Sunday, April 18, 2010

People (more specifically athletes) Change (sometimes)

As I was reading the Plain Dealer at McD's this morning, read "Glenville Wins Meet." Of course, being the high school sports guy that I am, my thoughts turned to Latwan Anderson and his record setting day. You see, he broke Robert Smith's 20 year record in the 200 meters at the Mansfield Mehock Relays. Record - 21.3. He also ran 48.03 in the 400 and achored both the 4/2 and the 4/4. That is smokin!!!!

As you know, I made the statement once that I would not want really want to coach him, but in the times I have chatted with him, he was fun. Now, he "dances to his own drummer," no doubt, but the kid can play football. A top 3 player in Ohio. I thought that the "U" was pretty serious about him, when they called and asked for some full game video. He has committed to Miami to run track, but, of course, he is playing football next fall. (No football scholarships left). Now, the irony. Robert Smith's accomplishments at O-State are legendary. Represents the university well. But Robert, like many of us, had some issues,too. But these were in the classroom.

Finally, a day in the sports pages, when Ben Roethlisberger's name was not even mentioned. In fact, I double checked the sports pages. Ben was "Joe All-American " boy growing up. Lost his mother at a young age. Gifted with tremendous athletic ability. Watched him play QB as a sophomore. Made the switch t WR as a junior. Came back to QB as a senior. Contrary to all of the media hype, he did not start playing QB as a senior. All state basketball player. Really believe he went to Miami because he was going to try to play both b-ball and football. Whatever- Ben was and is a "natural " winner. Have not talked with him since his second year with the Steelers. I doubt that he would remember me, either for real or pretend. By the way, on paper, I had him rated the third best QB in Ohio his senior year.

THE WHOLE POINT of this entry is just this. No matter in what socio-economical envoirnment an athlete "grows-up," a lack of self-discipline can eventually destroy him. Whether in the inner-city of such cities as Cleveland or Cincinnati, or in the smaller cities as Findlay or Westerville, a lack of good judgment or self control can really hurt, or in some cases,destroy a potential career. ATHLETES: Do not blame your coaches, do not blame your parents, do not blame your friends, and do not blame the fans that support you. Take the brunt of the blame yourself. Integrity is almost a hidden quality anymore. "If you have to think whether something is right or wrong, ... it is wrong."

As I say over and over and over, I am a "kid's guy." I am not a "jock sniffer," trying to get the scoop. And, yes, I am "old school." Heck, I am 61 years young, I should be. But it really hurts(makes me sick), when you see "kids" who provide so much fun and pleasure to us sports fans, become poor examples to our EVEN YOUNGER sports fans. End of sermon. Time for church.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ohio North South All Star Game

As I have often joked, if you ever want to find me, stop at Upper Sandusky's McD's any morning between 6:15AM and 7AM. As of today, I have yet to read anything promoting the Ohio North-South football game to be held next Friday, April 23, at Ohio Stadium. Yes, the date is correct.
So, I guess I will promote the game.

No secret that the game has lost money for a long time. For years and years. Way back in my head football coaching days, I attended the All-Star game in Canton. Then it moved to Massillon. A few years ago, a Columbus business group convinced the association to move the game to Columbus. The problem there was that Central Ohio fans(not high school coaches) could care less. Plus, everybody made money, except the OHSFCA. Trust me, I know.

This year the game has been moved to Ohio Stadium. Yes, the night before the annual O-State Spring game. Under the lights, the game will kickoff at 7:00. The cost is $5.00. No conflict with the Big 33 game this year. No major conflict with getting some of the top college prospects to play in the game.

Since there is no conflict with the Big 33, many of the top prospects in Ohio will be playing. I just have not looked at a roster to see who exactly is playing in the game. I am involved with the Big 33 selection, but help with the North-South selection,s when the need arises. Now how silly is this? I am not a great proponent of the Big 33 game for a number of reasons, but love the North-South game.

The Ohio-State band is going to perform. That alone is worth the $5 dollar ticket. Also, rumor has it that many of the O-State football players will be in attendance. Of course, those guys(justifiably so) are approachable. Hint-hint. Also, you will see some future Buckeyes in the game.

The OHSFCA Regional Directors have put much effort into this game. Ed Terwilliger(Olentangy) and Steve Channel(Edgewood) are co-directors and put in endless time in co-ordinating the game.

Hope to see you at the game. I have always believed that O-State fans should not have to travel to Hershey PA to watch future Buckeyes play. For most, Columbus is a short drive to watch many of Ohio's top college prospects play football. Enjoy the $5 show!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Highlight DVD's

Yesterday, I received a DVD in the mail which reinforced what I have said about highlight DVD's for sometime. Trust me, I am not against highlight DVD's whatsoever. I edit 25 plays off of every DVD I receive. Although I watch and edit complete game video, naturally editing 25 plays off of a highlight video takes far less time. But here is my point.

Jim McQuaide, the highly repected coach at Solon High School, sent me a highlight video on his sophomore wide receiver, Tres Barksdale. A very basic white DVD with Tres's name and school and the year 2009. Also had his number, position, and the words "soph highlights." This was all handwritten in black magic marker. At the beginning of the video was a Solon helmet, his name and measurements, and word "play." The video came in a black plastic box with nothing on it. Just a simple black box.

I am thankful for any video that I get, and I do get alot of them. Last January I received one from a very prominent Division 1 program in Ohio. The prospect is a major recruit, hands down. Here is the deal. He had an action, full page picture on the cover. On the front was also all of his measurements, plus school information. On the back of the cover were three more smaller action pictures. Also on the back was all of his contact information. On the DVD was again all of his contact information, a picture, and his meaasurements. The DVD begins by again, repeating all of the information,. Once the plays begin, each one is marked. Sometimes plays are repeated. His resume' was very detailed. Also inclosed was a letter of reccomendation. And a his own BUSINESS CARD.

Many companies are doing a wonderful job of providing DVD's and other ways of marketing players. The work they do with videos is amazing. Due to the lack of funding, far better than I will ever do. I applaude them.

Here is what most college programs do. Once they get a DVD, they give it one of the student assistants and he downloads it into their program. The box is thrown away. Now the DVD is part of their system. If you are not a high profile recruit, and you are self-promoting yourself, there is a chance that no assistant coach will see your DVD.

Unless, you want to make a video for a "scrapbook or to share with friends or to be on the internet," save your money and time. Having an impressive video for a "keepsake" is tremendous! But if the video is to convince college programs that you can play at the "next level," keep it simple. Follow the lead of Coach McQuaide and keep it simple, but as Solon High School does, make the video itself very clear and watchable. Of course, always work through your coach.

By the way, Tres Barksdale will be one of the higher profile recruits in the Ohio 212class.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Good Players = Good Program

As I do sometimes just to get away, I visited The University of Cincinnati spring practice yesterday morning. A little nippy, but good football weather. After awhile I came across Ron Ullery and four of his players from Centerville High School. Class act!

Although I have watched Michael Bennett on video, this was the first time that I had met him up close and personal. Roughly 6'2 1/2 and 275, the guy is powerful. Has already put the shot 57 feet and the discus over 160 feet. The majority of plays that I watched, he was lining up on the OL. Of course, McCallister being McCallister, I believe he is the best 211- DL prospect in Ohio. Powerful, quick and tough.

Evaluated Kyle Rose(211) on video and also at the Ohio State Wrestling Championships last March. Now he is packing 235 and looking good at 6'3. Plays both DE and DT for the Hawks. Nice thing about Kyle is that he wants to gain weight the right way and maintain his quickness. Also nice, is the fact that at the next level he may have a choice to go inside or outside. Toughness and competitivess is a "given." Finished 2nd at the State in 215 class.

Tristan Boykin(211) will be overlooked by some recruiters. But he should not be. A multi-position guy. Plays RB, Slot, and some DB. At 6'0-190, he has speed and balance. Very athletic. Also has good ball catching skills. Too many skills, not to get strong evaluations from recruiters.

As I have been working on my 212 Class, I thought Benny McGowan(212) had moved from the district. But yesterday as I talked with him, I was reminded that he was hurt last year and missed the complete season. At 6'3-275, he just stands out. Could be a dominant player this year as a junior. Plays on DL, as well as, OL. Need to watch him "run-around," this summer, but he will be exciting. Big time potential.

Four guys that physically catch your eye. But better than that, they were first class to chat with. Excited and confident about the upcoming season. They were focused on what was happening on the field. They seemed to have the "it." Most of all, they represent Centerville well. Much the same as AJ does.

Of course, Coach Ullery has something to do with their character and self-discipline. "Old school" guy, but he still relates to his players. For me, he has been a "tough nut to crack," but we have developed a strong mutal respect. Watching him with his four players, you could see the mutal respect that they have for each other.

Of course, I know of many programs in the same mold as Centerville. I have wonderful relationships with many, many coaches. But it is nice to be reminded that Ohio High School football is the number sport, regardless of any level.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Combine a Success

The recent Ohio High School Football Coaches Developmental Combine was considered by many a success. That is, if you listen to the comments, or read the many emails that I have received. I am not into posting emails to prove how valuable our work is. But is nice to read positive comments, as well as constructive criticism.

We have some kinks to workout, but I believe that they are doable. The D1 Training Center is just that- an excellent training center. But due to the unexpected attendance, seating was limited. That needs to be addressed. With electronic timing, of course, many were worried about their times. One competitor was so frustrated that he questioned everything on his card, including his weight. Digital scales were used. At least the 40 yards was correct. No one ran into each other, although yours truly did collide with an L-Cone runner. There was more than enough help.

Also nice, but alittle crazy, was that although the registration was scheduled to begin at 10:00, there were many people in line at 9:00. That has already been addressed for next year.

Lastly, coaches do read the results. Much to my surprise, a coach from a major program in the Midwest called to verify some times and measurments.

All in all, things went well.