FLAGTUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2010 - "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way." Mark Twain

********** My wife and I spent the weekend in Durham, North Carolina, where Duke and Army met. Over many years, I’ve suffered with both programs.

The game, a 35-21 Army win, was great for Army, but devastating for Duke, coming off a trouncing last weekend by Alabama.  In my opinion, after having faced Bama, the Duke players vastly underestimated Army. As a rabid Duke fan told me afterwards, "Alabama beat us twice."

Duke committed five turnovers, four of which led directly to Army scores.    In fairness to Army’s defense, three of the turnovers were interceptions and two were forced fumbles.

I was great to watch Army win, but it sucked to have to watch Duke, after all its struggles, get its butt whupped.

Regardless, though, it was great fun to take in a college football game in the South.

I hated to see Duke get blown out, but the overriding feeling was awe at the overall Army performance in all aspects of the game.

The Duke people were really gracious hosts. They arranged to have the game ball parachuted in by the Army Golden Knights; they called it Armed Forces Day and allowed service members in uniform in free; the Duke band honored all armed forces at halftime by playing a medley of service songs and asking members of each service to stand while their song was played; and then, at midfield, 50 or so young people were sworn in by the commanding general from nearby Fort Bragg.  And at the end of the game, the Duke players stood respectfully with the Army players for the playing of the Army alma mater.

All in all, a great day!

*********** In Monday's Durham Herald-Sun, Duke coach David Cutcliffe expressed the sentiments of a growing number of pass-first coaches about what it's like playing a low-blocking team like Navy, Air Force, Georgia Tech and, now, Army.

"We're banged up in the defensive front," Cutcliffe said. "You always are after playing one of those teams."

*********** Thoughts on civil rights by Albert Haynesworh, enslaved by the Washington Redskins and forced to play a position he doesn’t want to play…

"I guess in this world we don't have a lot of people with, like, backbones, just because somebody pay you money don't mean they'll make you do whatever they want or whatever. I mean, does that mean everything is for sale?

"I mean, I'm not for sale. Yeah, I signed the contract and got paid a lot of money, but ... that don't mean I'm for sale or a slave or whatever."

*********** I know if you are watching the Dolphins game you are enjoying the "Futbol Americano", And the Jets de Nueva York VS Dolphins de Miami.  As if Miami did not have already a reputation of a banana republic on its own.I guess NFL is trying to be all Latino and stuff.

Armando Castro
Roanoke, Virginia
(Formerly of Miami)

*********** Yes, these ARE the Chicago Bears, once feared as Monsters of the Midway.  These are the Bears of Halas… and Ditka… and Butkus… and Dent… and Singletary.

But it’s also the 21st Century NFL, and what’s a team to do when it’s fourth and inches on the goal line and it decides to go for it but throw?

*********** Owen Marecic. Stanford’s two-way starter  was featured in last week’s Sports Illustrated.

He’s the only player in Division I going both ways, and it’s not wide receiver/defensive back, either. As his coach, Jim Harbaugh, points out,   “He’s playing the two most physical positions in the game of football.”

Last Saturday, against Notre Dame, he did something no Heisman Trophy winner in at least 40 years has done, scoring an offensive touchdown and a defensive touchdown in the same game – within 13 seconds of each other, in fact.

Although now his near-heroic ability to play two hard-knocks positions very well could conceivably launch a Heisman candidacy, he was recruited by only three D-I colleges as a high school player.  Despite being named the Oregon Defensive Player of the Year in his senior year at Portland’s Jesuit High School, only Stanford, Army and Yale made offers.  And Yale, as an Ivy League school, can’t offer athletic scholarships. (“So Mr. and Mrs. Marecic, all you need to do is write us a check for $48,000 for Owen’s freshman year tuition, and we’re good to go.)

Said his coach, Ken Potter,  “A lot of the coaches said ‘I’m not sure he can play linebacker, and we don't have a fullback (in our offense).’ Now when I talk to these coaches they're like ‘Well, we should have had a fullback.’”


************ Handy Tip…

Coach Wyatt,

Found some materials that actually(well for me anyway) works a little better than 3 10' cpvc pieces, but that you can also find at a plumbing store, hardware store or any big box home improvement center. Its called PEX and its also for water supply lines, comes in 1/2", 3/4" normal cpvc sizes, the neat thing about it is you can get a 100 ' roll for around $20 and since its flexible it lays out on the ground a little bit nicer and also packs away into a normal sized car trunk after you're done. The way I did it is I used 30' of PEX and connected the two ends with a compression fitting called a 'sharkbite' but you could also use a piece of 3/4" cpvc like you did.Shark-bites are also available at any plumbing supplier for around 5 bucks. one advantage to PEX is that since you can flex it into any shape the options are limitless to what you can do with it, you can mark running lanes, bootleg paths for QB's whatever you want, out Defensive coordinator likes marking zones for zone defenses.

Actually got the idea this past spring when I replaced all the plumbing in my house, it eliminates a lot of right angle soldering.

Tony Douglas
Kenova, WV

*********** Wow.  George Blanda has died.  He was 83.  Seems like only yesterday we were calling him an old man when he was playing in his 40s.

*********** Pope Franjo writes,

Everyone Gets a Trophy!

The NCAA has permitted a record 35 bowl games this season.

The need for 70 eligible teams from a pool of 119 could force the NCAA to make 5-7 teams or teams with two Division I-AA wins eligible for postseason play. A bowl game used to be a mark of status. Now, potentially, any big conference team could load the non-conference schedule with three cream puffs and a I-AA team and, by finishing at least 1-7 within their conference, be rewarded with a lucrative bowl game. The EagleBank Bowl has a designated slot for the #8 ACC team. So it goes.

It is all summed up by best the name given to the former Emerald Bowl: The "Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl," billed as “a game between Pac-10 and WAC."

They're careful not to tell you “Pac-10 what”, because it’s going to be either the seventh- or eighth-place team.  And it won’t be close the WAC’s best, either.

It should be called the "From Hunger Bowl."

*********** Rafael Nadal is the best tennis player in the world.  If he isn’t. Roger Federer is.  They’re both good guys, but Nadal is special.  Give the credit, said the New York Times, to his Uncle Toni, the person who started him playing when he was a little boy.

Toni Nadal said he constantly reminds Rafael that his worst day on the tennis court is better than most people’s best day.

“When Rafael was young,” Uncle Toni said,  “I thought he could be a good player but never did I want to see him be bad on the court. I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen.”

Toni Nadal said he can speak freely to Nadal because he accepts no money to coach him.

True, Rafael told The Guardian,  “It’s important to have people around you with enough confidence to say if you are not acting in a good way. Normally, when you are at the top, people say everything is fantastic. Probably in that moment it is what you want to hear, but it’s best to be reminded how to act properly."

The Times told of the night in Shanghai when Nadal, his uncle and his publicist were in the elevator on the way to a top-floor restaurant.  Toni Nadal recalled that on the ride up, the publicist noticed that Nadal was wearing shorts,  and told him that there  was a dress code, but that the restaurant would surely be willing to waive the rule for him. Toni Nadal said he told his nephew, “Rafael, you must go change.”

And he did.

“When you think you are the king of the world,” Toni Nadal told the Times, “you are really stupid in my opinion because in this life every person is important.”

*********** Coach, I wanted to get your take on having the wing backs "pushing" the tackles as it relates to Interlocking Blocking. I ordered the 2010 High School Football rules by topic to see if I could get a good definition. The rules state interlocking and grasp another player which is fairly clear. To help with the 8-9 year olds forming the wedge during practice I had them put their inside arm on the back of the lineman next to them. They are not grasping the jersey but it allows them to focus on moving forward with the wedge and keep things tight. It really helped them keep the wedge in place. I did some reasonable searching on the internet and couldn't find any examples where this was discussed. If the inside arm is being used to push a lineman who is in front it seems to fall in a gray area of the Interlocking blocking rule.

Looking up definition of Interlocking

: to lock together : unite
: to connect so that the motion or operation of any part is constrained by another

The motion is not constrained unless the player was to grasp the jersey of the inside lineman. If the inside lineman is faster out of the block that does not restrict the movement of the inside lineman or pull the lineman who is trying to push but ran into a defensive tackle who doesn't move.

What is your take on having a lineman put his arm on the back of an inside lineman? Our league uses refs in training so I want to be able to make my case prior to the start of the game.

I was also looking for rules that restrict having the QB hand the ball off to a pulling guard? It appears from a Wikipedia discussion on the fumble-rooskie that it is now illegal as an intentional fumble. I can't find a rule that prevents you from handing off to a lineman. I even tried to find a rule that prevents the QB from taking the snap and handing it back to the center between his legs. Not planning on running that play but thought it probably something not allowed as a trick play and would reference the rule.

That is the way we teach the wedge.  No, you can't grasp anothr blocker, but it is not illegal to push on a teammate (so long as it is not pushing on the runner)

The QB can hand off to the guard provided that the guard has first turned his back to the line of scrimmage (actually, the rules say "to the opponents' goal)."

There is such a play, which double wingers have run for years.  I first saw it run by a coach in California named Bruce Eien.

*********** Wanna stop the fumbling on your team?

Greg Koenig, of Beloit, Kansas, sent this picture of his freshman B- back, Jadon Adams…    http://kpreps.com/features.php?id=157

and asked, do you think Jadon has been paying attention to ball security drills?

*********** And in the latest update from Beloit…

For the second consecutive game the Beloit Trojans have posted at least 60 points, this week against the Larned Indians in a 69-0 shut outon homecoming night. Scoring is nothing new for the Trojans under fifth year coach Greg Koenig, Beloit has scored at least 400 points in each of the last three seasons to average over 40 points a game. So far this season the Trojans have outscored opponents 179-25 with the season opening loss to Concordia (12-6) the only blemish on the record. All this despite not having returning 1,000 yard rusher Luke Shamburg in the backfield, lost just prior to the season to a broken collar bone, but Shamburg is expected to return during district play.

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

I was wondering pros and cons of using an adult helmet in youth football, especially at the younger ages?

My son has a very large head and could fit an adult helmet.  Is the weight difference that big a factor? Seems the adult helmet would offer more protection.


Paul Cloud
Katy, Texas

Hi Coach-

It seems to me that the main reason there is such a thing as a youth helmet is that (1) kids' necks usually can't support as heavy a helmet as an adult helmet, and (2) the collisions aren't so forceful, and the need for protection so great,  anyhow.

But otherwise, if he is big enough and his neck is strong enough, the adult helmet would seem to be the way to go.

*********** Last Friday night, in a game against O’Dea High School of Seattle, West Seattle threw in the towel. The score was 48-0, O’Dea, but the real reason that West Seattle called things off was that by halftime he was down to just 11 players.  West Seattle started the season with 36 players, but academic ineligibility thinned the ranks considerably (anybody who’s coached an inner-city school knows how that goes), and then six players went down in the first half.

*********** They do things differently in OZ, as my son, Ed, writes from Melbourne…

Unreal.  Australian Football League Grand Final ends in a 68-68 draw.  No overtime.  Traditional method of settling this is to come back next week for a "replay."  Same teams, same time.  Should have seen the end.  100,000 people in stunned silence, some players angry, some accepting. Everyone in a daze.  Michelle didn't go, but has been walking around not sure what to say.  We'll try to go next week...and I'll let you know when it's on TV again!

*********** Dyed in the wool Oklahoman Gabe McCown caught me with this one...


Who is Bob Wilkinson?  As with every good Okie, I know who Bud Wilkinson is but I've never heard of Bob.

Oh, dear.  That’s what happens when you stay up late and write hurriedly.  Of course, I was referring to the great Bud Wilkinson, legendary Oklahoma coach, when I wrote “Bob.”  When you have a budget like mine and can’t afford proofreaders, there is always an alert reader to come to your rescue.

*********** A youth soccer game on one of our local fields had just concluded, and I stood there, transfixed, as I watched what anthropologists coming upon this tribe of affluent white people for the first time would surely call an act of child-worship. 

After standing in the rain watching their four- and five-year-olds run around, the parents then formed two lines facing each other and, touching hands overhead with those in the other line, formed a human archway. Or tunnel. And the little darlings ran through it.  Again and again.

Amazing.  It had nothing to do with winning or losing.  It was simply because they were so… special. All they did was play a f—king game, and here all these adults are – f—king adults! -  telling them how wonderful they are.

Jeez. When we were kids (back in the Dark Ages, when parents didn’t love their children but we never bothered to worry ourselves about why they didn’t), if anybody’s parents had ever so much as shown up at the field when we were playing a game, it would have confirmed our suspicions that there was something wrong with him.  But forming a f—king tunnel?

Imagine.  Kids being worshipped, simply because they just finished playing a game. After several years of that, you think you’re going to be able to convince them that schoolwork is more important than sports?

***********  Many Americans have been offended by statements by some of our administration officials that they are not necessarily proud of our country.  But give them this: they never said anything about our restrooms.

The Commonwealth Games are scheduled to take place in New Delhi, India, and there have been the usual snags in construction of facilities typical of any such major event.

But the bigger issue is filth. In the athletes’ village.

Officials of the New Zealand team, arriving early, were gagged by conditions. Photos of one of the apartments showed, in the words of the New York Times,  “dirt-caked bathrooms and toilets, a mattress stained with dog paw prints and a sink smeared with the spittle of chewing tobacco.”  Not to mention human excrement.

Enter the government official. A top-ranking member of India’s organizing committee, he tried to explain away the conditions by saying that, well, India and Indians simply don’t have the same sanitary standards as Westerners, so what’s all the fuss?

Showing a typical room to Indian reporters, he said, “These rooms are clean to both you and us.” The trouble with foreigners, he said,  is that they insist on “certain standards in hygiene and cleanliness which may differ from our perception.”

Whew.  Does he have his countrymen pissed off at him.

What he said may actually be true for much of India, where it is not uncommon for people to, um, defecate in the streets.  But it would seem fairer to attribute this to a lack of access to toilets than to different standards of cleanliness.

India’s huge and growing middle class places great importance on hygiene in the home, and it was enraged by the official’s remarks.

As is the custom in the US, maybe a member of the White House should step forward and say, “What he really meant to say was…”

*********** Hi Coach Wyatt. My name is Ben Robinson from Dacula, GA (Atlanta Metro Area). I have thoroughly enjoyed your book and video on the double wing. I find it a fascinating offense that is truly dynamic as you call it.

I am curious if you think the DW would be appropriate for a 10 year old year with average athletes? With pulling the guards and tackles is this something 10 yr old boys get?

I hope to meet you in person at one of your clinics this winter. Do you plan to do another clinic in our area?

Thank you for all your help.

Ben Robinson
Dacula, Georgia

Hi Coach-

To answer your main question: many coaches have found that the Double Wing is quite age-appropriate for 9-10 year olds, and yes, kids that age can be taught to pull. In my opinion, it's more a matter of whether the coach is willing to teach it than whether the kids can do it, because they can.

In fact, the more "average" your athletes are, the more important it is that you get the absolute most out of your linemen, which means teaching them our blocking schemes.

I plan on being in Atlanta sometime in February or March. Hope to see you there.

FLAGFRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2010 - “A light carbon footprint has become the 21st-century equivalent of sexual abstinence.” Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal

*********** (You wrote) "Question for Tennessee people… when there’s a lightning delay (the Oregon-Tennessee game was held up for 70 minutes before play was resumed), where in the hell do 102,000 of you go to get out of the weather – and still manage to come back and watch the game once the all-clear sounds?"

I heard they opened up the Thompson-Bowling basket ball arena a block away.  I'd say many fans simply congregated inside in the lobby areas of Neyland itself.  I doubt it was a pleasant experience either way (I'm thinking sardines in a can...)

Have a good one,

Steve Smith
Cumberland Gap, Tennessee

*********** You’d have to say that Bill Curry is building something at Georgia State.  In its first year of football, Georgia State last weekend narrowly lost to Jacksonville State – winner over Ole Miss – by 34-27.

*********** The research into football concussions is beginning to focus on practice.  Why?  

From the New York Times:
Research by Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, found that a college football player participates in about 12 practices for every game he plays during the full year. No other  NCAA-sponsored sport had a ratio higher than 4 to 1.

Other research by the same group identified 58 percent of documented college football concussions as having occurred in practice. (The figure among high school players was 38 percent, in part because of fewer practices.) Although concussions were sustained at higher rates during games, the sheer number of football practices led to more actual injuries.

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

Shamefully I have to admit that I am still a student of the game because I have neglected to use a tool that you have spoke about for a few years now.  In all my years of running the Double Wing and having an o-line coach, my eyes were opened VERY wide after I went out and purchased the 1/2 inch PVC 10 foot tubes for the "circle drill".

Yesterday, Monday 9/20/10, I specifically held a linemen only practice to aid my o-line coach in teaching fundamentals of pulling in our system using the circle.  As I told you in a prior email, even though we are currently 4 & 0, I noticed in the last two games that our line play began to (how can I say this) suck!  I am just fortunate that I have 5 good runners that made the most of piss-poor blocking execution.

I saw the need to focus on the line because we have to get better and if for no other reason because my eyes need to be pleased with good DW execution and I refuse to let my kids slip into the abyss of complacency.

Using the circle, revealed more than I ever expected.  Their first steps needed correction, their quickness around the circle needed improving, their "eyes inside" needed polishing...  we looked really bad after the initial individual run thru's.  9 total weeks of practicing and my stomach was in knots after seeing what I saw.  Even my o-line coach was shocked to say that he had been working with the players for all these weeks and I would be ashamed to do line demos if someone had asked me.

Enough on the negative, I will say that an hour later, they all "got it."  After each players repped the circle in solo drills a few times, I added a second player and we repped Powers to both sides.  I even added the Tight End for the backside shoeshine so that they got work also.  We then moved on to using the circle for Counter (to both sides).  I must say that after many reps and many corrections of the 1st step, staying low, and exploding into the shield/defender I will say that I was impressed with the hard work that they put in.

Now, I still wasn't 100% comfortable with practice because we really need to get better blocking (fast).  But I will say that I am a solid believer in the PVC Circle Drill because in seconds each players' flaws came out and we had a starting point to improve on.  I told my o-line coach that even on days when we have the entire team there we will still run the circle because my backs have been poisoned by my line forcing them too wide on Powers and Counters.

I am totally sold on the drill and I am mad at myself that for all these years I have used cones instead.  As I said, I am still a student of the game and I am always willing and hungry to learn more.

Thanks for doing what you do for me,

Brian Mackell
Glen Burnie, Maryland
(Coach Mackell has been a syccessful Double Wing coach at both the youth and high school levels)

***********  For those of you who enjoy the macho kick of eating the hottest sauce you can find: A scientist tells the New York Times, “There is not a single animal that likes hot pepper.”

Yale psychologist Paul Bloom told the Times, “Philosophers have often looked for the defining feature of humans — language, rationality, culture and so on. I’d stick with this: Man is the only animal that likes Tabasco sauce.”

*********** In both the AP and the USA Today/Coaches poll, you have to go all the way down to the #18 team, Iowa, before you come on a team that’s lost a game.

But in the FCS poll (formerly D-1AA schools), only four of the top 10 schools are unbeaten, and the  #1 team, Villanova, the defending champion,  is not one of them. The Wildcats are 2-1, but in the poll they received 87 first place votes compared with #2,  unbeaten Appalachian State, with 22.

The problem, of course, is that FCS schools have to pay their bills, and a major way of doing so in by playing a game against an FBS school. That accounts for all the losses by top 10 FCS teams.

(Villanova narrowly lost to an FBS school, Temple, 31-24.)

*********** When snow on the rugby field threatened removal their team’s game to another location, New Zealanders responded to the call and shoveled their field clean…

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

I thought I heard somewhere that you are a Mac computer guy. I am as well and I was wondering what application you use to handle your game film.

I currently have to use iMovie to upload the video from my Sony HD hard-drive camcorder. Then I either have to use iDVD to create a disc, (which is very time-consuming and I don't need the fancy menus), or I can use the program Toast and I am limited to 98 video clips regardless of how much of the disc would be used in the recording. I just want a quick and easy way to get the game film onto a disc so I can give it to my assistants to watch. Any help you could offer would be appreciated


It depends on whether you just want a "raw" disc of the game footage as shot.

In that case, I just go from the camera via FireWire to a DVD recorder/burner.

If I want edited clips, I'll make them on iMovie, trimming excess footage and putting in blank clips between clips  and titles as needed.  (I still use iMovie 6 because I don't care for the later versions for football editing purposes.)  Then when I have the clips I want to burn all arranged in the time line, I go via Fire Wire to my DVD recorder/burner.  Now with the iMovie "scrubber" at the very start of the time line, I hit the "view clips" button (just to the right of the START button) and as soon as the picture goes full screen I hit the space bar to pause the video. Then, I hit "Record" on my recorder and I hit the space bar again to restart the video.

Works for me.  

If you have a newer version of iMovie, you can go to apple.com and get an older version free. 

Not to push WalMart, but here's a link to an inexpensive DVD recorder


***********  Coach Wyatt,

Hope everything is going well with you and your family. Just wanted to fill you in on our season. We are 4-0 and have outscored our opponents 162-7. We are running the football for well over 300 yards per game. Quite honestly, it would be a lot more if it weren't for the Iowa running clock rule in the second half when a team is up by 35 points or more, the clock runs. It's a great rule though. We've also forced 17 turnovers through (including 7 last week), which oftentimes gives us a short field to work with. It's been really fun. 600 AM (the broadcast for Eastern Iowa during fb) is broadcasting our game-of-the-week this Friday night. The team is rated, etc, etc. The guys are working hard, and most importantly, having a blast.

My younger brother is the new defensive coordinator here. He absolutely loves the Safer/Surer tackling video and we do tackling drills and stations every Tuesday night. It has directly impacted our defense, and also helped with our blocking as the concepts are so inter-connected.

I do have a question for you too. (Our school) has never been 4-0, and quite frankly we only look to get better. We grade each position offensively and defensively and give the guys very critical feedback each Monday when they report to films. However, I do have a small voice in the back of my head saying, "watch out for over-confidence." Like I said, the guys are working extremely hard, but what advice can you give to a coach that is wandering into uncharted territory for himself AND the whole school? Thanks!!



Funny you bring this up.

I once coached a team that was 5-0, and winning our sixth game by what we thought was a comfortable margin at the half.

Somewhere in the thrird quarter our cheering section began to chant WE ARE (clap-clap-clap) SIX-AND-O (clap-clap-clap)

I heard it and looked at my top assistant and he had a shocked look on his face.  It was as if those kids in the stands thought that THEY had something to do with it.

I would deal with the players and the student body very honestly and talk about being in a place none of us has ever been in before - of sailing in uncharted waters - and making sure that we enjoy it and make the most of it, but understand that the surest way to get knocked off  is to act as if we're something special, as if there is any other way to win than working hard and not being cocky and respecting our opponents.

From the standpoint of game preparation, I tried very hard to subscrobe to what Bob Wilkinson said, back when Oklahoma was kicking ass in the Big Eight (they used to call it Oklahoma and the Seven Dwarves).  He said that he never talked in terms of a particular opponent - scarecelyt even used the opponents' names.  He would tell his players that the only thing be cared about was getting better, and those guys on the other side were just over there to help us get better. He said that if they just consistently worked hard and getting better, and not beating an opponent, the wins would take care of themselves.

Made a lot of sense to me.  Since then, there have been few occasions when I have mentioned an opponent by name.  Even when we're taling about an upcoming game, I'll say, "This is what we expect to see on Friday..."

Hope that helps.  Best wishes the rest of the way.


FLAGTUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2010 -"If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life, without even considering if there is a man on base." Dave Barry

*********** This from Oregon State, after the Beavers nearly got upset by Louisville: “We’ve got to go back to work on tackling.”

This from Washington, after the Husies got their asses kicked by Nebraska: “We need to have tackling drills.”

Questions:  (1) “Back to work?” ; (2) “You don’t already have tackling drills?” ; (3)  “Wanna buy a tackling video?”

*********** If you read last Friday's NEWS, you understand how good it made me feel to receive this…

Coach Wyatt, I owe you an apology for the message in my badly written e-mail. Not to excuse myself, but I've been suffering from a chronic sleep disorder caused by sleep apnea and who knows what else. Sometimes my better judgment is adversely affected, and I react emotionally. I've learned from experiencing this health problem that there's a reason why the secret police of dictatorial regimes frequently use sleep deprivation as a means to break prisoners; and that is, it's quite effective, of course.

I've made a fool out of myself in more ways that one. Instead of simply asking for a clarification, I made an assumption about you that I now realize was wrong. I was also quite rude. This is not the way I normally address people. Bullying has been a hot-button issue for me, since several of my friends were subjected to severe forms of physical bullying in P.E. classes. But I was wrong to go off half-cocked as I did.

I also had wrongly assumed that you would disregard my e-mail as the online equivalent of crank mail. I was actually amazed that you responded to it. If you had chewed me out at your website and ridiculed me, I would have deserved it. So, I thank you for the conciliatory way in which you chose to respond.

In the sixty years that I've been alive so far, I've never had an interest in sports; and I don't know how the game of football is played. But for over two years I've been working with a personal trainer at a health club on a bodybuilding program. So, I'm able to personally appreciate the dedication and self-discipline that is required of an athlete. Although I've not been a sports fan, I've always respected athletic achievement, anyway. I also respect and admire high-school coaches such as Joe Ehrmann and Biff Poggi for the work they do with teenage boys as they teach them how to live better lives off the playing field.

Out of shame I seriously considered giving my full name at the end of this e-mail. But I have personally seen what happens when naive individuals post at websites and reveal their identities. They receive crank calls from trolls in the middle of the night, not to mention other mischief. Not that I'm saying that any of your loyal readers are trolls. I'm referring to teenage troublemakers who search the Internet for personal information others have unwisely chosen to reveal about themselves.

By the way (since you mention that your wife is an elementary school teacher), my wife is a retired high-school math teacher; and my father was a university professor, in addition to being the head of an architectural firm. Both of my in-laws taught in the public schools, and one of our daughters is currently a high-school math teacher, as her mother once was. So, I have a lot of sympathy for all conscientious teachers.

Sorry my e-mail was so long. Again, I offer my apologies to you and the readers of your website. Very sorry for the rant.

Best wishes,
Bill W. C.

*********** A friend of mine coaches a 9-10 year-old team. They run power, counter and wedge. That’s all they need. They won last week. Big.

Nevertheless, after the game, the opposing coach said sarcastically to my friend, “What creative play-calling!”

*********** Please, NC State fans – don’t get upset with me. But on TV, that howling wolf that you play incessantly sounds like a rooster.

*********** Common-Sense Coaching: I have a friend whose son’s high school coach threatened to make the whole team run unless some parents volunteered to run the chain gang at the next home game.

*********** A coaching friend writes…

Our drive in the first half was stopped when the nose tackle actually swatted the ball out of our center's hands. We could see the kid trying to swat the ball, and I talked to the official on our sideline and called out to the White Hat, and then ran a play with the snap count 2nd Hut. The kid - on first hut - actually batted the ball out of our center's hands and then fell on it. I have to admit that I lost my cool, and had to be told to get off the field. Talked with the officials at halftime and they promised they would "watch for it". The kid tried again on our last possession and the WH gave him a "strong talking to" as he put it. I can't believe that the Coaches there would tell the player to do that, or allow him to keep doing it.

I can't believe that the most an official would do would be to give the kid a "strong talking to." This isn't the same as a wide receiver being told to get back a bit. This is blatant cheating, an attempt to gain an unfair advantage. It is unsportsmanlike conduct, and it is probably being coached, and an official should have the sense to recognize this and cut it off at the source. He should tell the opposing coach that it would be a very good idea for HIM to do the "strong talking", because if it happens again, he'll assume that it's being coached, and assess the penalty against the coach.

*********** Coach, I want to officially sign up 3 teams from our organization (Duxbury Youth Football) for the Black Lion award, my team (D5 Pee Wees) and the 2 midget teams (D5 midgets and D2 midgets).

I enjoyed your response to "Bill's" commentary on bullying, although I know that you try to not enter into a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent, this guys deserved a response for sure.

We won our first game of the season last week albeit against an average team. Our line was dominating, which I like to see. We are running a lot out of I-wing formation this season, since I have that downhill runner that I've spoken of (my converted A back to left tackle back to A back when we started running the I-wing formation). He's averaged 2 TDs per game since moving over from tackle. We are able to run a 44 base lead from that formation and I run it from Toronto and it's been a great play for us. The wing gets to the inside LB first and then the FB gets to his LB, usually the OLB on the 5-3. I've attached one of our TDs from last week.....check out the pile driver block by number 40, our FB, knocks down 2 defenders. We play a team that won their superbowl last year, but I was able to scout them last week. Our program only has 1 win in 10 years vs this program, so it would be a great thing to beat them.

Next week, I'd like to put in a series running from "split" formation.....you used that quite a bit on one of the tapes I have...the Madison team I believe. The I-formation has been working for us, but it is somewhat limiting too (I want to run criss cross this season). Can you refresh my memory on the alignment of the A and B backs in "split right". Also, I remember that you ran 4 wedge from this formation (from Toronto) but I assume that you can run the regular wedge as well?

One more bit of good news....my good buddy, Chuck Rossetti is not coaching full time at his high school this season, so is joining us on Tuesdays when we do most of our work on offense. It was great having him there and the kids really responded to him (plus, his new daughter-in-law just started as a teacher in Duxbury).

Hope all is well with you and Connie.

Rick Davis
Duxbury Youth Football

You're all signed up. Not even any need for you to re-up but I'm glad you did.

In split backs the backs have their heels at 5 yards, directly behind the tackles. (You may be better off at 4 yds) I left it up to my backs as to whether they were up or down. On one team they preferred up (the two-point stance), on another they preferred down. I think I prefer UP. It did seem to me that from an up position my B-Back was better able to run the wedge and see whether (1) the wedge was moving (2) there was daylight in the wedge, or (3) the wedge was stalled and he had to fly over the top

From split backs we ran 88 Super Power (Super O if from Toronto or Over), 88 G-Reach, XX 47-C (But we didn't move the tackle over. They never caught on to what we were doing.) Criss-cross seems much easier to teach from split. It is a lot easier to lead the B-Back through (Lead criss-cross 47-c)

I ran 4 Wedge from Toronto because I wanted my B-Back hitting straight ahead, which he couldn't do from base tight formation because he'd be too close to the edge and a pinching DE could tackle him.

From split backs, we also ran 88 Brown and 58 Black-O. In the latter case, it's interesting the way the B-Back slips into the left flat.

And one play that we ran only from split backs was Split Right 6-X. An X-Block between the 6 end and the 4 Tackle, with the C Back over the top for first backer inside. QB does not reverse out; he brings it straight down the LOS to the point of handoff, then (ideally) continues outside as if it's an option (A Back sprints to get into pitch relationship). It hits really quick and looks a lot like outside veer.


Good luck!

*********** Pope Franjo, who's probably seen more different colleges at more different stadia than anybody alive, sent me an article from a magazine, this one a list of “America’s Best College Football Towms”


To save you the read, the towns are Austin, Boise, Eugene, Knoxville, Madison, Manoa, Morgantown, Oxford

Now, most of those places are on my list of places to go, but I strongly disagree with Manoa (U of Hawaii), and Eugene (Oregon).

I've never been to a game at Aloha Stadium, but I've been to Aloha Stadium. It is far, far from the U of H campus, way on the other side of town. And while the game experience at Aloha Stadium may be cool, with the haka and all that, not all that many Hawaiians seem to think so, based on all those empty seats I saw at the USC game earlier this year. Manoa? A college town? Not a chance. Honolulu, of course, is cool, but Manoa itself is just a part of Honolulu, and it doesn't give you any sense of being a college town.

Eugene? Nah. Autzen Stadium, yes, indeed. But Eugene? Nah.

I don't think of Eugene as much of a college town. There might be some nice places to eat and drink in Eugene but Eugene has nothing to do with an Oregon football game. The Autzen crowd is loud and raucous, but Autzen's not exactly on-campus. Most people arrive at Autzen on I-5, get off the freeway, pull into the parking lot, and go to the game. When the game's over, they simply reverse the procedure and head home, never knowing whether they've been anywhere near Eugene. I've been to games and worked at football camps there and lived in campus dormitories, but in all the times I've been to the U of O I have never been to downtown Eugene.

Seattle is not a "town," but the "U" district is a bit quirky, and the UW campus is beautiful. Husky Stadium is right on campus, in a great location overlooking Lake Washington. When the Huskies are home (and playing good ball - we can only hope) it's a big deal. Last weekend it was the Big Ten (well, Nebraska) coming to town and that was a big deal. Seattle is still one of the last places in the US where the local college team can still outdraw the pro team (I'm not counting Ann Arbor).

Corvallis, Oregon is a really cool place on game day. Nice little town and nice little campus. Lots of deciduous trees, so that in the fall it's very close to the eastern game-day experience.

*********** My daughter called from Durham last Thursday and said it was unreal down there. Said the Alabama invasion was the biggest thing to hit Durham since the Rose Bowl of '42 (which neither she nor were around for). Said the Bama RVs began arriving Wednesday and the place was teeming with crimson. It’s rare for most Bama fans to get to see their team on the road. And Duke people were shocked by the fervor of the Bama fans. They’re used to the visits of the Virginia Techs and Clemsons, but this was without precedent.

Bama fans went and bought up all the cheap Duke family season ticket plans well before the season, and now my daughter said many of her friends have sold their Bama game tickets for the price of their entire season ticket plans. Essentially, they'll get to watch the rest of the games for free.

*********** Allow me to take this opportunity to tell all youth coaches to be sure to tell their videographers to start the camera when the team leaves the huddle, not when it's at the line. Otherwise, they’re likely to get video that starts at some point after the ball's been snapped. I see this in an awful lot of youth highlights, and it makes the video very difficult to watch and impossible to analyze. The human brain needs a second or so to prepare for the upcoming play (and, in analyzing, to see the defensive alignment), but the first thing an inexperienced camera guy wants to do is start the camera rolling at the snap of the balll. What results is either a lot of useless footage when you go to put a highlights video together, or very choppy, hard to watch highlights. Coaches need to explain how easy it is to edit out surplus footage, versus the impossibility of going back and finding parts of plays that were never shot in the first place.

*********** For the first time in six years, a San Diego Chargers home game failed to sell out before the NFL deadline and it was blacked out on local television.

The club said in a statement last Thursday that some 7,000 tickets remained unsold 72 hours prior to kickoff for Sunday's home opener against Jacksonville, the league-imposed deadline for selling out a game in order for it to be shown in the San Diego metro area.

The failure to meet the deadline ended a string of 48 locally-televised regular season and playoff games dating to 2004.

*********** So this is what makes pro football so exciting...

Pittsburgh 19, Tennessee 11… Pittsburgh’s score consists of four field goals and a kickoff return.

Kansas City 16, Cleveland 14… Kansas City puts together three field goals and an interception return

Cincinnati 15, Baltimore 10… Cincinnati, with two of the biggest self-promoting receivers in the game, can’t manage a touchdown of any sort, and has to kick FIVE field goals.

Three games won by teams that can’t produce one offensive touchdown.

*********** Maybe it’s just her hangover from the all the excitement of the World Cup, but I still don’t appreciate hearing the female reporter telling us “the Mountaineers lead the Terps, 21-NIL.”

*********** Christine Brennan, writing in USA Today, expressed shock at the idea that there are still people – men, probably! – who don’t think women belong in a men’slocker room. “It’s surreal to me,” she writes.

Why, you’d think men - men! - would’ve have gotten over it by now.

Actually, I wouldn’t. Just because the liberal media have browbeaten people into silence on so many of their pet subjects doesn’t mean that their hearts and minds have budged a single inch.

*********** Late last year, the city of Everett, Washington decided that it was spending so much on veterinarian’s bills to treat strays brought into its shelter that it made sense to have its own city vet, so it hired Lisa Thompson, a grad of Washington State’s renowned veterinary school. Already, since January, she’s spayed or neutered more than 600 animals, and as she told Debra Smith of the Everett Herald, “I’m up to my elbows in gonads.”

*********** Let’s hope he doesn’t breed… a local guy poured gasoline on his girlfriend and set her house on fire. She escaped, along with her sister, her mother and her five-year-old son. He didn’t. Not exactly. He was found nearby, suffering from severe burns caused when he set the fire, and at the time of this writing was in critical condition.

*********** I heard someone refer to Stanford as “The Cardinals,” and as a Stanford dad, I had to speak up. Since caving to pressure and dumping the "Indians" nickname, Stanford held a contest and passed up such nominations as "Cowboys," "Trees," and "Robber Barons," and chose The Cardinal ("the color, not the bird," as Stanford people grow tired of saying) in the same way that Yale is The Blue, Harvard The Crimson and Penn the Red and Blue.

They played in black uniforms the other night. Why, I don’t know. I’m thinking sales of merchandise. When Jim Harbaugh’s predecessors, Buddy Teevens and Walt Harris, put black stripes on the helmets and black outlines around the numbers, there was hell to pay, but such are the costs of playing modern-day big-time football that even Stanford may choose to junk tradition in search of money.

*********** Jim Harbaugh is achieving success at Stanford because in true Stanford tradition, he is going the contrarian route. Back in the 50s, 60s and 70s, when everybody else was running the ball, Stanford was successful because it was one of the few programs that lived by the pass. Now, with most other schools employing powder-puff offenses, Stanford is playing power football, and Harbaugh looks like the second coming of Bo Schembechler, his coach at Michigan.

On the Stanford-Wake Forest broadcast Saturday night, they said that when Harbaugh took the job at San Diego, Schembechler, his old coach, said he had just two questions: “Will you have a tight end?” and “Will you have a fullback?”

When Harbaugh answered both in the affirmative, Schembechler gave him his blessing.

*********** I am, to put it mildly, very excited about what Army is doing offensively. I've been praying for years that Army would hire someone with the sense to run something not only unique but also reflective of the toughness of the Army itself. Of course, that meant a run-oriented offense, but one that didn't require the kind of jumbo linemen that Army can't recruit.

Army's offensive package consists of the base (triple option), but also midline option and elements of Delaware Wing-T and the Fly (which was developed at Willamette University in Oregon, and which Oregon State has used so successfully with the Rodgers brothers). Army can attack you with all three forms of the running game: power, option and misdirection. Not many teams have ever been able to do that.

There is also a nice play-action pass package complementing the running game, which I expect we'll see more of as we go along and as the talent manifests itself. Obviously, when you are a running team and you throw sparingly, you can't afford things like dropped balls.

The play of the Army offensive line is very impressive. The first play from scrimmage Saturday was classic misdirection, an old Wing-T standard known as a counter play. If you have the game on PVR, take a look. The impression is that the play is going to the right. The A back (left wingback) goes in motion to the right and the QB fakes a handoff to the fullback going right; but then he hands to C Back (Right halfback) coming back to the left. Both the right guard and right tackle pull to the left to block for him. (This was a classic example of playing to your strength. Not many college programs can employ that style of blocking. Most college linemen are much bigger than Army's, but not many of them are as athletic as Army's.)

We began to see Saturday how sophisticated the offense can be. For many reasons, including the intelligence and the unselfishness of the athletes, it suits the type of kids West Point can recruit. Fans are going to have to understand that perfecting it doesn't allow the time to develop the sort of passing game that most of Army's opponents employ. Army can't get the kids you need to run a passing offense anyhow, because they're not what you'd consider officer candidates - they all think they're going to be playing in the NFL in a couple of years.

Apart from helping make Army competitive, another great benefit of running this offense is brand recognition: as word of Army's unique offense spreads, Army will develop a strong following of high school coaches wanting to learn more about it.

*********** Read about the death of Reggie Garrett, a young quarterback at Texas’ West Orange-Stark High School. It’s sad, sad, sad.


Then think back just over a week ago to the near-death of a heart attack of Portland Central Catholic’s Hayward Jemison.

I haven’t yet heard why Reggie Garrett died, but the initial similarity of the cases is eerie.

Meantime, Hayward Jemison, who if he hadn't been at a football game could very well have died, had open heart surgery Monday, and was said to be resting comfortably.

*********** Michigan State's Mark D’Antonio became the latest in a fairly long string of big-time coaches to suffer a heart attack during the season. And by all accounts, he takes good care of himself, even to the extent of monitoring his cholesterol. Hmmm. Stress? You think?

*********** Amazing how you can win by not losing. By not doing the things that beat even the best of teams. Like fumbling.

Don't know whether you ever saw my video of my '99 team but we NEVER fumbled.

The reason was my insistence - except for Super Power when I wanted them to push on the tackle's back - that my backs carry the ball with two hands at all times.

It may look weird to others, but it was a thing of beauty to me because it showed everyone that our backs were unselfish enough to do that for their teammates.

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

I was watching the ESPN3 replay of Stanford-Wake Forest (I think Stanford just scored again) and was mildly impressed with Brock Huard's commentary. At the very least he had come a long way. That is until late in the third quarter when the producer put up a graphic of Luck and Locker's numbers. Brock opined to this effect:

"Andrew Luck played in a big passing system and has an NFL dad, while Locker spent high school running a pop warner offense and has really had to learn a lot about the passing game in college."

Aside from being a cheap smear, the argument was a real reach - a bad performance as a fifth-year senior against a strong Nebraska defense is due to
the shortcomings of Ferndale's Wing T? I don't recall anybody saying Locker wasn't ready for the big time when Husky fans wanted his redshirt burned in 2006 or when he finally hit the field.

Interesting also that Bellevue's "pop warner offense" has at least two alums starting in on the line in college, one at Michigan and one at Stanford.

It also makes me wonder if he's just being a fool or if his dad had a habit of badmouthing other high school's schemes at home.

Christopher Anderson
Arlington, Virginia

That shot was totally uncalled for and an ignorant slur. Locker’s High School, Ferndale, ran the Delaware Wing-T. It made the most of Locker’s ability to pass – and run (are you listening, Sarkisian?) – and to enable his team to be successful. It was NOT intended to groom his quarterback. High school coaches should not allow announcer twerps, even those who’ve played football, to browbeat them into putting preparation of their quarterback for the “next level” ahead of doing what’s necessary for their team to be successful. Running that Pop Warner offense, Locker’s high school coach got his team to the state finals, where they narrowly lost to Bellevue.

Huard should watch what he says. His father was a very good high school coach - good enough that he didn’t need to take shots at fellow coaches and their offenses, and almost certainly wouldn’t do so in public. Brock Huard was a good enough quarterback, but he really let his prejudices show with a crack like that.

Oh- and despite spending four years in the Delaware Wing-T system – at Delaware – Rich Gannon had a pretty good NFL career. How was yours, Brock? Sorry. That was a cheap shot.

Wager: Jake Locker will have a better pro career than Brock Huard, who in three years in the NFL started four games and got into four more.

*********** I like Jake Locker. I believe he is a great kid, with both feet on the ground. I admire him for coming back for his senior year, when he could have left for the NFL draft, or decided to play baseball (he’s under contract to the Angels).

He is a superior athlete. He is big and strong and incredibly fast. Wide-receiver fast. He has a gun for an arm.

But he is not a USC quarterback. And, more to the point, Washington is not USC.

Washington got embarrassed by Nebraska Saturday, and Jake Locker did not play well.

Much has been made of his pro prospects, and of the fact that his attractiveness to the NFL guys has been enhanced by his development into a drop-back passer under Coach Steve Sarkisian.

Sarkisian, himself a good QB under Levell Edwards at BYU, has coached some very good USC quarterbacks – Palmer, Leinhart, Sanchez, Barkley – and he was determined to build his offense around another quarterback just like them. We heard a lot about the strides Locker was making as a pro-style quarterback.

Problem is, the project put handcuffs on Locker, severely restricting his running and the things he’s able to do when he’s a threat to run. In what he can do, in his size and speed and toughness, he’s a lot closer to Tim Tebow than he is to any of the smooth, polished, robotic USC quarterbacks. He’s about as good standing in the pocket as Tebow would have been, which is to say, nothing special.

Fortunately for Tebow and Florida, Urban Meyer knew what to do to make the best use of Tebow’s unique abilities. At Michigan, Rich Rodriguez knows how to use a talent like Denard Robinson, and it isn’t putting him under center and having him drop back to throw.

Jake Locker had a bad game Saturday, and his team looked really bad. In my opinion, had he been used the way Nebraska used its quarterback, it might have been a different game. True, Washington still would have had to play better defense, but on Sunday nobody would be pinning the defeat on Locker. To me, Jake Locker’s failure Saturday was his coach’s failure - his failure to know what he had to work with, and work with that.

*********** Speaking of Jake Locker… There’s 6:30 left in the game, and Nebraska’s ahead, 52-21… and Locker’s still in the game? You telling me you don’t have a backup QB who could use the work?

No? Then wait a minute – if that’s the case, the last thing you want is to get your starter hurt when the game’s as good as over.

*********** I didn’t think that Ingram deserved the Heisman, and I still don’t. Helluva player, granted, but last year, he wasn’t even the leading rusher in the SEC. And this year, based on what I saw Saturday when Bama played a lot of guys, The Tide has so many good runners that they could win another national title without him.

*********** Oregon has scored 181 points in three games. That’s a point a minute. The bad news? No more easy ones, the rest of the way.

*********** I don’t know who it was, but I heard some announcer use the phrase, “vastly improved Pac 10.”
WTF? This was on the day after Nevada’s creaming of Cal. Was that announcer delusional? Did he/she forget about UCLA? About USC, which stuggled to beat Minnesota? Washington, which got run out of its own stadium by Nebraska? Washington State, still looking for its first win over a FBS team since 2008?

*********** The Auburn-Clemson game was one of the hardest-hitting games I’ve ever seen.

*********** The lovely Erin-baby on Auburn’s Cam Newton: “He’s never faced adversity.”

Well, no, not unless you count the time the police came after that stolen laptop and he threw it out the window.

*********** Charlie Strong is going to get it done at Louisville. An interception at the Oregon State 20 with a minute to play had the Beavers breathing hard, very happy to settle for a 35-28 win.

*********** It pays to keep an eye on the center. It’s amazing how often he’ll pick up the ball before snapping. A penalty for doing so cost Clemson a field goal – and the game.

*********** As a fan of Georgia Tech and Navy, I'm accustomed to reading derogatory comments about triple option-oriented offenses from fans even more clueless than me, and Tech fans in particular enjoy referring to Paul Johnson's offense as "our high school offense," primarily hoping that no one else in southern 1-A college ranks starts running it.

Anyway, I started googling around a bit for the weekend's college results. Looks like option-oriented offenses did pretty well this weekend.

Georgia Tech wins on the road;
Navy wins on the road;
Air Force loses, but pushes # 7 Oklahoma to the limit, 24-27;
Army wins;
Georgia Southern wins;
The Citadel wins;
Wofford's wingbone gets a victory; Div. 2 Brevard College wins; Div. 2 Lenoir-Rhyne wins;
Div. 2 Carson-Newman (still running the old split-back veer) wins; Div. 3 Maine Maritime wins (and "only" gets 615 total yards in the process);
Div. 3 Springfield College wins (with over 500 yards rushing);
Div. 3 Ripon College wins;
Cal junior college College of San Mateo wins;
and Shorter College from the NAIA ranks wins.

Just wanted to pass along the above, thinking you might get a kick out of it.

Dan Walker
Tallahassee, Florida

That is great. Really good research.

I don't think many opponents will take up unconventional offenses until Georgia Tech provides them cover by winning something really big, and even then I don't think too many guys at the college level will swing over, because it’s not politically popular to run the ball. And at the high school level it gets the quarterback's father on your ass, and sometimes that's all it takes to get your fired.

*********** Bob Knight returned to Indiana (but to Hammond, not to Indiana University) to be roasted.

I’m usually black-and-white on most people, but I’m ambivalent about Bob Knight.

Yes, he was a great coach. Yes, is very bright and incisive and willing to say things that need saying when no one else has the courage to say them. And guys who have played for him - most of them - worship him.

But I'd never want my son to play for him. He can be an insufferable boor who seems to take pride in acting boorishly. And, worst of all, he can be a bully who seems to take great joy in hurting people.

And he certainly was full of himself. The final straw in his career at Indiana was when he simply couldn't imagine the effrontery of a mere college kid daring to address him by saying, "Hey, Knight."

*********** From the coach who wrote about all the bad Double Wing teams in his area…

Well after 3 games, one of the teams has abandoned the DW.

Guys who do things half assed make us all look bad.

They still suck.

*********** Yes, Gary Kubiak was within the rules in covertly calling for a timeout a split-second before the center snapped the ball on what would have been the Redskins’ game-winning field goal. But what kind of a chicken-sh—rule is that, anyhow? What exactly was its purpose? It’s not fair to offenses, but more to the point, it’s definitely not fair to fans, to allow someone on the sidelines to sneakily nullify a play - to call a timeout once the ball has been declared ready for play.

*********** The Giants’ Brandon Jacobs was apparently in a huff because his coach pointed out that he is not Gale Sayers and that when a 260-pouhd running back tries turning an inside running play into a sweep is a low-percentage play, so he threw his helmet into the stands. We heard on TV that it had “slipped” out of his hands. Either way, stadium security had to go up in the stands and take it back from the guy who caught it. The guy, I should add, who didn’t get conked in the skull as a result of some knucklehead throwing his helmet.

I’m predicting a bigfine by the league. Hockey and baseball have enough scares with their flying pucks and flying bats, and the last thing the NFL needs is some hothead flinging his helmet up into the stands and hitting somebody.

*********** The Michigan State fake field goal against Notre Dame was gutsy and exciting. My hat’s off to the Spartans.

For the first time in years, though, I felt bad for Notre Dame (isn’t it amazing how getting Charlie Weis the hell off that sideline can change the way you feel about things?), and watching the replays carefully, I have to admire ND for not mentioning afterwards that it sure did look like offensive pass interference by the MSU wingback, enabling the MSU end to get free.

I believe that Lou Holtz saw it, too, because he noted that Notre Dame had the right defense, and had the men covered, but… and he stopped there.

I do think his open Notre Dame bias prevented him from sounding like a complainer and saying what an impartial observer would have said.

*********** ESPN is still waiting to show us the joyous footage of the Washington, DC female coach’s first win.

Screw ‘em. Let ‘em wait. Her school, Coolidge High, is now 0-4. They’ve been outscored 104-18.

*********** I’m going to be at the Duke-Army game this weekend. Talk about conflicted – I’m a big Army fan, but since my daughter first went away to college at Duke in 1980, I’ve been suffering with Duke football. That’s even longer than I’ve suffered with Army football. I want so much for them both to be successful… and now, they play each other. I recall the days when Presidents would attend the Army-Navy game, sitting on one side for the first half, then escorted across the field at halftime to spend the second half with the other service.

My son lives in Australia, where you can put down a bet anywhere, on anything, and he wrote to feel me out:

Dad, Early line - Army +6 @ Duke. What do you think?

Will Duke be a bit beat up after 'Bama game? Can Army stop them?

Love, Ed

I heard +7.

It's an intriguing matchup.

I notice that it’s supposed to be around 90 degrees in Durham on Saturday. That would seem to work to Duke's advantage, because it's their climate. On the other hand, maybe not, because they practice early in the morning, before it gets hot.

Duke can throw against anybody but hasn’t shown much of a running game. On defense, Duke will have trouble with Army's running game. I'm sure they'll do their damnedest to force Army to throw.

Duke has played two BCS-conference schools, an overall better class of opponents than Army.

The only X factor is the effect that the Alabama ass-kicking may have had on Duke. I'm thinking that they're treating it like an aberration, the sort of thing that can happen to all but the very best of teams when they play Alabama. Alabama is that good. And then to have to play Alabama on Ingram's first game back…

troy irish line*********** Pete Porcelli, long-time high school Double Wing coach who doubled this summer as offensive coordinator of the Troy, New York Fighting Irish wrote to say that they condluded their regular season with a 9-1 record by beating the Watertown Revolution 49-12.

He writes, “We ended the regular season averaging 42 points per game running exclusively from spread double wing. C back Andre McAuley finished the regular season with close to 1,100 rushing yards. We ran 16 offensive plays and scored on 7 of them Saturday night!! We have a bye week this week then play in NYS semifinals at home

That’s his offensive line at left. Front row (L to R) 66 Allen Preston, 59 Chris Raymond, 53 Tony Buchanan, 54 Dustin Riddell
Top Row (L to R) 55 Kevin Thompson, 72 Matt Patterson, 88 Sean Maile, 65 Mike Chura (not pictured: Lewis LaReddick)

*********** Hi, Coach. I have been using your system for about 10 years with loads of success and have attended a few of your clinics when they are in the border cities close to us. I have used our 12th guy in Canadian football a couple of ways, both as a flanker and a deep tailback. Both of these guys have been underutilized and seeminlgly wasted. My question is this, where do you best see our 12th guy using the doulble wing system? Thanks for your time. Cheers. Todd.

Todd Gamble
South Collegiate Institute
London, Ontario

Hi Coach-

In most cases, I would flank that man. The Canadian field is so wide that even when you flank him to the near sideline he is still a threat. Even if he isn't very good and you can't throw very well, the worst you have is your Double Wing, 11-on-11.

If he IS good, and you CAN pass, you force the defense to decide whether to try to cover him man-for-man. If they commit more than one man to him, they weaken themselves against your Double Wing.

In effect, you have two separate offenses at the same time: your Double Wing, and your passing game to the flanker. If the flanker is good enough and he gets single coverage, you could keep 10 men in to protect!

Another option that I have seen used from time to time is as an extra linemen, first to one side and then the other, creating all the problems for a defense that an unbalanced line presents.

Hope that helps.

latrobe plaque*********** They could have had the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but...

My friend Tom, "Doc" Hinger, one of my inspirations for establishing the Black Lion Award, is a native (along with Arnold Palmer and Mister Rodgers) of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and very proud of its place in football history.

Latrobe was the site of the first professional football game, and thought that that should have been enough to make it the site of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Alas, Canton, Ohio, the place where the NFL was formed, also had a legitimate claim, and much to the chagrin of the people of Latrobe, came up with the money.

You may have noted the name at lower right, Fielding Yost, none other than the famed coach of Michigan and its "Point a Minute" teams.

*********** A coach writes to say, “I should tell you that I have a new coach on staff and he made the mistake of saying something to the effect of "We cant run that against those guys... " (referring to super power...) you could say we had a teachable moment after that.... and yes we ran it against those guys.”

*********** Imagine having to coach guys like this …

According to the AP, Redskins’ corner DeAngelo Hall says he knows what his team needs to do to win: have him cover each opponent's top receiver.
Hall said Monday that it doesn't matter what Skins’ defensive coordinator Jim Haslett thinks because, "This is my team. This is my defense."

Wow. “My” defense. Seen the guy tackle? Imagine 11 guys who tackle like DeAngelo Hall.

*********** After watching the horrendous performances of Favre, Haynesworth and Revis, the three most-publicized NFL holdouts, do you think there might actually be something to this training-camp business after all?

FLAGFRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2010 - “One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.”  Will Durant

*********** Florida wide receiver Chris Rainey became the latest Gator to become a victim of Entitlement Syndrome with his arrest for stalking and for texting his former girlfriend, “Time to die, b--ch…”

Nice.  Another one of Urban’s “kids.”

Actually, Florida should name a building or two for Tim Tebow, but not because he was a very good football player - we all know that. It should honor him because he was such a good person that he singlehandedly provided cover for the actions of a whole lot of miscreants. During Urban Meyer’s stay in Gainesville, 30 Gators have been arrested.  (Remember the "student-athlete" who was found dead drunk, passed out at the wheel of his vehicle,  stopped in the middle of an intersection?)

Here’s the irony:  you say “college football” and “thugs” in the same sentence and people automatically think, “Miami.”

Yet Miami, in Randy Shannon’s time there, has had exactly ONE arrest.  Let me repeat that: ONE Miami player arrested since Randy Shannon came on board.

Poor Urban Meyer.  It’s really hard on a guy's health having to get up in the middle of the night to go bail people out of jail. (That’s a joke.  Undoubtedly the Florida athletic department has a deputy assistant associate athletic director in charge of that.)

*********** I received an e-mail the other day whose subject was “Comment at your Web Site,” from an strange e-mail address that for some reason got past my spam and junk detector.  It began with a reprint of something that evidently I’d written, but didn’t recognize (for reasons I’ll explain). The writer, who courageously signed himself only as “Bill,”  then proceeded to construe what I’d written as condoning bullying, and adding that this attitude was characteristic of “the majority of high school football coaches in this country.”  He went on quite a rant about this, and about my – our – looking down on “nonathleic boys” as inferior.

And then he told me not to bother responding to him – to “spare myself the trouble” – because he “wouldn’t be interested” in my reply.  (“I wouldn’t read it.”)

That really left me only one choice: let it die, or respond.  On my NEWS page.

Given the terrier in me, my first inclination was to get right back in the guys’ face.  But I’ve mellowed over the years, and my kinder, gentler self said, “Screw him. Forget it.”  Besides, it's my practice not to respond to unsigned letters.

But then I mentioned it to my wife, and she said, “You are going to respond, aren’t you?”

And that was that.

I learned long ago that a key principle of public relations is not to get into a dispute with someone who buys ink by the barrel. But here I am, for once, the guy who has the ink. Cool.

Here’s what I received from "Bill."

First, the article with which he took exception. Did I say I didn’t recognize it? Hell, it’s from January 2000.  How did he even find it?

A study by Duke University psychologist Philip Rodkin turns current conflict-resolution and anger-management theories upside-down, because he contends that classroom bullies are not always the "unpopular kids with poor social skills" that most violence-prevention programs are aimed at. Instead, his study of 450 4th-5th- and 6th-graders found that approximately a third of popular - athletic, good-looking, outgoing - kids tended to be aggressive, getting into fights and arguments and being generally disruptive. But they also tend to be socially adept enough to slide by, and avoid intervention. Hey, I hate to say this, but is it possible they are manifesting some sort of natural "alpha male" aggressiveness?

And then his rant…

Coach Wyatt:

So, there's nothing wrong with bullying?  Bullying should be condoned because it's natural (as you seem to be saying in your comments above)?  There's nothing cowardly about the physically strong bullying the physically weak?  Such bullying is to be condoned because it's simply "putting others in their place"?  Not surprising someone like you would say that.  Of course, I wouldn't expect the majority of high-school football coaches in this country to be morally opposed to any of their players bullying physically weaker students at their schools.  I know some are morally opposed to bullying (such as Joe Ehrmann and Biff Poggi), but you don't seem to be one of them.  After all, as we all know, nonathletic boys are inferior.  No doubt you look down on them, and you should because none of them ever amount to anything.  Athletes are a better class of people than nonathletes.  Just take a look at Raoul Wallenberg (a real sissy who, according to his half-sister, "detested competitive team sports").  He didn't accomplish anything, did he?  You don't need to respond.  I wouldn't be interested in your reply, anyway.  Your views are quite predictable.  So, spare yourself the trouble of sending me an e-mail.  I wouldn't read it.  I just wanted to register my disgust with your permissive attitude towards bullying, which seems to be quite common and widely accepted.  And all in the name of sports.  By the way, the reason why the sort of bullies described above "avoid intervention" is because they're given preferential treatment because they're athletes.


And my response:

Dear “Bill” (Since you choose to remain anonymous)

You have said that you won’t read an e-mail.  Too bad.  That would have kept this between us, man-to-man.  So you leave me no choice but to respond in open forum. You may not read an e-mail, but you might read this, since you evidently did a bit of digging through my site to find the item on which your tirade is based (it was in January, 2000. I had no idea you were such a fan!). 

I have written a lot of stuff over the years, and I don’t remember everything I’ve written, especially things more than 10 years old. But I stand by what I write.  If something I write requires correction, I freely make the necessary corrections.  If it puts someone in an uncomfortable position, likewise. If it seriously offends someone, I will certainly consider revision or deletion.  If it provokes disagreement, I expect that, and life goes on.

But if it invites an attack by someone who simply appears to be spoiling for a fight…

In this case,  I must respond to your unwarranted attack on me and on other members of my profession.

That certainly was quite a great stretch, wasn’t it,  taking my simple question regarding the possible motivation behind the subjects of Mr. Rodkin’s study and turning it into advocacy of bullying and disdain for nonathletic boys?

You address me as if you know me. How dare you? You don't come close. You call me “predictable,” but you clearly were highly selective in your reading of my site, or you would have been aware of where I stand on such issues as bullying, hazing, and preferential treatment of athletes.  Mine is scarcely a “permissive attitude.”

Your email revealed a deep-seated animosity toward football players and football coaches.  The tone sounds like the whining of someone who at some point, perhaps early in his freshman year of high school, was stuffed in  a locker by a couple of football players.  If that's so, it's regrettable, but there's nothing any of us can do about it now, so it's time you got over it.

You refer to the cowardice of bullying, yet you sign off as  “Bill” after attempting to besmirch me and “the majority of high school football coaches in this country”  with your suggestion that we condone bullying. I challenge you to provide evidence of a single one who does.

I have been a football coach since 1970, and I have worked with coaches at all levels of  amateur football, in all parts of the country, and I can tell you that I have never encountered one single coach who has condoned bullying. That includes me.  I have been conducting clinics and writing my NEWS page on at least a twice-weekly basis since 1997, and the coaches who have heard me speak and those who have read my site (not to mention the hundreds of players I have coached) will attest to the fact that I have never supported bullying in any way. Every coach’s  worst nightmare is that he will find himself having to deal with the ugly form of bullying known as  hazing - which every year is more narrowly defined – and coaches routinely address the issue of hazing with their players.

As for treating “nonathletic boys as inferior,” the majority of high school coaches are also teachers, and disrespect of any student is a mark of an inferior teacher that would surely come to the attention of school administrators.

Actually, I suspect that you don’t know any high school coaches, and that is your loss.  Yes, we have our bad apples; every profession does.  For the most part, though,  coaches treat young people – all young people – with respect. They are the sort of men you’d want to help your sons grow into young men, the sort of men you’d want your daughters to marry, the sort of men who take great pride in being good Americans and supporting our values.

If you don’t see that as a measure of  good men, then we occupy different planets and have no use for each other.

If you do, though, then I invite you to attend one of my clinics as my guest - come and meet the sort of coaches I deal with on a routine basis.  I know that I can speak for my fellow coaches in assuring you that you will be welcomed there in the best spirit of good sportsmanship. They would be happy to assure you that they do not support or tolerate bullying.

By the way, since this was a study of 4th, 5th and 6th graders, my wife, a 30-year elementary school teacher, says that apart from the fact that they are still too young to have demonstrated the sort of athletic prowess that might later get them preferential treatment, she’s surprised to hear of elementary school boys being given preferential treatment for anything.

(Any of you out there who condone bullying: be sure to write me and tell me I was wrong about you.)

*********** Hugh:

I would like to sign up the Hanover Park Hurricanes 8th grade team for the 2010 Black Lion award.  They have run the DW off and on with other coaches and I installed it this year.  We are 2-0 and pounding along but we haven't been tested yet.

Also, I noticed on the flexbone association website they have a Black Lion patch that is linked to the Black Lion Award portion of your web site.   If it is ok I would like to sign up the Prairie Ridge Wolves varsity team for the award this year as well.  They call  themselves "double wing" and  I would  love to have them receive this award in 2010 if possible.  But I understand if they cannot.  Thanks so much. 

Bill Lawlor
Crystal Lake, Illinois 

Glad to sign both teams up.

It isn't important to us what offense a team runs.  There's no connection between the Black Lion Award and the Double Wing, other than the fact that I founded the Black Lion Award and administer it and I use my site to publicize it.

Good luck this weekend!

*********** Hello Coach....
I hope this finds you well.   Although I haven't coached ball in some time, I do follow my former players. 
Here's an update on the only two I know of still playing, both Black Lion Award recipients.

nick pantaleoFirst,  Is Nick Pantaleo, Hanover Park Hurricanes Black Lion from 2002, and his latest accomplishment.  http://www.northpark.edu/Athletics/Viking-News/Current-News/Pantaleo-earns-CCIW-Player-of-the-Week
CHICAGO, IL North Park football player Nick Pantaleo earned College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Defensive Player of the Week honors Monday.(That’s Nick on the left, receiving his Black Lion Award in December, 2002- HW)

Next up is Dion Wilson, My Freshman Black Lion from Rich Central High School in 2003.http://www.millikin.edu/sites/athletics/Pages/AthleticNews.aspx?ID=8207
DECATUR, Ill.—After leading the nation in scoring and rushing yards last week, Millikin University senior running back Dion Wilson (Country Club Hills, Rich Central H.S.) was named to the D3football team of the week.

I'm very proud of both of them....And they'll meet against one another on Nov. 6th.
You can bet I'll be there.

John Urbaniak
Hanover Park, Illinois

Great to hear from you.

That's just great to hear about those two kids, and I hope when you get to see them play that you'll wish them both luck!

I'm very proud of them, too.

*********** Hello Hugh,

Just wanted to officially sign up our school as a BLACK LION School for the 2010 Season.

Hope things are going well in the Great Northwest – I am still living the dream here at Palmer Trinity.

Saw your comments about Ralph Balducci in the latest NEWS  - I remember him well during those early Van-Port Thunderbird days.  I was very glad he was on our side!

Take Care!

Jake von Scherrer, CAA
Athletic Director
Palmer Trinity School
Palmetto Bay, Florida


********* The Pendleton Round-Up, in Pendleton, Oregon, celebrates 100 years when it takes place this weekend.

If you think it’s easy putting on a rodeo, think again.  There probably isn’t another sport as politically-incorrect – or potentially so – as Rodeo.

First of all (for reasons totally unconnected with racism) Rodeo is almost totally white. 

Second, there’s always the danger of offending the native people who once occupied much of the West. American Indians have long been a part of the Pendleton Round-Up, with a large encampment of Northwest tribes right on the rodeo grounds. In 1998 the Pendleton folks did think it was a good idea to do away with “Squaw Races,” but every night, as part of the Happy Canyon Indian pageant, the US Cavalry defeats Indians. (You think that’s going to go on for another 100 years?)

Then there are the animal rights people. Rodeo makes their hair stand on end. They don’t have Rodeo in the places where most of these people live – places like New York and Boston – but they can find even a remote place like Pendleton, Oregon, and they always manage to make it there to protest.

“Everybody has a problem with something,” says Round-Up director Carl Culham.

And then there are the women.

It’s not as if they haven’t been an important part of the Pendleton Round-Up from the very start, and not just as rodeo queens and princesses, either. (Although the queen and princesses are expert riders, and when they enter the arena on horseback at the start of each performance, they do some pretty daring riding.)

Western farm and ranch women have always been a tough breed, accustomed to doing the same work as men. In 1914, a woman named Bertha Blanchett nearly won the Round-Up’s all-around title, and in 1927 another woman named Mabel Strickland set a Round-Up record in steer-roping. In 1929, though, women’s bucking events were ended after a horse fell on a cowgirl and then dragged her around the ring. Women’s barrel-racing, though, is still a main event.

And now, women want their place on the Round-Up’s Board of Directors.  One of the things that sets them off is that the wives of directors wear badges that say, “DIRECTOR’S WIFE.” (Don’t ask me what the badge will say when they have their first gay director in, oh, 3010.)

Finally, there are those who’d like to see the Round-Up’s “social activity” toned down a bit. In the “Let ‘er Buck Room” under one of the grandstands, they dispense copious amounts of the Round-Up’s “four basic food groups”: bourbon, vodka, gin and scotch.

“Pendleton does have a bit of a wild side,” conceded director Culham.

Current directors, however, sound as though they’re not in a hurry to change things. As Director Mark Hales told the Portland Oregonian, “Round-Up has kinda done what it’s done because it’s worked.”

*********** You and I, and others who share our values, would be mortified at returning the Heisman Trophy, at having brought disgrace and punishment to our school, where we’re now persona non grata.

But we’re not Reggie Bush. 

Yes, he’s returned the Heisman, but we all know who the best college football player in America was that year, even though he wasn’t eligible to play college football.

And, yes, he’s brought disgrace and harsh punishment to USC, but he’s got enough money that someday he’ll make a nice contribution to the school’s athletic department and all will be forgiven and he’ll be honored at a halftime ceremony.

So all we’re left with is shame, and frankly, shame is a concept alien to an awful lot of people under the age of 40.

I didn’t truly understand this great gulf that exists between those of us on opposite sides of the line until I began reading “What’s So Great About America,” by Dinesh D’Souza.

Mr. D’Souza, born in India, came to the US as an exchange student and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth. He writes widely on conservative issues. He is very smart and he writes well, and if you aren’t comfortable with the conservative point of view, he is going to make you very uncomfortable. (How conservative is he? Two of his former girlfriends are Ann Coulter and Laura Ingram.)

Among the many topics he addresses in “What’s So Great About America” is the great tidal change that took place, beginning in the 1960s, to change us from a people who lived their lives according to one basic moral standard.  We didn’t always do what was right, but at least there was moral consensus – we all agreed on what “right” was.

Beginning in the 1960s, the philosophy of Rousseau, a Frenchman that few youngsters of the 1960s would ever have heard of, began to counter the single moral standard. Rousseau essentially said that we all have a “moral compass” inside us that tells us what’s right and wrong – for us.  Not necessarily for others, but for us.  (“Just do it.”)

Writes D’Souza, “Getting in touch with one’s feelings and being true to oneself were now more important than conforming to the preexisting moral consensus of society. By embracing the new morality, the children of the 1960s became incomprehensible to their parents. And as this new generation inherited the reins of power, its ethos entered the mainstream. As a consequence of this change, America became a different country.”

The danger, of course, of depending not on a North Star of moral standards but instead on our own “moral compasses,” is that they don’t always point to north.

When everyone has his own rules, there are no rules for everyone. When everyone has his own moral standards, there are no moral standards.

Ultimately, there is moral anarchy. 

Reggie Bush, accused of taking money when he shouldn’t have but not beholden to our moral standards, was no doubt able to construe an elaborate justification of what he was doing – the school’s making all that money and I’m not, my parents deserve to live in a nice place, I’m going to turn pro soon anyhow, etc., etc.

But the important thing here is that Reggie Bush may never have violated any moral standards that he’d ever been guided by. His could be the equivalent of the insanity defense: without any moral guidance other than his own inner compass, how was he expected to know that other people might think what he was doing was wrong?

Yes, you and I, and others who share our values, would be ashamed of what we’d done.

But then, you and I, and others who share our values, wouldn’t have taken the loot in the first place.  And not because we were afraid of being caught.  Because, old farts that we are,  it was just wrong.

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

Our A back is a good downhill runner so we sometimes run from an I look (we keep the C back in his normal wing position). Have you ever run 5 X-Lead from I as 55 X-Lead, switching the B and A backs' jobs?

Sounds like a standard isolation, but I'm concerned about (a) the B back's inside out angle, since in Tight 5-X Lead the A back's

Snce the back hits a bit late from an I, I like to run 44X or 55X from Power I (RAM= power I right, LION= Power I left)


inside step helps him blocks the inside backer, and (b) whether the I back can get there fast enough.

*********** Did you read about the “national team” that represented Togo in an international soccer match with Bahrain turning out to be fake?

Pretty cool hoax.  Some English wag wrote in the UK Daily Mail...

Maybe the England team in South Africa was "fake" too. Might have been a bunch of lookalikes. That's why we played so badly.

*********** I heard Darelle Revis say "It's not nuthin.'" Was he talking about his injury, or about the value of a Pitt education?

*********** Wednesday night I turned on CBS College to watch the replay of NC State-Central Florida, and stayed on to watch Tony Barnhart, “Mister College Football,” who also writes for the Atlanta Journal-Consitituion.  Guy really knows his stuff, especially SEC football.

He had a great interview with Bobby Bowden, and I have to admit I dod get pissed at the people in charge at FSU for not giving him the “one more year” he was asking for.

Coach Bowden said he’d been at last Saturday’s Penn State-Alabama game; said it was the first time he’d ever seen tailgating!

*********** Staying on CBS College, I also say Aaron Brown and Brian Jones for the first time in a while. I have to admit they’re come a long way, to the point where they’re good.  Maybe they’re not trying as hard as when they first went on ait.  I didn’t like Brown behind a counter on the halftime shows, but in the more relaxed setting of a living room, he’s good.

*********** Don’t look now, but Steve Spurrier is in some pretty illustrious company. He has now pulled into a tie for second place among SEC coaches for most wins.  One more win puts him at 107, ahead of Mississippi’s great Johnny Vaught at 106.  Not much chance of catching Bear Bryant, though.  In fourth place is Georgia’s Vince Dooley at 105 (why didn’t he stick around until he passed Johnny Vaught?), and Auburn’s Shug Jordan (pronounced JER-dan) at 98.

***********  More from Tony Barnhart...

Kudos to Duke for keeping Bama game in Durham: After playing Duke at home in 2006, Alabama is returning the game this Saturday at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, which seats 33,941. Duke had the option of moving the game to Charlotte and a 73,000 seat NFL Stadium. It would have been a nice payday because the place would have been full with Alabama fans. But Duke head coach David Cutliffe, a 1976 graduate of Alabama who was a graduate assistant to Bear Bryant, realized how important this game was to the building of his program. “Some things,” said Cutcliffe, “are more important than money.”

An extra 3,900 seats will be brought in for Saturday’s game. Alabama fans will get another nostalgia trip as Duke’s Stadium is named after the man who won three national championships as the Crimson Tide’s head coach from 1923-30. Wade left Alabama for Duke in 1931.

***********  Jacksonville State… James Madison… North Dakota State… South Dakota…

That’s four FCS teams with wins over FBS teams already this year.  Last year there were only two.

*********** This Jets’ reporter case is pretty surreal but unfortunately not far removed from the concerns of corporate offices. Most men I know fully support a work environment free of sexual banter and inappropriate comments, but a lot of us are bothered by the victimization double standard where a woman can dress as sexy as she wants but if anyone says anything about it or tells her to cover up
they're going to be fired by the company fearing a lawsuit.

I give less blame to feminism than to a generation of labor attorneys with the stones to tell someone she's a victim instead of telling her to grow up. (Nobody asked me but I think this was a great opportunity for an adult to tell the Jets players and the reporter to both knock it off and be done with it.)

I don't think the Association of Women's Sports Reporters or whatever it is is doing its members any favors by pumping this woman's case. Shelly Smith and Holly Rowe may not be Allison Danzig, but the sisterhood falling in behind reporterette tarts doesn't help anybody take Smith and Rowe even half-seriously. It reminds me of a response I read on the Internet to "what happened to chivalry" that went something like this:

"Chivalry lost its honor when women allowed whores to be counted among ladies."

***********  Coach Wyatt,

Thank you for your offensive system I am in my third year coaching youth football  3rd – 6th graders and your system makes coaching kids easier, as they understand what we are trying to accomplish much quicker. However I am really limited by practice times( 1 ½ hours twice a week) and I would like to ask your assistance in how to best focus my time with the offensive unit. For our 1st game we had in 88-99 superpowers and the wedge which by the second half were working better and better. Our wedge could still be a ton better if we could keep it moving forward past a few yards.  For this week along with our core plays mentioned above I need to install the 47 -56 counters and I have a little trouble getting the pulling guard and tackle to change their blocking that little bit necessary on the counter. I have a great group and I feel  I may not be teaching the correct key points on the counters. Any help or advice on these 2 things would be greatly  appreciated. I have the dynamics video, installing the system and a fine line videos if there are things I could reference in them.

P.S. Our league dictates that we always face 6 man front no one directly over the center ( which is why I think our wedge should kill teams  but rarely does) I can’t seem to find to much about even fronts I assume it doesn’t matter as much compared to the TNT look most teams use that I see in other leagues and levels, or am I over thinking this?

Thanks many times for all your help!
Rob Schultz
Auto Collision Instructor (and youth football coach)
Iowa Lakes Community College
Algona Iowa

Hi Coach...

Here's something that may help...

(1) My "circle drill" which teaches pulling linemen on Power to run a tight circle and "stay in the inside lane" so they don't get in the runner's path


(2) My "circle drill" being used to drill 47-C, in which the pulling tackle does the same as on Power, but the guard kick out at the point of attack.   Note that the blocking on the playside is EXACTLY the same as for Power


(3) Some up-to-date video of 47-C


You don't have to run the counter both ways if you can run it well one way.  

(4) Make sure that you are wedging on the first down lineman to playside, and make sure that your backside guard and backside tackle close down fast and push on the wedge without letting anyone get between them and the wedge.

I would say that if you were to find 5-10 minutes a day to run these drills, along with execution by everybody of the basic blocks, and then you were to run the balance of your offensive period as a team, repping plays, you will continue to get better.

Let me know how it goes.

*********** (You wrote) Just wondering... On Madden, can you program your team to hold? And if not, why not?

Ah, I believe you can.  On the NCAA version, you can tell your offensive line to block conservative, balanced, or aggressive which basically means don't hold, hold sometimes, hold everyone.  I'm sure the same is true on Madden.

Gabe McCown
Piedmont, Oklahoma

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

Can you help me with this?  question: can I use a Guard with his number #72 at FB

Yes, you can use a player with an ineligible number in the backfield,  BUT -  he can't go out for a pass.

*********** Seems like the NFL, its teams and its players are all in a race to grab every last dollar on – and under – the table.

The players?  Don’t talk recession to me.  Don’t talk teacher layoffs to me. Not while people are being paid millions to play a game, and tell us how hard they work, how difficult it is to play two more games.  Anybody think to ask any of those guys what their alternative to playing football would be, with the worthless educations so many of them have?

The owners? At the very same time they recognize that they have to do something to counter the effect increasingly-attractive at-home experience is having on attendance, they go and screw their long-time season-ticket holders by hitting them with personal seat licenses, shuffling people’s seats and parking places and breaking up longtime friendships in the process.

A pox on the players and the owners.  They are going to get theirs next year.  I hope.

*********** The to-do over the very tastefully-dressed female “reporter” and the Jets’ not-unexpected treatment of her is just more evidence of what’s been referred to as the “coarsening of America.”

The woman tweeted that she was embarrassed, and yet all over the Internet are photos of her in poses and states of undress that when I was a kid I’d have had to hide from my mother (if you know what I mean).

I’m constantly amazed at women’s obsessions with showing off their mammaries. (When was the last time you saw an actress who wasn’t flaunting hers?)  I guess I could have said “boobs,” because that’s okay – that’s what’s on the bracelets that some charity wants kids to wear to school.

Then there are testicles. Is it possible for anybody who sells things to young slackers these days without going for the old shot-to-the-balls in their commercial?  Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

Actually, it is possible. There’s always farts.  Har, har.  That’s really funny. Latest candidate for a CLIO Award for great advertising is the Jack Links “Messin’ With Sasquatch” spot in which hairy old Sasquatch gets his revenge for having a whoopie cushion slipped underneath him by bending over and letting the methane go, right into the campfire.  Har, har.

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

I was listening to an interview with Jim Kelly yesterday, recounting how many great QB's were in the NFL in his heyday. As he was running down the names of his comtemporaries, it was an impressive list. Flash forward to now, where the NFL is a pass first (only) league, isn't it ironic how few teams have an elite QB?

You would think that the emphasis on passing and spread systems utilized by many college and high school programs would have helped develop more QB's?

Seems to me, having your son playing in a run first approach may turn off some college recruiters, but, it will not hurt his development, as Kelly and history has proven.

Have a Winning Week,

Ed Campbell
Land o’ Lakes, Florida

Part of the problem is that the colleges and the pros are playing two different games and not enough colleges are developing quarterbacks by playing pro-style offenses.  Example: even as good a player as Tebow was, it's still not certain that he'll make a good pro quarterback.

Another part of the problem is that at the same time there are fewer really talented NFL-ready quarterbacks coming out of colleges, the NFL offenses are putting more and more on the shoulders of their quarterbacks.

Hugh Wyatt

PS- The story is that Paterno recruited Kelly (out of East Brady, PA) but he went to Miami instead because Paterno was going to put him at linebacker.

*********** There has been talk lately about Villanova considering joining the Big East for football. I think they areletting their basketball success go to their heads. Surely they know that fielding a big-time football team takes a lot more money than basketball does.

I was around the last time, in the mid-70's when Villanova football was in its death throes.  They did their damnedest, had some pretty good players, but they couldn't keep up.  

By then, Philadelphia had long ceased to be a college football town.  Back in the late 50s, Penn gave up the ghost, making two crucial moves: (1) de-emphasizing and "going Ivy", and (2) allowing the Eagles to play in Franklin Field.  The combination of a far better venue than old Connie Mack Stadium and an exciting team with a great new coach in Buck Shaw and a great new quarterback in Norm Van Brocklin and a lot of talent to go with them, gave the Eagles a foothold in the town that they've never given up.

Even when Penn was drawing big crowds (second only to Ohio State every year in average attendance), Temple was suffering at the gate and Villanova was, too. I went to Temple games in old Temple Stadium and they were playing on Friday nights so as not to go up against Penn and this new thing called TV.  I go back to the mid-50s, when a Villanova AD named Bud Dudley packed old Municipal Stadium (capacity 100,000+, where Army-Navy used to be played) by working out a deal with Acme Markets to give a free ticket to a Villanova game - one year it was Georgia, the next year it was Ole Miss, the third year it was Baylor -  for $5 worth of groceries.  They called the games "Grocery Bowls" and they put some huge crowds (90,000+ for Ole Miss) in the place.  But overall, they did more for Bud Dudley than they did for Villanova.  He started the Liberty Bowl, and after years of fighting cold weather in Philadelphia and Atlantic City, got smart and moved the game to Memphis.

I should note that  back in those years Villanova played very few home games. Three a year at most. In 1954, the year they played Ole Miss, the Wildcats played only two home games.  Most home games, when they could get somebody to play them in tiny Villanova Stadium,  were against the likes of Richmond, Furman, Detroit, West Chester, Dayton and VMI.

Fast forward to the 1970s and it was more of the same. In 1971, they played nine away games, with only two home games, against VMI and Boston U.

Big-time football and a small stadium simply didn't pencil out then and they still don't.

Villanova is as big-time as it can afford to be. It plays big-time basketball and its football team won the 2009 FCS championship.  It has a good academic reputation that it's worked hard for.  I don't see what it gains by bringing the thuggish knuckleheads of Big Time football onto its campus.


FLAGTUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2010 - "If stupidity got us into this mess, why can't it get us out?" Will Rogers

***********  A friend who is getting deeper into the coaching game writes…

“Also wanted to tell you that your piece about the head coach asking the assistant to diagram the Wing T buck sweep is truly an eye opener as to what we all should be doing in order to improve and is a tremendous piece of advice…thank you so much for posting it, I swear it was an Ah-Hah!! moment for me…”

Glad to help!  In the summer of 1986 I spent an internship in the athletic department at LSU. Bill Arnsparger was then the head coach.  Before coming to LSU, he'd been defensive coordinator of the Dolphins. He'd been a defensive guy for most of his long career, so when he was hired at LSU he was asked what he knew about the other side of the ball.  His answer was something on the order of,  "If you're going to make your living as a defensive coach, you have to know everything you possibly can about every offense there is."

*********** Heavyweight boxer David Haye predicted that his November title fight against Audley Harrison will be as "one-sided as a gang rape."

Uh-oh. Women’s groups are furious and demand an apology.

Nothing doing, says Hayes, who tweeted, "If I apologized for every stupid/ignorant thing I said, I wouldn't have time for anything else during the day!"

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

We have just finished our 2 nd game of the year. We are 2-0.  Both games were tough and we came from behind in the 4th qter. We have run the wildcat series as a change up.  As a change of pace our wildcat is similar to a single wing direct snap.  Our qb splits our wide and the a back takes his place next to the b back.  Sweep and counter are our favorites from this.  This week we created a new formation we call” Bronco” twins.   Our B back is a great receiver so we split him out wide right in slot in tandem with the TE.  Blaze is our left formation.  The bubble screen went 50 yards for a score last night. Our formations are giving the other team fits because it not what they are used to seeing from us.  We are able to get mismatches and put the defense back on their heels.   Your Atlanta clinic has really got us thinking about ways to get our best players the ball using formations.  We are balance offensively and have been able to pass when we want and get the tough yards running the ball too.  Our wedge has been the best we have had in years.   We use wing motion and fake the sweep with the qb booting out the backside.   Thanks for all you do.   Coach Daniel King Riverside Middle Evans Ga

*********** You want to be treated professionally, you gotta dress professionally. Everybody knows that. I thought.

According to the New York Post, a female who calls herself "the hottest sports reporter in Mexico" showed up at Jets' practice the other day.

So struck were the Jets by her looks (she is pretty damn nice looking) that head coach Rex Ryan and defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman deliberately overthrew passes so they would land near where she was standing, she said.

Well, gee. I never coached or played with anybody who would do that, did you? Would today's football players or coaches really do something like that?

And then, to top it off, when she was allowed into the locker room after practice, several players supposedly "hooted and hollered" when she entered. She tweeted afterwards that she was "dying of embarrassment." Yeah, right.

Today she tweeted, "Thanks everyone for your support. I already spoke to the NFL, which will decide if there will or will not be consequences. I can say that at the time I didn't want to pay attention to what was happening but the rest of the media heard clearly and in solidarity have denounced what happened, hoping that there is always a respectful climate." Yeah, right.

Meantime, the oh-so-political NFL is reacting as if it has a gang rape on its hands.

Gimme a break. "Dying of embarrassment," was she? Hoping for a "respectful climate?"

You take a look for yourself at the way this "reporter" (is "bimbo" a Spanish word for "nice-looking woman in revealing outfits posing as a reporter?") dresses when she shows up at practices and games, and tell me if she's even capable of being embarrassed.


Is there a single male reporter with the balls to say that professional conduct works both ways? Well, yeah. You just finished reading something he wrote.

*********** When Josh Moore tried to tell Microsoft and the Xbox Live “enforcement team,” where he lived, they didn’t believe him.

When he noted in his profile that he lived in “fort gay, WV,”  they considered it a slur, and suspended his gaming privileges.

They wouldn’t take his word for the fact that Fort Gay is an actual town, near the Kentucky border.  They wouldn’t Google the town name as he suggested (maybe “Google” itself is a slur around Microsoft headquarters).  And they wouldn’t check out the Zip code he gave them.

"At first I thought, 'Wow, somebody's thinking I live in the gayest town in West Virginia or something.' I was mad," Moore said.  "It makes me feel like they hate gay people. I'm not even gay, and it makes me feel like they were discriminating.”

The first Microsoft employee he contacted was unsympathetic, telling Moore that if he put Fort Gay back in his profile, Xbox Live would cancel his account and keep his $12 monthly membership fee, which he'd already paid for two years in advance.

"I told him, Google it -- 25514!" Moore said. "He said, 'I can't help you.'

The town’s mayor said he, too, called and was told that the word "gay" was inappropriate.  

"It was so inappropriate for them, they wouldn't even say the word," the mayor told the AP Wednesday. "They said, 'that word.' It's beyond me. That's the name of our town!”

The Xbox Live player's contract says its users cannot "create a gamertag, avatar or use text in other profile fields that may offend other members," and lists off-limits topics such as drug use, hate speech and racial, ethnic or religious slurs.

Its Code of Conduct does permit players to use words such as lesbian, gay, bi and transgender in their profile or gamertag, but only to show “relationship orientation”

Ultimately, someone higher up the line in Microsoft lifted the suspension.

"Someone took the phrase 'fort gay WV',” he said,  “and believed that the individual who had that was trying to offend, or trying to use it in a pejorative manner. Unfortunately, one of my people agreed with that. When it was brought to my attention, we did revoke the suspension."

Saying that his team rarely makes mistakes, he conceded, in his best passive voice, "Absolutely, a mistake was made here, and we've updated our training to account for that."

Hahahaha. More Diversity Training for the Already-Diverse.

(Thanks for the tip to Pope Franjo, native West Virginian)

*********** From a person and place that won’t be identified…

Some ugly DW in (my town).   4 or 5 teams trying to run it. It's obvious they have not been to clinics. Corny motion. Lineman not running circle. Flash fakes on 47C.

Hahaha.  If you don't know what he's referring to, you may need a clinic. People should know better, but they still continue to buy dogs from puppy mills.

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

Loved the news today and I haven't yet read past the main page.  I loved seeing the quote from "Chesty" Puller, of course as a former Marine I know what a bad ass he was.

The concussion piece also caught my attention.  The school I formerly coached at had 14 kids out with concussions last week, they only have 60 on the roster.  If you saw how they teach tackling and the fact that they hardly ever hit in practice you would understand.  Hopefully the administration opens its eyes before the "coach" does any more permanent damage.

I use quotes around coach because he simply does not fit my description.

*********** You wrote of Jon Hoese, the Minnesota fullback, last week.  This is why Hoese had such a great game:

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=5543430 .

Coach Tim Brewster, who at one time was a high school coach at nearby Lafayette (IN) Central Catholic, gave the game ball to Hoese with the intention of it going to Jon's father.

Jim Franklin, Flora, Indiana

*********** Whatever happened to humility? Whatever happened to modesty?

Terrell Pryor, who is a very good football player, really did himself no favors when he went along with the TV guys in trying to promote the Ohio State-Miami game by saying it was going to feature "Two great quarterbacks."

*********** Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson was not a happy guy at halftime Saturday, and he was pretty short with the bimbo who asked him about one of his players' stats, saying, “I don’t care who gets the yards… it doesn’t matter.”

*********** Former Giant Jason Sehorne, who does the color on the Army broadcasts, is the definition of a motormouth, a guy who won't take a few words to say something when a lot of words will suffice. He's been doing it for a couple of years now, and he has yet to learn when to STFU.

*********** You’re not going to get rid of agents until you slam the players, too. Hard. Lots of kids will gladly take  a free trip to Miami on the slim chance that at worst they'll get a two-game suspension.

*********** Coach, started the season two weeks ago with a loss to reigning section champions, this past week we played an average team with smaller defensive linemen, though they stacked 7 from end to end we had difficulty running the football between the tackles.  We did have success throwing the football but it is my belief that no matter how many people are in the box we should be able to run the football.  Our center failed to call TNT and crabbers blew him into pullers,  I was told that if an opponent pinches A gaps it will work every play because they will shoot through where our guards vacate on a majority of plays, again I dont believe it.  Though defenses have had success the past two weeks with putting 7 in the box our GOA rules should be enough or am I missing something?  Thank you as always in advance.


If crabbers are causing problems with pullers, make sure that your linemen are back off the ball as much as possible, and make sure that your center has extended the ball out in front of him as much as possible.

And if you're having problems with A-gap penetration, check A Fine Line because it could be one or  combination of factors: stance, alignment, first step.

And, yes, you should be able to run against anyone running any defense, but it's possible that you're just not strong enough to enforce your will on a team that's stacked to stop you, and it makes no sense to keep sending your troops over the top and into machine gun fire. 

People can shut you down between the tackles.  So? Run outside. Pass.

Best of luck

*********** Stanford trounced UCLA 35-0. The game took place on Saturday night so if you live back East you probably didn't watch it all, and it ended too late to make any of the Sunday papers back there, but for the Bruins, it’s this bad: despite having Norm Chow, considered by many to be as good an offensive coordinator as there is in the game, UCLA had only 233 yards total offense.  True, that’s okay by the puny offensive standards of some NFL teams,  but the Bruins had only 81 yards passing.

The heat is on Neuheisel, as well it should be.  After all, he had to go and mouth off about ending USC's monopoly, about taking the town back.

His 12 men on the field against K-State on a 4th-and-one lost me.  Once in a career is one thing. Twice?  Other coaches look at the film and know exactly what he is.

He seems to think that he can get away with things because he’s special. You can't help getting the impression that he is an entitled,  narcissistic product of the 80s who now finds himself in a man's job, one that's more about substance than style, and he just doesn't know how to act.

*********** The Michigan-Notre Dame game was a classic. Between the departure of Charlie Weis’ and my inability to pull for Rich Rodriguez, I actually found myself pulling for Notre Dame for the first time since Ty Willingham was shown the door.

The Irish played exciting football and certainly would have earned a win under normal circumstances, but things are not normal when you face a player as dynamic as Michigan’s Denard Robinson, whom they insist on calling a “quarterback,” running what they insist on calling the “shotgun.”

Screw that “Shotgun” BS.  Can that “quarterback” crap.  The kid is a single-wing tailback if ever I’ve seen one.  And Michigan is running a single wing. A spread version, yes, but a single wing for sure. The only thing that’s missing is another guy next to Robinson called a fullback who can also take a direct snap. And a blocking back.  No, wait – on Michigan’s first play from scrimmage, they had a blocking back.

Give Rich Rod his props.  He found a great single wing tailback to run his single wing. And the kid single-handedly produced 502 yards of total offense.

Here’s the wdown side of it… one kid can put up 500 yards of the most exciting football you’d ever want to see, while an entire team of NFL millionaire needs two entire games to amass 500 yards of total offense. But the NFL remains so stuck in its way that it slogs along with big, slow stiffs standing in the pocket, and will turn Denard Robinsons into a kick returner.

*********** Despite Army’s losing to Hawaii, 31-28 on a last-second field goal, as a long-time (also long-suffering) Army fan I was greatly encouraged.

I’d seen enough of Hawaii a week ago against USC, when they put up 38 points against the Trojans, to know that the Cadets didn’t have the defensive speed to contain the Warriors, and my fears seemed confirmed when Hawaii put up two quick touchdowns in the first quarter, and  another one three minutes into the second quarter, to take a 21-0 lead.

And then, quite amazing to anyone who’s been watching Army football over the last 10+ years, Army got it together on both sides of the ball and scored 28 straight points to take a 28-21 third-quarter lead.

Hawaii scored again to tie it up, but Army put on a late drive down to the Hawaii 28, edging closer and closer to a potential winning field goal, before fumbling, with 24 second left.

Wow. Amazing, the sh-- that can happen when you're trying to turn something around. In just 17 seconds, Hawaii drove 58 yards in three plays, aided by a questionable “late hit out of bounds” call, and stunned the Army crowd by kicking the winning field goal.

Unless you are an EA Sports/Madden geek, you would enjoy watching the Army offense.  Army runs a lot from what we would call “Spread Right” or “Spread Left,” essentially a wing-T with two split ends  (“they’re just tight ends - with big splits,” Army OC Ian Shields told me when I needled by asking when we’d see a tight end or two).  They still run a lot of midline and triple, of course, but there’s also some wing-T buck sweep action.  And get this: Saturday there was a fair amount of split-backs formation, with a slot back in motion across the formation and – gasp! – Houston Veer!

Army’s starting QB, who had started every game last year and the first two games this year, had to leave the game with a shoulder injury, but his replacement ran the offense expertly, and led the Cadets down inside the Hawaii 30 before that final fatal fumble.

Anyone who’s ever had to turn a program around knows that you can't take anything for granted, and so enormous was the turnaround job inherited by head coach Rich Ellerson and his staff that had Army won, it would have been the first time since 1996 that they’d opened a season with two straight wins!

*********** Some very interesting games on Saturday: James Madison beats Virginia Tech.  So much for Boise State’s big win, eh?...  Kansas beats Georgia Tech. Good for Turner Gill. How good must North Dakota State might be?  (They beat the Jawhawks last week)... Speaking of North Dakota State, will Minnesota ever learn not to schedule teams from the Dakotas? …  Alabama really did beat the snot out of Penn State. Ingram must be really good if Saban plays him ahead of Trent Richardson. Guy’s a beast… Wake Forest beats Duke, 54-48. Two teams have 1,000 yards of offense between them.  And it was raining most of the time… South Carolina may finally be for real, and it's not because the Ole Ball Coach is slinging the ball all over the lot, either. It's because of a freshman running back named Marcus Lattimore, who ran for 182 yards and scored twice to help the Gamecocks beat Georgia, 17-6. He was not exactly a surprise: last year at Duncan (SC) Byrnes High, Lattimore was the nation's top-rated running back.

*********** I’d call it over-analysis: the guy doing Penn State-Alabama said (of the Lions’ defense), “They’re getting tired.”

Uh, it was still the first quarter. 

*********** Joe Paterno, down 17-0 at the half, was asked what the problem was. He went down a list of things that needed improvement, and then, with the sort of frankness he’s always been known for, stopped and blurted out a football truth that we all need to face up to from time to time: “Maybe they’re that good.”

*********** Question for Tennessee people… when there’s a lightning delay (the Oregon-Tennessee game was held up for 70 minutes before play was resumed), where in the hell do 102,000 of you go to get out of the weather – and still manage to come back and watch the game once the all-clear sounds?

Very few of the people there at the start of the game failed to return to their seats after the delay.

*********** I don’t care for Craig James, but I have to give him credit for a very profound observation.  The Oregon-Tennessee game was tied 13-13 at the half but he said, “Oregon’s got it figured out.”

Damned if he wasn’t right.   Final score: Oregon 48, Tennessee 13.

*********** There may not be a more spectacular run this season than LaMichael James' 70-yard reverse-the-field run against Tennessee. But so long as there's a Denard Robinson, and a Jaquizz Rodgers, and LaMichael James himself, and James' backup, Kenjon Barner...

*********** An Oregon fan at the Tennessee game wore a green tee-shirt with yellow lettering that read, ‘WE HATE KIFFIN, TOO”

*********** My wife insists that since the NFL requires teams to put players’ names on the backs of their jerseys (it does) and since the reason for this is to accommodate fans (always a priority with the NFL), there ought to be a rule prohibiting hair from covering the names.

Good luck, dear. Go for it.  Take it up with Commissioner Goodell.  And the NFLPA, too. But I should warn you - they’re sure to pull the “cultural heritage” crap on you, and for good measure maybe even accuse you of racism.  And of taking food out of the mouths of Troy Polamalu’s babies.

Meanwhile, Washington State has a guy whose mane covers not just his name but his entire number.

*********** Speaking of Washington State, the Cougars trailed Montana State most of the way, and seemed doomed when they scored with 5:06 remaining to pull within two at 22-20, but missed the two point conversion.

Montana State, though, let valor get the best of them, and threw an interception, and the Cougs drove into field goal range and won, 23-22.  Whew.

*********** I’ve known Ralph Balducci since 1980, when I was moonlighting as offensive coordinator of the semi-pro VanPort (Vancouver/Portland) Thunderbirds, and he was an offensive linemen.  A very tough one.

We’ve remained friends ever since, and although he’s worked in manufacturing, Ralph has stayed very involved in football, even coaching at a Portland High School for a couple years.

Whenever Ralph stopped by my house, he’d bring his little boy, Alex along, and while Ralph and I would talk football, little Alex would play with the trucks that we kept on hand for our grandkids.

Now, years later, little Alex Balducci is a junior offensive and defensive lineman at Portland Central Catholic High, where I once taught and coached. But he’s not so little anymore. He stands a shade under 6-5 and weighs in the neighborhood of 250, and his combine scores are very impressive.  Without wanting to sound like a recruiting service (or Alex' agent) he has already been offered by the best-known Northwest programs and has started to receive serious recruiting overtures from an large assortment of, uh, “national powers.”

One of his teammates, senior Brennan Scarlett, is one of the top recruits in Oregon this year, and so last Friday I took advantage of the chance to watch Central play.

Apart from watching Alex and Brennan Scarlett – who really is good - I saw two remarkable things: first of all, in last week’s opening game, Central lost its only two varsity quarterbacks in the first half, and had to make do with using their best runner in an improvised Wildcat – until he, too, went down in the fourth quarter with a concussion. This week, Central’s coach had to start a freshman, a 5-8 kid with only middle-school experience. The kid did an outstanding job of running the spread offense, and Central won, 28-24. 

The clincher came with Central down, 24-21, when a very nice-looking back, a 6-1, 195 pound kid named Hayward Demison, twisted his way through the entire left side of Canby’s defense to score from 45 yards out.

And then… and then… as the crowd’s attention turned to the other end of the field and Canby’s attempt to come back, I saw a second remarkable thing. I just happened to look down at the Central sideline and see a kid who was being held up by two adults, sag to the ground.

And then he lay there. And as he did, I saw them elevate his legs slightly. WTF?

As the game went on and the clock wound down, more and more people continued to gather around the young man, who by now I was able to identify as Hayward Demison, the kid who only moments before collapsing had scored Central’s go-ahead touchdown.

Emergency vehicles – don’t ask me why there wasn’t one on site – arrived and just before the game ended, the player was trundled off on a gurney. With an IV on a tree and an oxygen lask on his face, he managed to make us all feel better by holding up a finger in the “Number One” sign.

From here, the danger is that headline writers could easily write "Football Player Nearly Dies," and we'd all think "neck injury," and mothers everywhere would decide that their sons are not going to play football.

But it's not what everybody was thinking … in fact, Hayward Demison had a heart attack, but it was the result of a heart defect that had gone unnoticed all his life, and if not for the quick intervention of a cardiac nurse in attendance at the game, it would almost certainly have killed him.  In other words, football saved his life. If he had been out jogging on his own, or playing touch with his buddies, he might be dead now. But he had his episode at a football game, and he's still with us.

He’s alive now and recovering, preparing for open-heart surgery, which should enable him to play football his senior year.

Read the whole story.


*********** Between two nationally-televised games – Steelers-Falcons and Redskins-Cowboys – only two offensive touchdowns were scored.  And the only TD in the Steelers’ game didn’t come till OT.

But if your son is a soccer player, make sure he keeps kicking, because he's got a future in football: in the Steelers-Falcons game alone there were EIGHT f—king field goals!

*********** Boy, after some of the crummy things that were said about him by his former teammates, it sure was nice to see Donovan McNabb come away from his first game with the Redskins a winner. And over the Cowboys yet.

*********** Clinton Portis sure can block. The old-fashioned way, too. Let the rest of them play sumo - Portis lowers the boom on people.

*********** The reason I know most NFL fans aren't paying attention: guys keep dropping passes, and nobody boos.

*********** With the exception of a dirty player, I don't want to say that anybody ever deserves to be hurt playing football, but damn - did you see how DeMarcus Ware hurt his neck? To Cris Collinsworth's credit, he laid it on heavy about not ducking the head to tackle.

*********** Did you happen to see DeAngelo Hall's half-hearted attempt to tackle Marion Barber on the run that set up the Cowboys' touchdown? You wouldn't put a high school kid out on the field if you thought he'd tackle like that, yet there's DeAngelo Hall making millions, and it's obvious he won't risk himself to make a sure tackle.

*********** And then there was Albert Haynesworth, doing his damnedest to put it to Mike Shanahan - to demonstrate that he not only doesn't want to play nose man, he can't play nose man. Totally useless against the Cowboys' center.

*********** The Lions’ receiver scored a touchdown Sunday. Anybody could see that.

Oh, no, he didn’t, said the technocrats with the power of review.  He got two feet down, and he rolled over, and his butt hit the ground, and so did his free hand... but as he put the ball to the ground he let it go, thereby making him guilty of  not “finishing the process” of scoring, whatever that means.

Meanwhile, a guy can go flying out of bounds at the one, and without ever personally entering the end zone, reach out with his inboard hand and carry the ball through the end zone’s airspace -  and it’s a f--king touchdown.

I’m for going back to football’s roots, in rugby, and requiring that the ball be touched down beyond the goal line. (Get it? "Touchdown?") 

The exception would be a player who catches a pass in the end zone and gets both feet down.  Provided he “finishes the process” of scoring. 

Never mind .

*********** Funny watching the Cowboys lose to the Redskins with a (well-deserved) holding penalty on the game’s final play.  You may have noticed that nobody from Dallas put up any protest.

Hell, they knew they’d been caught. That was the chance they took.

With today's spread-it-out, pass-first offenses, holding takes place on every play. Coaches know that officials can't see everything, and even when they do see holding, they flag only the most blatant violations, so coaches teach their players to hold.

The problem goes back to the 1960s, as bit by bit, the passing guys got their people on the NCAA Rules Committee and managed steadily to alter the rules in favor of the passing game.   (Long before the colleges did so, the NFL, which rightly decided that their fans found a wide-open game more entertaining, passed rules favoring the pass as a business decision.)  The use (more often, misuse) of hands in blocking is just one example of the game’s radical shift toward the passing game. So is the reduction of the penalty for holding from 15 yards to 10.

You wouldn't see the grass-basketball offenses that dominate today's game if holding weren't condoned and, consequently, coached. No way could they line up in four-and-five wide receiver sets and adequately pass-protect if they couldn't hold.  And they'd have no running game at all (Hawaii come to mind?) without “zone blocking,” which simply won't work without the use of hands.  

Ditto the bubble screens, a base play in most spread attacks. Bubble screens depend on wide receivers’ "blocking" defensive backs. Knowing the typical wide receiver's aversion to contact, and knowing that defensive backs generally are tougher than wide receivers, there's not a chance that a wide receiver could control a defensive back the way we see them routinely do without holding. And then there’s the relatively-recent legalization of linemen going downfield, provided the pass is complete behind the line of scrimmage; how could anyone have foreseen how that would lead to the jailbreak screen?

A major reason why I like service academy offenses:  They play real football, a far more physical brand than grass basketball, because their linemen actually use their shoulder pads. Another reason: service academy football is consistent with their bedrock principle of honor. There is no place at a service academy for coaches who tell players, "Go ahead and do it - just don't get caught."

*********** Just wondering... On Madden, can you program your team to hold? And if not, why not?

*********** See some of those NFL crowds? 52,440 in St. Louis (capacity 66,000) ... 47,211 in Tampa Bay (capacity 65,657).

The Giants announced 77, 245, but their new stadium's capacity is supposed to be 82,500.

*********** “The stadium stinks. Two owners but no retractable dome!”

Joe Christadore, of Kenilworth, New Jersey, owner of four personal seat licenses to both the Giants and Jets, speaking with the New York Times.

*********** Can you believe the Jets lost it on downs because a pro receiver - a PRO! - went out of bounds a yard short of the necessary yardage? Next year, when they shut the NFL down, the NFLPA is going to have a hard time convincing people that these guys are worth millions. Piss on 'em. Pay the sumbitches what we pay teachers. Take it or leave it.

*********** Before you let the brash boastfulness of Rex Ryan turn you against the Jets, first remember that he's doing his damnedest to overcome the fact that in New York the Giants will always be the darlings, and second, read about this article in the new York Times about Mark Sanchez, who sounds like a great kid...


*********** Ron Kramer, a key member of the great Packer teams of the 1960s and possibly the first NFL player ever to have his position described as "tight end," died September 11. He was 75. A two-time All-American and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Kramer was one of the greatest athletes in University of Michigan history, winning nine letters in all, in football, basketball and track.

He and legendary running back Paul Hornung both joined the Packers in 1957, he as their Number One draft choice and Hornung as a bonus pick.

“Bo Schembechler said Kramer was the best football player in the history of the University of Michigan,” Hornung told the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “That’s something coming from Schembechler.”

As a big man with extremely soft hands, he was among the first of football's great tight ends. “He and Mike Ditka and later John Mackey, those three changed the position,” Hornung said.

Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr (last Michigan coach to finish with a winning record) told the Associated Press that Kramer was a great source of support for him: “He called me after every loss, and that meant a lot because it’s a lonely feeling to lose when you’re the coach at Michigan."

Ron Kramer's jersey number (87) is one of only five numbers in the long, storied history of Michigan football to be retired. Speaking of losing at Michigan: what does Rich Rodriguez tell the nation's number one recruit when he says he'll only come to Michigan if he can wear number 87?

Thanks to author David Maraniss and his association with the Packers' organization, I had the honor of meeting Ron Kramer on my visit to Green Bay last fall.

(David Maraniss, author of "When Pride Still Mattered," the definitive biography of Vince Lombardi, is a member of the Board of the Black Lion Award. If you've never presented the Black Lion Award, it's not too late to do so...If you're already a member of the Black Lion Award team, you are already signed up. Sign up)

*********** "I guess people just don't like the way I carry myself." Randy Moss

FLAGFRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2010 - "We've been looking for the enemy for some time now. We've finally found him. We're surrounded. That simplifies things." Marine General Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller

*********** As if the football helmet makers didn’t have enough problems, what with all the well-publicized concern currently about concussions, there’s this…

Back in 2008, Riddell filed a lawsuit contending that Schutt’s most successful helmets, its DNA and ION models, infringed on Riddell’s patents.

On August 18, Riddell was awarded a $29 million judgment, and now it's seeking to stop Schutt from selling any more of the helmets.

Meanwhile, this week Schutt filed for bankruptcy protection, and it contends that its bankruptcy filing prevents Riddell from collecting the $29 million.

9-11 memorial

*********** A federal court recently threw out the “Stolen Valor” Law, ruling that our right to free speech confers a right to falsely claim military honors.  Our first amendment rights, we are told, include the right to lie.

Just one more way in which the supposed rights of one individual trump the wishes of the vast majority of Americans.

The latest case involving those “rights” involves the preacher  in Florida and his over-publicized plans to commemorate 9-11 by burning a copy of the Koran.  Free speech, don’t you know?

I know quite well the reason for the first amendment right to free speech: the purpose of the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution,  was to protect us from a tyrannical government. The “free speech” guaranteed by the first amendment provided citizens the absolute right to criticize our government and our elected officials. As a strict constructionist on constitutional matters, I personally doubt that the Founding Fathers intended free speech to encompass such affronts to the general community as Koran burning, flag burning or harassment of bereaved families at soldiers’ funerals. (Or, for that matter, pole dancing, pornography or panhandling.)

The Founders were highly intelligent people, well aware of the failings of human nature and the dangers that can be wrought when people with little common sense abuse their freedoms.  In my opinion, they would have had little patience with modern-day interpretations of “free speech,” and would have been quick to censure bizarre forms of it that threatened domestic tranquility 

They didn’t provide a laundry list of “don’t’s,” things you couldn’t say or do.  Rather, I believe that in a society that was in general agreement on what the right thing was, they had confidence in the people to do it;  and failing that,  they knew that the general populace had its own ways to exercize  restraints on obnoxious speech.  In other words, one offended community standards at one’s peril.  Certainly, there is nowhere in the Constitution any guarantee that offending others through unwise exercise of one’s rights won’t invite retaliation.

In two very important ways, the threat to burn the Koran resembles the intention to build a mosque near Ground Zero: both are perfectly legal; but neither one is a smart thing to do because it’s going to piss a lot of people off unnecessarily.

*********** The curse of the sideline bimbo... How can any kid avoid sounding like an egotistical ass when he's asked, as Auburn's Cam Newton was after beating Mississippi State, "What is it about you that makes you so difficult to defend?"

*********** How is the network camera's peering in, uninvited, on Drew Brees' wife and kids as she's trying to watch a game any better than some voyeur drilling holes in the wall of Erin Andrews' hotel room?

*********** Definition of a dilemma: MLS on ESPN2, Craig James on ESPN.

*********** By now we all know the warm, wonderful, feel-good story about the young woman who’s the head coach at Washington, DC’s Coolidge High. ESPN, which has taken an unusual interest in the story, saw to that.

Now, though, the rubber has met the road, and Coolidge is 0-2.  The Colts lost their opener to Carroll High, 28-0, and this past weekend, dropped another one to Friendly, 20-6.

This weekend, they travel to Parkersburg, West Virginia, a small-city football powerhouse that wouldn’t be an easy game for Coolidge under normal conditions.  With the hoopla of their female coach, it will be even tougher.

It’s not going to get easier when they return to Washington, either.  In two weeks they meet Ballou High, which is now 2-0, having won its first two games, 38-0 and 36-7.  Uh-oh.

I don’t feel a whole lot of pity for a coach who’s finding out that being a head high school coach requires a lot more experience than she has. But in fairness to her, she has been used by cynical members of  the DC school administration whose only concern the publicity they’d get for making such a politically sensational hire.

But I really feel sorry for the Coolidge kids, because they’ll pay the steepest price for this fiasco.   The people in charge did not do right by them and hire the best coach they could find;  instead, they sacrificed the kids’ best interests in order to make a political statement. 

Opponents will be smart enough not to let themselves be accused of running up the score on her, but otherwise they will prepare for Coolidge like it's the Super Bowl.  I'm sure that DC has its share of grizzled old coaches who have paid their dues and labored in obscurity and put up with bad facilities, and they’ll be damned if they'll let anyone who hasn't paid her dues come in and get all that attention and all those ESPN-provided facilities and then embarrass them on the field.

I'm sure there are players at the other schools who feel the same way.

ESPN was all over the story right from the start.   (Who knows? Maybe ESPN orchestrated the whole damn thing.) But now, ESPN’s in a bad spot because it’s obvious that the story isn't going to have the fairy tale ending they hoped it would,  and they don't want to be accused of piling on by showing Coolidge getting hammered every week.  I suppose there’s always the chance that they could switch to Plan B, which would be to show how the all-male DC football community conspired to keep her from succeeding, but otherwise the story is already running out of gas.

The story behind the story is that a good friend and longtime coach, Dwayne Pierce, was head JV coach at Coolidge last year, and in my opinion highly qualified to be the head varsity coach.  Maybe he had a shot at the head job, maybe not, but as part of the scheme to ease the  way for a female coach, he was completely overlooked.  The whole thing was a media circus from the opening press conference announcing her hiring (it was held up for an hour until the mayor and his entourage could arrive), to ESPN, the 21st Century version of Barnum’s sideshow,  jumping on a story that it just knew  would have every woman in American yelling “You go, girl.”

At the time it all went down, Dwayne,  disrespected and unappreciated,  was torn, upset by the snub but devoted to the kids he coached.  In the end, the kids won.  He chose to stay on as head JV coach, and offered to help the young coach, who was clearly way in over her head.   I told him that I admired him for that; that he was more noble than I’d have been.

Fast forward to the week before the start of the season and Dwayne and his staff were let go.  Just like that.  And replaced with a hand-picked staff.  So much for loyalty.  We’re all in it for the kids, right?

*********** A coaching friend, a head coach,  found himself more involved with his defense than he hoped to be, after his defensive coordinator left him in mid-summer for a “better” job and he couldn’t find a satisfactory replacement.

He said one of the younger guys on the staff lobbied hard for the DC job, claiming he had a nice package that he’d run in youth ball.  So my friend asked the guy to go over to the board and diagram the Wing-T buck sweep.

He said the guy looked at him as if he’d been asked to translate a page of Russian literature.  That’s  when my friend told the guy he wasn’t ready.

The point? 

You’re not going to be a very successful hunter if you don’t understand the habits of the animal you’re hunting.  And you can’t expect to stop an offense if you don’t know what the opponents are doing and why they’re doing it. 

If he had to, a really good defensive coordinator could go out right now and install a veer, or a wing-T, or a spread shotgun offense.  Or anything else he had to face (including the Double Wing, I might add).  Basically, that’s what he has to do every week anyhow, in getting a  scout offense ready, because often, the success of his defensive plan will depend on how well his scout offense can replicate that week’s opponent.

Beware, you head coaches, of a defensive coordinator who simply pooh-poohs any offense without demonstrating an understanding of its inner workings. He is a poseur, whose scoffing is a façade to cover up his ignorance.

*********** Came across an interesting list, compiled by Joel Millman in the Wall Street Journal…


In order, they're the seven most common surnames among organized baseball players.  You’ll note that they’re all Hispanic.  So are the next three, I’m told.  Not until 10th place is there a non-Hispanic name – Smith.

Obviously, a major reason is the large number of players who hail from Spanish-speaking countries: one third of all players in the various levels of professional baseball come from just twoof them, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

But here’s another reason: there are far fewer Hispanic names.  Millman cites a genealogical expert named Lyman Platt, who says that just 11 Spanish surnames account for one quarter of the population of the entire Western Hemisphere.

*********** (From the Boise State-Virginia Tech game)


A great ballgame, and lots of fun to attend. Both quarterbacks were outstanding. There was a bizarre reversal of fortune - Boise State jumped up early on Virginia Tech mistakes, and then proceeded to commit the exact same miscues: fumble, have a punt blocked, miss a field goal.

-I heard a lot of carping from Tech fans about the two calls that went Boise's way at the end. I'm not buying it...any close game is going to have some bang-bang calls that could go either way, and VT got a huge break when they mugged the Boise State receiver on the previous drive and got no flag.

-Still taking away from the game, VT fans and Boise State critics are also complaining that Frank Beamer lost the game more than Boise State won it. I'll listen to your argument if you have one, but I never recalled a point in the game where I said "that was a poor coaching move by Beamer." There was some complaining about the playcalling on the last drive, but Tyrod Taylor had limped off the field twice in the second half, so I was unsurprised he wasn't as effective down the stretch.

-Speaking of the critics, they are out in force. Whether or not they deserve national championship hype, I wish people would just enjoy watching them play without trying to cut them down every week. I think Boise has done everything they can do to make things challenging. They tried to join the MWC, only to see Utah and BYU ditch the league. They've offered road games to big name teams without a return trip to Boise. It's classy of Peterson to be gracious and not turn every interview into an Urban Meyer-esque BCS bitchfest.

Christopher Anderson
Arlington, Virginia

*********** Georgia State defeated Shorter in its first game ever, in front of 30,237 fans in the Georgia Dome.

*********** I was at a college football game Saturday and the Quarterback ran an option retaining the ball and headed down the sideline directly in front of the stands...he was headed off by a host of players and was hit about 3 feet inside fair territory by the OLB and knocked out of bounds. 

The official threw a flag- the call was un-sportsman like  conduct, unnecessary roughness.

The explanation to the coach ( "coach, the QB had clearly surrendered and was headed out of bounds...there was no need to hit him") After a brief exchange of ideas between the coach and the official the official closes with " you know coach, you just can't run around hitting people in this game"?...

Can you translate that for me?

Are the players now supposed to determine what the ball carriers intentions are?

My question is why not blow the play dead if the official believes it is over?

I wonder if that official ever saw Chuck Bednarik, Jack Ham, or Butkus play?  Now they could make someone "clearly surrender".

And by the way, I for one never thought I would hear or see the word surrendered associated with football.

Rich Golden, Montville, Connecticut

I don't know of such a rule, but evidently officials have taken it upon themselves to help the offense by making protection of the quarterback a point of emphasis, regardless of what the rules say.

I would understand it as just one more example of the concessions made to the passing game and its utter dependence on cosseting the quarterback, except that in this case the protection was extended to an option quarterback.

"Clearly surrendered,"  eh?  I haven't come across that in the rule book.  Yet. 

But I can see the day when, like soccer goalies, quarterbacks will wear different-colored jerseys from their teammates so that defenders will know to leave them alone once they decide to "surrender."   To "tackle" them, defenders will gently remove one of two flags attached to a special belt around the quarterback's waste, and hold it overhead.

To think that guys who come from an era of "surrender" and hook-sliding will get into the Hall of Fame, while guys who were fair game for the likes of Bednarik, Ham, Butkus, Nitschke, Pellington, Doug Atkins and Hardy Brown (there are many, many more) are now forgotten.

The first one who always comes to my mind is Charlie Conerly of the Giants, known by all he played with and against as the "Best Player not to be in the Hall of Fame." (Do you get the idea that I'm lobbying on his behalf?)

Like the other quarterbacks of his era - Unitas, Layne, Van Brocklin, Tittle, etc. - he couldn’t spike the ball and he couldn’t get “out of the tackle box” and throw the ball away with impunity… He was afforded far less protection from hits after he released the ball, and there were no restrictions on where he could be hit or how (no helmet-to-helmet calls)…  He and the others wore no face masks until roughly 1955… His linemen had to keep their hands in, against their chests, when pass-blocking; and if they held, the penalty was 15 yards, enough to kill most drives… Defenders could – and did – bump into his  receivers anywhere on the field… He couldn't buy security by hook-sliding…

*********** The guys of the World Football League Philadelphia Bell, for which I worked in 1974, are putting together a reunion in late October, and after years of lost contact,  it’s led to an awful lot of “has anybody heard from…?” and “whatever happened to…?” questions.

Sadly, some of the responses have been, “He’s deceased.”  Gone are Joe Gardi. And Ernie Wright. And Bob Pellegrini. And more.

Gone, too, I just learned, is Donnie Shanklin.  He was a really good wide receiver for us.  Before that, at Kansas, he’d been a standout on a very good Kansas team that also featured QB Bobby Douglas and running back John Riggins.

He was MVP of the 1969 Orange Bowl game, the one in which Penn State scored on a last-minute Hail Mary and went for two – and the win - and was stopped short;  but then, given a second life when KU was discovered to have had 12 men on the field, the Lions went for two again and won.

To give you an idea how good minor league football was in the 1970s, just two years before he played in the World Football League, he was playing for the Hartford Knights against my Hagerstown Bears.

Don’s brother, Ron, was a tight end on the Steelers’ Super Bowl teams in the 70s, and his son, Don, played quarterback at Oregon State.

I found a great story on Don Shanklin based on an interview just before Kansas’ 1968 Orange Bowl appearance, where he was the university’s guest of honor…


and then, to my dismay, I came across his obituary…


*********** Tom Fornelli, in mlb fanhouse, noting that Diamondbacks’ manager Kirk Gibson was stung by a scorpion that evidently had been hanging out in his bicycle shorts, wrote…

My theory is that the scorpion just feels the same way I did about people in bicycle pants when I was 11. The only difference is that while I just shook my head and kept my thoughts to myself, this scorpion has decided to take matters into his own claws.

He's out there, looking for you, the bicycle pants-wearing masses of the United States. He will find you, and he will sting you into wearing jeans.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

*********** Are you as pissed off as I am when I see all these happy couples on TV commercials telling us how they owed the IRS over $138,000 but were able to screw the American taxpayers and settle for only $3,254?

green tech***********  We won 40-30 over Tamarac. We didn't have to punt which is always a good thing. They played their d-ends wide to try and stop reach so we just ran super power and 4 and 5 x  follow

 Got a lot of mileage out of counter

We are 1-0 and we travel to play Rensselear JV  Monday

Pete Porcelli, Head Coach
Green Tech (First year of football)
Albany, New York

(That's Coach Porcelli's kids at the end of their first-ever practice. HW)

*********** The article about Chicago Mayor Daley’s decision not to seek reelection listed all the good things he’d accomplished in his 20+ years as “Duh Mare” (there are plenty of them), then listed a few areas where perhaps he’d fallen short.  Among the latter were Chicago’s failed bid to get the 2016 Olympics, and the fact that “his administration has also been dogged by whispers of corruption.”

Whispers? Of Corruption? NO!  Not in Chicago.

*********** Kentucky basketball recruit Enes Kanter received more than $100,000 in cash and benefits while he played for a professional team in Turkey, the club's general manager told The New York Times.

Calipari must really be losing his touch.  All he had to do was slip the GM $200,000 - $100,000 reimbursement and another $100,000 for his trouble -  and he’d never have talked.

*********** After a $250 million overhaul (overhaul!) the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln left home port of Everett, Washington Tuesday, with its crew of 3,000. It’s headed first for San Diego to pick up another 2,000 airmen and air-support personnel, and then it’s off to such enchanted places as the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Gulf.

Okay, so far?

It’s scheduled to dock in Newport News, Virginia in late 2011 for, according to an article I was reading, a “three-year refueling.”

WTF? Three years to refuel an aircraft carrier?  My wife looked it up.  It’s true.  After commissioning, a nuclear carrier can go 20-50 years without refueling. But when it does pull in for a fill-up, it can take three to four years! (There’s more involved, of course.  This time, it’ll go into dry dock and  undergo a major overhaul of all systems, bringing the craft totally up to date. It’ll cost upwards of $2 billion.  By comparison, that last overhaul was the equivalent of an oil change.)

*********** John Feinstein writes --- http://www.feinsteinonthebrink.com/

You fans at Alabama and Texas and Ohio State and Florida who are screaming that your team would whip the Broncos, that’s fine. Like I said last week—play them. (Note to the poster who pointed out that LSU HAS scheduled some very good teams home-and-home in recent years and on future schedules: you’re right—but they’re all from BCS Conferences).

If Monday night’s game had been played in Seattle, Washington instead of suburban Washington, Boise State wins by at least 10. The setting played a critical role in Virginia Tech’s comeback. Would Boise State beat those top-ranked teams on a neutral site? I don’t know, but I’d love to see them get the chance.

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

On a night that we made all of the mistakes that we didn't make in week 1, a night where we repeatedly shot ourselves in the foot, in the end our kids "kept punching" and scored with 29.2 seconds left to beat the Abingdon Commandos 20-13.

We rushed 51 times for 240 yards and were 6 of 11 for 44 yards passing.  We moved the ball up and down the field, but had some penalties and fumbles that killed drives. 

I am very proud of how our kids played.  Learning to keep "doing what we do" will pay off later in the season.

At 2-0, we've now doubled our win total from last year!

Todd Hollis
Head Football Coach
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois
(For all you coaches out there who’ve been through a rough season… don’t stop believing in yourself. A bad season, coming after several years of success,  doesn’t mean you’ve suddenly lost it.  There are reasons, and usually they have to do with… talent.  Duh.  Unfortunately, since parents are unable to come to grips with the idea that their kids aren’t nearly as good as they think they are, the problem has to be the coach. HW)

*********** The old joke goes like this:  A guy carrying a violin walks up to an old man on a New York sidewalk and asks, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?”  The old man shrugs his shoulders at the stupidity of the question, and answers, “Practice, practice, practice…”

Roger Federer, easily one of the best ever to play the game of tennis, has great natural talent, but he’s also a living example of the value of practice.  Asked why the high winds that have plagued this year’s US Open didn’t bother his serving in a quarterfinal match, he replied,  “I’ve been practicing my serve a whole lot, for my whole career. If I can’t serve in the wind, I’ve got a problem, you know?”

So thoroughly have his skills been ingrained by constant practice, he said, that “You could probably wake me up at two in the morning, or four in the morning, and I could hit a few serves.”

*********** I stopped in at our local Ford dealer, and there, hanging from a counter, was a large poster of a guy in dreads.  He’s leaning against a vintage Mustang – a pink Mustang - singing its praises. It’s part of Ford’s campaign to get people who drive other cars to test-drive a Ford, and the guy’s identified as “Kelvin Grant, football player and Honda owner.”


Now, maybe there’s more than one “Kelvin Grant, football player,” but I do remember one from Clemson. That was several years ago. The last football entry I found on him read,  “Junior receiver Kelvin Grant was dismissed for violating unspecified team rules.”  

Maybe he was caught speeding in his pink Mustang.

************  One of the best high school tight ends in the country is a senior at Palm Beach Gardens (Florida) Dwyer High named Nick O’Leary.

He’s 6-4, 230, and Miami and Florida State are said to be high on his list, along with Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina.

He’s also said to be an excellent golfer.

Did I mention that his given first name is Nicklaus?

He’s Jack’s grandson.

(And also - he's been given a suspension because he flipped off a crowd in Cincinnati after a game last weekend!)

***********  Hugh,

I have a technical question on 88 Brown. I'd like to run A Screen Left off of 88 Brown action.

We're running the C back and Y as the 1-3 combination and using the B back to block the outside rusher. I'm not sure if we need to bring the A back around to block as well or if the B back should be enough; obviously if we need the A back we can't screen him to the left.

The A Back is best used on the backside (1) as extra protection;  (2) as the primary screen man; and (3) as a potential receiver on 88 Brown Throwback

The B-Back can get it done all alone if he attacks the edge the same as he does on Super power.  He has to give the DE the same look as he sees on 88 SP, and he has to get out of the backfield and up on the LOS so he doesn't pen your QB in.   The need to remind him that his job is exactly the same as on Super Power - that he must not pull up in the backfield as a pass protector - was the major reason for the name change from Red-Red to 88 Brown.

The real keys to protection are the hinge on the backside and, most important of all, the scramble block by your playside tackle.  Most offensive linemen aren't quick enough to get outside position on a man who's already lined up on their outside shoulder (and is probably a better, faster athlete) and consequently, the scramble is the only way to keep that guy from rushing right upfield and penning in your QB.

In addition, the scrambling of the playside linemen gives your QB a much better look at the field by keeping the defenders lower.


camas youth*********** School's back in session... time for - youth basketball?

Photo shot on September 7, the first day of school.

Fall baseball's already started.

I needn't add that soccer goes pretty much year-round.

Hey, how else is my kid supposed to get a college scholarship? You can't expect him to get one with his grades, not as busy as he is playing on two travel teams. He doesn't have time to do his schoolwork.


FLAGTUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2010 - “Four brave men who do not know each other will not dare to attack a lion.  Four less brave, but knowing each other well, sure of their reliability and consequently of mutual aid, will attack resolutely.” Ardant du Picq, 19th century French colonel

***********  Saturday, there were three dozen or so games in which BCS teams played FCS opponents in games they had no right charging their fans to watch.  But they charged ‘em anyhow, and fans in enormous numbers paid to watch anyhow, and they got to see their heroes win.  For the most part.

It figured that one of them was going to lose. Call it FCS roulette: as in Russian roulette, you put  a Samford, or a Coastal Carolina, or a Sacramento State in the cylinder,  you spin the cylinder, and you pull the trigger.

It's not that risky - while your chances of losing in Russian roulette may be five, six or eight to one, the odds in FCS roulette are no worse than about 40 to one.

Unfortunately for Ole Miss, though, there was a bullet in the chamber, and the Rebels came up losers Saturday, getting edged in two OTs by Jacksonville State.

Meantime, a few people were willing to put it all on the line. Hats off to Illinois-Missouri, TCU-Oregon State, BYU-Washington, Kansas State-UCLA, Navy-Maryland, Boise State-Virginia Tech, LSU-North Carolina.

*********** Anybody, any time, any place - when it comes to a big game, when the spotlight is on them, is there any team in the country as good as Boise State?

*********** Ahem. Boise State QB Kellen Moore is from Prosser, Washington, where his dad's the HS coach.

*********** I am definitely ambivalent regarding ESPN's influence on our game, but I do have to give the Boys from Bristol their props for ESPN3, fomerly ESPN 360. They make it possible for us to see games (online) that we never would have seen otherwise.

*********** Erin Andrews has made it big.  No more sideline crap.  No more dancing with the stars.  She’s a full-time feature on Game Day now.  She’s featuring a spread-legged stance, the constant brushing back of her gorgeous golden locks, the this-is-the-most-important-thing-you’ve-ever-heard hand gestures, and treacly feel-good, behind-the-scenes stories.  She could kill Game Day for me.

*********** We learned on Game Day’s that Florida's Urban Meyer, back from his near-death experience, is going to be taking better care of his health. That has to be reassuring to the tens of thousands of Gator fans who would much rather their beloved coach stay healthy than risk it by staying up late at night preparing for Alabama. I’m sure that, given a choice between Coach Meyer’s health and an SEC championship, a substantial number of Florida fans will at least give it some thought.

*********** A Game Day feature on the decline of Notre Dame football entitled “Frustration Jesus” was downright offensive.

*********** I was watching Game Day and wondered who the clown in the gold and green flat-brim cap was, when a graphic told me it was named Big Boi.  Oh. I see.

Not wanting to admit my ignorance, I looked him up, and my suspicions were confirmed. Just as I thought, he’s a f—king rapper. Wow. We don’t see near enough of them on our sports programming.

WTF? I guess the thinking at ESPN is that the three guys they’re paying to entertain us - not to mention the lovely, golden-tressed Erin -  aren’t enough.  Neither, I guess, is college football.

*********** We’ve all seen the Hitler scenes with the funny subtitles, but this one, poking fun at North Carolina’s problems, is the funniest I’ve seen yet…


*********** Penn State’s 18-year-old QB looks really good. He threw for 239 yards and two TDs.  Against Youngstown State.  Um -  next week Penn State plays Alabama.

*********** Post-game, Penn State vs Youngstown State.  Kids from both teams holding hands and kneeling and bowing heads in prayer.  Hey – where do you guys think you are?  Twentieth-century America? Surely there’s somebody out there who’ll put a stop to this… this... naked religiosity.

*********** I’ve tuned in to dozens of games in the last couple of weeks, and let me tell you, few of them are easy to listen to.  Most of the so-called color analysts are testimonials to the fact that you don’t need to speak well to get a good job.

Example: “He must have saw…”

*********** The genius doing the color on the Georgia Tech-South Carolina State game on ESPN 3 enlightened us by saying that “a little talkin’ trash never hurt anyone.”

*********** Okay – I give - who’s the guy in the Dick’s Sporting Goods ad?

Am I supposed to know this guy who tells a kid he needs a pair of receiver gloves, saying, “Lookitcho hands! They nekkid?”

*********** Just when I was starting to go a little soft on Rick Neuheisel, almost forgiving him for what he did to the Washington program, UCLA goes and stops Kansas State on fourth down on the one -  and damned if they don’t get caught with 12 men on defense.  Freeze-frame showed it clearly.

A leopard can’t change its spots.

When he was at Washington he pulled the same damn thing against Michigan and got caught there, too. Cost the Huskies a win.  And then, being his usual devious self, Skippy blamed it on everybody but the head coach.

*********** Times are tough, so Notre Dame may very well have had to lay off some equipment guys, because the Irish helmets aren’t shiny any more, like miniature Golden Domes.  Actually, to be technical about it, they don’t even look gold. Bronze, maybe. Or  Gulden’s Mustard.

*********** I have a great fund-raiser...

All that’s required is a pair of hedge shears and a few volunteers: all the guys on your team with dreadlocks, wearing their helmets.

$10 a chop. Everything up to the edge of the helmet is fair game.

All hair will be donated to Locks of Love.

*********** UConn, down to Michigan 24-10, is driving. Fourth and one on the Michigan six.  Guy gets the first down.. and fumbles. Totally preventable.  How tough is it: TWO HANDS ON THE BALL!!!  

*********** How many times do you hear an announcer doofus excitedly say, “one man to beat!”  and then see the runner beat that one man – only to get tackled by somebody else?

********* Announcer Bozo talking,  as we look at the replay of a Washington misplay that led to a BYU safety:  “He snaps the ball over the punter’s head… you can’t do that when you’re on the road.”

So it’s okay, then, to do it when you’re at home?

*********** Among the Nike grotesqueries over the weekend -  the lizard-skin design on TCU’s helmets

*********** Yee-haw! Saturday came the long-awaited news that Kevin F—king Anderson,  the clown who sold Army home games to Yanke Stadium and left the Army faithful with four games in Michie Stadium next year, is gone, off to Maryland to be their AD.  Bon chance, Terps.  (That's French for "good luck.")

Counting Army’s earlier victory over Eastern Michigan, that made two wins for Army football on the same day.

*********** I have a real problem with a coupla female sideline types who like to put their hands on the coaches they’re interviewing.  Think a guy could do that if he was interviewing a woman?

*********** The color guy at the Fresno-Cincinnati game observed sagely, “their legs are tired.” Okay, maybe - except it was the start of the second quarter.

*********** The Fresno announcer was Pam Ward. ESPN has tried mightily to make it work, but she never gets any easier to listen to.

To me, listening to a female voice calling a football game is like listening to a favorite song sung off-key.

Or,  as Dr. Samuel Johnson put it when commenting on another topic,  “like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."

*********** Wisconsin had 400+ yards at the half, UNLV 3.  Yet the score was Wisconsin 17, UNLV 14

*********** Scary moment for anyone who’s ever thrown a shovel pass… A UNLV back dropped one, and a Wisconsin defender “recovered” the ball – and officials took forever before finally ruling that – duh -  it was not a fumble.

*********** Bud Grant, legendary NFL coach, was a great player and coach with Winnipeg of the CFL before coming south to coach the Vikings.  This past weekend, he returned to Winnipeg ---


*********** Over the weekend I heard two different announcers say “Mano y mano,” in describing hand-to-hand physical combat.  They think they sound intelligent.  Imagine – using a Spanish phrase.  What’s next? French?

Nice try, guys.  But next time, before you try using something that you think makes you sound erudite - know what you're saying.  “Mano y mano”, if there were such a phrase, would translate to “hand and hand,” which means nothing at all. 

What you would be saying, if you really knew what you were saying, is “Mano-a-mano”, meaning “hand-to-hand”.

*********** Virginia Tech in all-black?  Supposedly a “tribute” to the corps of cadets?  Gimme a break.  Yeah, right – now, where do you suppose the “progressives” at Nike got an idea like that one?  You want to pay them a tribute, Nike folks? Enlist.

Boise State with sci-fi bronco heads on just one side of the helmets? With dark gray splotches on their light gray jerseys that looked like they all had a case of the sweats?

The dress of the two teams represented the triumph of Nike designers. Couldn't they have just stayed with window treatments?

*********** Seen the goony new stripes on Michigan State’s uniforms?

*********** Did you catch the end of the East Carolina-Tulsa game?  With five seconds on the clock, and needing a TD, ECU’s QB threw the ball at the moon… and when it came down (in the end zone) ECU’s 6-8 Justin Jones jumped up and got the ball (and the win).  How often do you ever see a big guy get a ball that he can really outjump people for - and then actually outjump them?

*********** Watching all those guys cramping up over the weekend, I found it ironic to think of all the Gatorade that’s dumped on coaches’ heads.

*********** Based on what I saw of both Michigan and Notre Dame, this coming Saturday’s game is going to be a lot better than anyone would have predicted a couple of week’s ago.  Michigan?  Whew. Look out for Denard Robinson.

*********** Utica College 78, Becker College 19

This one caught my eye because quite frankly I have never heard of these schools.

There were a few that scored over 70 this weekend. Got me to thinking:

"The 1916 Cumberland vs. Georgia Tech football game was a college football game played on October 7, 1916, between the Georgia Tech Engineers and the Cumberland College Bulldogs. The game became the most lopsided in the history of college football, as Georgia Tech was victorious 222–0."

I remember reading that in your news some time ago.

"Cumberland College, a school in Lebanon, Tennessee, had discontinued its football program before the season but was not allowed to cancel its game against the Engineers. The fact that Cumberland's baseball team had soundly crushed Georgia Tech earlier that year 22-0 (amidst allegations that Cumberland used professionals as ringers) probably accounted for Georgia Tech coach John Heisman's running up the score on the Bulldogs. He insisted on the schools' scheduling agreement, which required Cumberland to pay $3,000 ($59,780 in inflation-adjusted terms) to Tech if its football team failed to show. So, George E. Allen (who was elected to serve as Cumberland's football team student manager after first serving as the baseball team student manager) put together a scrub team of 14 men to travel to Atlanta as Cumberland's football team.

According to the "Sports Hall of Shame" book series, another reason for Heisman's plan to run up the score was that collegiate rules at the time ranked teams based on how many points they scored. Heisman did not consider that statistic a true mark of a team's success, and may have unleashed his players on Cumberland to make his point."


Dennis Cook,
Roanoke, Virginia

I think that they may be putting a nice spin on Mr. Heisman's handiwork.

Nevertheless, in today's explosive offenses, it can be hard to keep scores under control.

Case in point: Oregon put 59 points on New Mexico.  In the first half.  (Final: 72-0)

The Ducks had 720 yards of offense, about evenly divided between rushing and passing.  And 136 yards in returns, including punt return TDs of 64 yards and 61 yards by a guy who wasn't even on the Oregon two-deep.

The Ducks could easily have put up 100.

And that was not against a "compass college,"  either. New Mexico is a D-IA (okay, FBS) team, and  plays in the Mountain West Conference, which aspires to BCS status. New Mexico is allowed the same number of scholarships and the same number of assistant coaches as Oregon.

It can happen.

*********** Since I’m all over the NFL offenses and the college spread guys for their inability to score when they get down close, it’s only fair that I eat my words after watching Navy, with one of the nation’s best running attacks,  getting inside Maryland’s 20 on five different occasions and coming away with only 14 points, getting stuffed at the very end at fourth-and-goal from the one.


FLAGFRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2010 - “If we’re going to be despised or hated by anybody because we go to school and we want to win, you know what?  That’s your problem.”  Mike Krzyzewski

*********** Today’s prime example of what happens when stupidity and money come together in large quantities...

When Dolphins’ defensive end Kendall Lankford took his helmet off after practice the other day, he noticed something missing. His diamond earring.

Yes, yes, I know – he’s not supposed to wear jewelry on the field, but what can a guy do? Jewelry is such a part of a man these days that it’s easy to forget you’re wearing it, even if it is a 2-1/2 carat diamond.

That’s such a rock that one jewelry expert has estimated it could be worth more than $50,000, so needless to say, Mr. Lankford was a trifle upset.  He got down on his hands and knees and started looking for it, and was joined by several of his teammates, who no doubt understood the unique problems faced by men who wear expensive jewelry.

"He's a teammate. That's what you do," defensive end Ryan Baker told the Associated Press. "It's a fat diamond. It's a shame."

A damn shame, I might add. As of press time, the diamond had not yet been found, and the poor guy's having to walk around half-dressed.

*********** Don't know who those guys calling the Pitt-Utah game on Versus were, but they were godawful. The play-by-play guy must have forgotten that the game was on TV, and we could actually see the action, because he gave it the radio treatment and wouldn't STFU. On Utah's first offensive play, as Utah's QB stood back there in shotgun position, he actually said, "Wynn, barking out the signals..."

*********** Pitt-Utah was a helluva game, by the way - but I sure would like to get my hands on the a**holes who passed the rule a few years ago allowing coaches to call time out unbeknownst to anyone else on the field, just by notifying and official standing next to them.

*********** I don't understand Pitt. They got Dion Lewis, one of the best backs in the East, if not the country, and he scarcely touched the ball in the fourth quarter. Okay, I understand that a good part of the time they were coming from behind, throwing the ball to win the game or at least get into position to kick a field goal.

But then they got into overtime and instead of giving the ball to Lewis, they went instead with the pass. And on first down, their freshman QB, a very good kid who will win them a lot of games, and he underthrew an out route which Utah inercepted. Game over.

I won't be in Pittsburgh to ask why, but I'm sure there's a sportswriter or two who will do it for me.

*********** You can only keep your sets tuned to so many games, so the one that I decided had to go was Minnesota at Middle Tennessee. Do I need to repeat that? Minnesota AT Middle Tennessee. Yes, I know - Middle Tennessee is the best team in the Sun Belt. But having said that, WTF is a Big Ten team doing playing at a Sun Belt Conference school?

So it was only by chance that I caught the score - 17-14, Middle Tennessee, in the third quarter - and I was on it.

And what I saw was Minnesota take the ball near the start of the fourth quarter and put on a power running clinic, first driving close enough to kick a field goal, and then driving for the winning score. The final score of 24-17 wasn't exactly reflective of what proved to be a physical pounding, because Minnesota finally downed the ball on the Middle Tennessee 10 starting with 1:30 left.

Minnesota not only has a dcent-looking ground game, but they have a beast of a fullback, a kid named Hoese, who's actually allowed to run the ball. He picked up several key first downs, and scored all three touchdowns.

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

It is always a treat to read your “News” blog. I was particularly interested in a brief piece you had from 31 August 2010. It was the following:

In New York State semi-pro ball, the Troy Fighting Irish are now 7-1 after a win over the Oneida County Titans. Writes offensive coordinator Pete Porcelli, who has been running my Double Wing exclusively from spread formation, “ had over 600 yards of total offense - 508 on the ground and 95 thru the air. Everyone touched the ball!”

If the Fighting Irish are running “ . . . exclusively from the spread formation,” how are they handling the blocking on the Super Power? Secondly, do you know what other “adjustments” they have made in blocking assignments? Thanks and keep up the great work.

Mike O’Donnell
Grantsburg, Wisconsin

As always with spread, you can't run Super Power.  So they run Super-O, and hinge with the backside tackle.  You nearly always find a defender in a "5" tech on the tackle and you double-team him with the tackle and wingback.

If that guy is too wide to Double-team, you can seal down to the inside with the tackle and kick him out with your B-Back, or...

You run 4-x or 5-x.  You can't run 6-G or 7-G (no TE) but you're getting just about the same thing with 4-X and 5-X, either leading the playside wingback through or bringing him over the top for the inside LBer. 

In running a counter, your playside tackle often has to take a man by himself because there is no TE there to double team.

Otherwise, pretty much exactly the way you'd expect them to run things.

*********** What do you do when your team is just flat in practice...my kids just didn't have it last night despite my "cajoling"....even tried to finish up with one of their favorite hitting drills that involves everyone and everyone gets to carry the ball, etc....uninspired.

It's been a while since I was a head coach and had a team appear to be "flat."  I'm not sure what that would look like.

Maybe it's not something I've ever noticed.  Maybe my expectations are different.  All I really care about, frankly,  is whether we're getting the things done that we need to get done.

That is something that I don't leave to chance.  It starts with organization.  That's essential to teaching, and I guarantee you, I was a damn good classroom teacher.   I know what I have to teach and how I'm going to teach it and - very important - how I'm going to make sure that what I've taught has been learned.  I don't confuse teaching with testing, although a lot of coaches do.  They're the ones who throw a couple of kids into a full-speed drill before they've really taught them the skills they need.  They are giving them the test before they've given them the lesson.  And - very important -  I know how much time I have in which to teach it.

Next comes leadership, and that's a subject all its own. I don't fire a team up.  I believe that's the job of the leaders.

I do believe that I may have some God-given talent in this regard, but I think I can spot leaders and help make ways for them to lead. Even when I've  taken a job late,  it's been possible to find and develop leaders in a fairly short time.   There is no magic formula, but the best place to start in a high school program) is with seniors.  I've never had a group of seniors that didn't want to lead.  

I believe in developing a continuous process of turning responsibility over to them.  I believe that when they realize that I'm giving them increasing responsibility, they really do believe me when I tell them it's their team.  As they progress, I will ask their advice on key matters.

This, by the way, is one reason why I work like hell to avoid having to deal with first-year seniors.  They are really in limbo, because for the most part, they are just in it for themselves, and really don't understand the dynamics of a team.  In my experience, few of those guys are ever going to be of much help on the field, and fewer still will assume any leadership role.  There is great potential there for disgruntlement.

With the entire team, I do everything I can do foster a businesslike atmosphere - that we have a job to do and we've got to get the job done, and here's how we have to do it.

This doesn't mean that we don't have fun.  We laugh a lot.  But there's a time to laugh and a time to get serious, and they know that the  job comes first. That's an important thing for kids to learn.

Finally comes clear communication of what we have to accomplish.  I believe in setting a tone every day before we go on the field. My teams never go out onto the field without my giving them a little talk - emphasis on little.  No more than five minutes. I hit on the things we have to get done that day, and how we're going to go about it.  (I never post the schedule on a board - I think it's too impersonal and gives the bitchers, if there are any, something to get them started.  Besides, my schedule seldom varies, so they all quickly get to know the general order of things.) I am brief and concise, because that way they will better understand me.  I do believe that I am enlisting them in the effort - that I am getting across to them the idea that we all are in it together.

This get-together  also ensures that they are all ready for practice, because when I start to talk, they are expected to be seated and dressed. Taped if that applies.  I cut them no slack on that.  No one will be putting on his pads or pulling on his jersey when I am talking.

When we go out, we go out together, just as we do on Friday night.  I detest watching kids go out on the field early and then just laze around, sitting on their asses waiting for the coaches to show up.  When we go out on the field, we all go out on the field, and practice starts. 

Again, I can't say that I have answers for your situation.  This is a roundabout way of answering,  but I think that through organization, team leadership and clear communication I have been able to maintain a pretty consistent workplace attitude.

***********  A great site reveals this season's uniform changes...


Not many changes in that I’d consider an improvement.  In the past, it’s been the places where winning is not a tradition that have been most willing to ditch tradition, but now, even Ohio State and Alabama have their price.

Biggest problem  for designers – the vanishing sleeves. There’s not much sleeve left on jerseys anymore and what’s left is often tucked under the shoulder pads, the better to display the old deltoids, so any attempt at striping looks idiotic. Stripes that went around the biceps on the original versions are up around the shoulders on the retro jerseys.

One possibility that Nike seems to have hit on with some retro Oregon State unis has been to put the stripes around the bicepts - on the performance-wear undergarment.  A secondary benefit there is the covering of tattoos.

Second biggest problem –  shrinking shoulder pads.  With few exceptions, players are wearing the smallest they can find. Not a lot of room up top for TV numbers.

Third problem - white sweat sox are all but gone, replaced by a solid-color from knee to shoetop, giving many players the prancy-prancy look of ballet dancers.

More from the Nike site. http://www.nike.com/nikeos/p/usnikefootball/en_US/rivalries2010#landing

You will possibly note that Nike makes the decision when and where its foo-foo uniforms will be worn, which is usually in the team’s most-watched game of the year (Ohio State vs. Michigan, Oregon State vs. Oregon).

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

My local high school football beat reporter in Connecticut posted the following link on his page entitled "More proof that ESPN is conducting a hostile takeover of High School Football" http://www.sacbee.com/2010/08/28/2988867/local-media-coaches-riled-by-espn.html



Matt Oravetz
Milford, Connecticut

Saw that.  It disgusted me.

I love some of the stuff that ESPN delivers, but I sure don’t care for the way it delivers it.

Putting Craig James (speaking of disgust) aside for the moment,  ESPN is, after all, Disney, and Disney World is where the Pop Warner Super Bowl is played, and ESPN has the rights to NFL Monday Night Football and the NFL bankrolls and controls USA Football, which includes Pop Warner, which...

You get the point.  It’s a f--king octopus.  The only thing missing in the puzzle is the high schools, and ESPN is obviously in a race with somebody, somewhere, to stage a playoff for a "mythical national high school championship" among the various elite programs that it has been promoting through games like this.

Meantime, regular appearances on ESPN will assure that certain schools remain among the nation's elite...  ("If you're looking for exposure, you do know that we're going to be on ESPN twice next season, right?")

Don't forget the unholy alliance of ESPN and its symbiotic relationship with its recruiting service.  Also, ESPN's planned reach deep into the local sports scene in major metro areas, as it takes aim at the local papers.

Then there is the great advantage of being designated a Nike school.  How could Nike (or adidas or UnderArmour) possibly pass up the chance to outfit a team that's going to be being seen all over the country?

Meanwhile, the rest of us poor schlubs in our little towns with our Class A high school teams can only dream  being on ESPN with the High and the Mighty schools, and will just have to content themselves with winning the homecoming game and the occasional district championship. 

And I, like a damn fool,  fully aware that the ESPN/recruiting services axis threatens to undermine everything that's great about high school football, sit back and enjoy the games.

Thanks for thinking of me.

*********** In a small Western Pennsylvania town, several football players were suspended from the team because of “inappropriate text messages” that they sent over the summer.

The superintendent says the incident didn't involve sexting -  sending sexually explicit pictures.

Hmmm.  Since we’re not talking pornography, I’m guessing it involves cyberbullying/hazing.  WTF else could it be?????

*********** Coach -  (A local high school ) recently had several players get in trouble with the law. One received a DUI. All were on the field Friday night.

The coach does not realize what damage he has done. The kids now think if you are a star you can do what ever you want. That is what the kids are saying.
Name withheld by request

Agreed that this sets a horrible example.  But more to the point, I can't believe that that school district is so far behind the times that discipline for a DUI is left in the hands of the coach.

*********** Next time someone in a suit gives you some crap about poor turnouts for football, tell him/her that the problem goes well beyond football. Let them know that thanks to the Holy Trinity of (1) Fast Food and soft drinks,  (2) video games and (3)  the reduction of high school PE, there's a lot more at stake than just  getting kids off their asses and out for sports. 

And then show them this article…


n cedar*********** Coach, Thought you might really like the picture... C-back following our RT through the whole on a super power. Good kick out block by the B back on the bottom right of the picture. Great down blocks by # 60 and 78 as well. We ran 53 times for 322 yards in our first game. We also were 7 for 9 throwing for 114 yards. A great first night for us. We won 35-0 over our archrival. Hope your season is going well? School and football is keeping me hopping. Keep in touch, and keep coaching! Thanks,

Clay Harrold, Head Football Coach

North Cedar High School, Stanwood, Iowa

Got to love the way that runner has his inside hand on the back of his big pulling tackle. He's out of reach (and sight) of any tackler, and in a position to break either way. HW

*********** There are few things I love more than college football.  But between the college ADs – increasingly a bunch of suits with no football in their background -  and their craving for money, the shoe companies and their greedy marketing, the TV networks and their desire to stage games whenever and wherever they want,  and the pernicious influence of the NFL,  I can see all the things that I’ve come to love about college football taking a back seat to all the things I deplore.

Think they can’t ruin a anything as big and strong as college football?   Think again.

NASCAR’s doing it right now.  There’s got to be tens of thousands of loyal Carolinians, both North and South, guys who supported them back in the days when drivers were named Buck, and Cale, and Junior. Now, NASCAR’s gone Big Time, no longer running at places like Rockingham and North Wilkesboro, no longer appealing to guys who drive pickup trucks and eat pork barbecue and work on their cars in their spare time.

Think it can't happen to football? Look at what’s happening at West Point. A football game in Army’s Michie Stadium is consistently on any list of  sports events you need to see at least once in your lifetime.  Between the beauty of the US Military Academy itself, the brilliant colors of the autumn leaves, the blue of the Hudson River and the thrill of knowing that this is sacred football ground, it is a wonderful place to watch a football game.  But what the hell – money’s money. So next year, Army will play all of its “big” games someplace else, and only four (4!) home games on their hallowed home field.

They're not exactly blockbuster games, either: San Diego State… Northwestern...  Tulane...  Fordham (WTF?)

Good luck making advance plans to go to the game from any distance. If you can find a game on there that the TV guys won’t juggle around, right up to the last minute, be sure to let me know.

2012 offers season ticker holders an extra game at Michie, a MAC-lite package including Northern Illinois, Stony Brook, Kent State, Ball State and Temple.

The one “big” home 2012 game, against Air Force, is scheduled to be played in the Steinbrennerdome, aka Yankee Stadium. Ah, the beauty of the Bronx in the fall, the late afternoon sun reflecting off apartment buildings.

Since I'm already started, it's hard to stop. I keep thinking of more ways in which the powers that be are working to make the game unrecognizeable to its hard core:

Uniforms, designed totally with the retail market in mind, changing from game to game according to the whims of apparel companies…  traditional leagues in disarray, and long-time rivalries trashed …  games played at “neutral sites” far from either team’s campus…  game times routinely listed as “TBA” until the TV guys finally decide the day and time on which you're allowed to watch your team play …  cookie-cutter offenses.

Want more? How about the exponentially-growing list of criminal offenses by “student-athletes” who wouldn’t even be allowed close to a college campus if they had to apply as normal students… Kids leaving after three years… Coaches earning CEO-like pay thanks to coolie labor whose sole reimbursement is something called a scholarships, nearly worthless to non-students incapable of doing college-level work… Recruiting services and recruiting sites and personal coaches who convince high school players to forget about their teammates and think more about themselves; agents who do the same thing for college athletes … “Offers” being made to eight graders, and “Commits” prior to senior year…

Where and when will it stop? Or will it?

*********** That enviro-nut who held hostages at Discovery Channel headquarters? The one whose website referred to human babies as “parasites” on the planet, and called for a moratorium on births?

He’s in heaven now, of course, but if he had it to do over again, I’d advise him, rather than screwing around with a TV  network, to head instead for the headquarters of the  NFL or NBA (leaving the bombs home this time) and demand vasectomies be performed on all professional athletes who’ve sired more than one illegitimate child with more than one baby momma.

Latest in a long line of examples:  Jets’ cornerback Antonio Cromartie, “father” of eight children by at least six baby mommas in five different states.

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

Do you have any information or suggestions regarding substituting minimum-play (non-starters) players in youth football?

Hi Coach-

BIG problem for lots of youth coaches.  I do believe that if a kid comes to all the practices and does everything asked of him he has earned an opportunity to play in a game. But I shake my head when some youth coaches tell me that they HAVE to play every kid an equal amount of time - whether or not they come to practice that week.

I'm assuming you're talking about kids who just aren't very good, but you could be talking about kids who aren't able to protect themselves.  The usual place to play minimum-play kids is on offense because, to be blunt, you can often hide kids someplace on offense, but it's pretty hard to hide them anywhere on defense.   I can think only of a free safety - very deep -  if he might be in some danger, and nose man if he's  able to deal with contact but just not very good.

One way to handle it - if you have a LOT of players - is to have a full second offensive unit, and coach 'em up and let them know they'll stay in the game until they turn the ball over or give it up on downs. You can't do this on defense, because they'd only be on the field for one or two plays, until the opponent scored, but it is possible for even less gifted kids to learn to run a few plays presentably.   A friend in California, a very good coach named Richard Scott, was able to do this successfully when he found himself with way too many kids to substitute them individually.

If you only need to get  few kids into the game, and you happen to be running my offense, you can get one of them in their at a split end position (LEE formation left, ROY formation right), and you can get two of them in by running from SPREAD formation and splitting them both.  You might be surprised at how effectively you can run my system with two split ends.  

(Remember Lou Holtz' adage: if you split a man out, even if he has no arms they'll still send a man out to cover him, but just to be sure, throw them a pass every once in a while.)

Another way is to substitute for the motion man whenever he's just being used as a diversion.  You can call one player RIP and another one LIZ and send him into the game to go in motion.

Tough deal.   I wish you well.