Sunday, February 24, 2013

Personal Trainers for High School Athletes

      Last night I made the short trip to the D-1Training Center near Columbus to watch some high school players train under Chuck Gresham. Players of all ages worked out for over 90 minutes. Players like Tawain Gordon, Chris Allen Spiller, and Mickey Crum, all of whom I have known for a while. Met a young eighth grade athlete who carries a 4.0GPA, plays three sports. Ran a 54.5/400 last year in track. Also a high ranking wrestler. On the ride home, personal trainers and their impact on high school athletes was on my mind.
      My late wife taught the Talented and Gifted program in the Upper Sandusky school system until she lost a battle with cancer. Actually, after receiving her Master's degree, she began the program. In the beginning, she worked hard to convince classroom teachers that the TAG program was not a reward system for straight A students. Teachers had a difficult time, releasing students to go to TAG, because to them, TAG was not an educational time. The TAG program took students with a gift and pushed them to improve that gift. She always used Mary Lou Retton as an example of someone who had a gift. She praised the people who made Mary Lou Retton work "outside of the box." This same thought goes to athletes.
      Today, athletes both female and male have more opportunities to work "outside the box" and take their skills to a higher level. Personal trainers for high school students are becoming more and more available to the students. Of course, younger and younger students are taking advantage of these programs. Like evrything else, if the training provided is done right, I am supportitive. But like everything else, there are phonies and wannabe's out there. I have no problem exposing them.   
      Perhaps my biggest concern is -- what is training an athlete and what is coaching an athlete? If a trainer is making an athlete faster, stronger, and more fexible, I applaude a trainer. If a trainer starts trying to teach technique, then I have a concern. For example, if a wrestler is coached one escape technique by his coach , and a trainer tries to change that - wrong. If a trainer encourages a certain pass blocking technique by his football coach, and a trainer tries to change his feet - wrong. A trainer has to "bite the bullet" and stick with making the athlete bigger, faster, and stronger and not coaching technique.
      My friend Mike Mauk runs one of the best high school football conditioning programs aroung the state. But if a football player can get some extra speed or agility training from a personal trainer, go for it. Do not miss team workouts. Do not take position coaching from a trainer. But any training point that can make an athlete faster, bigger, or stronger, he or she needs to take advantage of the information.
      From my side, the biggest worry or concern that I have is the the trainer who also considers himself a "handler." This guy will train an athlete, but also try to steer him to certain colleges. He will try to influence the athlete, because many times the "handler" is being rewarded by the college.  Oregon is a prime example. Often times financial. Sometimes free tickets to college games. Sadly, some trainers use this (indirectly) in recruiting more athletes to train. If he can get a football player some noise, he can convince others to train with him.  I cannot get into detail, but parents have no clue as to what trainers cheat. I can tell you one.
      Charles Gresham works part time for me. Watched him work and getting him was a no-brainer. Smart and confident, but most of all, he cares about kids. Not just the high profile kids whom recruiting writers follow, but he cares about all kids with all skill levels. Gresham trains two time Ohio high school state diving champion Olivia Ball. Of course I recommend him, because I believe in him and he works for me.
      Mike Robinson  has started a training program in Toledo. Must be creditable, because he coaches for Greg Dempsey at Toledo Central Catholic who would not tolerate anything that hurts athletes.. Just met a person who has started a program in the Akron area. Former Ohio high school player and pro player Rocky Boilman has done the same in Cincinnati. Matt Muncey, former Miamisburg and Ohio University player has started a training facility near Dayton. Of course, there are more, but these are just some that I am familiar with.
      My name and a dollar (special sale) will get you a free cup of coffee at McDonald's in Upper Sandusky. Point - My thoughts mean nothing. Like everything else - good trainers - bad trainers. If you find a good one, I really see nothing with an athlete working "outside the box" to be the very best that he or she can be.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Combines - Can be Good; Can be Bad

      Over the last few days. I have received emails and phone calls about combines. "Should we go" Are they that beneficial? Will they(combines) count my times if bad?
      Combines are hard to comment on, because MSROHIO runs three. No fancy SPARQ ratings like NIKE uses. I have been asked to meet with a person in Columbus who has his own version of the SPARQ system, but right now, I am not interested. The SPARQ score gives colleges an idea of a player's athleticism, which is good. In our combines we run six events for times or measurements and focus on doing the test correctly. No national recruiting marketing. Really do not feel that I need it. I am an Ohio guy trying to help Ohio "kids."  "No Best" in our titles. When I see the word "best," I like to think that the best are in attendance. That is not always the case in the "Best" combines. Parents believe it and the player believes it.
      Combines are good, because they provide a chance for players of levels of ability to compete and get their name "out there." If I were a young player, I would go to the NIKE combine to get the experience, so that my chances would be better the following year. If I am a top tier prospect, I would have no trouble competing, just to see what's out there. If I am a marginal prospect, BUT think I am a "top recruit," I would be careful. A slow times can hurt you. Actual size and weight can hurt too. Those slow times will not destroy a prospect, but can hurt him.
      Really any time that a player has a chance to compete, it is good. Anytime that a player has a chance to get better, it is good. Anytime a player can get his name out there, it is good. BUT, a player needs to be aware of one major problem. Who is watching you? Who is evaluating you? What experience do the evaluators have? There are some coaches who simply cannot evaluate prospects. There are some evaluators, who work the stopwatch, but use their thumb, instead of their index finger. I see website recruiting writers walking around evaluating prospects. Although some are good, a few simply have no clue. Those recruiting writers write about what they see.
      My son has been "invited." This sounds really good, but if a prospect gets his application in early, he will get an invitation. If he gets on the internet and searches for information, he will have a good chance to get "invited." Everybody makes a big deal about getting invited to the combines in Texas and Florida over Christmas. Over a thousand prospects get invited. If you have the money, you will get invited. Donot be late with your registration, however.
      Again, combines are good. Get your name out there. Get experience. Get some competition. Getting a poor evaluator is not good. Getting an offer from your performance is not a given. Also remember, combine scores are just a part of predicting how successful a high schoolrecruit will be playing college football. A player still has to block and tackle.
      Although I am an "old guard" guy when it comes to my competition, a lot of college coaches will listen to what I have to say about a recruit. Sometimes "big is not always better."

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Top Prospects Anchor St Ignatius Defense

      Cleveland St Ignatius could very well have two of the top ten football recruits in the Ohio Class od 2014. Neither one are a finished product, which is really good news to Head Coach Chuck Kyle. For me, I think that the sky is the limit. Kyle Berger plays linebacker and can play both inside and out. Dameon Willis is a very active strong safety.
      I have been fortunate to see Kyle Berger (2014) play both basketball and football. The hoops game I saw, he was resting a sore ankle. But I saw him play earlier against St Clairsville. Agressive on the basketball court. Really like his energy. On the football field he does just as well. Good balance. Stays on his feet. Excellent closing speed. Maybe his best strength is that he finishes plays. Listed at 6'3-215, he will need to add weight and strength. His motor is always running. Good hips. Changes direction well. As I talked with him, he just gets it. A low-key attitude with a top speed competitive attitude.
      Dameon Willis(2014) just keeps getting bigger and stronger. Listed 6'1-205, I believe that he is bigger than that. Plays with an attitude. Maybe just alittle out of control, but not often. Excellent closing speed. Much like Kyle Berger, he finishes plays. Lines up at strong safety, but will eventually be an outside linebacker. Runs well downhill. Needs to improve change of direction, but part of the problem is that he is so aggressive.  Watched him at the NIKE Combine last week. Same smile-same competitive attitude.
      Two different personalities. Two different body builds. Both good character guys. Both athletic. Both fun to talk with. Perhaps the best and most important likenesses are that they both love football and both will "rock" a ball carrier. St Ignatius Coach Chuck Kyle's defense has two college prospects, who are even better young men.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Jae'sean Tate - Could he be a Football Recruit ?

      College coaches actually pay for my comments on potential college football prospects in the great high school football state of Ohio. Some schools like to see my rankings on the top guys. I say this, because I am bold enough to say what I think and not what they want me to think. This leads me to Pickerington Central's outstanding outside linebacker Jae'sean Tate.
      Jae'sean is a member of the Ohio Class of 2014. His sophomore year, he was all over the field. He ran well and was able to change direction. Listed at 6'3-190, he played in the Ohio Division 1 State Championship game. Really athletic. Most of all, I liked his competitive attitude. That was last year.
      After football season last year, Jae'sean was a leader on the basketball court. Pickerington Central won the Ohio High School State Basketball Championship last winter. Of course, Pick Central had some "cats," but he was a very important part of the team. Good enough to impress Ohio State University. Coach Thad Matta  offered and he accepted. Case closed. Maybe.
      Jae'sean only played a third of the football season this past fall. Do not know the story and do not have time to check it out. Actually watched a game in which he played. Nothing changed - still had the skills and the toughness. Fun to watch him run around and make plays.
      Two weeks ago I attended a Pick Central basketball game, just to see Jae'sean Tate. Now, I am not a talent evaluator of basketball players. Action is too fast. Plus, I was an intramural star and never played varsity basketball. I liked Jae'sean that night, but he did not play as well as he could.  Jumps well. Excellent burst with the basketball in his hand. Out-manned everybody in the rebound game. But his outside shot was not dropping. More opinions, but I do not want to "lite-up" message boards.
      In the big, big picture, Jae'sean's best sport is football. Going to O-State to play basketball. Coach Matta is a tremendous coach and will make use of Jae'sean's talents. College basketball players who have never played a down in college football, at the end of the day, get drafted to the NFL. Now this does not happen all of the time, but it happens.
      Jae'sean Tate is a natural athlete. Run, jump, change direction, balance, good hips, and excellent closing speed. Loves to compete. Listed 6'3-190 and still growing. Excellent college basketball prospect, but when he turns 21 years old, he would look good in a football uniform.
      Sorry, Jae'sean. It is what it is. Wish you well playing hoops.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

NIKE Combine Visit was Successful

      Really a successful Nike Football Combine for me Saturday at Massillon. If you have not been to a Nike high school production, they can pretty impressive. Of course, we are talking Nike and a boatload of financial support. They have forgotten more about marketing than I could ever learn.
Massillon Washington High School football coach Jason Hall had invited me to watch the combine.
      Spectators, parents, and anyone else not associated with the actual running of the combine had to stay in a roped off area on one side of the indoor facility. Really was not a bad place to stand and watch the event. With more than a thousand high school players doing their "thing," trying evaluate talent is hard to do. Some of the recruiting reporters were able to get alittle closer than I was able to get, but they are the expert recruiting analysts. They have to write stories to make their money. For me, I just have to provide colleges with credible information to make my money.
      My game plan was to go to the excit where all of the players leave. I renewed friendships with some of the combine participates, but was also able to meet new football players whom I had seen play, but just never talked with.  Just as important was meeting parents and coaches, and chatting with others whom I had already known. That was what I came to Massillon to do and that was what I accomplished. Of course, since I have three of my own combines on three Sundays in March, I did just alittle marketing on my own.
      As far as learning any new techniques or coaching pointers, I really did not. Sometimes, "big is not always better in regards toi instruction." Honestly, the trainer who works a D-1 in Columbus gave me a few coaching points. That guy, Charles Gresham works with me and there is a reason I have him with me, because he is smart and great with kids. He runs the show at D-1 in Columbus.
      Nike does an excellent job with putting on this event. However, they have teammed up with the NCSA recruiting service. Bad news. A lot of information on a phamplet. A lot of ideas. Nowhere did I see the cost. Before a parent does told me that getting recruited is expensive now. In the future, I will blog my ideas for kids in Ohio using these money making marketing services.
      If I started naming the football prospects whom impressed me, I would leave out somebody. O-State bound Parris Campbell was impressive. Talked with both his mother and him for few minutes. Both really nice people. I need to mention Massillon's own Nathaniel Devers. Met for the first time Lakewood St Edward's Shaun Crawford. A member of the Ohio Class of 2015, he will be a top 10 guy for me, and maybe the top corner in his class.
      All in all, time well spent for me. Nike production was better than I expected.Granted I am a 64 year old "old school guy," but I also did a pretty good job of marketing the McCallister Scouting Report.

Darius West at a Glance

      Heading to Allen East High School tonight to watch Darius West play hoops. Problem is that the composition will not be what I had hoped. But at least I will get to see him run, change direction, and compete.
      Competing is something that concerns me about Darius. Really believe that he plays to the level of his competition. Have watched him on the flat screen twice and at times disappointed me. He has the physical tools, but I just feel that he has to play harder more consistently.
      Last football season, it was much the same way. He played up to his level of competition. Played well, but needs to play better this fall. Like his long arms. Solid hips. Really like his burst.
      Although it is Sunday afternoon, I still want to finish my comments on Darius. After watching Darius play hoops last Friday, I will tell you that he has unbelievable athletic skills.
Plays the point guard on full court pressure. Excellent quick vertical jumper. Had a "dunk" coming from the baseline on a high "feed." Excellent  burst going to the basket. Changes direction really well.
Darius's athletic skills are really good. Did well last year at college camps. College coaches ask me about him all of the time. Good attitude. In fact he has been nice to talk with.
      My advice to Darius is run the court and play hard every play. I think that he is guilty of playing to the level of competition. In fact, I told him that before the game last Friday night.
      All of the athletic tools, no question. Play hard every play. Still believe that he is one of the top 20 players in the Ohio Class of 2014. At 6'0-190, hopefully, he works at corner first. Would be an excellent strong safety, but needs a look at corner.

Monday, February 11, 2013

NCAA - Caves In- Unlimited Texting and Phone Calls

       If you think college football recruiting has become too big and too dishonest now, wait until after September 1, 2013. If you think that big time recruits are getting too "full of themselves" now, wait until after September 1, . If you think college football coaches are a "pain-in-the-butt" to high school recruits now, wait until after September 1. Finally, recruits are committing, decommitting, and flipping now, wait until after September 1.
       Recently, the NCAA has issued some new recruiting rules that will take effect August 1, 2013. But college coaches will not be able to apply the rules until September1. After September 1, college football coaches will be allowed to make unlimited phone calls and send unlimited text messages to high school recruits. UNLIMITED.
       Unlimited as in any time of the day or night. For example, a recruit could be sitting in church and the cell phone starts vibrating. Urban Meyer justs wants the football reruit to take notes on the sermon. A student who is struggling academically is sitting in English class, and Nick Saban could give him an idea to write in his journal. Homework and quiet time will be a joke. But, the NCAA will still hammer them when they do not get the GPA or test score.
       Also, college football programs can hire unlimited recruiting staffs. Could the rich could get richer? Does Bowling Green have the budget that Ohio State has? For those of you who think telemarketing is a pain in the butt, college football coaches just joined the telemarketing busy. Only now, a recruit or a parent will have to wait the full seven seconds to identify the caller. More students will have part time jobs. " This is John Smith with Penn State football. Just wanted to remind you to keep working hard in the classroom. Go Nittany Lions." A trained monkey can do that job.
       Really the NCAA is not the only one to blame. College football coaches stretch the rules, do not follw the intent of the rules, and, sometimes, just flat out cheat. Most think that "if you ain't cheatin, you ain't trying to win." Bottom line-- Seventeen and eighteen year old high school players get "used" again.
       I would guess the underlying intent of these new rules would be to get an early signing date. For example, recruits could sign a letter of intent September 3-10. The high school football regular season is just underway. Players could focus on their senior year without the recruiting stress. Phone calls and texts would decrease. Recruits would not have to worry decommiting or "flipping." There would be less phone calls from the recruiting reporters on recruiting websites, like Rivals. Of course, these ideas make too much sense. The NCAA would agree and would go a different route.
       I also heard at The Ohio High School Football Coaches Reguional Directors meeting that the NCAA is raising the academic standards in the near future. This is really a good idea. We need to really "crack down" on  high schoolathletes trying to get a better life. Push the academics. Really push higher academics in the inner city. Same way with athletes with learning disabilities. Of the ACT oer SAT will determine how successful any person will be. Hopefully, you realize that after the first sentence, I was being sarcastic.
      Back to unlimited texting and phone calls. Do like some college coaches do. carry two phones. One to take calls from the college coaches. The other (unlisted)-to make and take calls from your friends and parents. But, your budget to do that, may not be the same as a college football coach.
      As with all of fooball recruiting, all of the good, the bad, and the ugly, you might as well get used to it, because it is only going to get bigger and bigger and more dishonest.
     Over the summer try to get a two for one deal on cell phones.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Joe Flacco - An Excellent Role Model

      With the Super Bowl in the books for another year and Joe Flacco being named the Most Valuable Player, I just wanted to comment on Joe Flacco's persona. Actually, this message goes out to young athletes.
      Listening to sports talk radio two weeks ago, the "experts," were commenting on Flacco's quiet leadership skills. Too quiet, too unemotional, and too laidback. Needs to get into a receiver's face on a dropped ball. If a lineman misses a block, he should let him know it in "no uncertain terms." When he throws a touchdown pass, he should do a dance, or pound his chest. Not only are all of those things silly, they are not Joe Flacco.
      Mike Greenberg said that Joe Flacco needs to be more emotional. Flacco just lead the Baltimore Ravens to the Super Bowl Championship and did it his way. He just let his actions do the talking. No ranting or raving. No facial expressions. Most of all, he did not try to emulate somebody he was not.
      Years ago there used to be a slogan, "Be like Mike." This was in reference to Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan. For me, probably the best basketball player ever. Ask the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tremendous player. Sream and yell at his teammates in practice. Sometimes even squared off. Partied all night. Womanizer. Big time gambler. As I said, "tremendous basketball player." The best. But would you really want your son to be like Mike?"
      Fans want Ohio State's Braxton Miller to be more emotional. Even Urban Meyer is trying to get advice on how to get more emotion and excitement out of Braxton. But, if you have watched Braxton mature over the years as a quarterback, you realize Braxton shows little emotion and plays to the competition. Tremendous competitor. Now that he is doing more video work and more game study and prep, he will continue to get better. Braxton Miller does not have to pound his chest, or get in a players "grill" to be an outstanding QB. He does not have to be a "media darling." Simply, be yourself, Braxton, and as Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders used to say "Just Win, Baby."
      Former Cleveland Browns coach, Eric Mangini, tried to be like Bill Belichick. There is only one Belichick, but when his assistants go on to head coaching jobs, they act like him. Not good. Mangini is  now doing ESPN and doing a really good job. Someone said that they were surprised at his calmness. His comment was "that was not me, when I was coaching the Browns."  Be who you are. I have seen college assistant coaches change their whole personality, when working under a different head coach.
      Young athletes, just be yourself. Do what you do best. Do not try to be phoney. Do not try to impress, by showing that "fake" emotion. If you are a "yeller," yell. But you had better be able "to walk your talk."Otherwise no one will listen to you. If you are a quiet leader, staythat way. One thing, when you do have something to say, players will listen.
      Finally, I see many people, young and old, get out of character to impress. Not necessary. Be yourself. You do not have to draw attention to yourself. If you are a silent leader, stay that way. If you are an aggressive leader, stay that way, but, again,  you better be able to back it up. Although I am not a big Chris Spielman fan now, he may have been the best vocal leader on the football field that I have seen. Tough, smart, aggressive, played hurt, not tall, but played big, not fast, but played fast. Really, he had it all.
      Please Joe Flacco, don't change your persona. Mike and Mike were wrong on this one. Prove to young athletes that is okay not to show fake emotion, not to get in a teammate's face, and not to be to animated. Be who you are, and, of course, "Just Win, Baby."

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Ohio High School Football Players in the Super Bowl

      As the "Super Bowl" nears, actually tomorrow, two former Ohio high school players got my attention this week. Alex Boone and Donte Whitner are success stories. But I also think that I have to show some love for TE Garrett Celek,  WR Ted Ginn Jr, and injured WR Mario Manningham.
      Alex Boone. I was never a big Alex Boone fan. Watched him from his sophomore year and on at Lakewood St Edward High School. Huge and really athletic for a 6'7-295(at that time) high school player. Watching him, I thought that he took plays off and did not finish plays. Of course, he was huge and would get highly recruited. At times, I questioned his aggressiveness. Later to be proven at an allstar game practice. Always thought that if he ever "got it," he would play on Sundays.
      In what little of I saw of him at practices at O-State, I was still concerned about his practice habits. Also knew that he had some personal issues that he was dealing with as a college student. Alex got into some trouble right before the NFL draft. Although I do not believe that that incident alone sealed his fate, he was not drafted. The 49ers took a chance. Starting as a practice squad player, he worked his way to the starting RG position for the 49ers. Tomorrow, he will probably make more money than I will as I watch the game.
          Learning point. Alcohol is a very serious deal. Some people can handle it, some cannot. I applaude Alex Boone. I hope he "gets it." Young football players, I realize alcohol and marijuana is almost the "norm" on a college campus. But remember - some people can handle it, some cannot. Right now, Alex Boone is handling his problem.
      Donte Whitner. He  came out of Cleveland Glenville High School as one of the "toughness pound for pound guys" that I had seen and still have seen. Short, but cut and really hard nosed. Scholarship to Ohio State and was drafted by the Buffalo Bills. After I think, five years with Bills, he went to the 49ers. Preceded to get hurt. Fought back and now is a mainstay on the 49ers defense. With Donte, toughness was never an issue. Explosiveness was never an issue. Determination was never an issue. Getting into the right fit was an issue. Listed at 5'10-205, he may see 5'10 once in a while. Possibly one of the toughest strong safeties in the business. Excellent run stopper. Not the tallest strong safety in the NFL, but at 5'9, one of the toughest.
           Learning point. John Cooper always said that "It is not the size of the dog, but the size of the fight in the dog." Of course, toughness and determination does not guarantee a scholarship, but if you do not have it, you may not have a chance.  Whitner has all of that and more. I hear from so many young players who are concerned that lack of size will hurt their chances for a scholarship. Donte proved different, but he was a tough competitor. There is a place for the "short guy" in college football, but you better have the "it" factor.
      Garrett Celek. For a long time he was known as former UC star Brent Celek's younger brother. Brent played tight end at Cincinnati LaSalle High School and went on to the University of Cincinnati. Actually, he came into his own at UC, but has developed into one of the better TE's in the NFL. Garrett Celek was offered a scholarship to Michigan State. He was a long 6'5-225 offensive lineman coming out of LaSalle High School. Honestly, part of his getting that scholarship was due to the huge respect that Mark Dantonio had for the Celek's. While at Michigan State, he was moved to tight end, but he did not see a lot of playing time. Garrett made the practice squad for the 49ers.
The advice that his older brother kept giving him was short and simple. "Keep working hard and keep getting better." He had some catches for the 49ers this past season. Four in one game from his tight end position. Also he has become an important member of the special teams units.
           Learning point. Of course he is 6'5, but at 225, played offensive tackle in high school. Went to Michigan State and made the move to tight end. Continued to work hard, but did make a lot of  catches and saw limited playing time. Kept working hard and made the practice squad for the 49ers. Hard work paid off. A back up TE, but an important special teams guy. "Keep working hard and keep getting better."
      Ted Ginn Jr.  may be one of the fastest and most explosive high school football players who I have evaluated over the years. At Glenville High School he played some wide receiver and played alot of quarterback. At Ohio State, he played wide receiver and developed into one of the best returners of all time. Did not have great hands and was kind of a long strider. Was not a great route runner. BUT when he caught the short pass, he was a threat to go the distance. In fact, every time he touched the ball, he could go the distance. Now with the 49ers, he plays much the same role. His game is running with the football in his hands. Injuries have set him back some, but to a speed guy they are more noticeable. Drafted high in the first round by the Dolphins put alot of pressure on him to perform. Maybe some of the same weaknesses as a receiver at O-State hurt him with the Dolphins. Plus the Dolphins are a bad organiztion. Contributing in many ways. Ted will be on the flatscreen Sunday night.
           Learning point. When you are blessed with speed and good size, alot of doors will open. Of course. some players are blessed with speed, others have to develop their speed. Ted Ginn Jr works hard as a ball catcher, but is not a natural. Find what you do best as an athlete and really fine tune that skill. But spend as much time working on your weakness. If a ball carrier does not have top end speed, but has a tremendous first three steps, he should keep working on his top speed, but do what he does best and that is hit the hole as fast as you can. Find your strength.
       Mario Manningham. I njured and will not play in the Super Bowl Sunday night.  From Warren Harding High School, he is one of the best receivers when fighting for the ball. Strong hands. Very physical. I always felt that he needed to be more consistent. Needed to concentrate more. But when it came to a big play, he usually made the catch. One of my greatest memories of Mario was at an Ohio State summer camp. He was destroying defenders in one on one pass drills. I looked at Coach Tressel and said, " Any chance?" Coach said, " No." Mario had committed to Michigan earlier that spring.
           Learning point. Always thought Mario was guilty of getting "caught up in himself" too much at times. Believe this affected his concentration and performance. Not nearly as much as the receiver who played at Michigan and then was drafted by the Browns, but Mario needed to focus much better.
Not a speed guy, but fast enough. As a wide receiver, concentration is essential. Catching the ball in traffic is a must. "Getting caught up in yourself," hurts any athlete in any sport.
      As I wrote this blog, I recalled many pleasant memories watching young men play high school football in Ohio. They deserve much credit. I am an Ohio high school guy and really enjoy watching young men do well and serve as role models. All of these guys have a message for high school football players.
      By the way, the Ravens do not have any players with Ohio high school backgrounds (that I can find). John Harbaugh and I go back to his days as a college coach, but I may have to cheer for the 49ers, because they have those Ohio high school guys.