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Taking a break. . .

25 Nov

Just for the holidays. Be back next year.


Great Coaches: Bud Wilkinson

22 Mar


Bud1Before he entered coaching, he briefly worked for his father’s mortgage company. But the lure of coaching football was too powerful, so Wilkinson became an assistant coach at Syracuse and then back at Minnesota. During World War II he served on an aircraft carrier with the U.S. Navy, and also coached a Navy football team at Iowa Preflight Academy, a school designed to prepare its students to enter Naval flight school.

faurot1 - at the  chalknoard

Dan Faurot at the chalkboard.

At Iowa Preflight, Wilkinson met and coached with Jim Tatum in 1946 where he learned the intricacies of Dan Faurot’s Split-T offense.  When Tatum was hired as the head football coach at the University of Oklahoma. Wilkinson followed Tatum to Norman, and after just one season, Tatum left the Sooners for Maryland. The 30-year-old Wilkinson was named head coach (and athletic director) and would soon make history with the option offense Farout had created and, with the aid of Gomer Jones,  his defensive coordinator, he would devise the 5-2 Defense, which became widely used by colleges and high schools and was simply known as the “Okie” defense.

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Blast from the Past: How Theodore Roosevelt Changed Football

20 Mar

Article (1905)

Concussions weren’t a pressing issue in the early days of football.  Dying was.  So, after 19 players had been killed and 159 critically injured playing the game in 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt – no stranger himself to rugged play — gave the ruling powers of football a choice: change the game or see it abolished by Executive Order.

teddy roosevelt (as a player - 2x3)

Teddy as a player.

As much as he loved the toughness that football ingrained in America’s youth, Roosevelt — and much of eastern society — had wearied of its savagery.  It was, by numerous descriptions, no better than brawling and not only because of the numerous fist fights that routinely erupted at games, but mostly because of an offensive strategy called “mass-momentum plays.”

The concept of massing players into tightly woven formations to increase their power at the point of attack began in 1884, during a game between Princeton and Penn.  In an attempt to break a 0-0 deadlock, Princeton quarterback Richard Hodge devised a play in which the “rush-line” – an early version of an offensive line – jumped into a wedge or V-shaped formation at the snap of the ball and plowed forward like a tank through the Penn defense with the ballcarrier safely tucked in behind.  The men from Penn had no answer for the trick formation and were routed 31-0.

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Down and Distance

20 Mar

Chain Crew

You will routinely hear TV announcers use the expressions “first and ten” or “three and out” to describe the actions of a team’s offensive unit during a game. They are referring to the “down and distance”. A “down” is nothing more than a play. From the second the ball is snapped — or “put into play” — to the moment the action is stopped by the officials that is one “play”.

To maintain possession of the football, offenses are given four plays or “downs” to either score or gain the yardage necessary to be awarded a “first down” which is another set of four downs. Generally the yardage needed to gain a first down is ten yards but that can change due to penalties or tackles that result in lost yardage.

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