Monthly Archives: January 2014

Friday Night Tykes Review

In most of the country when you say the words TEXAS and FOOTBALL in the same sentence you can count on certain responses, “It’s huge there.” is first, but dig deeper and you find that the hugeness isn’t usually seen as a positive thing to most outside the state. The perception is that Texas has misplaced priorities and winning football games has become too important.

 This attitude is reinforced by many of the same things Texans are proud of. 54,000 at a high school football game… “What’s wrong with those people?” … big stadiums and indoor practice facilities better than many universities all feed into this idea that Texas football is out of control.

In my book, I’ve tried to point out the positives in the Texas system. I strongly believe the Texas Model of high school football is the best in the nation, not just in producing talented football players, but in building boys to men.

Although, it has nothing to do with the high school game, the new series, Friday Night Tykes, sadly is another example for football detractors to hold against Texas Football.

The reality series follows San Antonio area youth teams for 8 and 9 year old. The organizers of this league proudly point out that their league caters to the SERIOUS 8 and 9 year old… (It feels crazy to even write the previous sentence, but there it is.) There is no minimum playing time, no coddling, no participation trophies, just hard-nosed football where the goal is to win.

What is shown is almost horrifying. Young children being ordered to run until they puke in 100 plus degree heat and no water breaks, coaches instructing players to aim for the ear hole and win through attrition, players being yanked up by their shoulder pads and thrown back into the action after likely concussion causing hits and everywhere–despite repeated demands from coaches and parents–crying children.

It’s fascinating to watch, but very uncomfortable, realizing that these kids are effectively being abused. The coaches seem to mean well, but clearly have no idea what they’re doing. They’ve bought into the popular description of what a football coach is SUPPOSED to be…all motivational speeches and hard discipline while being oblivious to the fact that they’re working with little boys.

I’m making a leap, but I’m guessing many of these coaches would be high school assistants in other states. In Texas, HS and even middle school jobs are exclusively held by professional educators, so youth ball is all that’s left to non-professionals. It’s probably a frustrating situation for an aspiring, but non-teaching coach in a place that loves football and might explain some of the overzealous behavior.

I’ve read where some see this series as exploitive. I don’t agree. There are no contrived situations, nothing is celebrated or demonized. The camera appears to simply document what is going on. What bothers me is that some will come to the conclusion that this is the average youth football experience and I really doubt this is true. It certainly has nothing to do with the high school football I knew as a player, over 23 years as a coach or what I saw during my travels in Texas.

I have no reason to be defensive as the show has nothing to do with my book. But having spent so much of the last two years defending Texas HS football, I do feel the need to point some things out.

During my time in Texas I observed hundreds of high school and middle school coaches. I never saw anything like what appears to be normal in this youth league. Texas public school coaches are professionals and generally behave like it. The safety of the players is also another huge difference between public schools and this youth league. Texas schools all have two fulltime on-staff trainers and a strict concussion protocol; water bottles toted by student-trainers are always available to thirsty players. Whatever safety measures this youth league has don’t seem to be enforced.

As someone who loves the football, Friday Night Tykes is depressing. Kids this young and pushed this hard are very quick to burn out. I can’t help thinking most of these boys will end up hating the game and will quit before reaching high school, never learning what a great experience it can be when done right.

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Chapter Eight Excerpt: Idalou Wildcats

My last of four stops in West Texas was at Idalou. Ironically, given the selection below, the Wildcats are the team who have had a head coaching change. After the 2012 season, Jeff Long gave up the head job to take a coordinator position with a friend. Idalou stayed in-house and hired alum and assistant coach Jeff Lofton. The Wildcats had a solid first season under the young coach, finishing the regular season 7-3 and winning their bi-district game before falling in the 2nd round.

….The most remarkable thing about Idalou is how stable the staff is and how long the core group has been together. When Taylor took the job in 1988, he inherited Coach Reagan. Long and offensive/defensive line coach Mark Turner came over two years later in 1990. Five of the eight coaches have been in Idalou over 10 years and Coach Lofton, while younger than most of the staff, had deep Wildcat roots, playing and graduating from Idalou in 1997. He returned to coach in 2009.

When Taylor retired in 2010, the program stayed on the same path. By promoting from within and hiring then-defensive coordinator Long as the new head man, the program avoided the upheaval a new coach often causes by bringing in new schemes and people.  Such stability is rare in this state, where assistant coaches often move every few years, working their way up the ladder.

This stability is a big reason for Idalou’s success. This was the winningest class 2A program in Texas during the 2000s. A coaching staff is a team, like the team on the field. Working so long together makes this staff much more efficient than most. Each coach knows his role and how what he teaches fits into the big picture.

            As much as I like the Texas model of athletics and coaching professionalism, the transitory nature of the job is hard for me to approve of. A positive aspect is that coaches get tremendous experience, learning different things at each stop; coaches here have the added motivation of needing to put their best foot forward or risk losing their jobs. A coach with five years’ experience in Texas is likely further along than a five-year coach in most other states. The Texas system guarantees assistants won’t shirk on their coaching responsibilities as those are just as important to their continued employment as their teaching duties. It also guarantees less of the staff politics that sometimes occurs, with assistants angling for the head job. While politics do occur, the need to win is a purifying factor. Hires must always be made with that bottom line in mind. It’s a two way relationship; the assistants truly are employed by the head coach and everyone’s in the same boat together. If the head coach doesn’t win and loses his job, the staff is in danger of losing theirs as well.

The down side is that without stability in assistant positions, coaches rarely develop relationships with their players. Professionalism can create a mercenary atmosphere, where certain jobs are openly known as stepping stones for better positions. There’s very little loyalty from coaches when they’re just building a resume. The head coach is often in a tough spot as well. The need to win can make school boards impatient for results, and sometimes coaches are fired before they can fully build their program. It’s nice to see a school like Idalou, where so many coaches have been with these same kids for years.         

I love the football I’ve seen in Texas. The preparation, coaching and execution are everything I’d hoped to find. However, I’ve purposely chosen these programs because they’re exemplary. Is it a cheat to stack the deck this way and use the results to validate my original opinion? I’m not sure. I worry that 11 different programs would paint a different, less attractive picture. Can the quality I’ve seen in these programs justify the system as a whole? I think so, but the question bothers me…

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Seahawks vs. 49ers and the Richard Sherman Controversy

My main focus is on high school football because I believe it’s the purest form of the sport. It’s a place where the game’s played for the right reasons. Even at big, well funded schools coaches are still teachers and the players learn valuable life lessons from the experience. Major college and the NFL are different animals entirely. They are businesses where the bottom lines of butts in the seats and wins are all that matter. Building character may happen, but is never a priority.

 That said, while top levels may not be as redeeming as the high school game, they are great entertainment and I have been a big 49er fan since I was a boy growing up in the Bay Area.  As much as I love to watch the NFL, I do know what I’m watching.

The human body wasn’t designed for the type of collisions inherent in the sport. Football games are dangerous events. Even in high school, there’s no denying that football isn’t a safe activity. In my opinion, the benefits greatly outweigh the risks. Commitment, dedication, toughness, teamwork, discipline and physical conditioning are just some of the things high schoolers trade for a relative handful of risky games. But, the dangers go up exponentially at each step up the ladder.

By the NFL level the game has become brutally violent. These are the top 1/100th of 1% players and they’re in the league because they’re the fastest and strongest in the world. The collisions are tremendous and the damage the players endure will stay with them the rest of their lives.

This isn’t one of those “evil NFL” blogs.  The players today largely know the risk and are well compensated. I have no proof, but I’d guess a majority of former players would do it all again given the choice. But there’s no denying that NFL players endure bodily damage every time they step onto the field. The intensity of the game is spectacular to watch, but like professional boxing, every hit puts a player closer to retirement.

The NFC Championship between the 49ers and Seahawks took ferocity to a different level than I’ve ever remember seeing. It was an extreme example of what is so great and so awful about the pro game. Two teams that hate each other and know each other well, with the best defenses in the game, both relying on physical running on offense, it was expected to be a brutal game and it was. I won’t do a recap, because the outcome still angers me and you all saw the game anyway.  It was an old-school hardnosed football game, a classic battle. But it was also an ugly one with poor offensive execution, far too much trash talk and gruesome injuries. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a game like this. The violence seemed more personal and raw. The action on Sunday somehow made a typical NFL game look tame.

I never really enjoy watching important Niner games, I get too wrapped up in it. If they win I’m relieved if not I’m angry with the world for a while. Obviously, Sunday night wasn’t a fun one for me, so maybe my attitude about Richard Sherman’s behavior is colored by where it was directed.

After causing the game-winning interception, Sherman made it his priority to taunt the 49ers, throwing a chocking gesture at the 49er sideline, bragging and demeaning the receiver he’d been covering.   Antics that will make me a temporary Bronco fan on December 2nd.

I’ve been surprised to see many people were fine with Sherman’s behavior. The support takes four forms.  1) Sherman has a lot of redeeming qualities; came from a very poor background, went to Stanford…etc… 2) Some who’ve questioned Sherman’s behavior have used it to make a broader claim against blacks, calling him a thug and ignoring similar outbursts from whites…3) Crabtree was talking trash and so the 49ers deserved it. … 4) Football isn’t crochet or golf or whatever and this type of behavior should be accepted.

To me, all four of these excuses avoid the bottom line. Richard Sherman acted like a jerk.

 1) A tough background and admirable traits don give anyone license to act like an idiot.

 2) It’s regrettable that some use this to advance racial stereotypes, but that doesn’t mean poor behavior doesn’t exist or that it has anything to do with race. I couldn’t stand Bill Romanowski for similar punkish behavior and would hold up Jerry Rice, Mike Singletary, Ronnie Lott…etc as greats who played with class.

 3) Yes, there is a two-way street aspect. I don’t much like it when my team does it either, but what makes this especially bad is that it happened after the game was decided. Rubbing salt into the wounds of a just-beaten opponent is an especially ugly form of taunting.

4)  I don’t mind emotion, I like players being excited. Intensity is part of what makes football the great game it is, but that emotion shouldn’t belittle an opponent. Cedar Hill High School (Chapter 11 of Big & Bright) is the most overtly emotional program I’ve ever been around, but you’ll rarely see a Longhorn player say a word to an opponent. Celebration is directed towards the team.

I hope I’m wrong, but with due respect to the Broncos, I think Seattle and San Francisco are the best two teams in the NFL and the Super Bowl could be a letdown. I’d love to see the Seahawks get some payback for beating my team, but I’m afraid it’s going to be another disappointing Sunday.

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Big and Bright Excerpt: Chapter Seven–Throckmorton Greyhounds

 

Most people I spoke to have never seen a six-man football game. In fact, outside the states that play it, many football fans I met weren’t even aware the sport exists. I always knew in order for my book to give a complete picture of Texas High School football, I needed to include a six-man team, but six-man is a different world and it took me a long time to find a team. Chris Koetting, head coach at Canadian High School put me on to the Throckmorton Greyhounds, I contacted Coach Reed and he enthusiastically agreed to it. It turned out to be a great choice.

…As I traveled though Texas, people spoke of the six-man game as though it were some exotic animal, elusive and hard to find.

 “I’ve heard about it,” People often said, “Someday before I die, I’d like to see a six-man game.”

There is some truth to the claim that six-man is difficult to find, at least for suburbanites who don’t live in West Texas. The six-man game is played almost exclusively in very small towns, not Abilene small or even Stamford small, but towns that don’t have more than one stoplight–places like Throckmorton, a crossroad of intersecting two-lane highways connecting four slightly larger small towns, with a blinking red light strung up where the two highways meet.

The game itself is also elusive, because it is often over so fast. Defensive coordinator Blayne Davis tells me good defensive stand is forcing the opponent to run five plays to score. More commonly a touchdown drive is two or three plays, and with the 45 point mercy rule, many games are over at the half. During the past two seasons the Greyhounds played a total of nine complete games, with 20 ending early due to the mercy rule.

Downtown Throckmorton sits in a valley at the intersection of State Highway 183 and State Highway 380. The low hills surrounding Thockmorton are covered with thickets of mesquite and prickly pear. North on 380 takes you to Seymour, south to Albany. West on Highway 183 leads to Haskell and east to Newcastle. On one corner is the courthouse with a sign on the lawn proclaiming Throckmorton as the home of Dallas Cowboy great Bob Lilly. The town has two restaurants, two convenience stores, a small grocery and a bar that is open on weekends.  Lucky for me there is a motel. The Double T Lodge is not big, the rooms are small, but at least it’s clean and the owners are friendly. Throckmorton High School is a few blocks northwest of the intersection. The elementary and middle schools are steps away; all three schools share the gym and some of the teachers as well, including head football coach Reed.

 

Six-man football differs from both the 11-man and eight-man game.

·         15 yards are needed for a first down instead of ten.

·          Since it’s easier to move the ball on the ground than kick with so few players blocking, the conversions are switched; one point for getting the ball into the end zone from scrimmage, two for kicking it through the uprights.  

·          All six offensive players are eligible to catch passes and carry the ball. Because this means the whole defense must be in coverage, an exchange is required before the ball carrier can run (No QB sweeps, sneaks or scrambles.) In some versions of six-man offense, the tailback is effectively the quarterback, having the nominal quarterback pitch him the ball, letting the tailback either throw or run.  

·          The playing field is only 80 yards long and not as wide as the 11-man field with only 13 yards from the hashmark to the sideline.  

·         The gameplay is different.  With so much field for the defense to cover, six eligible receivers and so few defenders, scoring is very quick. Davis tells me that the goal of his defense is to force the offense to run seven plays to score, counting on the offense to make a mistake somewhere along the way.

 A well-executed offense will score in this game no matter the quality of the defense.  As the best basketball defense gives up baskets from time to time, a six-man football defense gives up some touchdowns. Scores can reach the triple digits and it’s rare for a winning team to score under 50 points. The basketball comparison is apt. Six-man football defense, more than anything, resembles a violent form of basketball zone defense.

There are several consequences of having so much open field. Each defensive player is exposed and can be easily isolated, often creating mismatches where weak defenders can be exploited. With small schools, it’s not unusual to have at least one weak link on defense, giving the superior team a tremendous advantage. Games between a good team and one with weaknesses often quickly become lopsided, so the six-man game has a mercy rule. When a team goes up by 45 points, the game ends. Since the Greyhounds began playing six-man in 2004, as many games have ended early as have gone a full four quarters.

The type of player who does well at this game is often different than one who’s successful at 11-man. This isn’t a game of specialization. Good six-man players must be proficient at all football skills. On offense, everyone must block, catch and carry the ball. On defense, everyone must be able to tackle, shed blockers and drop into coverage. With rosters sometimes in the single digits, very few six-man players only play offense or defense, good players rarely leave the field. The big 200-plus pound linemen of the 11-man game aren’t effective; this version of football favors mid-size players with the endurance and speed to work in the open field. Big players in Throckmorton have an extra incentive to slim down if they want to play this game.

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Big & Bright Excerpt: Chapter Six–Abilene High Eagles

With biannual realignment likely throwing a monkey wrench into the historic Little Southwest Conference next month, the first two pages of my Abilene chapter seemed appropriate at this time. As a amateur history buff, West Texas and Abilene in particular were just fascinating for me. There is so much history there. The AHS program itself is arguably the most historically important HS program in the state and a really cool thing is that, I’m guessing, much of what made it great in the 20s and the 50s is still there today. Hope you Enjoy.

West Texas is the birthplace of Texas football culture. Businesses close on Friday nights. Everyone’s at the game. The populations of entire towns caravan hundreds of miles across the prairies and plains following their boys from game to game. This is where high school football is not just a thing to do during fall weekends, but a way of life. This fervor has been adopted in parts of the Metroplex as well as suburban Houston, Austin and San Antonio, but the foundation and the much of the history of Texas football culture is in West Texas.

The tradition of West Texas football stretches back nearly 100 years, through towns across this huge swath of the state. Places like Odessa, Sweetwater, Midland, Brownwood, Breckenridge, Lubbock, Amarillo and Stamford have all contributed to the tradition. In the big school ranks, West Texas football has been encapsulated by schools in what’s known as the Little Southwest Conference.

            Due to biannual UIL redistricting, the Little Southwest Conference has come, gone and come again, with teams dropping out and joining. Breckenridge and Sweetwater were once members, eventually dropping to lower classifications. The schools in Lubbock and Amarillo have played in this conference from time to time, other years they’ve formed their own district. The charter members and core of the Little Southwest Conference are the big schools from Odessa, Midland, San Angelo and Abilene.

During the past three years District 2-5A has been the home of the LSC. Besides winning, if the Little Southwest Conference is known for anything, it’s the hardnosed style of play. Made up entirely of towns that traditionally rely on ranching, the oilfield and farming, this district plays a brand of football that fits the character of their part of the state. They win through discipline and determination, often against programs with more athleticism and speed.  From the early days of this district up through the turn of this century, the Little Southwest Conference may have been the toughest district in the country with teams from Odessa, Midland and San Angelo winning multiple championships.

Besides the play, history and success of this district, the other defining characteristic of the Little Southwest are the distances. The 87 miles from Abilene to San Angelo is a ‘short’ trip by district standards. The conference stretches west to east 170 miles from Abilene to Odessa and north to south 307 miles from Amarillo to San Angelo. No other big school district in the state comes close to covering the real estate of the Little Southwest Conference.

            Abilene High is the first Class 5A program I visit. My first look at the school and kids in this highly ranked program is somewhat surprising. There’s nothing impressive about the campus: Several practice fields, a small turf room about 20 yards long and 10 yards wide and a humble fieldhouse containing the coaches’ offices.  Little touches, however, remind one of the tradition of this place. A bell sits on a low table in the foyer of Chuck Moser Fieldhouse, it’s the trophy traditionally given to conference champions. On the wall of the lobby team photos of each of the Eagle state championship teams are on display, some are old black-and-whites showing players from the leather helmet era.  Finally, hanging on the wall is a picture showing three hands, one black, one brown and one Anglo, holding a football high in the air; Head Coach Steve Warren tells me this picture means the most to him, that it best exemplifies how this program has found success.        

            The weight room is dark and cramped. Its equipment has seen better days. Warren doesn’t seem to care that the facilities aren’t on a par with many other Texas schools. He talks about a visit to a school trying to hire him away a few years back.”I could tell there wasn’t a lot of work going on there.” He said of the shiny, clean weight room. “At Abilene High we have rusty bars and it smells like work… that’s what a weight room should be like.”

            Abilene itself doesn’t look as though it’s changed much in fifty years. The downtown blocks are clean and well maintained, but there’s none of the bustle and new construction seen in other Texas cities. In a state defined by the growth of its cities and the drain of the rural population, Abilene has remained remarkably steady. In 1990, Abilene had a population of 106,000, today 118,000 people call the city home.

Despite its small population, Abilene is home to three Christian colleges: McMurry University, Hardin-Simmons University and Abilene Christian University. Abilene is a God-fearing place with a church for every 100 residents. The religious, social and political conservatism of West Texas is well known, but whatever negative stereotypes may be associated with these belief systems, they fit here.

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Book Excerpt: Chapter Five–Aledo Bearcats

 

Chapter Five covers the Aledo Bearcats. 2012 turned out to be a “down” year for Aledo. Running back Jonathon Gray had led the Bearcats to three straight titles, but he was now playing for the Texas Longhorns in Austin. As great as Gray was though, crediting him for the Bearcats’ success forgets the system Tim Buchanan put in place. This selection describes practice organization at Aledo.

…This week I have to get up early: The Bearcats do most of their practicing in the morning. Before sunrise, I drive west on Interstate 30 from my motel in Fort Worth. Lucky for me, I avoid most of the Metroplex traffic; it’s headed the other way at this hour. It’s still dark as I pull up to the Aledo fieldhouse.

Practice at Aledo starts at 7:20. With athletic period being scheduled during first period, this gives the Bearcats almost two hours before they have to hit the showers and get ready for class. They started holding early practice a few years ago when they moved to the new artificial turf stadium. They no longer had to worry about morning dew on their practice field ruining footballs.

Practicing in the morning has several advantages. The Bearcats don’t worry about early season heat. Even on the hottest days, it’s pleasant at this hour. This schedule also gives the program flexibility on how they use their afterschool time; lifting, watching game and practice film, working on special teams and polishing rough spots are done after school without the pressure of the clock. After school is also the time for the sub-varsity to work. The freshmen don’t go during the morning and after school the two fulltime freshman coaches are helped by some of the varsity/JV staff.

Football practices often take on the personality of the head coach, and this is true at Aledo. Buchanan doesn’t come across as very emotional. He’s professional and relaxed and this is the vibe of mornings at Bearcat Stadium. The atmosphere is different here than anywhere else I’ve watched practice. Position groups stretch in little circles around their coaches while the coaches cover details of the game plan or general coaching points. The defensive groups are on the far half of the field while the offense is closer to the fieldhouse. Buchanan strolls from group to group, an insulated coffee cup in hand, checking attendance. Aledo is one of two programs I cover which practices to music. During the morning stretch the songs are soft and mellow, the type of music you’d like to wake up to. With the sun rising over the far end zone, the feeling is relaxed and loose as the buzzer sounds marking the start of the first timed segment at 7:35.

The morning is meticulously scheduled. On the offensive side, nine minutes are assigned for individuals, a two minute water break, outside hull for nine minutes, two minute water, then inside team for nine, another 12 minute team session, eight minutes of red zone and 10 minutes of crossover, letting the few defensive players who may contribute on offense work on their skills. To mark the time, the scoreboard has been programmed to countdown each segment, with a buzzer at the end of each.

Aledo has very good numbers. Between 180 and 240 kids from freshmen through varsity play football in this school of 1,344 students. This morning about 120 are on the field. Varsity players wear white jerseys and have orange Aledo “A”’s on their helmets and four small Texas outlines denoting Bearcats state championships, the JV kids are in black jerseys and have no helmet decals. During inside run, the varsity is able to run two separate offensive units vs. two JV defensive scout teams. On the other side of the 50 yard line, at the same time, the starting defense works against two JV offensive groups. One offense runs a play while the other huddles and reads the next play from a binder held by one of the coaches. The huge number of JV players running two huddles let the varsity starters get a lot of reps in a short time.

Stationed around the field are 12 student-trainers with caddies of six water bottles for the players. Above the field, in front of the pressbox, two other students film the activities, one focused on the offensive end of the field and one on the defense.

On the track, the basketball and cross country teams go through their own workouts with their coaches. Aledo, like all larger schools, has separate athletic periods for each sport.

Buchanan doesn’t coach a position, but roams the field, walking between the offense and defense, watching drills and occasionally pulling a player out to talk to him. He also plays a little scout quarterback for the second JV huddle.

The relaxed atmosphere slowly becomes more intense as the morning moves along. The music gets faster and the pace quickens. Any teacher knows kids tend to be more focused during the morning hours than later in the day; this is another benefit to Aledo’s system. This morning, the intensity never turns to screwing around at the end of the day or sluggishness in the hot sun.

 At 9:02, Buchanan gathers the team, says a few words about what to expect this week and everyone runs off to the showers to get ready for the school day.  Yes, the kids actually do shower, something rarely seen with kids who go home after practice instead of to classes. In the coaches’ office, the same rush is going on. Coaches quickly change from coaching gear into school clothes and head across the parking lot to teach their second period classes.

At 3:00, the players and coaches wander back to the fieldhouse. Today the team’s spread among different offices with their individual coaches watching practice film from this morning. I go over and watch a little of the freshmen practice, about 60 players with three full-time freshman coaches and three varsity coaches who went over to help out. After watching film for half an hour, the varsity squad goes to the game field for special teams and the JV goes to the weight room to lift. Buchanan runs the varsity through a special team practice while Bishop works behind the end zone with the offensive line, going over blocking assignments.  Finally, the varsity is off to the weight room. The JV finishes on the indoor field and works on its offense and defense. Monday’s lifting workout is four sets of six squats, bench press and incline and four sets of five hang cleans. This is a little heavier than most places I’ve been. Most places focus on more high rep/ low weight lifting during the season. The workout ends around 5:25 and finally Monday is over.

The motto on this season’s program and practice gear is ‘Reload Mode’.  After losing a player like Jonathon Gray, who led the Bearcats to three straight state titles, this motto only makes sense, but people forget just how much of a team sport football is. This mindset also forgets that the system that encouraged Gray to come to Aledo had begun years before Gray arrived…

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New Book Title & News

I’ve been asked a lot lately about where people can get my book. As there are a lot of new follower, I’d like to go over the details. The book is written, but we are looking for a publisher. The process for a first time author to get a publishing deal is long and there are never any guarantees.

That said, things are looking good. I just signed a contract with Literary Agent, Richard Curtis. Curtis is a well-connected agent who’s represented a number of best sellers. Agents are very selective about who they’ll take on and having representation like him is a huge step towards getting a deal. I’m currently writing a brief additional chapter about my whirlwind trip for the semis and finals last week, then we plan on shopping for a publisher in January.

One big change to mention. Kiss a Fat Dog was not very well received as a title by the folks in New York, (Sorry Coach Long & Idalou) so there is a new title.

The working title of the book is now:

Big and Bright:

Deep in the Heart of Texas High School Football

Happy New Year everybody and I’d love to hear what you think of the new title!!!

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