Posted 1 day ago

STAFF LUNCH (and Song of the Week)

Went to a 2012 favorite, Popeyes in Moorpark. It was just okay. The iced tea was excellent, and no, I don’t drink sweet tea.

Song of the Week: Rocky Mountain High, by John Denver.  Had a nice talk with my buddy Cory this morning. They’re heading to Seattle to take-on my beloved Seahawks in a Super Bowl rematch. In all honesty, I’m pulling for Cory, I hope he wins every game that he coaches in after that miserable Super Bowl I had to endure. Had some good laughs, and it’s always great to get caught-up with the people you care about in the world. 

Speaking of those people, thank you Kami for a nice breakfast this morning, always my favorite day of the week!

Posted 3 days ago
Posted 3 days ago

COACH’S CHOICE

I’ve struggled with topics here the last couple weeks, giving you my opinion on the recent Supermoons last week, and drawing a blank for this week. Feel free to send me a note with a recommendation. I will talk about anything except politics, some current events, religion, and most other hard-hitting subjects.

Today’s topic will be in response to a Facebook discussion my aunt was having that my wife let me in on last night (I do not have a Facebook account). Ketchup on Tacos, aka. the Taft Taco. According to my aunt, who was backed-up by my other aunt, ketchup on tacos is an acceptable practice. Where do I stand on the topic? I have children that love it, and that love had to come from one place: me. I don’t love it, and I only use ketchup on certain types of tacos or if we’re out of salsa, but I have been known to dabble in the recreational use of ketchup on a taco. My preference is salsa, then my next preference would be the so-called taco sauce (glorified ketchup), followed by hot sauce. Ketchup works on flour tortilla shells better than the corn variety. Ketchup does make the taco sweeter, so be prepared for that. When I apply ketchup on a taco, it is usually a very thin layer, followed by a preferably hot salsa, directly on top of the meat.

My perfect taco? Easy: street tacos with Carne Asada, white onions, cilantro, and hot, authentic salsa. Give me four of those and something cold to drink and I’m good to go. The Taft Taco isn’t even a Top 5 option for me, but I will stand behind my Aunt Kim and support her with the occasional squeeze of ketchup on the taco.

Best taco shop? King Taco (multiple LA locations) is good, and I enjoy Manny’s and Three Amigos here in T.O. All-time favorite? Easily Dave’s Tacos in Bakersfield, although Dave’s was better in the pre-Twitter era where you had to drive all over town looking for the truck, and the location was spread via word of mouth. Now, you can find it in a permanent location at 2600 Chester Avenue in Downtown.

DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT ADDING KETCHUP TO ANY OF THE FOUR ABOVE-LISTED TACOS.

Posted 3 days ago

26 years and one week ago today, Sweet Child O’ Mine was the #1 song. That is over 2 1/2 decades ago! Probably still my favorite G&R song. I wore-out that Appetite for Destruction tape in my ‘83 Ford Ranger…

Posted 4 days ago

GAMES OF THE WEEK

Time to take a look at several of the best games around the nation, including my pick for the best game in the West Region.

There are a couple of games in Division III football that really move my meter. It’s rough being a coach and not being able to attend college football games in different parts of the country, but we do have pretty good seats for our own games. If I had the ability to attend other games, here’s where I’d be:

Naperville, IL for #6 North Central hosting #8 UW-Plattville. I made a couple friends when we hosted NCC in the playoffs two years ago, I’m sure they’d hook me up with a place to stay and a good tailgate. My guess is that this one will be entertaining from an offensive standpoint, and you couldn’t ask for a better time of year to be in greater-Chicagoland. Plus the Dodgers are in town for four games, and I could go to Wrigley on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday!  What a weekend!!!

Dover, DE for Rowan at #4 Wesley. I’m not sure what to do in Dover, Delaware, but I think there’s a couple race tracks, one of the NASCAR variety and another of the horse variety, and there has to be some history around there. I would probably end-up at Pickering Beach, looking for Horseshoe Crabs since I’ve never seen one before. Can you eat them?

West Region Game of the Week:

No brainer here, I’m driving out to the IE for #6 Linfield facing the team from east of here, where the flash floods and funnel clouds are wrecking havoc. Crazy weather the last two weeks out there; hot, humid, wet, and sticky. Not exactly SoCal in September, but you get what you get when it comes to weather. I’d probably end-up like I did in last week’s scenario down in Orange County; tailgating with the Linfield guys prior, then getting thrown-off the sidelines or something at Ted Runner. I feel like I have a good relationship with the coaches and administration out there, so maybe they’d let me stick around, who knows. In all seriousness, I believe that this is going to be a defensive struggle as both teams appear from a distance to be searching for an offensive identity. Field position and special teams might determine this one. No pressure, but the kickers better be ready… 

Posted 4 days ago

OPPONENT PREVIEW: Willamette University

The week two contest is a slight change in scenery from the past, with Willamette replacing the spot occupied by Linfield every year since 2010. The words “change of scenery” are exactly what this is; I wanted our student-athletes to have a little variety in their schedule, so we went about 30 miles down the road to Salem, Oregon to find an opponent that we had replaced with Linfield after the 2009 game. 

The Bearcats of Willamette are coming off of an impressive 34-10 victory over Trinity University out of Texas (speaking of opponents and scheduling) up in Oregon. Willamette wore their white uniforms at home, and our beloved Punter, Jack McFarland, studied the Trinity Punt Return team pretty closely and can write about that unit on his own time. Jack, Trinity is maroon, just like the Bearcats, but Willamette wears gold helmets…

OFFENSE: To answer the #1 question I’ve been asked about Willamette, NO, they no longer run the Fly Offense as their primary scheme. They are more of a Spread Offense, with quick perimeter screens and throws, and Read Zone schemes to run the ball. I’d fully expect them to test us with some Option football after watching our first quarter last week, which is fine, I think we know where we struggled in the opener. The Tailback is a good player, and they have an impressive young Wide Receiver on the outside.

DEFENSE: Same structure as PLU, different philosophy. PLU likes to pressure to stop the run, Willamette pressures to get after your QB. Their Front 7 personnel are probably better than what we just faced, so it will be a challenge for our O-line, Tight Ends, and Running Backs in that phase of the game. 

SPECIAL TEAMS: These units are critical in early season games, and I thought with the exception of our Kickoff Return unit, we played pretty well in the opener. Willamette is not exceptional on Special Teams but they are good.

COACHES: Glen Fowles, a Willamette grad back in 1996, enters his third season as the Head Coach at his alma mater. He spent the previous 14 seasons as the Offensive Line Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach, and I’ve known Glen for quite awhile, dating back to games against them when I was the O-line Coach at Humboldt State. Overall, he’s 15-4 in two seasons in a very tough conference, so the dude knows how to get it done. His Defensive Coordinator, Nathan Naggy, has been there for 11 seasons so he’s a fixture as well. This is a good group of guys that produce tough, talented football teams every season.

OUTLOOK: Generally speaking, a football team experiences a lot of growth and improvement between weeks one and two. Not always (2013), but most of the time. The key for us it to focus on a great week up on the North Field. It is going to be hot all week, especially today, and we must focus on improvements. Willamette is in the same boat; they turned the ball over last week and I think we’re better than their opponent in the opener. Not to mention they’re traveling and it’s the first time our team gets to play in front of the home fans. Going to be interesting to see how both teams manage the clutter and distractions, but we’re pretty evenly matched.

Posted 5 days ago

Sean Bellotti with a leaping grab over the middle vs. PLU. Photo courtesy Vicki Worthley

MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK

Something is seriously wrong with me. In the past when we’ve lost a close game, I’ve felt physically sick and was very irritable for days on end. After our game on Saturday, I was hurting with disappointment for our kids, but couldn’t wait to hit the practice field again.  Then, I slept soundly on both Saturday and Sunday nights, had a great time watching film and meeting on Sunday, and feel relaxed and excited to be at work today. The reason being, I truly feel that something special is happening hear, and I want to shout it from the rooftops! That doesn’t mean we’ll be undefeated the rest of the way and magically transform into Mount Union West; I just really like the players in our program and the coaches on our staff and I’m excited to see where we will take this thing, in 2014 and beyond. 

As the title of this post implies, this is the day that I provide my final thoughts on last week’s game and share the things I would’ve done differently. Here they are:

  • Reviewed prior to the game the practice of having an injured player stay down on the field until help arrives. Don’t come running off and pull yourself out of the game. I appreciate you respecting the game and hustling off the field, but we burned a timeout early Saturday because nobody had a status report on the injured player and confusion ensued. There wasn’t enough time, and it was my fault for not reviewing this.  Guess what we’ll discuss tomorrow;
  • Probably would have had our players experience more live cut blocks. Will be a point of emphasis this week. It’s hard to turn-loose the scout team players that really don’t know how to cut as well as a Lute with a full head of steam, but here’s a warning to anyone on their schedule: CUT MORE, especially force players.

We are officially off and running! On to the Bearcats of Willamette and a new set of challenges. The nice thing is, I don’t have to serve as a travel agent this week (no, I do not have an Operations person or secretary, hint hint).

Posted 6 days ago

UPON FURTHER REVIEW

This is the weekly post-film-review review of yesterday’s game. What stood out to me was the number of opportunities this team had to “give in” and quit, and they didn’t. Couldn’t stop the run early? Adjusted, moved-on. Missed a scoring opportunity just before halftime? Flushed it, moved-on. Frustrated by officiating? Didn’t let it affect us, moved-on. Scratched and clawed to tie the game, then made a couple big mistakes? Fought back and gave ourselves an opportunity at the end.

The scoreboard measures the final result, and we lost on the scoreboard. I don’t make excuses, and we’re accountable for what happens on the field. The scoreboard doesn’t measure heart, or growth, or experiences gained. We gave a championship effort. It wasn’t good enough on the scoreboard, but I will lead this group into battle anytime, anywhere, against anyone in the nation. Great things are in store for these young people, both on and off the field, if they stay true to themselves.

Posted 1 week ago

LIVE FROM SEATAC

I’m really proud of our team tonight. I don’t believe in moral victories but I believe you can learn a lot and improve, win or lose. We had 20 or so kids play their first real college football. At one point in time, there were 4 Freshmen and 4 sophomores on Defense trying to stop a very potent PLU Offense. 3 Sophomores started on the O-line, and 4/5 of that unit was engaged in their first NCAA contest.

Our coaches really did work today. Defensive adjustments were excellent at halftime and gave us a chance to win. We committed two big turnovers and had a rookie in the wrong spot . And we continued to compete, and fight, and had a chance, albeit slim, to tie the game late. These men, young and old, never gave in and they never gave up.

If you have a son, or a husband, or a boyfriend, or a grandkid or relative, or just a friend in this program, you should be proud. If you didn’t make the travel squad but worked your tail off to prepare this team, be proud. I’m proud of our program and the direction it’s going. We went toe to toe with the approximately 17th best team out of 245 teams and gave them a war. Don’t console us, don’t worry about us, just show up and root us on, you won’t be disappointed.

#luball

Posted 1 week ago

Follow the trip to Washington with the Kingsmen on social media using the following hashtags this weekend:

#luball     #cluplu14