Sunday, May 31, 2020

A Troubling Saturday in America

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Today was a sad day as we held one last Zoom meeting with our friends in Romania.

Cluj Crusader Recruiting Poster

I've had a lot of fun taking part in our weekly coaching clinics with the coaches and players of Romania's Cluj Crusaders.

 Crusaders Head Coach Rafael Ruiz

We covered a lot of ground over the last two months in our Saturdays together.

After two initial meetings on general coaching philosophy and organization, we settled into a pattern of breaking down the game, position by position, based on questions the Crusaders' players and coaches had prepared in advance for me to answer.

Today's final installment covered both Linebacker and Defensive Back play.

I've had an absolute ball in these Saturday meetings!

MULȚUMESC Crusaders!

I hope that says THANK YOU in Romanian . . .

Laurie and I spent most of the afternoon watching the TV news coverage of the protests, riots and looting in Los Angeles as a result of a Minneapolis Police Officer's killing of George Floyd, a suspect that was offering no resistance in the eight minutes before losing his life.

Sad to see that 50 years after the
Civil Rights battles of the 1960s
nothing has really changed

I tend to agree with this . . .

. . . and this . . .

. . . and especially this

Reading Is FUNdamental!

A great Raymond Chandler book
that led to a classic film noir

Saturday, May 30, 2020

A Morning With a Legend

Friday, May 29, 2020

Our Coaches Exchanging group is made up of 16 American football coaches spread over Austria, Canada, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Switzerland and even one in California.

Since the beginning of April we have been conducting Zoom meetings as a way of sharing our knowledge of American football during the Coronavirus Lockdown.

At first we just did clinics for each other  and then we reached out to coaches in America who graciously gave of their time to help colleagues all over the world.

We have already held 23 of these meetings and are currently scheduled for at least one more. We have four more American coaches who are in the process of deciding topics and dates to join us, what a fun ride!

This morning our group had an amazing meeting with one of the true legends of the game . . .

Veteran NFL Defensive Master Coach
Wade Phillips was our guest!

Calling Coach Phillips a veteran coach is an understatement.

The NFL just celebrated their 100th season. Coach Phillips has been coach in the league for the past 46 of those years!

After his playing days as a three year starting linebacker for the University of Houston, he started his coaching career in 1969 as a Graduate Assistant with his alma mater.

After a year being a G.A. with the Cougars, he spent three seasons coaching high school football in Texas.

Next up was three campaigns coaching at the NCAA DI level with Oklahoma State and Kansas.

Then in 1975, his NFL career started as an assistant with the Houston Oilers where his father, Bum Phillips, was the Head Coach. This was the first of nine NFL assistant coaching jobs Coach Phillips would hold, all on the defensive side of the ball and mostly as a Defensive Coordinator.

Besides the Oilers, his other NFL assistant coaching stops included time with the New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, Atlanta Falcons, San Diego Chargers, Houston Texans and Los Angeles Rams.

On three occasions, when his Head Coach was fired in mid-season, Coach Phillips was elevated to the position of Interim Head Coach with the Saints, Falcons and Texans.

Coach Phillips was named as a Head Coach with three NFL franchises, the Denver Broncos, the Buffalo Bills and the Dallas Cowboys.

What an amazing coaching journey and what a wealth of knowledge.

Coach Phillips was just a folksy,
good man who shared so many
insights with us today,

As an FYI item, here is the list of our speakers to date:

Coach Kyle Callahan, Swarco Raiders, Austria
Intermediate Passing Game 

Coach Ryan Clements, Graz Giants, Austria 
Giants Defensive Culture - LB practice plan and everyday drills - 6 coverage and man coverage

Coach Adam Rita, Formerly Bergamo Lions, Italy - now coaching in Canada
Operating Systems

Coach George Contreras, Varese Skorpions, Italy
What I’ve Learned About American Football Since 1958 - Aggressive Kicking Game Strategies

Coach Chris Calaycay, Vienna Vikings, Austria
3x1 Defense Run Fits and Coverage Checks

Coach Max Kössler, Vienna Vikings, Austria
4 Verticals and 3 Level Concepts

Coach Nick Johansen, Salzburg Bulls, Austria
Power Run Game and Compliments

Coach Wojciech Andrzejczak, Calanda Broncos, Switzerland 
Shoulder Tackling System

Coach Brian Guzman, Tec Toluca Borregos, Mexico
Spread RPOs & Building an Offense at Altitude

Coach Hector Palacios, Tec Toluca Borregos, Mexico
#IceInOurVeins - Building Our Defensive Brand

Coach Ernesto Alfaro, Tec Guadalajara Borregos, Mexico
4x1 Empty Set Both With and Without a TE

Coach Ben McEnroe, California Lutheran University Kingsmen, USA
Zone Schemes – Scouting/Video Breakdowns

Coach Ryan Clements, Graz Giants, Austria 
Role of a Collegiate Quality Control Coach

Coach Pete Alamar, Stanford University Cardinal, USA
Developing a Winning Special Teams Culture – Stanford Punt Return/Block Drills and Fundamentals

Coach Rich Worsell, University of Akron Zips, USA
Football Breakdown 101 – Analytics for European Football

Coach Brock Olivo, Chicago Bears, USA
Punt Coverage - Punter & Snapper Operation Time

Coach Eric Marty, Reedley College Tigers, USA
Boot and Sprint Out Pass Game

Coach Craig Moropoulos, Santa Barbara City College Vaqueros, USA
Down Gap Attitude in an Up-Tempo System

Coach Nick Holt, former DC at Purdue, Washington, Southern California, USA
Developing NFL Linebackers – Skills and Drills for Success

Coach Mark Helfrich, former OC Chicago Bears, former HC University of Oregon Ducks, USA
Q and A

Coach Ron Roberts, Baylor University Bears, USA
Defending the Spread

Coach Wade Phillips, former HC Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys
Defensive System

Thursday, June 4th, 20:00
Coach Nick Holt, former DC at Purdue, Washington, Southern California, USA
Developing NFL Defensive Linemen – Skills and Drills for Success

In the evening, we accepted an invitation to a BBQ dinner at Mike and Vanessa's home in Oxnard.

After some great hamburgers
we sat down to play a game for kids
based on Charades

It was great fun, especially when I had to act out belly dancing.

Finally, I want to say THANK YOU to all of the people who have reached out with their well wishes via FaceBook the last few days upon hearing about my retirement from EuroBall coaching.

It is humbling.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

A Good Day With a EuroBall Vibe

Thursday, May 28, 2020

What better way to start the day than a Zoom meeting with the coaches of our beloved Varese Skorpions.

The Gang was all here!

Lots of good questions today about the role of a Head Coach and coaching staff responsibilities.

It was good to see our DC, who has been battling Covid-19, up and about looking much better this week. 

 I received what looks to be an
extremely interesting book in the mail

It was a gift from Coach Massimo Foglio in Torino.

Massimo wrote this book titled "Touchdown In Europe - How American Football Came to the Old Continent" which is going to be a good read with insights into the roots of EuroBall.


In news from the net . . .

Good point

I agree

What a GREAT idea
for a fundraiser!

Darn near impossible

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

My Day on the Europe Warriors Zoom Webinar

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

At precisely 11:oo a.m. today I joined my two confederates in Europe Warriors crime for a free Zoom webinar to talk American football.

Who are these two men you ask? Two of the best men I've met through EuroBall, Jesús Sanchez, the Head Coach of Madrid's Osos, and Bart Iaccarino, the Head Coach of Barcelona's Pioners L'Hospitalet.

They asked me last weekend to speak on today's Europe Warriors sponsored webinars and, of course, I said yes.

So off we went into the unknown

 This was my two pronged topic

The first part was a discussion of the things that I have learned since I started playing flag football for the first time as a sixth grader at Pasadena's St. Philip the Apostle School that form my philosophy of coaching 62 years later.

In the second part, I addressed our aggressive approach to our Punt, Punt Block, Field Goal and Field Goal Block teams.

After two hours and ten minutes, our clinic session ended and I felt good about the presentation.  

Later Bart Iaccarino sent me this

If I am understanding it correctly, the talk garnered over 2,500 views.

That seemed like a lot to me but, then again, there are a lot of American football coaches scattered throughout the globe with no life during these Coronavirus restricted times.

Go figure!

A Good Day Working on the Computer

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

I spent most of the day working on my computer on two projects.

The first project was revising my talk
for tomorrow and preparing a Power
Point presentation to share my thoughts

Besides Aggressive Kicking Game Strategies, I'll also be talking about what I have learned about American football since 1958 when I first started playing our game as a sixth grader on the flag football team at St. Philip the Apostle School in Pasadena, California.

My other project today was for a friend, Debi Murphy.

For years she has been saying that during my EuroBall years I have posted dozens of good food photos on this blog. She has also mentioned her desire to hang one or two of them on her walls.

Thus armed, I waded through hundreds of blog posts looking for good photos for her to pick to decorate her home.

I narrowed it down to 168 photos for her.

From those 168 photos, I picked these as my favorites.

First, for a meal you need ingredients . . .

Garlic is good

Great looking tomatoes

A fruit market in Barcelona

Mushrooms sautéed would be excellent

You know, these can be
magically turned into wine

Meat for the main course is a MUST!

Adding rich spices adds to a meal

Colorful peppers and garlic

Eggs for a breakfast quiche?

Laurie loves cherries

Escargots in Lyon, France

European bakeries are always
high on my shopping lists

I love bread

Wine with . . .

. . . a meal . . .

. . . is also a MUST!

At least that's what Laurie always says.

A meat plate is a good way
to start the evening

Of course, a good dessert is a fine finish to any meal.


Fruits are healthy

Gelato is never to be refused

Another possible fruit serving

This has to be good for you

As much as I love gelato . . .

. . . I love these more!

That was a wonderfully delicious stroll down a culinary memory lane.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Memorial Day 2020 and a HUGE Honor

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day, the day when Americans honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our Nation.

My thoughts on this day yearly take me back to our three visits to Normandy and the World War II, D-Day beaches in France.

June 6, 1944

So solemn when I first saw the
American Cemetery above Omaha Beach
for the first time back in 2012

 And even more so on
Memorial Day 2013

We owe all of our fallen military personnel and their families more than we can ever repay.

With Mark Johnson and Loren Brucker
in 2017 at Utah Beach

Both of their Fathers landed on Normandy beaches back in 1944. Needless to say, this was an emotional day for both of Mark and Loren.

I received interesting news today from . . .

My beloved 2012-13 club in France,
the Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons
located in the wondrous city of Lyon

The team has deigned to induct me
as the fifth member of their
exclusive Hall of Fame!

This is both an honor and a humbling experience for me that brought back great memories of our National Championship season together. Merci, Falcons. 

 We got to host our 2013 Title Match
between the 9-0 Tours Pionniers and
your 11-0 Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons

WE WON, 20-7!

I'm seen here with wily veteran SS Frédéric Bastiand holding the championship trophy and QB/Team Leader John van den Raadt out of Azusa Pacific University.

They both should be considered for the Hall of Fame in my opinion.

 12 and 0!

The FaceBook message mentioned the other four members of the Falcons Hall of Fame.

I have never met Damien Signori who was an outstanding Running Back with the Falcons in the 1990s and on until 2009. He returned to help coach the Falcons 2014 to 2016 helping win a DII French Championship in 2016.

Romain Nefise, HoF
an OUTSTANDING Wide Receiver
for us in 2012-13

Julien Urgenti on the left
with former QB/Coach
Fabrice Candelo, HoF

Fabrice did a wonderful job with our QBs and Receivers in 2012-13.

Julien was both a player and the longtime Falcons GM who put together two Falcons National Championship squads. He should be in the Hall of Fame as well in my opinion.

Olivier Caldes, HoF
a rock solid Falcons LB back in the day
and our Junior team coach in 2012-13

Olivier has become one of France's most respected American football referees over the years.

What a season!

 Coach Jesús Sánchez asked me to speak
on a Europe Warriors Zoom meeting
on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. Pacific time

Besides talking about our approach to both sides of the Punt and Field Goal game, I will be addressing what I have learned about the game of American football since first playing for the St. Phillip the Apostle Elementary School's flag team in Pasadena, California in 1958.

I still have a lot to learn as I find out every time I attend one of these Zoom coaching clinics.

News from the net and TV . . .


My first two choices on TV
this morning were a bit disparate

Actually all of these choices were quite different.

As any OL/DL will tell you,
100% TRUE!

Isn't that correct Paul Sabolic?