Friday, April 25, 2014

Moeller QB's and a Trip to Cincinnati

        First trip to the Cincinnati area, yesterday. My goal was to be at Moeller High to watch quarterbacks, Matt Crable (2015) and Thomas Macvittie (2016), throw after school. On the way, I made stops at Lakota West, Fairfield, Princeton, Winton Woods, Colerain, LaSalle, Elder, and Moeller. Would have stopped at St Xavier, but they are on spring break. Will make that trip in two weeks to also stop at Anderson, Loveland, CHCA, and some others. When you have been in this busy as long as I have, trust and are important.
       Last night was only the second time the Moeller QB's have thrown outside, but I really like both. Junior, Matt Crable, gets the ball out quickly. Good feet. Like his delivery. Gets his hips involved.
Sophomore, Thomas Macvittie, is a little more mechanical, but throws a good ball. Listed 6'4 and has run a 4.5/40. Like his release point and quick release. Stands tall. Both QB's have the "QB swagger," that I feel is really important. They both handle themselves well.
      Tight end Jake Hausman (2016) was impressive last year as both a pass catcher and blocker at TE. Listed 6'5-245. May not be quite that size, but has frame to add much good weight. Made some catches last night that were impressive. To me, he has natural pass catcher hands. For me, the best TE in the Class of 2016.
      Former TE Ryan Smith (2016) has found a home at DE. Listed 6'5-245. Really ran well. Good balance. Most impressive - Ryan may someday get big enough to move inside. Toughness is a strength. For me, potential to be a top inside guy is there. Will be a high recruit.
      Another sophomore that I like is LB John Griga. Listed 6'2-210. Really like his feet and quickness. Need to see him in pads, but like his LB mentality. One to watch for sure.
       Although he did not run, because of a leg problem, I also met Jacob Gall, a freshman OL/DL who measures 6'2-305, and definitely passes the eye ball test. Like to see him at 295, but he carries his weight well. Strong upper body. One of two freshman to ever play varsity for Moeller. Brother of Jacob Gall, now at University of Miami.
       Of course, I have to mention DL Elijah Taylor (2015) who continues to physically develop into one of the top DL guys in Ohio. Listed 6'3-280, he moves well. Like his balance and quickness. Last fall, I thought he did not realize how good he could be. He seems to be "getting it " now. Of course, no pads, yesterday, but I really like his potential to be really good.
       Just missed LaSalle's workout, but did see QB Nick Watson throw some balls. Liked his last year as a sophomore. Now he is squeezing 6'1. Gets ball out quickly. Can throw deep ball. Also like his ability to escape and run.
       Also at LaSalle I had a chance to formally meet Jordan Thompson. Listed 6'2-250. Colleges like his ability to run around and make plays. I like his toughness and athleticism. Excellent burst. Seems like a really good character guy.
       Maybe the early top 2016 QB prospect in Cincinnati is Coach Doug Ramsey's son Peyton. Listed 6'2+, he started every game as a sophomore. Works out on odd days, but I have seen enough to really like his potential. Although his arm is good, his decision making and leadership are excellent.
       Another sophomore QB in the Cincy area is Hunter Krause. Listed 6'3, Hunter threw at the MSROHIO combine in March. Like his throwing tech. Smart. Just needs to mature physically and get stronger. Of course that will happen. Also son of a coach.
       The trip to Cincinnati was profitable for me. Anytime I can visit with coaches and build relationships, the time is well spent. Coaches are giving me names of really top eighth graders to watch. Of course, I will not make them public, but it starts my list.
      College coaches ask me all of the time, "Have you seen --- yet?"  Anytime I can see players workout, or play another sport, or really just "eyeball" them is huge for me.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Contact Spring Football - Ohio ?

       Opened the Findlay Courier last week to read the sports pages and, "boom!" headline - "Banging the drum for spring football." Long time friend sportswriter Dave Hanneman wrote an article spring football for Ohio high schools.
       Sub-heading - " OSU coach Urban Meyer wants to see Ohio HS spring grid drills."
Yes, Urban Meyer is pushing the idea to have an entended period in the spring to run football practices. No, a two week period in the spring to wear equipment and practice football will not happen, and should not happen.
        Good conversation. Florida and some southern states have spring football. I guess, it is the real thing and works for football. In the "ideal world," probably not a bad idea. But in the real world for Ohio schools, probably not a really good idea. Problems.
         Coaches - Many schools have a hard enough time to find quality football coaches who can actually coach kids and communicate with them. Old school coaches who spent a lot of time on the game are retiring. Young coaches with young families watch the clock more than they should. Now they will ask coaches to spend two weeks in the spring, but also ask their time in getting ready for spring ball.
         Football budget  - Spending money on sports is tough now. Pay for play. Not only at smaller schools, but even schools like Lakota West have instituted "play for pay." Will football players have to pay additional money to participate for two weeks in the spring?
         Coaches' salary - How much will the football coach's salary will be for those two weeks. Will it be part of  his regular stipend for coaching in the fall. Many coaches already have half of their summer taken up with 7on7 and team conditioning.
         Spring sports coaching - Many coaches coach a spring sport, either as a head coach or an assistant. How would this work? Will the coach have to take a break in his spring sport to coach two weeks of spring football. Actually, more than two weeks, because there would be pre spring football practice planning. Two very prominent football programs in Cleveland are coached by men who also coach very respected track programs in the spring. How would this work.?
         The athlete - Top sprint star is also a top football player. Does he risk getting hurt in two weeks of spring football and miss the rest of track season and a chance to win the 100 meters at the OHSAA State Meet? Does that top pitcher who is also a QB miss two weeks of baseball to play spring practice?
         Practice equipment - Do the helmets get reconditioned for a second time? Does the practice equipment get replaced for a second time? Costs of maintaining practice facilities?
        The list goes on and on.
        Last  December, Assistant OHSAA  for football, told me that my QB/REC camp was a violation of Rule 7.8. I accepted his ruling, but did not agree with it. Costs me in the area of $400. But since I am a just a guy, tough luck John. When a person from a prominent high school in Cleveland called the OHSAA; When the Cleveland Browns called the OHSAA; When a rep from Ohio State football called the OHSAA; A different rule was now in effect and for some reason my camp would have not been a violation. But nothing was ever said to John McCallister, because I am just a guy. The answers were given to me given to me at the OHSFCA Regional Directors Meeting. Thank goodness, "Real Guys" got involved.
        What the majority of high school football coaches want is more freedom to work with football players in the off season. Work on QB drills on a Sunday afternoon. Work with linemen after school on pass techniques. The OHSAA has a new rule into effect that a coach can work with four players at one time in the off season. This would be for all sports.
        The other major concern that I have is the "AAU scare." Legally or illegally mover 7on7 teams are being formed in Ohio. All-star teams who will play teams from other states. Big in Cleveland. If the 7on7 is one high school team, for example Kenton, no problem. Coaches coach their own players. All-star teams. People other than the players' high school coaches coach the team. Now the mentality of AAU and "handlers," Not good. Now - "who is coaching your son?" AAU basketball, once thought to be good by high school coaches is pout of control. Who is  making money????
       Years ago, the OHSAA under a different commissioner put in rule 7.8, to limit the amount of strength Ohio high football coaches were getting. The OHSAA feared that high school football would get too strong. Hopefully that rule is no longer in effect and rule 8.3 is now the rule to follow.
       Spring football like football teams follow in the Southern state is not the answer. More time (legally) for high school football coaches to work with their players in the off season is the answer. Seven at a time is a good number for high school coaches to work with their players. Last year I saw a team  near Toledo going team offense against team defense in April. Not so good. Of course, they are not the only high school guilty of breaking the rule.
       Remember - " McCallister is"Just a guy." But I hope "Real guys," use good judgment.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Summer Football Camps

        I get emails and phone calls about the best camps to attend this summer. Do not know if there is a best answer. Of course, I would never put my choices on paper, but I will tell a parent or player, if they ask. Really all are camps are about the same. Big is not always better.
        Still get some questions as to whether I have any more combines scheduled this spring. I do not. For me the window is so small between wrestling, basketball, track and baseball that I try to do the MSROHIO combines in March. Really, any combines now, are really a waste of time. Too late. Focus on college summer camps.
        Had a parent call me just last week, because she did not have the correct password for some application for one of the national recruiting sites combine coming up soon. My answer "no big deal." What do these sites have to offer? Take your picture, put you on a list, and get contact information. I guess it is nice exposure, but I would not fret about not being able to participate. Her son was at our combine in March. He is going to be fine.
        Someone told her that "offers" are really important now. "If you do not have offers now, the chance of getting a scholarship is really lessens." SILLY! Most of the people who follow my thoughts, know that offers really overrated now. If you bust your butt at a camp and get an offer from your camp performance, then we are talking serious stuff. If the coaches tell you "to keep working hard and play well the first two games," then you are probably not on their 01A list.
        College coaches in the Midwest have to recruit from summer camps, because Ohio has no spring contact football like Florida and some other states do. It is what it is. That is why when a prospect goes to a camp, he needs to be first in line, finish every drill, compete hard, and show good character. Those are the type of things good evaluators will or should be looking forward to.

Choosing Camps
1A. If a player is going into his senior year, going to any camp for more than one day is not profitable. In one day, a college coach can see what he needs to see. One day is a lot less expensive. Time is of importance. Go to as many as he feels that that he needs to get exposure. Going one day will allow him to space his camps giving him some down time. Finally, he will get more attention, because of the time limit.

1. If a college out of state has offered you a scholarship and you really like the school, then you have to camp, at least one day. If a school like Iowa offers and you like them, go. Same with a Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Illinois, Purdue or Northwestern or a Buffalo or Syracuse. It is a trip, but you need to make the trip to do your own evaluation of their coaching staff's attitude. Have Mom and Dad check everything, too. See just what the coach is like when he is coaching. Same way with the head coach. See how well he communicates, when he is not sitting in your living room.

2. Locally, Ohio State has five different opportunities to camp for position players. Three one days. One called a Skill and Big Man Camp- This is primarily for underclassmen. Campers stay 1 and 1/2 days. Last year, they had to rename it.

3. Michigan's Camp lasts for four days. A player gets a ton of work. Of course, it is a well run camp.
If a player cannot stay that long, he can still go for one day.  Michigan State's Camp is more one day, but they get a lot of work done.

4. "Satellite Camps-" Toledo (8 sites) and Ohio University (3 sites) will travel to your area to put on four hour camps. Mostly for seniors to be, the camp is open to grades 9-12. A chance to learn, showcase, work on football skills, and compete. Sound familiar? Having been to these camps, I am really impressed with all of the work accomplished. A lot of individual attention. I am not familiar with the other schools in the MAC, because they have not responded to my requests. Guess I cannot help them. Oh well.

5. Division 2 Camps. Most people know that I have a high regard for D-2 football. Findlay, Ohio Dominican, and Ashland all host football camps on their campus. I have been to some and they do a really good job. All three schools allow D-3 schools to work the camps. Tons of exposure.

6. On exposure. I mentioned D-2 schools have D-3 schools working their camps. The BCA schools in the Midwest allow Mid level D-1 coaches to work their camps. Great for exposure. Years ago, Coach Tressel raised the bar for allowing unlinited MAC coaches access to work the camps. Not quite the same now, but still good. Excellent exposure.

7. On private camps - probably the best is the Nike Camp. Good to compete, but just so many bodies. Some coaches are just that - "warm bodies." A good camp to learn and compete. Of course, you get nice shirt. Football University - simply look at the price.

            Just some thoughts on college football camps. Most are what you make them. There are good ones and bad ones. At one satellite camp last year, the staff spent almost two hours going over combine drills. The camp was at the end of June. Remember if you go to camp  that wears shoulder pads, you can not wear them, even if it is a team camp.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Marvin Lewis Spoke at OSU Football Clinic

       Cincinnati Bengals' Head Coach Marvin Lewis spoke at Oho State's football clinic last Thursday night. An "Oh, my" for me. He came  to inform and to help every coach in the football business college thorough youth league to get better. No "BS," no philosophies, no war stories, and no "all about me," as some college and NFL coaches tend to do. Subject - Proper techniques of playing with the eyes and head up.
       Coach Lewis first introduced us to the program "Heads Up Football." I checked the program on the internet and it is very informative. Actually coaches and parents can join the program and receive all kinds of information about making football safer. Google "Heads Up Football."
       He spoke briefly on the evolution of the game. Football helmets were introduced in 1893 to protect your ears. In 1940, NFL players were required to wear helmets. In 1955, single bar face masks were introduced. My first helmet was the Riddell suspension helmet in 1963. Some people believe that I actually wore the old leather helmet.
       Coach Lewis listed the fundamentals of tackling.
          Great football position ( 45 degree power angle)
            "Squeeze the green" ( Continue to shorten the distance between you and the ball carrier)
                 Explode the hips
                    Explode the eyes.
                       Grab cloth
                          Slide the head to the side
                             Step on the toes (Follow thru- lift)
                Remember - "You are either coaching it or allowing it to happen"

       Marvin Lewis also said,  "As coaches we are now charged with revising our teaching methods to once again put emphasis on teaching the proper techniques of playing with head and eyes up. Lowering targets. Wrapping and tackling with our arms. Grabbing cloth.
       Much is being done to emphasize the proper technique of playing with the head and eyes up in the NFL. Colleges are getting better. High school rules need to be more specific. Coach Lewis - " We are seeing these modifications currently in our players in the NFL. You can see the same progress from your own players at your level."
       Reminder to check out "Heads Up Football."

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Jake Long - A Kentucky HS Player

         I will be the first to tell you that the football combines and camps that we put on are small time operations. Rivals, Nike, and the National Underclassman Combines are so huge. We are just a "mom and pop's" outfit. However, at one of our D-1 Sorts Training combines, I met a young man from Ashland Blazer High School in Kentucky.
        Jake Long (2016) from Ashland Blazer HS talked with me at the combine. Told me that he used to live in Ohio, but his parents moved to Kentucky. He trains with Alonzo Saxton in Columbus every weekend. Mr. Saxton told him that I would be a good resource for him to get started in the recruiting process.
        Jake sent me an email thanking me for the opportunity to test at the combine. He has talked with recruiting reporters in Ohio before, but once they find out that he is from Kentucky, they slowly disappear. There was also some concern that since he was a Kentucky boy, I would not be interested in helping him.
         Measuring 5'11(NS) and 167, Jake tested well for a sophomore. Ran 4.55/40. Verticaled 34.0. Broad jumped - 9.6. Ran 4.4/PS. Ran a solid 7.4/LC. With the work ethic that Jake has, these tests scores will improve a year from now. Plays DB at Blazer High School. Good hips and good speed.
         Because of his interest in MSR, I will see him on video this fall. Maybe I will see him at a camp this summer. Of course, watching him compete in pads will be hard. He better return to one of my combines next March.
         I do not promote our combines for out of state prospects. One, I want to focus on Ohio players. Two, regardless of a player's ability, for parents driving over four hours to go to any combine (Nike included) is silly. The results are not worth the effort. However, I will not turn away any player from out of state who wants to get better.
        Building honest relationships in recruiting is number one for me. Honesty is not a strength of many coaches or recruiting reporters when it comes to recruiting football prospects. Looking forward to helping Jake Long in the recruiting process. This fall and next spring is really important for him. His test scores have been sent out to my colleges. The process has begun.