Okay, I’ll get the bragging out of the way first.
With our two sons playing this great game of football every weekend is even more fun than ever. Richard, the 5-year old, played in his first football game ever and the 5-and 6-year-old Warriors won.
He did well blocking and being so cute. This is flag football and with these guys the flags hanging on each side almost touch the ground. He is already learning a ton about the game though and will even sit with me and watch some of a game on TV.
Then it was time for me to make my head coaching debut with the 9- and 10-year-old Warriors. The team played well and handily beat the opposing team from Horn Lake.
Having been involved with football for most of my life, one of the best moments of all was watching my oldest, Phillip, score a touchdown. He also had a lot of yards carrying the ball and had several tackles and quarterback sacks at his linebacker position.
Okay, that’s it for the bragging dad. I just get so excited seeing these young guys learning about football and how it teaches how to play the game of life, too. It takes hard work to succeed in both.
When you’re watching a game and there’s a flag on a play, you will see the Referee talking to the offended team about the penalty enforcement.
Most of the time, there is really no need to even ask for captain for his choices. We just simply do what is obviously best for the offended team, enforce the penalty and move on. But, if it’s a situation where a choice needs to be made, then we’ll be sure he knows what he needs to do, so to speak.
We always try to make the teams, the captains and coaches look good in those penalty situations. The conversation with the captain might go like this: “Okay, I think you’re going to want to decline this and make it fourth down and about 10 from where the ball is. If you take the penalty, we’ll back them up 10 yards from where that flags is but it will still be third down.”
I guess the reason we do it like this is because all through this conversation, the player you are talking to is looking at the coach to see what he wants to do. A time out cannot be called to decide the penalty enforcement but I will allow them a few seconds to look at the bench for directions.
On any dead ball foul such as a false start we don’t even do a preliminary signal because there is no reason to decline the penalty. I just verify who did what and then tell the Umpire which way to walk the five yards and then do the signaling and announcing drill.
Every now and then, a coach will be sharp enough to decline an intentional delay-of-game penalty when the punting team was trying get five more yards of field to work with.
Steve Spurrier used to decline those every time. The yardage part of any foul may be declined. It’s the same for any unsportsmanlike fouls that are enforced after the play. No need to waste time asking a captain because he will want the yardage in his favor.
But then there’s always the exception. Had one in a high school game not too long ago where by declining the penalty on the offense, it would have been fourth down and about 11 to go.
They would have had to punt. But for some reason, the coaches wanted the penalty. So I had to reverse the obvious, penalize the 10-yard holding foul and make it third down again. I tried but they insisted on taking it.
Until after I marked the ball ready for play and they realized what they did. But then there was nothing that could be done. The offense had a big gain and made a first down. All I could do was shake my head and laugh (to myself).
Don’t forget: Get out on Friday nights and Saturdays and see some great games. Whether it’s the 5- and 6-year old flags games, 9- and 10-year olds, 11- and 12-year olds, junior high, high school or colleges it is all happening at a field or stadium near you.
Northwest has two more Thursday night games in October, too. Leave the couch alone and do a burger from the concession stand. It just doesn’t get any better…….See you next week.