Friday, September 28, 2012

Columbus City League Game

Central Ohio now has a high school football game on Thursday night that fans can watch on the flatscreen,  Northeast Ohio and Southwestern Ohio have been televising aThursday night game for the past three years. The games make  another travel day for me, but also provide for a chance to watch more football.

Last night, Marion Franklin invaded Walnut Ridge and escaped with a 7-6 victory. The game was an exciting game, but not necessarily a well played game. Penalties and mistakes slowed the game down. Blocked and missed kicks actually hurt Walnut Ridge bigtime. But both teams played tough hard nose football.

Two high profile college bound prospects both did well. WR Jaron Dukes, Michigan bound, caught a ten yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter. Really did not get many passes thrown his way, but he made the big catch at the end. WR/DB Rob Wheelwright, Wisconsin bound, had a big punt return for six called back and made some athletic catches. Also liked his play at corner.

Both Walnut Ridge and Marion Franklin have some underclassmen who, I believe, are going to be top rated prospects going into their senior years. Of course, so much depends how hard they work in the weight room, in the classroom, and on the field. But LB Anthony McKee (2015), listed 6'2-189, from Walnut Ridge jumps out at linebacker.  DE/OLB Robert Bowers (2014), listed 6'5-27, also from Walnut Ridge runs really well and makes plays. Do not like his "showtime attitude" but he can make plays. OL Martesse Patterson (2014), from Marion Franklin,  listed 6'5-299, really impressed with his quick feet and OL instincts. Need to see more of Walnut Ridge's CB Brandon Paschal(2014). Listed 5'9-163 and had one pick. Problem, he played the game with a soft cast on his arm. What would he be full strength?

Need to mention Walnut Ridge senior Terry Cole. Actually have watched him since his freshman year. Plays some OL and defensive end. Also plays some linebacker. Listed 6'1-244. Ultimate team player. Size may be of some concern for some college recruiters, but he has a chance.

Just one note for young people who are thinking about becoming a football official. The field judge in this game was so concerned about players and coaches being "behind the line," that he could not concentrate on field play. When the offense has the ball "going in" on the 15 yard line and you are the field judge, do not worry about the coach stepping on the field to give a play to his quarterback. Worse yet do not throw a flag for a "bench warning" when the ball is in the red zone going in. Worse than worse, do not do this in the fourth quarter of a 7-6 ball game. That is not the intent of the rule. Above all, do not miss an offsides on a player who blocks an extra point with 4:35 remaining in the game with the score 7-6. Officials need to concentrate on the game.

This game was one that I hated to see either team lose. Both teams were well coached and played good tough football. Always next year, and with the underclassmen on the field last night, that game will be just as exciting.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Marketing in High School Football

Two weeks ago I was watchiing the Shaker Heights team warm-up and this guy was walking around the field taking notes from certain players. The players were stretching and he was asking them questions. After the initial stretching, this same guy had probably 6 players circled around him on the sidelines, and he was getting phone numbers. Remember- this was while they were in pregame warm-ups. I asked some guy from Shaker who that guy was. Answer, "I think that he is from ESPN." I guess I should have known.

After this coach told me that, I just shook my head. His answer, "I guess it is all about marketing." Why would a head football coach allow this to happen? Do you think Chuck Kyle, Steve Specht, Mike Mauk, or Tom Bolden would let this happen. Regardless of the success of the program, this is silly. No - do not tell me about marketing. I deal with colleges all over the country. They know about the kids in Ohio.

Hudl has recently taken Ohio by storm. Video is instantly available to the colleges. Players can make their own highlight tapes, either during the season or after the season. I get video from players using Hudl all of the time, asking me either just to evaluate them or to promote them if I feel that they are good enough. Type in a player's name and his video is available on youtube. Cap City Preps, out of Columbus does a nice job with video. Scouting Ohio has more players than anyone on their site.

A recruiting service sent me an email last week reqesting my list of the Ohio players in the Class of 2013. Are you kiddin me!!! They charge kids alot of money. A few years ago, a recruitng company near Cleveland me wanted to work for them. Their fee began at 600 dollars and ended at 2,000 dollars.  Began at 600 dollars! I told him that I was not qualified. He "ripped" me. Of course that hurt me for about thirty seconds. That company, by the way, is now "bottoms-up.

Marketing. If you are good enough, college coaches will find you. If you go to one day camps, college coaches will find you. If you play your "butt" off, college coaches will find you. If your high school coach works hard to promote you, colleges will find you. If you attend good creditable football combines, college coaches will find you.

Game day visits. Somewhere on this site there is an article about game day visits. I would add this advice to that article. When the college coach is talking to you, look him in the eyes and listen to what he says. Analyze him. Game day visits are two fold. One - You get a chance to see the campus and the game day environment. You get to go home and tell your friends about the trip. Parents can boast about (let's use Ohio State) invited "him to game day." Last year, a dad told me his soon was invited to four OSU games. The player ended up going to a D-III school. Two - College coaches get to "eyeball" you and chat with you.

Handlers. Three different men have talked with me recently. They intorduce themselves and, eventually, get to the point of telling me they are working this player to get him more exposure. They are trying to get colleges to take notice to of him. Two guys who I know fairly well have learned some of the inside working with their own sons to get exposure for other players. Self-annointed handlers. I wonder where money comes into play. I hope that the inflated ego is what it is about, instead of money.

With the growth of recruiting internet media, I realize times are changing. Be careful. One thing has not changed over the years. I was the youngest  little league baseball head coach ever in Upper Sandusky. I began coaching in 1969. I was a head coach at 24. I was a D-III assistant for one year and went to being a head football coach in high school. I was a high school track official for 15 years. I spent 31 years in the academic classroom. In all of those years of working with kids, one thing has not changed --- Parents will hear what they want to hear. If you do not tell them what they want to hear, they will find somebody to tell them what they want to hear. If that somebody does not tell them what they want to hear, they will go until somebody says the right thing. For many parents, that scene never changes over the years.

I have a deep appreciation for high school football coaches. Their jobs get tougher and tougher. And, you know, the Vanlue's of Ohio have the same problems as the Massillon's and the McKinley's. Just not as many. Marketing is a crucial part of being a head football coach.

One final note.  Not trying to crack on parents at all. This past week a parent from a smaller school football program told me his son ran a 4.5/forty. Warn you, I have seen his son run. My question to him was- Does that mean your son could run away from Colerain defenders? Good guy, but I am sure he is looking for the next "somebody."

 Off to C-bus to see Marion Franklin - Walnut Ridge.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Elyria Catholic QB Jeremy Holley Done for Season

Last week as I was making out my travel plans for the next three weeks, I told one on my coaching friends in Lorain County that I needed to see Eyria Catholic play. Told him that I liked their big tackle, Dakota Tallman, and their quarterback, Jeremy Holley. Right away, he told me that Holley broke a lower leg bone during game four.

Jeremy and I have a long history, and I feel really bad for him. Coming out of his freshman year, I watched him at the Gary Stevens QB Camp at Lakewood St Ed's that summer. QB coaches were everywhere yelling and trying to correct kids of all ages on the passing mechanics. After watching Jeremy throw ball after ball for twenty minutes, he still could not throw a spiral, or spin-it. Standing 6'3, he moved his feet okay, but could not throw a spiral. Anytime I see a 6'3 QB, I watch him closely.

Finally, I just mumbled to him some things on which he could work. Not being an instructor, I tried to stay out of the way. The main point I told him was simple.  "On your follow thru, your right thumb should come to the inside of your right thigh, or really close. Make it natural." Just watch Tom Brady.
Anyway, long story short, after some work, Jeremy could spin-it. He completed some passes in some 7on7 competition. Trust me,  I am no great QB guru, but sometimes a simple coaching point can do a lot. The suggestion worked for Jeremy. Anytime you see a 6'3 freshman QB, make sure he throw a spiral. (Honestly, I never cared for Gary Stevens.)

Jeremy broke his lower leg bone during game four. Actually he was able to walk off of the field. He told me he felt something happen after a defensive man tackled him. Using crutches now, he does not know when the cast will be removed. Then rehab and see what happens. Football  is over for this season, but basketball season is around the corner. Last year, he averaged 17.2 ppg and 11 rebounds per game. Of course, alot of rehab time in between.

Elyria Catholic went into the game 2-1, and actually won the game to go to 3-1. In Jeremy's four game season, he threw 10 TD passes, rushed for 1, and threw for 880 yards.

In this evaluating of high school football players business, you tend to get to know some of the players personally. I do not know Jeremy Holley really well, but I feel for him. But I also feel with some hard work and dedication in the off season, he should be fine. Sure hope that he will be able to still "spin-it."

No Wooden Bleachers in Southern Ohio

As I had mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I had not been to southern Ohio for sometime. Last trip was to Portsmouth five years ago. Recently, I watched Jackson High School and last week, I traveled to Portsmouth and then to Minford High School. Both schools were subjects mentioned in my blogs. For what it means coming from me, but I was really impressed with the "whole picture" of the schools that I visited.

Portsmouth's athletic complex is really top shelf. Turf, plenty of seating, and easy to get to where I want to go. Minford's football field has plenty of seating. No turf, but the grass is really taken care of by the athletic staff. I am making this, because all that I could think of was wooden bleachers, maxing out about fifteen feet high. Also thought the field would be rough and the grass would be high or no grass at all. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Every game that I have attended is the "only game in town." Tremendous small town environment. Local graduates who have played the game and can make the right call everytime are along the ropes. Good bands-lots of noise. Players play hard. Just like in the rural communties in Northwest Ohio, not a a bunch of Division I college prospects, but alot of really good high school players, including D-II and D-III propects.

You have to realize that John McCallister is no "big time guy," being sarcastic about southern Ohio football. After all, growing up in Upper Sandusky is not quite on par with growing up in Upper Arlington. I have a huge respect for small town life and for small town football. Kenton, Ohio plays pretty good football and is one of those small towns in Northwest. Northeast football programs are familiar with names like Coldwater and Marion Local.

I just want the fans in Minford to know that I now know where Minford is and that I  really enjoyed watching the second half last week.

Good Old Ohio High School Football

Fell asleep watching the Packers-Raiders game last night. As I lay in bed this morning watching Channel 13 News out of Toledo, I heard about the tragedy that happened in Oakland last night. A controversial call made by the "replacement officials," cost the Green Bay Packers the football game. Right away I switched to ESPN, because they would really have the details. On the way to McDonald's I listen to Mike and Mike to get their take on the dreadful situation, because they are the experts. Hopefully, there will be more coverage on the news all day today.

The situation kind of reminds me of a cartoon that I read in Mad magazine years and years ago. Sadly, many parents and sports fan still do this today. Cartoon goes like this ---- In a little league game, the home team was losing 1-0. Bottom of the sixth inning. Leadoff man, hits a double. The next batter comes up - strikes out. The next batter comes up - strikes out. Two outs. The next batter comes up - strikes out. Game over! Sure enough, the first two batters who both struck out, both yelled at the third boy who had struck out to end the game. "You lost the game the game for us!!"

The controversial catch. Sure it ended the game, but what about all of the "sacks," fumbles, and penalities? Did those mistakes help contribute to the Green Bay loss? Of course not. Human nature- blame the officials for losing the game. "Not my fault!"

I see it so often with high school football coaches. Yelling and screaming at the players for making mistakes. Fumbles, interceptions, and missed tackles. Many times, if a coach would coach like crazy during the week, some problems on game day could be avoided. No one play really loses a game. You play the entire game, and, if do not make a turn over, if you score everytime you have the ball, and if you hold the defense to three yards and punt on every series, then maybe the last play of the game, if it causes the other team to win, may have cost you the game.

The older I get, the more NFL makes me tired. Officiating is a second job for most of the officials. Eat a training table sometime. Go to the same doctors that players visit. Drive some of the cars that NFL players drive. A different world than living outside of Upper Sandusky, Ohio. As Jim Brown once said to me at a Browns practice a few years ago when the defense was celebrating an interception, "They're just kids, playing a man's game."

Last Saturday, I watched a senior football player dance, pound his chest, and taunt the other team. No coach pulled him aside, no official warned him, and no opposing player "called him out."  High school football really tries to control the "showtime crap," but I hope that it is not a losing situation. The media helps promote it, but in the end, the coach has to put an end to it, regardless how good the player is. One of the worst ones whom I have seen get away with making a "butt" of himself was Jack Nicklaus grandson, playing for a high school team from Florida in the Herbstriet in Columbus. Nobody, officials or coaches, did anything. Of course, I read last spring where the Golden Bear feels that Florida State was not using his grandson's talents.

High school football players, regardless if you are in the inner city, if you are in the country, if you are along the river, or if you are playing for a private school, just play tough hard football. No showtime. No taunting. No dancing. Play with emotion, but under control. Benefit from the self discipline, you learn from playing the best sport in the country -- Good old Ohio high school football.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Where is Minford?

Portsmouth, Ohio. Of course, many people have heard of Portsmouth. But how many people have heard of Minford, Ohio. No not Milford (near Cincinnati) - Minford. I am making my second trip to southern Ohio today. Sounds far, but, according to google, just over three hours to Portsmouth Stadium. Southern Ohio power Ironton is coming to Portsmouth.  Second half, hopefully, will be on sidelines watching Minford and Oak Hill. By the way, Minford is about 20 minutes northeast of Portsmouth.

Portsmouth's sophomore RB is out with and injury, and the same for one of their offensive linemen, but I will get eyeball them and check out Coach Clifford's young guys for down the road. Speaking of Coach Clifford. Curt has been a good friend of mine for along time. Looking forward to watching him coach. Ironton always two of three players who need to evaluated. Every year they seem to have a fast, short, RB who is tough, but short. They also seem to have a big OL guy. Another Webb is palying tackle at Ironton. This will be the first time that I will not see Bob Lutz Bob Lutz on the sidelines.

Minford has one the top offensive linemen in the Ohio Class of 2014. First saw Jared McCray at an Ohio State Summer Camp two years ago. Actually watched him play basketball last fall. Oak Hill is undefeated, so, hopefully, the competition for Jared will be really good. Actually, I am not very familiar with Oak Hill, but looking forward to watching their program.

Actually, this weekend will be quite a "culture variation" for me. I made up  "culture varation." Today I will be in far southern Ohio watching really good football. Tomorrow at noon, I will be watching Akron Buchtel play Akron Garfield. Two highly respected inner city programs in Akron. Looking forward to seeing Buchtel's new school, as well as, just watching a game at Buchtel. Fans are great. Saturday night, Youngstown Ursuline plays Lakewood St Edward in Lakewood. Two of the best private school programs in Ohio. QB Chris Durkin from Ursuline could be my top rated QB in the Class of 2014. Not only excellent programs at work, but also some very talented players to evaluate.

Actually received an email that I should evaluate and make comments about more players Ohio Sate is recruiting. Emailed back to him that the McCallister Scouting Report is not an Ohio State recruiting site. I will see players who can play at Ohio State University. Ten more weeks (including  playoffs) of high school football in Ohio.

Big weekend. Traveling - Gas is down to 3.69@gallon at Pilot. Evaluating and promoting players is really enjoyable for me. A recruiting service emailing me, requesting a list of the players that I have for the 2013 Class is a joke. Of course, no way!

Glenville and St Ignatius next Saturday at Byers Field is a given.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Division Two College Football

The University of Findlay beat No. 10 Saginaw Valley State last Saturday 29-27 in Saginaw. Both schools are members of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference or, otherwise, known as the GLIAC. Both schools are also members of the NCAA Division II.

There are two separate divisions within the conference. Eight school schools make up the Ohio Division. Schools, Findlay, Ashland, Ohio Dominican, and Tiffin buy my scouting service. The four other colleges in Ohio do not buy my service. Saginaw Valley State in  Michigan buys my scouting service. Last year, Wayne State (Detroit) played for the National Division II Championship.

For what it is worth, I strongly support the GLIAC, or for that matter, Division II college football. While I was evaluating talent at a BGSU satellite football at Fitch High School last summer, I heard a dad make this comment. "Well, my son is not going to be recruitied by Bowling Green, so I guess he will have to play D-II." Although I did not make a comment, I thought - "your son is not good enough to play D-II."

The dad's mind set seems to be common to parents and fans throughout Ohio. I will tell you that D-II football is good, and the best news is that it keeps getting better. Findlay, Ohio Dominican, and Ashland are playing good football. Tiffin's program has had poor leadership over the years, but now has a good young head coach and, just as important, a financial commitment from  Tiffin University. I do not know much about the other Ohio schools.

Besides recruiting good high school talent, D-II schools are getting players that the mid major schools deem just not big enough, just not fast enough, or, in some cases, academics are just not quite strong enough. For example, ODU was able to sign Tajuan Green from Brookhaven and Billy Eakins from Pickerington Central. Both really good players from Central Ohio. Ashland signed Adam Wallace from Ohio Division Four State Champions Norwayne. They also signed Fremont Ross's Skylar Reffner. FIndlay signed Lloyd Henry out of Garfield Heights, DJ Williams from Akron St Vincent-St Marys, and Nathan Morris from Warrensville Heights. Many more Ohio players signed to Tiffin, as well as Findlay, ODU , and Ashland, but these are just some of the ones that I can remember and thought could play mid-major college football. I am not familiar with out of state players.

On reading the article, two of Findlay's key players were what I call -"bouncebacks." They originally were on scholarship at a D-I college program, but for one reason or another they chose to transfer. QB Clay Belton (Northmont) transferred in from Maryland, and Seth White (Bexley) transferred from Ball State. Belton should get a look from the NFL.

I really do not have time to do more research for this blog. My purpose was to emphasize that NCAA Division II, at least in Ohio and Michigan is good and getting stronger and stronger. Head coaches and assistant coaching staffs are getting better. ODU Head Coach Bill Conley spent years at Ohio State University under John Cooper and  Jim Tressell. Ashland Head Coach Lee Owens coached at Ohio State and coached at high school powerhouse, Massillon. Like I said, not enough time to cover other staffs.

QB Austin Ernst (2013)  from Cincinnati McNicholas has already verballed to Ohio Dominican. I really believe that he can play on the Division I level. Too short for some, maybe 6'1, but he has a gun. He can spin-it. Schools were worried about his height. If he had two more inches, he would be playing mid-major.

No. Just because a prospect is not getting recruited by a MAC school does not mean that he will "have to play D-II." He may not be good enough to play at the D-II level either.

Go to a game, check out the roster, check out the talent, and check out the high schools that the players played for. National Division II football programs' level of skill and play may surprise you. Plus, McCallister is an Oiler graduate from in the Findlay College days.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Coaches Say the Darndest Things

If you read this blog, just a few of you will remember the very old television show ' "Art Linkletter." On the show he had a segment called, "Kids Say the Darndest Things." Four of five young people in the four to six years old range would answer his questions. Of course, they would have crazy answers. "Kids Say the Darndest Things." After reading the sports section today, you can add coaches.

Jim Calhoun has my respect, not all of it, but some. The old school, hard nosed basketball coach. has fought off cancer (three times). He built a basketball program at Connecticut from scratch. At 70 years old, he still communicates with young people. Maybe not his best quality, but he stood up against the NCAA. On that one, I do not necessarily agree, but he did. He has won three National titles. Lastly, he really does not cater to the sports media. Maybe, I am thinking of my Woody Hayes days. But I would not put Calhoun on that shelf.

Looking closer to his relationship to the NCAA, he thought, and probably thinks,  he knew more about educating athletes than them. I remember the recruitment of Nate Miles from Toledo. Not for sure, but I think that UConn failed to qualify academically for 2013 NCAA tournament. He battled sanctions. Through all of this, he won basketball games.

" I never, ever, ever said that I was mistake free. But I was always trying to do the right thing. It didn't always work that way, but I was always trying to do the right thing."  Jim Calhoun.
Like I said, I respect him, and probably would understand him more, if he would define the "right thing."

Of course, Jim Calhoun is not the only coach to make "silly" statements. In fact, he probably does not top the list. Neither does Alabama coach Nick Saban. When asked about following the chain of command in college athletics last summer, he said something to the effect - At Alabama, we believe in the chain of command. We report first to the Athletic Director and then the report goes to the President of  the University of Alabama.

 Sometimes, coaches say the darndest things."

Traveling to Northwest Ohio Tonight

Some of the guys at McDonalds were messin with me today about missing out on some big games tonight, just to go to northwest Ohio to watch some smaller schools play. One, being a big O-State fan, thinks that I need to go watch future Buckeye prospects play. I told him this was not an Ohio State website. Obviously, I watch BCS propects play and give  very honest opinions, which are not always the same as the recruiting reporters on national websites. My 86 year old mother could find top 25 national program recruits, but the mid-level programs need attention, also.

Looking forward to watching Sylvania Southview play Napoleon. Southview is one of the five schools in the Toledo area that recruiters have to check out every year. Jim Mayzes does a wonderful job and has players every year. Napoleon has a nice little RB who has come to my combines every year.

Need to see the second half of the Liberty Center vs Patrick Henry game. How many people who follow Ohio high school football can tell me where Hamler, Ohio is located? A geography lesson- thirty minutes south of Napoleon. Each team has a really good lineman and both are juniors. Both I know personally and both are scholarship potential players. Maybe not O-State good yet, but D-1 good. Patrick Henry also has a senior linebacker. Although smaller schools, they play really good football.

Tomorrow - back to a big city. I will be in Cleveland to watch Shaker Heights play Parma at 1:00.  Because of no lights, Shaker plays home games at 1:00 on Saturday. One of the most fun places for me to watch a high school game. Fans, young and old, get into it, and the band is always good. Now there are some OSU-good prospects in this game. For some reason DL/OL Donovan Munger does not communicate with me, but he has worlds of potential. Also looking forward to evaluating some skilled players.

If things go as planned, I will see the second half of the Gilmour Academy vs Cleveland Central Catholic game. Really like the toughness and athleticism of the CCC quarterback. Saw some players from Gilmour last summer. Better to watch them play in pads, rather than shorts/t-shirt.

Since Kent State has a bye week, plans are to stop in Akron and treat my son David and his friend Courtney to a late lunch of or early dinner. This may be the most expensive part of the day. David works with the punters/kickers at Kent State.

Finally, want to stop and watch the Canton McKinley vs North Canton Hoover game at Fawcett. Although he has to get bigger/stronger, McKinley could have one of the best prospects in the Ohio Class of 2015. McKinley is always going to have players whom need to be evaluated. My friend Don Hertler at Hoover does a nice job coaching, but this year has some really good high school players.

Evaluating college prospects is always fun. Gas at 4.95 a gallon takes some of the fun out of it, but watching players and seeing coaches is always fun.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

John Cooper - Always a Buckeye

Read a really nice article about former Ohio State head coach, John Cooper, in today's Toledo Blade. In fact, it made the headline story written by Blade sports writer David Briggs. Most of the article focuses on how "Coop" fits in at Ohio State and the relationship that he has with OSU Coach Urban Meyer.

Coach Cooper shares an office in the Woody Hayes Athletic Complex with another former OSU head coach Earle Bruce. Two contrasting coaching philosphies back in the day. Two very successful college head football coaches. Two somewhat different personalities. From rumors I hear, two pretty good golfing buddies. Both Coach Bruce and Coach Cooper provide not only wisdom, but also some football insight for a confident Urban Meyer.

Former head coach Jim Tressell provided an office for Coach Cooper and Coach Bruce. With Ohio State's "panic attack" last season, they lost their office. Coach Meyer was quick to bring the coaches back to the office this past summer. Coop watches practices, sits in on some of the staff meetings, and watches game video. Since he does some player scouting for the Cincinnati Bengals, he talks with not only OSU coaches, but with coaches in the Midwest  to get a deeper insight into some of the player talent that not only the Buckeyes have, but also that opposing teams have.

The article also mentions more about his working relationship with Coach Meyer. Mentions his relationship with the "Legends." Mentions his approach to what he does for the Bengals. Knowing Coach Cooper a little , I am sure that he does not offer a "coaching point," every five minutes, but as  he watches the action, he may drop a comment once in a while.

On knowing John Cooper, he is a really good man. More importantly, knowing him since he came to Ohio State University, family is really important to him. Family was really important to him back in his coaching days. At 75 years young, my guess is that he would be a really good to his grand-kids.

If Coop could have beaten Michigan a few more times, the fickle Buckeye fans would have really embraced him. He once told me that "Can you beat Michigan?" was the first thing a fan on the street would ask him. Just like Coach Tressell leading the Buckeyes over the Wolverines for a long time, it was just one of those things. O-State tried every approach to the Michigan game and just could not get it done. With the Tressell era, QB Troy Smith could have played five bad games in a row, but played "lights out" against Michigan. Michigan probably tired every approach to the game, but just could not get it done. Bottom line, Lloyd Carr and John Cooper were excellent head football coaches.

In a way, I salute John Cooper for making Columbus his home. I love the city of Coulmbus, but Coop took so much "media crap," and Buckeye fans' abuse, staying in C-bus kind of surprises me. I guess as long as he can play golf with Coach Bruce and Dom Tiberi, living here is good.

When he accepted the head coaching position at Ohio State University, no one took him aside and told him what OSU football was all about. Although Coach Bruce was very successful at OSU, the powers to be wanted to go in a different direction. They wanted a more "outgoing" and more "face" coach, who had been successful as a head coach on the college level. Much the same situation at Michigan with Coach Carr and Coach Rod. Could you imagine Coach Hayes doing hot-tub commercials? Somehow, I could not see that.

A former Cincinnati Bearcat head football coach once told me that he very seldom hired his friends to coach for him. Because, he said, "It was tough, when he had to fire them." Sad, because he was not trying to be funny. Coach Cooper probably went the opposite way. That thinking may have been one of his biggest mistakes he made at Ohio State. His coaching philosphy was to hire good coaches and let them coach. Like anything else, sometimes it works; sometimes it does not.

For what it means, I really admire John Cooper. Although I seldom run into him  anymore, he is always fun to chat with. Actually he has a good sense of hunor. Of course, he has a ton of "war stories on football." I always thought if you could get Coach Cooper's mind away from coaching at Ohio State for just an hour, the hour would be crazy with laughs.

Since I have never been the head football coach at Ohio State, I can point out mistakes that Coop made. Easy for me. Just like "sports talk guys." Who cares? But I would say, that at the end of the day, Ohio State was and still is, good to Coach John Cooper, and Coach John Cooper was and still is, good to Ohio State." Always a Buckeye!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Jackson's Football Stadium on the Hill

      Jackson High School, No not Massillon Jackson.
     Two years ago one of the guys who helps me with my camps and combines suggested that I look into running a camp at Jackson High School in Jackson, Ohio. He told me that the school has a nice football facility with turf. I told him that I would check into it. I called Head Coach Andy Hall and he told to come down and check it out. Never did.
      Of course, part of my thinking, was I just wondered what the facility would be like. Also wondered just how many football prospects would attend. You must realize that, although I had never been to Jackson, it was in Southeastern Ohio. I had been to Wheelersburg, South Point, Ironton, and Portsmouth years ago, but never Jackson. Years ago, those schools had just okay facilities.
      Saturday night I made the two hour and twenty minutes trip to Jackson High School to evaluate four players from Jackson and four players from Granville High School. My Garman took me pass the old high school first. Next I saw a shuttle service that took people to the game. I told the lady that Coach Hall told me to find him to get into the game. She said that the school and stadium were at the the top of the hill. I had to "talk my way" through another gate to get better parking near the stadium on top of the hill.. All the time I am thinking - "Jackson - Southeastern Ohio."
      The very first thing I would say is that " any high school team in Ohio would feel very comfortable playing a football game at Alumni Stadium. Quite simply, the ten year old stadium is a tremendous venue to watch high school football. Seats around 6,500. The seating on both sides is almost equal in height and they are high. The reserve seating on the home side has backs for all of the seating in that section. Locker rooms are under the stands on both sides. Of course, the turf is very fast and well taken care of. Finally, both end zones have nets behind the goal post to stop the ball from leaving the field. How many true high school fields have nets behind the goal posts.
      Head Coach Andy Hall was very helpful and took care of me. But the whole game atmosphere was special. Fans were loud. The marching band had alot of members and was excellent. For that matter, the Granville marching band was every bit the same. High school football is very important to this town of just over 6,800 people.
      Just a few camera people walking around. A couple of beat writers. No cables dragging all over the sidelines. No t-v timeouts. No camera guy hitting me on the back and telling me to get out of the way. No interent media taking pics of players during the game. No internet media recruiting reporters interviewing college prospects after the game.
      I am not trying to put too much drama in this blog, but am trying to applaude the people of Jackson, Ohio for supporting their high school football team. The stadium is tremendous. Over the years I have been to a few stadiums. Now, I am not including Fawcett, or any college stadiums that host high school football, but for pure high school stadiums, Jackson's Alumni Stadium gets a high mark.
      Ironmen - You have done well.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Trotwood - Wayne Game - Intense

Last night I made my second trip to Wayne High School in less than a week. Last Saturday, the game with Canton McKinley, with all of its weather delays, ended after midnight. But McCallister ended his stay with the first weather delay. Trotwood Madison visited Wayne last night, and  at first, I thought history was repeating itself. Only one weather delay, so McCallister stayed and watched Wayne defeat Trotwood Madison 21-14.

My first Trotwood - Wayne game. Last year was Trotwood's first win in the series of seven games. For me, last night was really good game to watch. I heard all of these rumors that the series could get "nasty," or even ugly. From my view, I saw a lot of hard hitting. I saw alot of extra effort by the ball carriers. I saw some extra -ordinary athletic catches by receivers. I saw excellent coaching on both sides of the field. But, I did not see any "cheap shots," or, for that matter, any dirty play. I am sure there was "chirping" going on, but did not see or hear any.

With some fumbles, some pics, and some "not very good special teams play," the game was sloppy at times and not mistake free. But the game was hard hitting and intense. Of course, there were some very high profile players on both sides. There were also some "young guys" on both sides of the ball.

A little bit of disappointment for me was that three Trotwood players were out with injuries. Jarrod Clements (2013 was one of my first combine guys. Tre' Williams-Brown (2013) may be one of the most underrated players in the Ohio Class of 2013. At one time, we did not chat too much, but we do now. The third player I missed watching run the ball was RB Ashton Jackson, Class of 2014. Jackson might be one of the better RB's in the Class of 2014.

One of the hardest parts of watching a game in person, rather than on video, is that you have to concentrate on every play. No chance to use rewind. Making matters worse is when you have a large number of players that you want to see. Usually, I focus on underclassmen and just peek at the seniors. Before last night's game, there were some seniors who needed some attention. Last night, Trotwood had sixteen players and Wayne had fourteen players who had my attention. There were "cats" all over the field.

In my column "Around the State with MSR," the players from both teams will be covered. Now not all thirty players are going to get scholarships, but they all need to be looked at. The list includes sophomore, junior, and senior classes.

Watching two very good coaches at work was also interesting. Maurice Douglas has taken Trotwood to the highest level, with winning the OHSAA State Football Championship last year. Jay Minton has been  OHSAA State Football Championship runners-up twice. Both coaches had their teams ready to play last night.

I guess if you are around high school football long enough, you see alittle of everything. The game was delayed a few minutes because a Trotwood player in the pile took a Wayne player's shoe to the sidelines. The Wayne player could not find his shoe. Officials had to go to Trotwood's sideline to get the shoe. Trotwood did not give the  correct shoe to Wayne. A silly and really stupid thing to do. No one was injured and no arrests were made.

A Dayton guy told me of the shoe details, and also told me a few minutes ago that Trotwood may be terminating the contract with Wayne.

I guess that I possibly saw the last game in the young rivilary between Trotwood and Wayne. Whatever the case, I enjoyed the intensity and competition. Hope that is just a rumor.

Tonight I head south to Troy and then to Tipp City. No offense to any of the four schools, but I know I will not have thirty college football prospects to "look at." But, I know there are some very good ones to watch.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

NFL Replacement Officials

Could not fall asleep last night, so I watched most of the NFL game between the Giants and the Cowboys. I enjoy watching Ohio high school players whom have I evaluated as high school players and have remained in touch, but as some people know, I am not an NFL guy. But last night I was so depressed (sarcasm) because the officials did a good job.

Read an article this morning about the replacement officials. Everybody seems so surprised that the officials are doing an adequate job. First, I have to believe that there are more than 120 officials throughout the country who can work in the NFL. So much of moving up the ladder in officiating is "who you know" and "who likes you." Just like in anyother business. And like alot of businesses, once who you are in, whether you are good or not, a union can protect you. Trust me, I taught school for 31 years.

Hats off to the replacement NFL officials. Continue to work hard. Always try to be in the correct position to make the call. See it, before you call it. Consistency is always the most important thing to good officiating.

The Dispatch article listed the experience of the officials who worked the game last night. Obviously, NFL experience is important, but even top rated NFL officials make mistakes. Ask Ed Hochuli.

John Gruden said this about the replacement officials on a sports talk show last night. Something to the effect that both teams are using the same officials. The idea is to work them and not against them.

Applause for Roger Goodell. To be able to find and to teach and develop football officials who could very well be working a D-2 game between Findlay and Ohio Dominican is amazing. I also applaud the replacement officials  for working hard to better themselves.

I do think that a high school official in Northeast Ohio would have a hardtime working in the NFL. Last year, I watched him spot the ball. He was so overweight that he dropped the ball and steadied it with his foot. And then there was an official from Central Ohio who years ago threw a flag on me for something that I said to him. I  told him that "he did not have the nerve(of course that is not the word I used) to throw another one." He threw another one and was reaching to throw the third when I stopped after two.

I firmly believe that anybody can be replaced. The best to the replacement officials.

Seniors - Not Too Late

Just a quick note to the Class of 2013 football players who are not being heavily recruited and still want to play college football. You need to get your name out there, and you need video to send or hand to the colleges.

Get your name out there. By now, most D-1 football programs know who they are really getting after and who is still out there to get after. Your high school coach is, obviously, really busy with game evaluations and game preparations. But, talk to him, or any other coach on the staff, about helping get your name out there. Ask them to make a call or send an email to the colleges that you like.

During the month of December, different coaches' associations hold "recruiting nights," which are really beneficial and provide contact information to the D-2 and D-3 colleges. These recruiting nights are good, but if you are really interested in playing college football at any level, I would be getting my name to the schools that you like during the season. I would, however, offer this advice -- "Dream big, but think realistic."

Video. I told a young sophomore here in Upper Sandusky to start working on a highlight video. Do not wait til the end of the season to begin. Being a sophomore, making a video is really early, but good. If you cannot edit the video now, go through and make note of the plays you want to include. At the end of the season, go through and edit the video. Then go back and take 25-30 of the best plays of all of the plays you have.

If you are a senior, work on the highlight video now and have it ready just after the season is completed. Do not worry about putting music or any other special affects to your video. One mark to identify you on the video is enough. I get highlight video with borders. company names, music, and all kinds of arrows. Looks nice for the scrapbook and family keepsakes, but not necessary for the college coach to evaluate you.

Beware of college recruiting services. Expensive and just how well do they evaluate you as a football player. Also, some of the online recruiting sites are more concerned about the higher profile player than the D-2 and D-3 prospect. Stands to reason, because the followers want to know about D-1 players and the more readers, the more money for the recruiting reporters. Being an former head football coach many years ago, I still think that all communication should go through a high school football coach.

Finally, game day visits. Everybody, I would guess, would like to attend a major college football game. Honestly, that is probably easier to arrange than people think. Also, I have had high school coaches boast to me that their prospect has to been to a number of major college "Saturday games." Really good experience, but not nearly nearly as important  as one might think. My point is that being a guest at a Saturday game is not that hard to arrange.

If you are not a D-1 guy, visit Ashland, Ohio Dominican, Tiffin, or Findlay on a Saturday game day.  Good D-2 programs in Ohio. D-3 schools like, Ohio Northern, Capital, and Baldwin Wallace play really good football. See  the level of play and I bet it might surprise you.

The best in your efforts. A basketball coach here in Upper Sandusky once told me that "Big is not always better," when selecting a college. The coach was just trying to impress me to thinking that he was next John Wooden, but his comment is very true. Of course, his son went on to do very well at Ohio State University.