the only Jew, we used to call ourselves 'The Onlys.'"[12] Shortly after Hill's arrival, Fishman cut a deal with Hill, offering to help him survive his redshirt season in exchange for tutoring in economics.[13] Fishman was fiercely protective of his friend, Hill, who was the subject of mistreatment from the fans and opposing players, especially when the Terrapins traveled to play schools in the Deep South. Against South Carolina, which had threatened a boycott of the game because of Hill's participation, Maryland led 13-0 at halftime. As the team walked to the locker room, a fan poured a drink onto Hill. Fishman responded by hitting the man with his helmet.[14] At Wake Forest, Hill was knocked unconscious by a late hit, and Fishman applied the oxygen mask when the medics refused.[15]

Fishman was selected in the 14th round (196th overall) of the 1965 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts.[16] The Colts waived him during the preseason camp, and in 1965, he instead played for the Hartford Charter Oaks in the Continental Football League. In June 1966, he was signed by the Washington Redskins,[17] but did not make the roster.[18] Fishman is now an international lawyer[19] and currently resides in Boca Raton, Florida.[20]

Daryl Hill started out at Navy and would have been the first black football player at the USNA had he not transferred to Maryland.  Now here's a good one for you - the Maryland assistant who dealt with him during the time he was making up his mind about transferring (evidently there was nothing underhanded involved) was... LEE CORSO

*********** Coach-
I wanted to present a little more cogently, as I had attempted to drown sorrows, after the realization that we could be up against it this year. With that, however, I have known this for some time, and went to your offense for this very reason. We are light years away from running this efficiently, but I have to believe we can get there. There is a temptation at this point to go to the easy "band aid " fix, and get under center and run the full house like we did the last 2 yrs. Yet, the reason I made the switch was that I did not believe we could move the ball consistently on older and more athletic teams, with our old offense.

Probably one of the most frustrating things yesterday, was the inability to get (our best runner) in space, where he can usually bail us out with a big one or two. I realize I cannot have that mindset with this offense, but when you are struggling, you tend to want instant gratification.

Now that I have given all the doom and gloom, here are some of the more objective points from yesterday. On the front side of the powers, there seemed to be a significant push, causing penetration past LOS, which caused pullers and backs to get off track. The fact that they ran a 5-3 stack, and brought the lb's most of time, was difficult for off linemen, especially so early in their development.( I have not seen film yet, as the filmer had to leave town right after game. I will see it first thing tomorrow ) with that, there were several times there were creases for the backs to cut up into. As stated earlier, often times, the backs kept trying to bounce outside. We clearly have to change up a couple of the backs, especially the two who did this last year also. We found a new back, who turned it up, getting 4-8 yds on about 5 occasions.

The pullers were at times slow to the hole. With that, more often than not, they were in a position to get us 4 yds, had the backs, and front side executed. We ran one effective wedge for about 8 yds. The other couple of times, we had a stalemate , prob due in part to their blitzing, and our poor execution. On the power follows, there was penetration on front side routinely for some reason. I will have to check film. We ran only tight reg power and power follow; Wedge; a couple of g-o sweeps/keeps that were not real effective with their speed; 4-5 counter plays that presented a good hole to run through.....

In summation, I suspect that scrimmaging this type of team so early on, exposed our issues. Maybe that is not such a bad thing, as it was a wakeup call to our kids. Defensively, we really got better after giving up a few big plays. I know my job is to keep the boys, and the asst coaches on track, and to keep buying in. As you surely know, when there is a little adversity, a few start questioning the efficacy of the offense. I do believe that we can run this efficiently, and have success. I just have to figure out the best way to progress. I obviously have been obsessing over this, the way many coaches do. But, I am as determined as ever to chip away, and get better each day. I suspect that I just have to go through growing pains, and man up. Yet, if there is a panacea, could you please unfold the Holy Scrolls, and give me some of your magic dust ?

Befuddled, but OPTIMISTIC

In my experience over the years, in the beginning one of two things happens: with equal or superior talent, you will overwhelm people, and with lesser talent you will be overwhelmed. 

In the former case, the danger is that you will give yourself too much credit and not realize that dangers lurk undetected.  In the latter, the danger is that the naysayers will come to the fore and you will give up on the system without realizing that it is not a panacea.

There is no panacea.

The system works.  That's been proven over and over.  But it does take more work and patience and dedication to fundamentals than a lot of people are willing to give it.  And it does take faith, because if things are going a little rough,  it's hard to get complete buy-in. 

Specifically, the lack of push on the playside might be solved by (1) checking on the stances, splits (cut them down to zero) and alignments, and (2) working hard on the "12-step cure," meaning it isn't a block unless you take 12 steps after contact.

Problems with pulling probably have to do with failure to stay in the "inside lane," as I just wrote in my news a few days ago.  The "circle drill" will help a lot.  

It's quite possible that if you backside linemen are not running tight circles, staying "on the rail," they are drifting out a bit and forcing the runners wider.

The tough early opponent would have been a boon in another weeks or two, after your kids had gained a little confidence.  This early, it can reveal weaknesses ("winning conceals...losing reveals") but it will also make it difficult for the kids to gain confidence.  I would address this with the kids and tell them that this early in their development as a team,  if I had had my preference, I would have scheduled an opponent that wasn't so good. I  would look for whatever positive signs I can find ("you lined up correctly... we ran a really good wedge... etc., etc.") and dwell on them and tell them that I was encouraged by how well they stood up to a very good opponent.

I have had teams that sucked in the early going, but in analyzing a game I've found that there's always something they've done well, and they need to hear about those things, in addition to hearing about all  the areas where they need to improve.

I do think that confidence is an important factor in your getting better, and I believe that the kids will get their confidence from you.  Challenge your coaches to be positive and look for - and recognize - the slightest signs of improvement.  Improvement and confidence feed off each other, and they are going to come in small steps. Sometimes the steps are unrecognizeable to the average person, but not to the observant coach.

Just some things to consider.

*********** For various reasons, I have made the painful decision not to return to North Beach for a second season. I worked for some great people, and I do think we had a chance to be pretty good.

Instead, I'm going to be working with old friend Tracy Jackson, whom I coached with at Madison High in Portland back in 03-04. We're at Woodburn, Oregon, a 5A school in the heart of the Willamette Valley about 40 miles south of Portland. Woodburn football has not had a lot of success over the years, but from what I see things could be on the upswing...

Here's some video of our pre-season workout last Friday--- Oregon doesn't start until August 24, if you can believe that.

Tracy may not have realized how astute he was when he told me about having dinner with some good friends, and he said, "We're in a business where some people are going to hate you and they don't even know you, so you really have to value your friends."

*********** Wrote Steve Chapman in the Chicago Tribune...

Some of those foreign (medical) systems are great, as long as you don't get sick. Samuel Preston and Jessica Ho of the Population Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania examined survival rates for lung, breast, prostate, colon and rectum cancers in 18 countries and found that Americans fared best.

Some 62 percent of uninsured Americans are satisfied with their medical care. That is probably because they get a lot of uncompensated treatment from the most advanced, ambitious and capable medical system in the world.

In Britain, by contrast, having guaranteed access to care doesn't mean you'll actually get it. Twenty percent of British cancer patients who might be cured become incurable while awaiting the treatment they need.

*********** (In our league) if a kid shows up on Saturday for a game, he has to play, and our substitution rules give every kid a minimum of about half the game (all kids out of the game have to go in on a change of possession). So a kid can make zero practices a week, suit up for Saturday and get serious playing time. Whew.

Welfare Football.  Socialism at its best. What a wonderful way to instill in kids (and their parents) a sense of entitlement - of having a right to a full share in the fruits of someone else's labor.

*********** The news release said that Missouri's football games on Sept. 12 and 19 against Bowling Green and Furman respectively, will be available on FSN pay-per- view. I didn't know that Missouri fans were that rabid, but who else would pay to watch those games when there's so much else on for free?

*********** Mark Bergen, in Keller, Texas, alerted me to the following solicitation---

• We offer every league/team the opportunity to buy a package that will allow them to show their games, in their entirety, on

• For $99.99, the league/team will receive space for 10 full games on a webpage custom-created for them. All you’ll need to do is record the game (there’s a parent at every event already doing this!) and send the footage to us. We will put this footage on the league/team’s page in a viewable format.

• Check it out at: ---------------------

This is a great feature for out-of-town relatives who would love to see the game, parents away on business, the confidence of the player to be able to watch himself improve, an instructional tool to show mistakes or plays performed well, not to mention the fact that it’s an immediate revenue generating tool for your league: You can sell sponsorships for local ads to be on your website! Current leagues are making a minimum of $250 per month from their annual advertising. IT'S LIKE HAVING YOUR OWN TV CHANNEL. Players and parents and especially league administrators are eating this up...

This doesn't require a league meeting. For this price, any parent can provide the league this amazing, unique, limited-time opportunity!

OMG - Show and Tell Meets Mass Media... Am I the only one who's concerned that one of these days the World Wide Web is going to collapse under the weight of stuff like this?

*********** This may surprise some readers, but I'm for letting Michel Vick play. It bugs the crap out of me to think that after the second chances we've given some real scumbags, Michael Vick is a pariah because he mistreated dogs that aren't exactly golden retrievers or cockapoos or Yorkies or Shih Tzus. People are up in arms over his treatment of dogs, but let's face it - to an awful lot of us who consider ourselves dog lovers - and in our married life my wife and I have had two Weimaraners, two goldens, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever and two Cairn Terriers - pit bulls are the Mideast terrorists of the canine world. This is not in any way to excuse what Vick did. He's done time for it. But it's a well-known fact that nationwide, our animal shelters are clogged with pit bulls whose owners suddenly discovered that, um, they didn't really want such a badass dog after all. And many of them - the dogs, not the people who gave them up - wind up being euthanized. Those dog lovers who are so opposed to Vick's return to the NFL - why don't they show us how much they love dogs by adopting a couple of those abandoned pit bulls?

***********  On the Tight Liz 99 Super Power my best back had a bit of a hard time until he cut up early and went the full length of the field. Do you think that we need to be absolutely true to the play were the C back must follow the pulling G, T and QB to the 9 man or if he sees an opportunity to cut up early he should take it? It almost looked like he was running the Tight Liz 56 C. It was sweet.

Your question is a good one.

If a player cuts up early - and gains yardage - I would not question him because evidently he has that God-given ability to see a hole.

On the other hand, I would be very strict about a player who bounces outside, even though he might have enjoyed some success, because he couldn't possibly have seen what was out there, and if he isn't corrected there are going to be occasions when he will bounce outside and it will cost you a first down.  Or a game. Take that from someone it has happened to.

*********** I got a kick out of the RBS ads on the PGA telecast, telling us about a program called "The First Tee - Golf Helping Kids." The spots showed underprivileged kids playing golf, while famous golfers told us about all the wonderful things (cheating on your scorecard?) that golf teaches kids.

Undoubtedly, it does. But how can it reach more than a handful of kids?

My question --- how about someone at the AFCA getting all those people who make their bucks selling beer on football broadcasts to start promoting the virtues of football for ous kids?

*********** Dave Potter, of Durham, North Carolina, could teach the NCAA something with his "Meet and Greet" drill, in which players learn to shake someone's hand, look him (or her) in the eye, and address that person respectfully.

The NCAA is expecting players of both teams to shake hands before this year's opening games. In the interest of sportsmanship and all that.

Just for one game, though. One can only speculate as to why...

(1) One game is all it'll to take to reverse the downward trend in sportsmanship
(2) We really can't expect these "warriors" to do it before every game
(3) They're going to phase it in gradually, adding a game a year over the next twelve years

Question: Since many of these guys have never actually shaken someone's hand... does a fist bump count?


FLAGFRIDAY, AUGUST 14, 2009- "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." Henry Brooks Adams

***********Coach, The 09 season kicks off today with a 4-8pm session.  Last night I got a phone call that presents a problem that I haven't had in the past.  This year we are blessed with 3 triplets who are highly athletic and hard working, and they have picture perfect attitudes.  One is a national champ wrestler and the other two are state champs.  They are most likely going to start at RE, RG, LG.  They are far better than the #2's at each spot.  The problem is that their parents have decided that this week, the first week of practice, is a great time for a family vacation.  They will  miss all 4 days of practice and the traditional Saturday intrasquad game.  In speaking with the parents and players it is pretty apparent that the boys would much rather be at football.  What I'm struggling with is how hard I should be on them when they return.  I'm not certain how to balance what is fair to the players who are here, best for the team in the long run, and fair to 3 great kids who really don't have a choice in the matter.  How would you deal with this?

Coach, Whatever you do, don't accept the argument that this is a "family activity " This is not Grandma's 100th birthday. I'll bet that this was simply the only week "free" because they were busy with wrestling camps all summer. 

Since you are not the head coach your hands are somewhat tied. 

I have softened in many respects over the years, but not where practice attendance is concerned. 

Football is a team game and those people are making it an individual game. 

If it were my call, they would come back next year and try it again and see if they can get it right the second time.

For sure, if you don't want to have to deal with this every year, you are going to have to send a message. In terms of building a program, you have no other choice. 

That's not what's going to happen here, of course. As for what you do otherwise, I have no idea because it's an aspect of Today's America that I have never deal with, and as you know I have no plans to start now. 

My rules have always stipulated "miss a practice, miss a game" for an unexcused absence, and I would consider these to be unexcused absences. Four practices, four games. 

They tell me that football is a great teacher of life lessons. One of them is that if you don't show up for work you don't get paid. The other guy does. And game day is pay day. That's when you get paid for practicing. 

This situation is a tough one.  Ultimately it will be up to the HC but he will most likely do whatever I suggest short of dismissing the players.  I think he will go for a one game suspension, but no way he will agree to 4 games in an 8 game year.  The shame is that these are good kids, in fact they are probably the three hardest workers on the team.  I was actually thinking that one of them might turn out to be a Black Lion kid, I'm not thinking that now.

It's not my program, and not my call. But I can comment, from the perspective of one who has walked away from parents like that.

Yes, those kids may be good kids, and yes, they may be talented, but you're about to give a very nasty lesson in favoritism to the rest of the kids - that talent trumps all the things you've been telling them.  

If I may say so, it does sound to me as though you might be thinking too much about these kids, when a coach's responsibility is team, team, team.  What about the kids who are there?  How true are you to your word?   How much do you actually value loyalty and dedication and hard work?   When do you tell the stand-ins to step aside, that they're just not as good as kids who missed practices to do fun things while the team was sweating? 

You may say that they're so young, blah, blah, blah, but I say that it's better the parents learn this lesson now than try pulling this sh-- when the kids are in high school.

In my rule book, these absences are unexcused and the "miss a practice, miss a game" penalty applies.  We excuse kids from practice for school activities, sometimes for religious reasons, for illness or injury, or for family emergency requiring the kid's presence.  An emergency is sudden and unplanned. A vacation is neither.

It is like dealing with Iran and its nuclear program. If your HC doesn't deal with this problem aggressively now, when he has the opportunity,  he will certainly be dealing with it in the future.

You can stand up in front of parents all you like and tell them their kids need to be there, blah, blah, blah, but so long as they know there will be minimal consequences, they will go ahead and take their chances. And their vacations.

The ironic thing to me is that coaches of "elite" soccer teams make their rules clear in no uncertain terms,  and then they have the stones to enforce them. 

And football coaches don't!

Coach, Thanks for the reality check. 
This has been a tough one for me and I must say that I think after reading that last email coming down hard on those kids is the only option.  Maybe I was loosing sight of the team, or maybe I let myself associate the good of the team with wins/losses.  I know that when I suggest the miss a practice/miss a game route it is going to meet a lot of opposition from the DC and the HC will most likely not do it.  The HC and DC are salivating over the chance at back to back titles (so was I) and without those three players we simply won't have the talent up front for that to be a realistic goal. 
I think the kicker is how do you bring them back into a starting role and boot a player out of a position who has done nothing wrong and who hasn't missed.  You're right, if I did that I wouldn't be much of a coach and I sure wouldn't be the type of coach I set out to be 10 years ago. 
Sometimes standing on the right side of the fence isn't an easy thing to do. 

Man, you ain't kidding on that one.  That's how we get such worms in government.

I often quote John Neff.  He was a highly successful coach in Waukegan, Illinois:

No player is more important than the team;

No coach is more important than the staff;

No game is more important than the season;

No season is more important than the program.

*********** Poor Donovan McNabb. He has to wonder what he's done wrong. First they drop T.O. on him, and now he's got to compete with... Michael Vick?

*********** The Secretary-General of the United Nations says that we have only four months left to save the planet. Yeah, and the entire world economy was going to crater if we didn't bail out corporations so they could pay multimillion dollare bonuses to the same people who ran the economy into the ground.

Four months, eh? That'll about take us through the end of football season. Actually, based on what's happening to our game, that may be all the time we have left to save the sport of tackle football from the five-wide guys.

*********** I had a little "conversation" recently with a sportswriter from Oklahoma City who happened to mention that Army won national championships in 1944-45-46.

Alas, that was not so, prompting me to write him. Alas, for more than 60 years Army people have had to deal with the fact that although Notre Dame and Army tied, 0-0 in Yankee Stadium, and that was the only smirch on either team's record, the Associated Press went and gave the 1946 title to Notre Dame, and that was that. The AP alone made the rules back then. There may have been other pretenders to the AP's role as official selector, but no one has ever accepted them.

The sportswriter wrote back,

Notre Dame did carry the AP vote, but Notre Dame and Army actually are both recognized as split national champions in 1946.

And I found myself forced to write again -

Not to be overly argumentative, and with all good intentions,  in 1946 the AP poll was widely acknowledged to determine the One True National Champion, and Col.  Blaik admitted as much in his autobiography, "You Have to Pay the Price."

"In the national championship poll, conducted by the Associated Press, Notre Dame was rated No. 1, we were rated No. 2. It is not clear to me, to this day, on what basis the poll majority arrived at that decision."

And in the records in the back of the book, following the 1946 season record are the notations "Eastern champions" , "Ranked No. 2 nationally" "Blaik chosen Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association"

Col Blaik was not one to sell his men short. It is fair to say he would have mentioned any countervailing polls.

I agree with him that Army was done an injustice, but I submit that any "split national title" that now exists represents an after-the-fact attempt to go back and right a wrong by rewriting history.

We may disagree, but in any event,  keep up the good work.

*********** Coach:
We had some problems in a scrimmage the other day with this look, your thoughts on it.
5-2 Look  2 inside backers walked down to heels of the nose or closer
2 hard corners on the line  outside the defensive ends and two high safties
2  5 technique tackles pinching and 2  9 technique ends
When our guards pulled the inside lbers read them and came hard  A gap
What would be you first thoughts?

I would treat those walked up backers the same as if they were linemen, which means a T-N-T, which calls for down blocking.

I would also make sure to sweep them, without pulling any guards. Guards fire and block LBers.  Just a plain reach sweep (rip 88 reach) with your playside TE scramble-blocking the 9 techs, the playside wingback on the playside safety and the B-Back on the playside corner. (Or kick out the corner with the wingback and run the B-Back through for the safety.)

Just a couple of quick thoughts. I'm interested in what you think.

*********** EXCLUSIVE! A prominent member of the President's cabinet appears to side with the health care protestors...

***********In case you thought that politcally-correct euphemisms were an American phenomenon, Mexican prisons are known as Centers for Social Rehabilitation.

*********** Rick Pitino, admitting to having had consensual sex on a restaurant table with the woman who later him with rape, has apologized to his family and friends and to University of Louisville officials and to the people at the table whose meal he interrupted.

*********** Other than a European soccer playing feigning a near-death injury, is there anything in sports sillier-lookingthan a baseball fight?

*********** When the Revolution comes, is there a single member of our Regal Congress who deserves to be spared the guillotine?

***********In Pennsylvania, the state HS association (PIAA) is considering proposals that would reduce the football season from 16 to 15 weeks and expand from four to five or six classifications, because, according to its executive director, "we need a way to eliminate the overlap of the fall and winter seasons. That is the main issue."

The PIAA championship football games are set for Dec. 18 and 19, but the winter sports season starts Dec. 11, which causes some football players to miss early season practice time with their winter sports teams.

Hey - if you're talking about basketball, f--k 'em. All summer's not enough?

*********** The Presidential Medal of Freedom was awarded to... Ted Kennedy? Billie Jean King? Harvey Milk? Mary Robinson? Desmond Tutu?

But not Rick Rescorla? Someone who gave his life to save others? Are you kidding me?

*********** Can you believe that they're going to play something called The AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl?

peach*********** Man, if you haven't tried a "doughnut peach" yet, you are in for a treat.




FLAGTUESDAY, AUGUST 11, 2009- " Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it." Mark Twain

*********** It came a shock to the nation when it was revealed in the summer of 1951 that 90 West Point cadets had been dismissed from US Military Academy for, essentially, alerting students who had yet to take a test of what sort of questions might be on it. Some cadets were dismissed simply because while they themselves had not exchanged any information, they were aware of such "cribbing" and hadn't informed the Academy higher-ups.

What made it front-page news all over America was the additional fact that 37 of the dismissed cadets were Army football players.

The result for the 1951 Army football team was a season unimagined by anyone familiar with college football. From 1944 through 1950, a period of seven seasons - Army had lost only three games. The 1951 Army team lost seven in one year.

Read about the "cribbing scandal" -

and then

Read about the comeback from the depths -

The Army team of 1953 is held in great esteem at West Point as the team that brought Army back from the abyss, and a great page on the Web has been devoted to that team and its season...

*********** My wife and I were surfing around up there around Channel 430 or thereabouts and we came upon a replay of the 2000 Oregon State-Washington game. Great game. Washington was still good. Its QB was Marques Tuiasosopo. And its coach was Rick Neuheisel, who was only partway through his project of turning the Huskies into pussycats. Oregon State was very tough. The Beavers would finish 11-1 (this game would be their only loss, 33-30) and they'd end the season by kicking the sh-- out of Notre Dame, 40-9, in a bowl game. Dennis Erickson was the Beavers' coach. They had a very good QB in Jonathan Smith, and an outstanding runner in Ken Simonton.

And they had two fairly good wide receivers - couple of guys named TJ Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson. Yes, the same Chad Johnson now known as Chad Ochocinco, except this one, although fast enough to outrace the Washington secondary en route to an 80-yard touchdown, merely crossed the goal line and placed the ball on the ground. And then knelt in prayer. ("Dear God, you and I know that I am always open, so would you please tell Jonathan Smith to throw to me more? And would you please tell the people at Nike that I've got some great touchdown dances ready to go, except these college fools won't let me use them?")

*********** TJ Houshmandzadeh's name is clearly Persian (Iranian), and research shows that his father is Iranian and his mother African-American. Which got me to thinking of Iranian-born Jim Bakhtiar, star fullback of the University of Virginia back in the 1950s. He was nicknamed "the Plungin' Persian." And that got me to doing a little "where is he now?" research, and that got me to his amazing story:

*********** The state of Oregon was gloating about creating 3236 new jobs. (Amazing how precise those figures can be, isn't it?)

True, the jobs cost $176,000,000, but putting 3236 Oregonians back to work? Priceless.

Except that further research showed that they lasted an average of 35 hours each.

That's $1,554.95 per hour.

renegades*********** Like so many school districts, ours has an "Alternative High School." Basically, it's a way of dealing with kids who "just can't make it" in conventional schools. Usually, "just can't make it" has something to do with resistance of authority, or poor work ethic, or inconsistent attendance, or a combination of the three.

School districts, sensitive to charges that they're not doing enough to keep kids from simply dropping out, and eager to keep receiving the state funding that accompanies each kid, set up alternative schools, where, in my observation in my years as a teacher, school-resisting kids are coddled.

Our district's alternative school has moved to new quarters, and as my wife and I walked past it the other day, we noticed, next to the school name plate, a school coat of arms, and - a nickname!

Say, nickname? Don't you first have to have something to nickname? Like a team? I mean, alternative schools don't have sports. First of all, there are not skateboarding teams. Yet. Second of all, resistance of authority, poor work ethic, and inconsistent attendance are not conducive to success in sports.

And trust me - even if you could get those kids to try out for a sport, the few who made it through the first practice wouldn't show up for the second.

Wait - I didn't say what the nickname is, did I?

Would you believe "Renegades?"

Excuse me, but "Renegades?"

Beautiful. A nickname that celebrates the very defiance and antisocial traits that result in our diverting large sums of money from our regular schools to provide special schools for... renegades.

*********** 1. How far back should the QB be to avoid tripping a lineman on the Super Power 88 play and are the feet shoulder width apart?

His feet are approximately shoulder width apart, and we want him back as far as possible.  To accomplish that, we tell him we want his arms extended ("elbows locked out")

Here's how I teach the exchange...
2.  Was reading from your Q and A page. Are you know not putting the C back in motion in Super Power 88 (do you have the C back move on the R of ready)?

I haven't used motion in Super Power since 1999. We snap on "GO"

Check this out -

*********** It may surprise longtime Notre Dame fans to hear me say that Gerry Faust is the winningest coach in the long, revered history of Irish football.

Gerry Faust? they'll say. But he was fired after going 30-26 at Notre Dame!

Well, yes, I'll tell them. But he also won 43 games at Akron. And overall, he won 251 games, edging out Lou Holtz (249), and put him far in front of such coaching greats as Dan Devine (172), Ara Parseghian (170), Frank Leahy (127), and Knute Rockne (105).

Okay, okay. Faust's other 178 wins came at a high school - Cincinnati Moeller. If they tell me that shouldn't count, I'll invoke the Bobby Bowden rule, which says that it doesn't matter where you got the wins.

The news media makes a lot of noise about Bowden's ranking one win behind Joe Paterno as the all-time winningest Division I (FBS) coach. But all of Paterno's wins came at Penn State, while 31 of Bowden's were at little Samford, definitely not a Division I college.

To those who scoff at the parallel between Faust and Bowden, Faust's Moeller teams were pretty good, and could probably have beaten some of Samford's opponents.

Since Bowden spent four years at Samford, it is interesting to compare what he and Paterno were doing in their first four years of coaching:

Bowden was beating up on the likes of Maryville, Suwanee, Millsaps, Carson-Newman, Georgetown (Ky) , Delta State, Southwestern of Memphis and Livingston (two wins each), plus such powers as Gordon Military College, Mexico National University (?) and the Tennessee Tech B team. (I think that Cincinnati Moeller could have beaten the last three.)

At the same time, Paterno was facing - and beating - teams such as Maryland, BC, West Virginia, Cal, Pitt, NC State, Miami, Army, Navy, UCLA, Kansas, Kansas State, Colorado, Syracuse, and Missouri. And at the end of Paterno's first four seasons, against competition like that, Penn State was riding a 30-game unbeaten streak, marred only by a 17-17 Gator Bowl tie with, of all teams, Florida State.

Extending the Bowden rule to the NFL, while Lou Holtz had only three wins in his one season as coach of the New York Jets, when added to his 249 wins at six different colleges, they give him 252 career wins and move him into fourth place all-time among NFL coaches, behind only Don Shula, George Halas and Tom Landry.

Warren Moon would also benefit from the Bowden Rule. There he is, in fourth place in all-time passing yardage, back of Favre, Marino and Elway with 49,325. But wait - before coming to the NFL, Moon had a highly successful career with Edmonton in the CFL. Threw for 21,228 yards in six seasons. Add that to his NFL total and he's got 70,553 yards, leapfrogging him into first place ahead of Favre, Marino and Elway. Career touchdown passes? Add his 144 in the CFL to his 291 in the NFL and he shoots from sixth place all-time to second, behind only Favre.

What's thig got to do with Bobby Bowden? Come on - the CFL is a lot closer to the NFL in level of competition than Samford was to Penn State.

*********** You wrote "Add free agency and the roster turnover it produces to the fact that NINE of the 32 NFL teams have new head coaches, and you've got a lot of guys unfamiliar with each other and the systems. The result is bound to be a lot of offensive ineptness this season. So what else is new?"

How will we be able to spot the ineptness?

Tim Brown
Jackson, Tennessee

*********** Coach Wyatt

petryFound a couple of photos of Phil Petry I thought I'd send you for kicks. (See Left, from the '64 Maryland-Navy game)
Your story about Phil Petry beating Staubach's '64 Middies reminded me of a couple of things:
#1 One of the Maryland players in that game gave the finger to the Navy bench which Wayne Hardin called 'a disgrace to college football.'

(That was Jerry Fishman. Pretty tame by today's standards, but caused quite a stir at the time. On the other hand, if he had called them "f-gg-ts," that would have been the end of that. Nowadays, he'd have been kicked off the team until he'd undergone sensitivity training and performed hours of community service in an AIDS shelter.)


#2 the Terrapins had a kicker that year named Bernardo Bramson who changed his jersey every time he kicked a point to reflect his point total to date. He started the season wearing #0.

(See photo above right from the Maryland 1965 media guide)
Caption: A big moment... and the beginning of a new custom. Bernardo Bramson, Maryland kicking specialist whose jersey number was to change with every point he kicked (to correspond with the number of points he scored) getting his first number of the 1964 season... seconds after kicking the field goal which gave the Terps a 3-0 lead over Oklahoma with little more than 12 minutes to play in the season's opener.

Take it easy,
Jim Stovar
Houston, Texas

(Then-Maryland coach Tom Nugent was a VERY innovative guy. He is credited with inventing the I-formation while at VMI. Ditto the "typewriter huddle," the open huddle so common nowadays, in which the QB stands and faces two lines of five players each. And, of course, his changing the number of Chilean-born kicker Bernardo "Chili Bean" Bramson every time he made a kick. HW)


FLAGFRIDAY, AUGUST 7, 2009- "No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women." Ronald Reagan

*********** Army's Carson Williams started three games at quarterback last season. He now ranks fourth in West Point history with 233 completions, and headed into this, his senior season, he'd ordinarily have a strong shot at the starting job. But Army's switching to a triple option system, and since he's primarily a drop-back passer, it appears that his chances of starting are slim. Nevertheless, he's got a real team-first attitude, as he revealed in an interview in the Middletown (NY) Times Herald Record...

"I'm a competitor and I don't think I would be at this position if I wasn't. But more important than competing at my position level is at the team level. There were times last year where I found myself being able to help out more keeping Chip (Chip Bowden, this year's likely starter) in the right mind-set and helping him seeing things he was not able to see. There's not any period that I will ever say me being in a starting position would be more important than us winning the football game."


clarinda team

*********** Last weekend I helped with a camp at Clarinda Academy, in Clarinda, Iowa, where my friend, Brad Knight is AD and head football coach.

Clarinda Academy, a residential foster care facility for at-risk and delinquent youngsters, contracts with the juvenile justice systems in places like Baltimore, Sacramento, Detroit, Omaha and elsewhere to send them kids who they believe might benefit from the Clarinda dorm-style experience in lieu of conventional incarceration.

clarinda staffFor coach Knight, now entering into his third season at Clarinda, every year is a brand-new start. The population is constantly turning over and there are few holdovers. Besides, many of the kids are new to football, so it's necessary to introduce the Double Wing from scratch every year. That's where we come in - Greg Koenig, of Beloit, Kansas, Gabe McCown, of Piedmont, Oklahoma, and myself, serving as guest coaches to supplement Coach Knight and his staff.

Last season, the Clarinda Eagles won four games - most in their history - and they could have won a few more. They sure did move the ball, thanks in large part to the efforts of an A-back who is now back home in Flint, Michigan with offers from Iowa State and Michigan State, and a C-back who was released to his home in Baltimore just three days ago.

The Eagles may not have those same runners this year, but the ones they have ain't bad. And while they have to teach everything all over again to a brand-new group of kids, this year's kids picked things up fast. They could actually exceed last year's win total.

We worked with about 50 kids. There are more than 100 kids in the Clarinda football program, and in order to maximize playing opportunities and minimize learning (since there is no retention from year to year), the squad is divided equally into offensive and defensive platoons. (We all teased defensive coordinator PJ Hedrington that the division may not be as equal as Coach Knight - who doubles as offensive coordinator - claims it is, but it does seem to me that there is enough talent to go around.)

clarinda blockClarinda DT

clarinda QBsEmphasis at the camp was on fundamentals (shown above). I guarantee you, those kids will know how to block. But we also managed in a very short time to put a couple of decent offensive units together to run the core of plays, and we found a couple of promising quarterbacks who looked very good at running the club. (At left: the QBs from left, Davion Smith, of Des Moines, Iowa, Davonta Williams, of Omaha, Nebraska, and Coach Wyatt)

Those who attended my clinics this past winter and spring will understand what made it possible for us to get those QBs up to speed so quickly.

The kids come there street-hard, and the people at Clarinda do a remarkable job of instilling in them accountability, responsibility, respect and civility.  Stripped of their hard veneer, they are like little kids in their enthusiasm. Few of them have ever been treated with real respect, and they are grateful for the coaching you give them.

Clarinda Academy's stated mission is to prepare its students to lead responsible lives by teaching behavioral accountability, providing high quality academic, physical, and vocational education, and facilitating career opportunities within a safe, structured, dynamic environment.

The best testament to its effectiveness is the kids themselves. They shake your hand and look you in the eye. They are friendly, enthusiastic, respectful and coachable. They are hard workers, and they're good learners, too.

If I didn't know the nature of the institution, I'd never have guessed that I was in a correctional facility. I felt as safe, and as professionally fulfilled, working with a field full of Clarinda Academy kids as I have at any place I've ever coached.

*********** In case you didn't know, the "G" in that stupid advertising campaign is Gatorade. Pepsico, maker of Gatorade, is evidently concerned about the brand's lack of growth and is putting it through a "rebranding." I somehow doubt we'll see a similar campaign referring to Pepsi as "P."

I wrote that back in January.

Since then, the geniuses behind the rebranding have sat back and watched sales of Gatorade/G decline 17.5 per cent.

Some of the drop in volume is attributable to competition from teas and juices and "enhanced waters," but Gatorade/G's share of the overall sports drink category itself also dropped 4.5 per cent (to 75 per cent).

No word on any plans to bring back Gatorade in time for football season so the doofuses will have something to dump on coaches.

kurt cobain************* Aberdeen, Washington was once a prosperous town. In Aberdeen's mills, the logs of the nearby forests were converted into lumber, plywood, paper and God knows what else. And from its port, the Port of Grays Harbor, those products were shipped all over the world.

Alas, the forests are still there, but they might as well be a national park. Partly to protect the Northern Spotted Owl, they're largely untouchable, and without the raw materials to keep them going, one by one the factories that depended on supplies of timber to keep running were forced to shut down.

The Aberdeen of today is a shell of what it once was. Its once-busy streets are now lined with empty storefronts. Aberdeen High School, once one of the largest in the state, now competes in Class 2A, the third largest, and there's not a lot to keep its graduates from leaving.

One who did just that was Kurt Cobain, who hit it big in the 1980s and 1990s as the lead singer and guitarist of the grunge band Nirvana. Finally, though, drug addiction took its toll on him, and in 1994 he committed suicide.

The townsfolk seem somewhat ambivalent about how best to acknowledge him - or whether to do so at all. There are a few indications around town that Cobain came from there, including a polished granite stone monument newly installed in a city park.

It's been causing some consternation, because carved prominently on it is a Cobain quote:


On the stone itself, there are no hyphens between the "F" and the "K," and the fight goes on over whether to erase the F-word or leave it intact. (Little kids will see it, and all that.)

I personally think that in terms of a lasting legacy they ought to leave it as is. You have to admit, it's a lot stronger message to kids than "Just say no."

smart car***********In the photo at left, that's a Smart car crushed between the two trucks. God help anyone inside.

Me? Guess I'll hold onto the Expedition a little longer.

*********** Kinda slipped this one past us, didn't they? According to the Wall Street Journal, the NFL has approved advertising on practice jerseys at training camps.

*********** Lou Holtz is said to be checking out a run at a congressional seat in Florida. He is not necessarily a shoo-in.

Yes, he does have tremendous name recognition. But so did Bud Wilkinson, and he lost. No one could have been better known, or enjoyed a better reputation, than Bud Wilkinson in Oklahoma, after a 17-year run at OU that included three national titles. Yet in 1964, shortly after retiring from coaching, he ran for the Senate and was defeated.

I'm betting that in his years on TV, Dr. Lou has given his opponents ample material to use against him.

*********** Sounds like my kinda place...

A Newburgh, New York bar, described as "notorious", had its license lifted by the State Liquor Authority recently after...

(1) a bartender "allegedly" sold cocaine to undercover police;

(2) all of the employees were working "off the books";

(3) the owner admitted buying alcohol from "unauthorized sources," and then (3a) refilling empty liquor bottles

*********** Apart from wondering WTF those American "journalists" from some bogus media outlet owned by Al Gore were doing in North Korea in the first place, I can't help feeling that the whole liberation deal was a giant PR triumph for Kim Jong Il. Skeptical Americans have a right to wonder what kind of a deal we gave the North Korean tyrant.

Chief Negotiator Bill Clinton: Please, sir, in the interests of world harmony and all that's right, turn those women loose.

Kim Jong Il: Only if you agree to send us five shiploads of those clunkers that you've been crushing. And leave our nuclear program alone. And stand aside when we invade South Korea.

Clinton: Haw, haw, haw! Kim, ole buddy, you just get me laid tonight and we got ourselves a deal.

Kim: Deal.

From Kim Jong Il's point of view, the only better PR than a photo-op with a former US President would have been a chance to sit down over a beer with the Old Lefthander himself.

*********** Add free agency and the roster turnover it produces to the fact that NINE of the 32 NFL teams have new head coaches, and you've got a lot of guys unfamiliar with each other and the systems. The result is bound to be a lot of offensive ineptness this season. So what else is new?

*********** Hey Coach, Hope all is well. With our 6th year running your system, we are taking the Gremlin division this year(8,9,10yrs old) we have introduce the offense and they have respond well to it. The kids have picked up the rules very quickly. However, I am having a problem getting the younger kids to give me their maximum effort. I don't want to punish kids all the time, but everything else has failed, they even know that there is going to be cuts. If you can give some advice on some motivation. any thoughts will help.

Coach, My wife, who taught third graders for 30 years, shudders at the idea of having to keep 8 year olds motivated for any length of time. Her PE classes were 30 minutes maximum and she found that was "just about perfect."

She suggests many brief periods of instruction with short breaks in between.

Also some competitive activities such as relays employing the skills you just taught them.

Let me know what happens.

*********** Former Louisiana congressman William Jefferson's stashing of $90,000 in bribe money in a freezer brought new meaning to the term cold cash. Found guilty of corruption by a jury, he will be doing a little chillin' himself.

*********** Asked by Adrian Peterson in this week's Sporting News how the game has changed over the years, the great Jim Brown had this to say...

I think it's a great entertainment spectacle. They've done a fantastic job of promoting it. I think it's exciting. I think the playoff system is good, and I think you have certain who are great because they love the game. But I think money has affected the game, cheapened it, and I think the buffoonery has taken a lot of dignity out of the game. A lot of players think those antics are amusing, but it's buffoonery. If you're conscious about images and history, African-Americans had to fight off the caricatures of buffoonery all through history; they made mockery of watermelon eating, big eyes, shuffling, dancing, shaking your booty. We had to fight to get rid of those stereotypes, then the modern-day football player comes out and shakes his butt and all that (expletive), excuse my language, but it's embarrassing because the population likes it in one sense, they laugh at it, but then they ridicule it. So if you're Ochocinco, he thinks he's cute, but in essence it's a lack of dignity.

But I'll tell you this: if you look at Troy Polamalu, that kid's a player. You look at Ray Lewis, that's a player. You look at Shawne Merriman, that's a player. Peyton Manning, that's a player. The real players don't deal with a lot of foolishness. Polamalu just gets ready for the next play.

*********** The best college in America?

From the latest Forbes Magazine...

The best college in America has an 11:30 p.m. curfew. It doesn't allow  alcohol in the dorms, which must be kept meticulously clean. Students  have to keep their hair neat, their shoes shined, their clothes crisply  pressed. They also receive a world-class education, at no cost, and  incur no debt - except for a duty to their country.

The college, of course, is the U.S. Military Academy, or West Point, and  it tops our second-annual ranking of America's Best Colleges, compiled by Forbes and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP). In  this report, the CCAP ranks 600 undergraduate institutions based on the  quality of the education they provide, the experience of the students  and how much they achieve.

From Thursday's USA Today...

The U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., is the top college in Forbes magazine's list of America's best colleges. The magazine entered the rankings fray last year and focuses on five criteria: graduation rates, number of national and global awards to students and faculty; student satisfaction (from, average debt upon graduation and postgraduate success, based on average salaries of recent graduates and listings in Who's Who in America

*********** From "Gray Matter," a publication of the West Point Association of Graduates
A New Age  

At precisely 8:16 a.m. local time, 6 August 1945, a device called “Little Boy” was dropped over the Japanese city of Hiroshima by the Army Air Force from the bomb bay of a plane named “Enola Gay.” It was the culmination of a massive, highly secret research effort called the Manhattan Project, led by MG Leslie R. Groves, Class of November 1918. Earlier tests of an implosion-type device at Trinity Site in the New Mexico desert demonstrated that a massive explosion could be produced, but the test involved the suspension of the device from a tower, not flying the device for five and a half hours into enemy air space and then dropping it from an altitude of 32,000 feet to fall for about 57 seconds before detonating at 1,900 feet. If it failed to detonate, there would be the likelihood of only one more immediate attempt with existing stocks of weapons—and that in an implosion configuration instead of the inherently simpler, gun-type device using Uranium-235 that was “Little Boy.” Estimates were that a third warhead could be ready for use by 17 August, with possibly three more in September and another three in October, but these could not be squandered if a major amphibious attack on Japan was deemed necessary.

Many questions faced President Truman and those involved in the Manhattan Project. Generals of the Army Douglas MacArthur, Class of 1903, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Class of 1915, and George C. Marshall, the War Department, and the entire United States would be affected by the outcome. If the device did detonate, would it be as powerful as anticipated, powerful enough to convince the Japanese government to surrender, in contravention of their warrior code that caused them to brutally treat British and American prisoners of war with such disdain? If it did detonate, would the “Enola Gay” and accompanying aircraft be able to avoid the blast effects and survive? If unsuccessful, the only viable option to compel Japanese surrender was a massive, ultimately costly, long range amphibious assault on the home islands of Japan. This dire forecast was based upon the experience of earlier devastating attacks upon other cities in both Europe and Japan and the Japanese rejection of the Potsdam Declaration of 26 July 1945, establishing the terms of the surrender of the Japanese Empire acceptable to the United States, United Kingdom and Republic of China. 

In August of 1943, a British bomber night attack on the German industrial complex in Hamburg produced an immense firestorm due to a combination of dry air and a significant level of wind. Later, the phenomenon was repeated in February 1945 at the rail hub of Dresden. The resulting firestorm actually melted the sandstone of a church in the city. Neither had a sustained effect upon Germany’s war effort.

In early March of 1945, MG Curtis LeMay, of the 21st Bomber Command, ordered his B-29 Superfortresses to attack Tokyo’s “shadow industry” factories in the Sumida District, at night and at low altitude, with tons of small, six- to seven-pound, M-69, napalm incendiary devices. As wave after wave of the bombers, stripped of all machine guns and ammunition except in the tail turret to increase speed and bomb capacity, concentrated on the factories and port, the resulting immense fire storm did damage as great as or greater than that eventually accomplished at Hiroshima or Nagasaki, but with little apparent effect upon the resolve of the Japanese military leaders. Subsequently, the fire-bombing campaign was extended to a number of other Japanese cities, but the Showa regime still ignored the ultimatum decided upon at Potsdam and delivered at the end of July 1945.

“Little Boy” did detonate over its primary target, Hiroshima, releasing energy equivalent to 13 kilotons of high explosives. It was considered to be relatively inefficient. President Truman subsequently announced, "If they do not now accept our terms, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air the likes of which has never been seen on this earth." There was no response from Japan. The second device was scheduled to be dropped on 11 August, but approaching bad weather caused the mission date to be moved up two days.

On 9 August 1945, a “Fat Boy” device, relying upon the simultaneous detonation of a sphere of high explosives to compress its Plutonium-239 core into a critical mass, was detonated over Nagasaki, Japan. This more complex design was the same as that tested earlier under the more controlled conditions at the Trinity Site and would become the standard configuration thereafter. The city of Kokura was to be the primary target, but a delay caused by the failure of another plane to rendezvous with the B-29 “Bockscar” carrying the bomb resulted in cloud cover moving in over Kokura. “Fat Boy” would be dropped instead onto Nagasaki’s industrial Urakami Valley, between an arms works and a torpedo works. It detonated at 1,540 feet, releasing the energy of approximately 21 kilotons of high explosives.

Faced with the detonation of two major weapons within one week and the entry of Russia into the war in the Pacific, the Emperor of Japan capitulated. Veterans of the both the Pacific and European Theaters of Operations, preparing for the invasion of Japan, stood down. The massive research and production effort of the Manhattan Project had not been in vain. As the Japanese Emperor expressed in his announcement of surrender, “Moreover, the enemy now possesses a new and terrible weapon . . . .”


FLAGTUESDAY, AUGUST 4, 2009- "Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it." Michel de Montaigne

*********** I have a lot of admiration for a local sportswriter named Ken Goe, whom I've known for many years, but I did have to get on him last week when he included Michigan's Gary Moeller in a story about coaches who tried to succeed legends - and flopped.

I told him that I believed he was unfair to coach Moeller, who followed Bo Schembechler, and didn't do a bad job of it.

Maybe Gary Moeller wasn't Bo, but then, who could have been? Bo was one of a kind.

But by the standards of winning and losing, until his untimely self-destruction, Gary Moeller was anything but a flop.

Consider: Schcmbechler retired with a .796 winning percentage in 21 years. Moeller, his successor, spent five years at Michigan and went 9-3, 10-2, 9-0-3, 8-4 and 8-4. That's 44 wins, 13 losses and three ties, for a winning percentage of .758. Who knows what might have happened had he not offended the UM powers that be in a night club incident whose details are now murky?

But as it is, .758 is not bad, in view of the fact that Lloyd Carr, who followed Moeller, was considered successful, and he retired after 13 years with a .753 winning percentage.

Granted, it's still early in the game, but multimillionaire Rich Rodriguez, the current Michigan coach, has a winning percentage after one year of .250. Hey - it's not easy having to follow Lloyd Carr.

*********** ESPN is planning a movie on Vince Lombardi. Since all anybody ever could want to know about the man - and the coach - is covered magnificently by Davis Maraniss in his biography "When Pride Still Mattered," I am assuming that ESPN will be aiming this one at the people who (1) don't know football or (2) do know a little about football but are too lazy to read a book and (3) don't really care whether it's true or not as long as it's a good story. God help us all.

*********** Dave Potter, of Durham, North Carolina, sent me this link, adding, "My first Black Lion Award winner (Michael Morken, 2002) and what's he's doing now."

*********** Change we can believe in...

Do NOT utter the F-word.

Not the one you think I mean, either. Not the one that's now heard routinely in movies and on late night TV, not to mention in high school hallways or other places where teenage girls gather.

No, no, no. I'm talking about another F-word, the very utterance of which can cause the user to be struck dead or turned into a pillar of salt. Or, at the very least, to be made the object of the wrath of the liberal media.

Hawai'i coach Greg McMackin uttered it the other day, and while he wasn't struck dead, he has been suspended without pay for a month. The F-word he used is not the sysnonym for copulation, but rather an uncomplimentary term for those among us who are, um, "sexually diverse," and he used it in telling how Notre Dame players did a "F-@#^^$t dance" before the ND-Hawaii bowl game last year.

His audience, to their everlasting shame, laughed. Brutes.

I certainly won't say the word here because this is a family page and lots of young children read it. I also respect the sensitivities of gay football coaches everywhere.

But if you're into Wheel of Fortune, the word has an f , two g's and a t. You will have to buy two vowels.

In addition to the loss of a month's pay, McMackin has been reprimanded by the WAC, and warned that any further violations of the WAC Sportsmanship Code will result in an automatic one-game suspension - at a minimum.

But wait - we're not done yet. The O'ahu chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) released a statement saying "PFLAG O'ahu is appalled that the head coach at UH-M would be so unprofessional, so homophobic and so prejudicial that he would voice a gay slur even in jest. Behind closed doors is bad, but to voice the 'F' at a press conference at the Western Athletic Conference Football Preview is unacceptable."

Ohmigod. The guy's already out a month's pay, and now I can see diversity training looming on the horizon. AIEEE! The only reason we used waterboarding on suspected terrorists is that diversity training is even worse.

My advice to coach McMackin would be to defuse the issue by offering to wear a muumuu on the sidelines at all Hawai'i home games.

*********** The Tennessee Titans' LenDale White reported to camp at a feather-light 228 pounds. Said he dropped 30 pounds in the off-season by giving up - tequila.

*********** Not for no good reason has American been called the disposable society. Disposable diapers. Kleenex. Plastic water bottles. And now - are you kidding me? - automobiles.

Only in America would someone concoct the idea of reviving slumping car sales by paying "cash for clunkers" - paying people anywhere from $3500 to $4500 to turn in perfectly serviceable cars - and the crush them.

That's right - in a world in which many people could use those cars - ever seen video of Cuba, where they're still driving 1950s-era cars? - we're going to crush them.

And then we're going to ship the scrap metal to South Korea, where it'll be made into steel, and shipped to Japan, where it'll be made into new automobiles, to be shipped to the US and sold to Americans, whose old clunkers will be bought - and crushed.

Many of these cars are less than 10 years old. Their only defect is that they get fewer miles per gallon than the new cars they're traded for.

What we should do is send these cars to Cuba. The influx of new cars would shake the Cubans out of the economic doldrums they've been in for 50 years, thanks to Castro's failed experiment with Communism.

We just have to make sure that the Cuban people know where the cars came from. Then, once we're fully socialized and all our society's productive members are taxed to capacity and our economy's dead on its ass, maybe the Cubans will have pity on us and lend us money.

*********** It used to be said of the great New York Yankees teams of the 1950s and 60s that the key to their continued success was not in beating up on other contenders. For the most part, the Yankees just broke even against them. But - here's the key - the Yankees of the dynasty years seldom lost to teams they were expected to beat.

And, according to the Wall Street Journal, it's still the case with World Series winners.

Of all the Series champions in this decade, only four of the nine played better than .500 regular-season ball against good opponents - defined as those who finished with records above .500.

The 2004 Red Sox had the best record against opponents who finished above .500, but they were no better than .575.

The 2002 Angels were only 38-42 (.465) against good teams, and the 2006 Cardinals were even worse - 21-26 (.447)

Last year's world champion Phillies were just .483 against over-.500 teams.

*********** Old friend Frank "Pope Franjo" Lovinski brought back fond memories of our days in Maryland when he sent me this great article on the crab houses (crab restaurants) of Maryland's Eastern Shore -

*********** Noted marksman Plaxico Burress was offered a deal - plead guilty and serve a year in prison.

Ho, ho, ho, he said. Me? Prison? Do you know who I am? Haw, haw, haw. I'll take my chances.

Bad call, Plaxico.

And now a grand jury has indicted him on charges that could result in three years or more in the slammer.

An interesting little note near the end of the story in - "No one called police to report the gunshot wound, as required by law: Not the players, nor NFL officials, nor the hospital where Burress was treated."

Hmmm. As required by law, eh? Think somebody at NFL headquarters ain't a little worried?

*********** From

One of the toughest jobs in the world is being a teenager. Everything's in transition. Everything's intense – even apathy.

Kids on the brink of adulthood have to cope with inconsistencies and conflicts. The desire to be different clashes with the need to fit in. The desire to be independent collides with the aversion to self-reliance and personal responsibility.

Here are five ways to improve your journey through adolescence:

1. Be yourself. Mindless conformity is a prison. Express yourself authentically and don’t be afraid to stand out. But don’t dress or behave in extreme ways just to be different or to prove you can. You don’t need orange hair, a nose ring, or tattoos to be special. It’s more important to be respected than noticed.

2. Don’t expect too much or settle for too little. Don’t expect anyone else to make you happy, but don’t allow others to treat you badly. Hang out with people who bring out the best in you, and be the kind of person who brings out the best in others.

3. Responsibility is a privilege, not a penalty. Dependability and self-reliance are your tickets to freedom and independence. Don’t waste energy resisting what you have to do. Instead, win others’ trust by doing what you should do.

4. Think ahead. Every act has a consequence. The choices you make today will shape tomorrow. Pleasure lasts for a moment, but happiness lasts much longer. Just because it feels good doesn't make it good.

5. Take charge of your life. Your life is your ship, so be the captain, not a passenger. Figure out what needs to be done to improve your life, and then make it happen. Your attitudes are more important than your aptitudes. You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control what happens in you. Don’t whine, win.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

*********** Q. How far are you telling your TE to split out in slot formation?

As a base to start out from, we are 1-2 full men outside the wingback - another way of saying it is a 2-3-yard gap between the end and the tackle.  But it depends on how the defense plays us and what play we've called.

Our wingback, I should mention, is tight against the tackle - inside hand next to the tackle's heel.

*********** It's for damn sure I ain't banking at Key Bank. At one of its Seattle branches a teller, told by a guy to hand over all the money, asked the crook to show him his weapon. At that, the thug bolted, with the teller in hot pursuit. The teller caught up with the would-be thief, took him down, and held him until the cops arrived.

Grateful bank officials fired the guy for violating bank policy against resisting any robbery attempt.

*********** I wrote this 10+ years ago...

1998 December 6- Just finished talking to my high school coach, Ed Lawless, back in Pennsylvania. He is a single wing guy, and he agrees with me that the offense is made to order for the so-called "slash"  player - imagine Kordell Stewart as a single wing tailback!  In fact, a lot of what Kansas State does with Michael Bishop out of their "shotgun" sure looks like single wing stuff to me. Some of the guys I've seen just this year - Akili Smith at Oregon, Ortege Jenkins at Arizona, Corby Jones at Missouri - convince me that it's just a matter of time before somebody brings back the single wing. (Whether they'll have the guts to call it by that name is another matter!)  Ed played his college ball in the late '40s, at Penn, then a single-wing power whose center was Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik. Penn's George Munger was one of the East's top coaches, and year in and year out, his Quakers held their own against the nation's best, but when Penn's administration decided to join the no-scholarship Ivy League, while still honoring its long-term scheduling commitments against the likes of Notre Dame, Penn State, Virginia Tech and California, Coach Munger said no thanks - and retired. His successor, Steve Sebo, was a good football man, but he should have listened to George Munger: his teams would lose more than 20 games in a row before Penn's schedule finally came down to the level of its talent. Coach Munger, incidentally, made do with a staff of only three assistants, one of whom was his long-time line coach, Rae Crowther . In coaching the offensive line, Coach Crowther (rhymes, by the way, with "brother") was considered a master technician who had few equals. So into the techniques of blocking was coach Crowther that he invented and patented the blocking sled that still bears his name, and eventually got out of coaching to devote full time to the sled business.  Ed speaks with reverence of Coach Crowther, and like me, can't stand watching a lot of today's offensive line play. He says, "if Rae Crowther saw some of the 'blocking' that goes on today, he'd throw up!"

*********** from "New Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football", by Paul Zimmerman (1984)

… To someone who’s never seen the single wing, believe me, it can be a thing of beauty… In college it’s been abandoned, and why I’ll never know, because it seems that some of those nifty running quarterbacks would be just right for the run-and-pass tailback duties…

In the pros, its drawbacks are obvious. Your passer couldn’t take the pounding.

“I’ve reflected on the single wing,” [Bill] Walsh says. “Those blocking schemes would just chew up NFL defenses. You could double-team every hole and trap at every hole. You’d have six men blocking three. Plus you’d have the power for the sweeps.

“Joe Montana might be able to play tailback, to run and pass, but you wouldn’t let him do it unless you had another Joe Montana to spell him…”

*********** Just another sign of the way the downturn in the economy is affecting sports... The home-improvement business had been hit hard, and after 11 years, Lowe’s has decided not to renew its naming-rights deal at Lowe’s Motor Speedway after this year. Barring a change of mind by Lowe's or the signing of another naming sponsor, the track will once again be known as Charlotte Motor Speedway.