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USA Football Magazine Issue 21 Dec. 2011

USA Football Magazine Issue 21 Dec. 2011

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USA Football Magazine Issue 21 Dec. 2011
USA Football Magazine Issue 21 Dec. 2011

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Inside: Tackle Progression Model makes the game safer

MAGAZINE
DECEMBER 2011
ISSUE #21

RB Joe Bergeron, 2011 U.S. Under-19 National Team, University of Texas

U.S. Under-19 National Team returns to Austin in February

Take us back to Texas

ISSUE 21

CONTENTS
Kickoff
with USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck PAGE 4

DEC 2011

COMMISSIONER CENTER
Simple steps to protect volunteers Page 19 Meet your USA Football Regional Manager Page 21 Missouri group kick starts Challenger league Page 22 The time to recondition equipment is now Page 24

HEALTH & SAFETY
Improving mobility is just as important as strength and speed Page 30

OFFICIATING CENTER
Youth leagues provide a springboard to career Page 31

PLAYER CENTER
What Football Taught My Son: Alonzo Johnson Page 34 The Art of … pass blocking footwork Page 35 What Football Taught Me: Stalin Colinet Page 36

COACHING CENTER
Tackle Progression Model teaches fundamentals, improves safety Page 25

FEATURES
International Bowl pits Team USA vs. the world PAGE 6 Meet the U.S. Under-19 National Team members PAGES 7-8 Steve Specht leads Team USA’S coaching staff PAGE 9

Quick-hitter grid Page 27 Meet a Member: David Hartman Page 28 Quick tips on flag pulling Page 29

Football Marketplace brings vendors to you PAGE 14

Brax Spirit Cups can help any league PAGE 20

Getting feedback from parents and coaches PAGE 32

Football Facts, Stats and Figures PAGE 37

USA Football Magazine

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KICKOFF
Dear readers, Congratulations on completing what I trust was a fun, busy and satisfying season. Although your final game of 2011 has been played, I know that the sport remains top of mind for you. USA Football has an identical mind-set. We’re working now to solidify our 2012 events while improving resources for you, our members in all 50 states. A key responsibility for us is to build and manage America’s national teams. We are weeks away from the 2012 International Bowl in Austin, Texas, where our U.S. Under-19 National Team will compete against an IFAF World Team, composed of top teenage players from around the globe, assembled by the International Federation of American Football. More than 60 countries possess a national federation dedicated solely football – up from 40 just four years ago. Team USA alumni include LSU safety and 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu, Virginia Tech running back David Wilson and Notre Dame kick returner George Atkinson III. It will be exciting to see how this year’s team performs on Feb. 1 and how the players continue to excel in their college careers. This issue of USA Football Magazine introduces you to Team USA players and coaches and covers other topics to help you in the months ahead, including: A preview of 2012 USA Football State Leadership Forums; Coach reaction to USA Football’s Tackle Progression Model; How a former NFL player employs football’s values in his business career; Insight from game officials on how others can join the officiating ranks, and more. Another resource to remember is your USA Football regional manager (pg. 21). They are always ready to serve you – the engine that powers America’s favorite sport. Call or email them to learn how they can help you perform at your best. In addition, you’re a toll-free call (1-877-5-FOOTBALL) or a mouse click away (usafootball.com) from our member services department, located in the heart of Downtown Indianapolis. I wish you success in preparing for another great football season – our favorite time of year Sincerely,
We want to hear your thoughts about USA Football Magazine. Write to us at magazine@usafootball.com today.

usafootball.com
Executive Director: SCOTT HALLENBECK

USA FOOTBALL EDITORIAL STAFF
Managing Editor: JOE FROLLO Contributors: STEVE ALIC, JEFF FEDOTIN, DAVE FINN, WILL FRASURE, NICK INZERELLO, JOE OWENS, JOSH WEINFUSS To contact USA Football: (877) 5-FOOTBALL

pressassociation.com Design / Production: LUKE THORNHILL Editorial Office: 292 VAUXHALL BRIDGE ROAD, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM page.ready.sport@pa.press.net Commercial: RICHARD NASH 0044 (0)20 7963 7517 richard.nash@pressassociation.com

Scott Hallenbeck USA Football Executive Director

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USA Football Magazine

A TEAM CAN BUILD A SOLID FOUNDATION

Team USA defeated the IFAF World Team, 21-14, in the 2011 International Bowl. On Feb. 1, the teams compete again in the third installment of the series at Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex in Austin.

Team USA takes on the world in Texas
Third annual International Bowl kicks off Feb. 1 in Austin
By Joe Frollo

T

exas has long been home to some of the country’s greatest football. On Feb. 1, the world’s best high school-age players will return to the Lone Star State capital to play in USA Football’s International Bowl – formerly known as the Team USA vs. The World game. The International Bowl is an annual competition matching the U.S. Under-19 National Team in football, composed of high school seniors, against the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) World Team. Including the United States, 62 countries spanning six continents possess a national federation of sport dedicated solely to American football and governed by IFAF. USA Football, the sport’s national governing body

INTERNATIONAL

International Bowl 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 1 Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex Round Rock, Texas Click here for ticket information

in the United States, assembles and manages U.S. national teams for international competition. The contest at the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex in Austin coincides

with National Signing Day, when Team USA and World Team players will sign national letters of intent to play college football during a morning breakfast event. The United States defeated the World Team, 21-14, on Feb. 2 at Austin Westlake High School in the 2011 contest, which was telecast internationally and made available to more than 100 million U.S. households live and on tape delay. “We’re always proud to showcase our enthusiasm for the great sport of football,” Austin Sports Commission Executive Director Matthew Payne said. “We’ve been honored to have USA Football choose Austin as its destination once again for the International Bowl, and we’re all looking forward to seeing these advancements of the game internationally.”

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USA Football Magazine

U.S. Under-19 National Team

Todd Gurley
Ht 6-1 Wt 195 Hometown: Tarboro, N.C.

RB #1

Rob Riederer
Ht 6-1 Wt 205 Hometown: Holton, Kan.

S #2

Ray DB Buchanan Jr. #3
Ht 5-10 Wt 176 Hometown: Suwanee, Ga.

Paul Griggs
Ht 6-0 Wt 195 Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.

K-P #4

Devin Funchess

TE #5

Ifeadi Odenigbo
Ht 6-4 Wt 210 Hometown: Centreville, Ohio

DE #6

Imani Cross
Ht 6-1 Wt 220 Hometown: Gainsville, Ga.

RB #7

Ht 6-4 Wt 205 Hometown: Farmington Hills, Mich.

Jameis Winston
Ht 6-4 Wt 200 Hometown: Hueytown, Ala.

QB #8

Chad Voytik
Ht 6-1 Wt 185 Hometown: Cleveland, Tenn.

QB #9

Noor Davis
Ht 6-4 Wt 225 Hometown: Leesburg, Fla.

LB #10

Cory Batey
Ht 6-0 Wt 185 Hometown: Nashville, Tenn.

WR #11

Se’Von Pittman
Ht 6-5 Wt 245 Hometown: Canton, Ohio

DT #12

Greg Garmon
Ht 6-3 Wt 195 Hometown: Erie, Pa.

RB #13

Justin Ferguson

WR #15

Ht 6-1 Wt 210 Hometown: Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Alex Carter
Ht 6-0 Wt 195 Hometown: Ashburn, Va.

S #20

DeVante Harris
Ht 5-11 Wt 160 Hometown: Mesquite, Texas

DB #21

Terry Richardson
Ht 5-6 Wt 160 Hometown: Detroit, Mich.

CB #22

Tee Shephard
Ht 6-1 Wt 180 Hometown: Fresno, Calif.

CB #23

Timothy Cole
Ht 6-2 Wt 220 Hometown: Brenham, Texas

LB #24

Ronald Darby
Ht 5-11 Wt 180 Hometown: Oxen Mill, Md.

RB #25

Marcus Maye
Ht 6-1 Wt 195 Hometown: Melbourne, Fla.

S #28

USA Football Magazine

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Ronnie Feist
Ht 6-1 Wt 225 Hometown: Edgard, La.

LB #32

D.J. Singleton
Ht 6-2 Wt 200 Hometown: Union, N.J.

S #33

James Ross

LB #34

Ronald S Geohaghan #36
Ht 6-0 Wt 185 Hometown: Fairfax, S.C.

Gimel President

DE #40

Carlos Mendoza
Ht 6-0 Wt 215 Hometown: Oxnard, Calif.

LB #42

Hardy LB Nickerson Jr. #47
Ht 5-11 Wt 210 Hometown: Oakland, Calif.

Ht 6-0 Wt 209 Hometown: Ochard Lake, Mich.

Ht 6-3 Wt 240 Hometown: Mount Pleasant, S.C.

Spencer Stanley
Ht 6-4 Wt 275 Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas

OL #52

Royce LB Jenkins-Stone #54
Ht 6-2 Wt 215 Hometown: Detroit, Mich.

Boone Feldt
Ht 6-3 Wt 285 Hometown: Buda, Texas

OL #55

Jordan Richmond
Ht 6-2 Wt 225 Hometown: Denton, Texas

LB #56

Ian Park
Ht 6-4 Wt 295 Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa.

OL #65

Joe Harris
Ht 6-4 Wt 290 Hometown: Lithonia, Ga.

OL #67

Caleb Stacy
Ht 6-4 Wt 275 Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

OL #71

Trey Keenan
Ht 6-5 Wt 275 Hometown: Argyle, Texas

OL #72

Joey Hunt
Ht 6-3 Wt 285 Hometown: Palacios, Texas

DT #73

Max Tuerk
Ht 6-6 Wt 290 Hometown: Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.

OL #75

J.J. Denman
Ht 6-7 Wt 305 Hometown: Fairless Hills, Pa.

OL #77

Brian Gaia
Ht 6-3 Wt 290 Hometown: Baltimore, Md.

OL #78

Mark Harrell
Ht 6-5 Wt 270 Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.

OL #79

Jordan Payton

WR #80

Ht 6-2 Wt 200 Hometown: Westlake Village, Calif.

Deontay WR Greenberry #84
Ht 6-4 Wt 187 Hometown: Fresno, Calif.

Canon Smith
Ht 6-4 Wt 240 Hometown: Birmingham, Ala.

TE #85

Romond Deloatch
Ht 6-4 Wt 215 Hometown: Hampton, Va.

WR #88

Malcom Brown
Ht 6-2 Wt 280 Hometown: Brenham, Texas

DT #90

Moana DE Ofahengaue #91
Ht 6-4 Wt 210 Hometown: Lehi, Utah

Caleb Bluiett
Ht 6-3 Wt 230 Hometown: Brenham, Texas

DE #93

Nick James
Ht 6-5 Wt 335 Hometown: Long Beach, Miss.

DT #99

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USA Football Magazine

Here are the members of 2012 U.S. Under-19 National Team head coach Steve Specht’s staff: CHRIS MERRITT Miami Christopher Columbus H.S. Offensive coordinator RICK STREIFF Indianapolis Cathedral H.S. Defensive coordinator TOM BOLDIN Cincinnati Colerain H.S. Tight end and H-backs NUNZIO CAMPANILE Oradell (N.J.) Bergan Catholic H.S. Running backs CRAIG CHESSHER Round Rock (Texas) Stony Point H.S. Defensive line KIRK HEIDELBERG Rockford (Ill.) Christian H.S. Offensive line KEN LUCAS Annapolis (Md.) Area Christian Secondary CORY MOORE St. Petersburg (Fla.) Lakewood H.S. Linebackers CHARLIE WARD Houston Westbury Christian Wide receivers L.D. WILLIAMS Austin (Texas) High School Offensive line
USA Football Magazine

Steve Specht was the U.S. Under-19 National Team defensive coordinator in 2009, leading a unit that allowed just three points in three games. On Feb. 1, he takes the field again for Team USA, this time as head coach.

Specht to lead 2012 U-19 team
By Will Frasure

F

ootball has always been central to Steve Specht’s life. As a player and as a coach, the sport has taken Specht to the heights of Ohio high school competition and as far away as Brazil to teach the game he loves. Soon, football will take Specht to Austin, Texas, where he will coach the U.S. Under-19 National Team on Feb. 1 – National Signing Day – in the annual International Bowl against a group of players age 19 and younger representing more than 60 countries in the International Federation of American Football (IFAF). Specht has built one of Ohio’s top high

school programs at Cincinnati St. Xavier, winning two state titles and going 80-20 (.800) since taking over at his alma mater in 2003. Family also is important to Specht – his own family as well as the St. Xavier family and the football community at large. That’s why when Specht was asked to be the defensive coordinator of the 2009 U.S. U-19 team, he jumped at the chance. “I said, ‘Yes’ right away,” he said. “It was an intriguing opportunity. To coach some of the best players in the country and represent your country was something I couldn’t turn down.” Specht is still impressed by the fervor that international players have

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for football. During a joint U.S.Sweden practice in 2009, Specht and the U.S. staff weren’t just coaching kids. They were helping to grow the game on another continent. “That’s when the international flavor hit home,” Specht said. “I realized we were ambassadors and could help these coaches become better teachers. They were so enthusiastic about it and willing to learn and get better.” Another source for pride came in April, when Specht and other U.S. coaches brought the sport to São Paulo, Brazil, for that country’s first national football coaching clinic. This was Specht’s first experience with the game outside the United States. Specht’s passion for the sport, along with the eager Brazilians, brought forth an insightful and energetic symposium. “They were so gracious about what we did,” Specht said. “They asked great questions. For me, I just

“I’m not doing this to get a paycheck or build the resume. How do you say no to your country?”
– Steve Specht, U.S. Under-19 National Team head coach

looked at it like the best coaches have to be good teachers. That’s how I approached the situation in Brazil.” That’s what football is for Specht – helping young men grow together and learn the values of teamwork, sacrifice and discipline inherent in America’s favorite sport, no matter where they live. “I’m not doing this to get a paycheck or build the resume,” Specht said. “I’m doing it because it’s basically your responsibility. How do you say no to your country?”

CHAMPIONS ARE MADE IN THE OFF-SEASON.
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By Joe Frollo

H

ere’s a look at how some U.S. Under-19 National Team players have done this season in college football: Tyrann Mathieu (pictured) Team: LSU Year: Sophomore Position: Cornerback Team USA: 2010 Mathieu is one of the most dynamic athletes in college football, scoring twice on punt returns and twice on interceptions. He also has

forced six fumbles and recovered five. Along with his two interceptions, it gives him 23 forced turnovers in just two seasons, already a school record. He was a Heisman Trophy finalist and leads the Tigers into the BCS National Championship Game against Alabama. David Wilson Team: Virginia Tech Year: Junior Position: Running back Team USA: 2009 Wilson’s 1,627 rushing yards in 2011 ranks fifth in NCAA Division I-A. He is an explosive runner who also returns

kickoffs for the Hokies, averaging 18.8 yards per attempt. Wilson enters the Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl just 28 yards shy of the Virginia Tech singleseason record, having rushed for 100 yards or more in 10 of his team’s 13 games. George Atkinson III Team: Notre Dame Year: Freshman Position: Kick returner Team USA: 2011 Atkinson is making an impact in South Bend. As a true freshman, the son of former Oakland Raider George Atkinson averaged 27.4 yards on kickoff returns, including two for touchdowns.

It’s a contact sport
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12

USA Football Magazine

Photo: Louisiana State University

Team USA alumni making an impact

3 & OUT
By Josh Weinfuss

Tony Creecy

How did playing for Team USA prepare you for college football? It helped me a lot. During our week together on the National Team, we had a lot of film study – just like you do in college. I also played with and against the greatest athletes in the country – going up against someone like Tyrann Mathieu (LSU) in practice

made me better. All the guys were great, and the coaching was excellent. It lifted my game, and it was exciting to play for the United States and have the flag on our uniform. What did you expect going into the week? I expected it to be fun, and it was. It was all very positive. I wanted to maximize my opportunity, meet the

guys, make friends and compete against the best in the world – I did all of those things. What are your favorite memories of playing for Team USA? Playing for the United States against the World Team was among my greatest experiences in football. Lining up and competing against guys from across the world was like no game I’d ever played in.

GIVING IT YOUR ALL ON THE FIELD
We’re committed to helping student athletes become stronger and more determined achievers. That’s why PNC is proud to be the official bank of USA Football.
Stop by any PNC branch, call 1-877-CALL-PNC or visit pnc.com.

©2011 The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. All rights reserved. PNC Bank, National Association. Member FDIC

COMMSERV AD JUN 2010 012

USA Football Magazine

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Photo courtesy North Carolina State

T

ony Creecy is a wide receiver and running back at North Carolina State. The 6-foot, 196-pound freshman also was a member of the 2010 U.S. Under-19 National Team that won the International Bowl in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 14-0. As the 2012 International Bowl nears Feb. 1 in Austin, Texas, Creecy recently discussed the game with USA Football.

Football Marketplace brings vendors, buyers together
By Josh Weinfuss

A

s USA Football grows, so does its Marketplace. The idea launched at the end of September and almost instantly became a necessary stop on usafootball.com for coaches, parents and players as place for footballrelated one-stop shopping. It’s not just for USA Football members. The Marketplace is open to all and, even though it’s still in its infancy, has more than a dozen vendors offering products and services ranging from accessories such as gloves and mouth guards to equipment and training aids. Nate Boudreaux, USA Football’s senior manager of business development, expects the Marketplace to continue growing as both companies and consumers find what they are looking for. “It’s a very fluid area,” he said. “We’re continuing to get new partners involved. “We’re trying to use our leverage as the national governing body to give our membership the groupbuying discount.” The 2.0 version, currently in development, will include more vendors and more deals. Advertisers and vendors are encouraged to develop what Boudreaux calls a “value play,” which will bring customers Groupon-type deals, special offers, discounts and buy-one-get-one-free deals. Members of USA Football will benefit from better deals than the

USA Football’s Marketplace provides one-stop shopping for all your football-related needs.

“We’re trying to use our leverage as the national governing body to give our membership the group-buying discount.”
– Nate Boudreaux, USA Football senior manager of business development

general public through e-mail offers and other avenues. “We wanted to create an added value opportunity for our members, and we also wanted to bring more companies into the USA Football family that otherwise wouldn’t be involved,” Boudreaux said. “These companies have neat products and resources that members can benefit from.” The second generation of USA Football’s Marketplace will aim to provide members with everything they need to play the game, run a team and be in charge of a league. “I’d like to see it become the destination for anyone involved in football,” Boudreaux said. “I’d like it to become a destination site for the youth football parent or coach to visit and get a deal.”

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USA Football Magazine

USA Football’s online Football Marketplace is your one-stop shop for football related products and services. Shop everything football from equipment to coaching DVDs and other unique training aides on usafootball.com/marketplace
FOOTBALL ACCESSORIES Cutters www.cuttersgloves.com (800) 821-0231 Shock Doctor www.shockdoctor.com (800) 233-6956 Sports Gear Rack www.sportsgearrack.shutterfly.com (860) 334-4047 Zumer Sport www.zumersport.com (805) 784-9191 FOOTBALL TRAINING AIDES AND SERVICES Athletic Training Innovations (ATI) www.atinnovate.com (800) 549-0341 Reed’s Ghost Blockers www.ghostblockers.com (317) 773-3143 One Call Now www.onecallnow.com (877) 698-3262 TSS Photography www.tssphotography.com (800) 321-9127 Watch Game Film www.watchgamefilm.com (206) 388-2737 FUNDRAISING BRAX Fundraising www.spiritcups.com (888) 825-9339 PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT Riddell www.riddell.com (800) 275-5838 SPORTS TRAVEL Marriott www.marriott.com (888) 236-2427 National Car Rental www.nationalcar.com (877) 222-9058 UNIFORMS AND PRACTICE GEAR Rawlings www.rawlingsgear.com (866) 678-4327
For more information about securing a spot within the Football Marketplace, contact Nate Boudreaux at nboudreaux@ usafootball.com or (317) 489-4420.

FOOTBALL MARKETPLACE VENDORS

USA Football Magazine

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Visit Marriott.com/usafootball or call 877.MARRIOTT to book your stay.

© 2011 Marriott International, Inc. GDPS 110026

USA FOOTBALL’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Ray Anderson Executive V.P. Football Operations National Football League Joe Browne Senior Advisor to the Commissioner National Football League Tom Cove President and CEO SGMA International Alexia Gallagher Director, NFL Charities and Youth Football Fund National Football League

State Forums are a networking tool
By Joe Frollo

Bob Gardner Executive Director National Federation of State High School Associations Roger Goodell Commissioner National Football League Merril Hoge NFL Alumnus and ESPN NFL Analyst Desmond Howard NFL Alumnus and ESPN College Football Analyst Mark Meana Chairman Fairfax County (Va.) Youth Football League Carl Peterson Chairman USA Football Grant Teaff Executive Director American Football Coaches Association

attendee. “If you have a struggle in your league, you could throw it out he new year brings a and have 40 people offer solutions. I sense of opportunity and a walked away with connections with recommitment to goals. people from other leagues nearby It’s the same for USA Football state and across the state. I recommend forums, which kick off in January this for anyone who volunteers with throughout the United States. youth football.” League commissioners Commissioners also To learn more about have the opportunity to gather together to share USA Football state meet with USA Football ideas and discuss ways forums, contact your partners, including to develop America’s Regional Manager. Riddell, Rawlings, Brax favorite sport at the grassroots level. Topics Spirit Cups and ASG include fundraising, insurance. “It’s a great attracting quality coaches, opportunity to meet people that coaching education, league insurance are in similar situations as yourself,” and competition. said Mike Milani, co-president of Nothing beats an open discussion Mid-Maryland Youth Football and a among colleagues to offer solutions. Maryland State Forum attendee. “Everybody bounced ideas off each “There’s a lot of idea sharing that other,” said Julie Zoeller, president can help make life easier. Information of Franklin Township (Ind.) Youth sharing and networking goes a Football and an Indiana State Forum long way.”

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USA Football Magazine

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Veterans make great volunteers in Texas’ Fort Hood
By Joe Frollo

T

he United States has been at war for 10 years. The weight of this is felt every day by men and women in uniform. It also is felt by their families. Life in Copperas Cove, Texas – a bedroom community for Fort Hood – revolves around the Army. Families come and go on a regular basis, whether because of deployment or transfer. Change is the constant routine. So when it comes to football, it is up to the Copperas Cove Parks and Recreation Department to provide the stability everyone seeks in some part of their life. “When you work with a transient community, it is difficult because the names and faces change every three years or so,” said Mark Willingham of the Copperas Cove Parks and Recreation Department. “The positive is we get to touch the lives of kids from all over the world. The people who work with us have seen a lot, and they can pass that on to the kids.” Scott Robison, a retired lieutenant colonel, has led men and women in the Army and uses some of that experience in teaching youth football players. “Being an officer has helped me because I’ve dealt with soldiers from different parts of the country,” Robison said. “But no matter how many years I spent in the military, these are everyday kids and we need to be everyday coaches, treating them

Coaches in Copperas Cove, Texas, work with the sons and daughters of active military personnel. These coaches often stand as the adult figure in a child’s life while mom or dad is away on active duty.

just like everyone else.” It’s a tough situation when a child has to say goodbye to mom or dad for 12 months at a time. “Quite often, a kid’s parent – or even both parents – are deployed in the summer and coaches provide that adult role model that they need,” Robison said. “A mom may come to me and talk about how the kid is not doing his homework. He’s not a bad kid. He just misses his dad. We’ll talk to them about the importance of

schoolwork, of being respectful, of getting good grades.” About 75 percent of Copperas Cove coaches are active or retired military, Willingham said. It is a challenge to find new coaches, but he is confident in those who do volunteer. “Those coaches become a special part of the kids’ lives,” he said. “But like everyone else, if they are on active duty, they will be gone in a few years and we’ll have to find someone else.”

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USA Football Magazine

COMMISSIONER CENTER

Proper steps must be taken by a league before the first down is played to ensure financial safety to individuals and the group.

Lessons on liability
By Mallory Korpalski

A

ccidents, financial errors, bad behavior and other mishaps can occur in any organization and sometimes result in lawsuits by those alleging harm. An organization can be held liable for the actions of its employees and volunteers, and volunteers can be held responsible for their actions in service to the organization. Putting a protective structure in place should be high on a league’s list of priorities.

Protecting the league
Incorporate/organize: Incorporating or organizing as a nonprofit legal entity provides tax benefits to the league and may shield league leadership from individual financial liability. A league without a separate legal entity is typically considered an association, meaning all members and volunteers potentially can be held jointly or individually liable for league obligations. After

incorporation, only league assets can be reached by courts and creditors. Insure: Appropriate insurance packages can protect a league from general liability and shield individuals from lawsuits. Some general liability policies exclude coverage for losses arising from injury to participants while practicing for or participating in a league-sponsored sport. Confirm your policy does not have an “athletic participant exclusion.” Use waivers: Participants, coaches and volunteers should sign waivers releasing the league from liability for personal injury. Engage an attorney to draft template adult and minor waivers. Minor waivers should follow these baseline guidelines: Require signature by both parents or all legal guardians. Exempt the league from liability for personal injury to participants. Authorize the league to seek medical treatment in case of an injury or medical emergency. Clearly identify who is authorized to seek medical treatment for

– or administer medication to – participants.

Protecting volunteers
Grant immunity: Although incorporation protects volunteers from liability in many states, leagues also should specifically grant immunity to volunteers within their articles of formation. Immunity shields volunteers from personal liability as long as they act in good faith without negligence or intentional misconduct. Grant indemnity: Indemnity provisions in bylaws allow a league to reimburse volunteers for legal defense expenses related to league activity. Statements of immunity and indemnification provisions should specify how and under what circumstances immunity and/or indemnification is granted. Korpalsky is an associate with Baker & Daniels, USA Football’s outside counsel.
USA Football Magazine

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COMMISSIONER CENTER

BRAX Cups are a simple fundraising solution
By Joe Frollo

T

he Tiffin Little League Football Federation in Northwest Ohio has never charged a participation fee since opening operation in 1973. Community support, donations and a solid fundraising base has kept that tradition alive, even through tough economic times and rising costs. Golf outings, coupons cards, raffles. The league has tried them all. The easiest money-maker so far, according to league president Paul Shoemaker, is BRAX Spirit Cups.

The league of 180 players and 100 cheerleaders raised $9,100 last season and plans to make BRAX a regular part of its fundraising efforts. “The cups are extremely easy to sell,” Shoemaker said. “People loved them. They couldn’t believe the quality of the cups. We didn’t get one

negative response.” BRAX holds licenses with the NFL, MLB, more than 90 colleges and five U.S. Military branches. People can buy four 18-ounce cups emblazoned with their favorite team for $15, and the league keeps $5 for itself. “They were a hit,” Shoemaker said. “I’d recommend BRAX to anyone.”

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USA Football Magazine

USA FOOTBALL REGIONAL MANAGERS
America’s favorite sport is powered by you – dedicated youth league commissioners, coaches, game officials, players, parents and volunteers. For each of you, there is a face and name to place in your football Rolodex: your USA Football Regional Manager. USA Football regional managers are equipped and trained to work for you. Each has the experience needed to help you make your league or team even stronger with USA Football resources. Contact your USA Football regional manager to learn about League affiliation, the nearest USA Football Coaching School, Player Academy or State Leadership Forum. Stay in touch with your regional manager, whether it is to share news about your league or team or to ask about member resources. You may also contact our office – through usafootball.com or by phone at (877) 5-FOOTBALL. Let us know how we can serve you better. Together, we’ll ensure that teamwork and leadership continue to serve as the laces binding our favorite game.
West Central Great Lakes Northeast

Bassel Faltas

Joe Owens
(317) 489-4434
membership@usafootball.com

Ed Passino

(317) 489-4426 bfaltas@usafootball.com

(317) 489-4436 jowens@usafootball.com

(317) 489-4437 epassino@usafootball.com

Pacific Mountain

South

Mid-Atlantic

Southeast

Matt DeLuzio
(317) 489-4421 mdeluzio@usafootball.com

Dave Fanucchi

Deno Campbell
(317) 489-4422 (240) 351-7392 dcampbell@usafootball.com

Rick Peacock

(317) 489-4427 dfanucchi@usafootball.com

(317) 489-4438 rpeacock@usafootball.com
USA Football Magazine

21

COMMISSIONER CENTER

Blue Valley Football Club creates exciting new league
By Joe Owens

REGIONAL MANAGER’S REPORT

A

s Shannon Milbourn watched a TV special leading up to Super Bowl XL between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks, it wasn’t a story about Ben Roethlisberger or Shaun Alexander that drew his attention. What lit a fire deep inside Milbourn was a feature showcasing a Challenger Football League – a unique organization dedicated to bringing flag football to boys and girls with special needs. “The first thing that caught my eye about the Challenger program was the incredible and overwhelming outpouring of love and support the players were getting,” said Milbourn, who lives in suburban Kansas City, Mo. “There were so many volunteers willingly helping great kids to have the opportunity to play the greatest game on the planet.” From that moment, Milbourn was inspired to bring a Challenger League to Kansas City. With the help of Blue Valley Youth Football Club executive director John Evans, board members Jeff Tupper, Dorman Hayes and others, the dream became reality.

About 100 players take part each week in K.C. Metro Challenger Football thanks to help from the Blue Valley Youth Football Club and community.

In fall 2006, K.C. Metro Challenger Football was born. It was an instant hit with the rest of Blue Valley, many of whom volunteer to help at Challenger games. The Blue Valley Football Club includes 1,200 players and 300 coaches – all of whom are USA Football Coaching members. The Blue Valley School district offers its high school stadiums to the Kansas City Challenger League free of charge. This community has come together

around the nearly 100 Challenger players who show they love the game as much as everyone else. Every week, as soon as the Blue Valley youth tackle games conclude on Sunday afternoons, the kids from the Challenger League eagerly take the field, ready for a fun day of football. To learn more about the K.C. Metro Challenger League, visit: www.kcmetrochallenger.org. Joe Owens is USA Football Central Regional Manager, covering Oklahoma, Missouir, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota.

22

USA Football Magazine

COMMISSIONER CENTER

Reconditioned equipment must meet high standards F
By Jeff Fedotin

ootball players don’t like it when their uniforms look clean after a game. They prefer to reflect the dirt and grass – and sometimes mud – of America’s fields. Washing the jersey and pants soon after returning home is a ritual as old as the sport itself. In the same way, football equipment needs to be cleaned following months of sweat, pounding and exposure to a variety of climates. Before reissuing a set of pads or a helmet to another player, equipment should be reconditioned. “You try to bring it back as close to new as you possibly can,” said George Maczuga, director of sales and marketing support for Riddell

and a member of USA Football’s Football and Wellness Committee. “You want to make sure that the equipment affords the player the maximum protection it was designed to.” USA Football recommends that equipment be sent to a licensed National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) reconditioner. After the gear has been inventoried at a reconditioning site, a helmet’s pads and chin straps are removed, cleaned and checked for tears. Paint is removed from the helmets, which are then inspected for cracks. Before repainting the helmets, workers clean, wash and dry them. “Whether it is youth, high school, junior high school, college,” Maczuga said, “the cleaning and

sanitizing has got to be priority No. 1 for a program.” Over the course of time, equipment that gets damp from either the weather or condensation can lead to mildew, which can cause significant damage. Once reconditioned, gear should be stored properly in a dry, controlled climate. That environment is essential because mold and mildew can result from excess moisture. “That’s one of the biggest problems that people will face,” Maczuga said. Equipment can be stored in sealed boxes if a league’s facility lacks the space. For leagues with a large area with proper ventilation, helmets and shoulder pads can be stored on racks or hung on the wall. There it can wait — ready for the next football season to begin.

24

USA Football Magazine

COACHING CENTER

Tackle Progression Model helps coaches teach the fundamentals
By Nick Inzerello

N

o matter what level of football, competitive teams have one thing in common. At the point of attack, their players have the ability to tackle and bring the ball-carrier to the ground. It’s the most important fundamental for any defense and is a skill every player must perform with proficiency. USA Football is committed to improving player safety. One of our ongoing objectives is to develop an innovative system that improves a coach’s ability to teach the proper tackling techniques in a sequential system. The creation of USA Football’s Tackle Progression Model, divides tackling into five fundamentals, providing drills to teach each step, beginning in a non-contact environment and progressing to player-to-player contact. This system is designed to improve tackling fundamentals, increase player safety and limit helmet-tohelmet contact, lessening the chance for injury. To begin, a coach must examine his philosophy and terminology when it comes to teaching this skill. There is a fundamental difference between a “tackle” and a “hit.” A tackler strikes the ball-carrier through a series of movements that

includes a breakdown, buzzing the feet while keeping his eyes and head up and a rip of the arms while driving his legs through the opponent. A hit can be interpreted as a player who launches himself from the ground, leading with the shoulder, facemask or worse, the crown of the helmet. These are two very different techniques. The hit or “stick” is not recommended as it can lead to significant injury and by rule (Rule 7, Section 11, USA Football Rulebook) it is illegal. Here is a synopsis of the five fundamentals of the Tackle Progression:

Breakdown position – A position of control that a defensive player uses while reducing the field or sprinting to the ball-carrier Buzz – Closing the gap on the ball-carrier while preparing for the hit position Hit position – The position or correct posture a defender uses for the moment of impact Shoot – An upward strike of the hips and arms that forces the head up at the point of contact, driving the feet through the opponent Rip – Throwing the arms in double uppercuts, securing the tackle
USA Football Magazine

25

COACHING CENTER
This year, USA Football has educated thousands of member coaches and players on the Tackle Progression Model through the online Film Room, where all the video instruction is provided. Beginning in 2012, the Tackle Progression Model will be added to the Level 1 Tackle Coach Certification Course, Recertification Quiz and offered to coaches who attend one of our Coaching Schools. Additionally, players who attend one of our Player Academies will receive instruction in these fundamentals. “USA Football’s Tackle Progression Model has allowed us to teach our players the proper fundamentals of tackling,” said Joe Dunn, a youth coach from Fishers, Ind. “As we all know, tackling is the single most important all-player skill in football. It is also the most

“Tackling is the single most important all-player skill in football. It is also the most important fundamental that a coach can teach a player.”
– Joe Dunn, youth coach, Fishers, Ind.

important fundamental that a coach can teach a player. The progression model allows for coaches to teach the art of tackling one phase at a time in a safe, positive and educational manner. As a former collegiate linebacker and more importantly as a father and coach, I am a strong believer in utilizing the Tackle Progression Model.” Coaches should work with their players every day on tackling. Create a tackling circuit by carving out 20 minutes within your daily practice plan. Divide your players into four even groups with one assistant coach running them through the Tackle Progression drills found within the Film Room. Quality reps will lead to better tackling fundamentals, which will lead to more three-and-outs for your defense.

COACHING CENTER

With members in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., USA Football recently caught up with four members from across the United States. Below are their straight-ahead thoughts on football topics, including favorite coaches and philosophies

QUICK-HITTER GRID

NAME: ORGANIZATION: RESIDENCE:
Favorite USA Football benefit Most rewarding part of coaching Toughest part of coaching Favorite NFL team Offensive philosophy: Grind it out or let it fly Favorite NFL stadium Coach you most look up to Favorite play Favorite saying to players

AMBER DIRKS Deer Valley Gladiators Deer Valley, Ariz.
Animated videos, online education, coaching tools, insurance Watching the players grow into a team of confident, disciplined football players Being a female and a head coach Green Bay Packers

TYLER MALEWICKI Lake Zurich Flames Youth Football Lake Zurich, Ill.
The drills library

CLAY SMITH Blue Ridge Tigers Greer, S.C.

BART WILLIAMS Lake Cumberland Youth Football League Lake Cumberland, Ky.
The knowledge, information and resources Seeing the smiles on the players’ faces Getting parents to understand their children are children and not Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady Pittsburgh Steelers

The coaching tip videos

Seeing young men excel Relationships that you build and learn the value of with each player hard work and trusting teammates When the season is over and all of a sudden you’re not on the field anymore with the players Da Bears Losing

Pittsburgh Steelers

Both

I like to grind it out with the run

Pick your guy, and let it fly

Grind it out

University of Phoenix Stadium

Lambeau Field Sophomore high school coach 27 rocket pass, a halfback pass

Lambeau Field

Heinz Field

Vince Lombardi and John Madden Right Beast wide 18 Sweep Pull

Bill Cowher

Vince Lombardi Student body right (Packer sweep)

81 tight end drag

“It’s not that you have “We are going to play hard, fallen down what matters, respect the game and have fun it’s how you get back doing it.” up is how you will be remembered.” “Remember The Titans” “The Express”

“Play hard. Play smart. Play together.”

“Start fast, finish strong.”

Favorite football movie

“Remember the Titans”

“Rudy”

USA Football offers resource-packed memberships to give coaches, game officials, youth league commissioners and players an edge. Learn more at www.usafootball.com.

USA Football Magazine

27

COACHING CENTER
Meet a USA Football Member

David Hartman
By Joe Frollo

Name David Hartman Place of Residence Victoria, Texas USA Football Memberships Coach and commissioner League Crossroads Youth Football League How long have you coached? 11 years Full-time job Co-owner and vice president of marketing at Hartman Distributing

A

Info for bio box former walk-on at Texas A&M, David Hartman helped found the Crossroads Youth Name Chris Abderhalden Football League in Victoria, Texas, in 1999. He had Place of Residence Lenox, Mass. for coached high school 7-on-7 teams five summers, but this was his first work with youth football. USA Football Memberships Coach, Beginning as a coach for 10- to 12-year-olds, Commissioner? Hartman has dedicated the last 12 falls to the young players in the HCYF. Hartman recently spoke League Berkshire County Youth Footto USA ball Association to discuss his volunteer Football Magazine work and USA Football. How long have you coached? Eight What is your proudestfor Lee Youth Football years as a coach moment as a coach? Down, 26-6, at halftime, my 15-year-old son and three years at Lee High School. Kyle, who had been filming our games for us that season, Full-time jobto the field, unbeknownst to came down Construction manager me and gave an impromptu motivational speech to our kids and coaches in which he reminded them of all the hard work we put in together as a team and the promise everyone had made to each other do their best. It was the best halftime speech I never gave to our kids. Our kids responded, eventually coming back to win, 41-26. That comeback is something I will always remember.
Why is youth football important to the development of the sport? Youth football provides a first taste of what the game is about, and the coaches that serve youth athletes are important to the continuing health and growth of the game. Youth coaches have a unique challenge in that they must involve all the players and make it fun for them while at the same time introduce them to the concepts of teamwork, dedication, commitment and sacrifice. How did you first learn about USA Footbal? I found USA Football’s website in its early days and have been a member ever since. In recent years,

I’ve had the opportunity to become involved with the USA Football South Texas State Forum and work with Dave Fanucchi, USA Football’s South Regional Manager. Dave is a great resource to all of us involved with youth football in our state. How has your membership benefitted you as a coach? It helps me to become a better coach and to share what I’ve learned with hundreds of coaches in our organization, as well as others, through the coaching certification program. The drills and video libraries are online components that I reference a great deal prior to each season in developing our team’s practice plans and skill development goals for the upcoming season. Would you recommend USA Football to other coaches? A USA Football coaching membership is absolutely one of the best investments a youth football coach can make in becoming a better coach and, most importantly, providing the kids you coach with the best playing experience possible.

28

USA Football Magazine

COACHING CENTER

Quick tips: Flag pulling
By Josh Weinfuss

T

he difference between a tackle and a touchdown can be the narrowest of margins. Being a split second late or a finger slip can allow an offensive player to get by and gain yards or even put a score on the board. But flag football defenders can stop opposing players in their tracks by using the proper technique when pulling a flag. The defensive player should stay on the balls of his feet, keeping his eyes on the ball-carrier’s waist and hip area. As the offensive player approaches, the defender should

square his body to the ball, widen his base and bend his knees, all while keeping his eyes on the flag. The flag should be pulled as close to the belt as possible, and after it’s

pulled, the defensive player should raise it to alert the officials. If the player misses the flag, make sure not to grab the ball-carrier’s limbs or clothing.

USA Football Magazine

29

uat: the heel to Hipfloor. w/ Towel Squeeze: touch the Press evel; bentthe leg you are knee on Activate/squeeze the glutes to raise the hips the box, e knee of ody; touch theitheeloff the floor; while squeezing the towel to with ward. Keep in linethe floor. et the knee of the leg you are knees as hard as possible between the HEALTH & SAFETY all inward. Keep it in line with s… 10-15 reps; 2-3x’s

int by Joint Exercises Joint by Joint Exercises
By Joe Frollo

Stride w/ hip ext rotation: Standing with kMobility foot in contact with involved hip flexed and back foot in contactiswith to work is flexed and lower leg externallytime rotated, knee he offseason ing this stretch. andaon a table (height is mid-thigh or is placed speed. during thison strength stretch. higher). th knees, Without flexibility, athlete el Squeeze: driving The though, then flexes (squats down) both real improvementstance knee, enough to feel a stretch in the knees, driving be made. he glutes to raise the hips Towel Squeeze: the cannot toes. Efficient movement, proper ourthe glutes to towelthe hips hip. ze toes. the raise squeezing

Focus on flexibility
T
mobility and joint stability are needed

while squeezing the transfer the force as hardfor apossibletowel as body to nees as hard as to liftHold 5-10 run, / 8-10x’s utout needed possible or sec said weights s

nt knee on the box, nee on the box, ch the heel thethe floor. he heel to to floor. ee of leg you are of thethe leg you are d. Keep it in line with Keep it in line with

Ryan Harber, a performance specialist 3x’s and certified athletic trainer for St. Vincent Sports Performance in Indianapolis. Agility allows wide receivers to w/ side glide: Hip flexor stretch run otation: better patters and lineman to Standing ext rotation: position just aswith involved hip flexed and knee establish much as lved hip flexed and flexed with foot brute flexed involved hipstrength and speed do. placed on the table. Maximal knee is flexed andstride position should be assumed. Opposite lower leg ted, kneeLikewise, good flexibility helps limit is flexed and lower leg (height ischance for injury. leg or the mid-thigh should able (height is mid-thigh or be extended at the hip and knee. “Your body works in alternating ehlete then flexes (squats down) spine should be in neutral and then flexes (squats down) and The torso pattersa stretch in the of mobile joints and stable athlete leans towards the erect posture. ough to feel e, enough to feel When thatin the The stretch pattern is segments. a table maintaining erect spine slightly bending broken is when serious injuries the knee, and push flexed hip inward toward happen,” Harber said. a healthy body needs /0x’s 8-10x’sHarber saidthe extended leg. mobility in ankles, stability in knees, Hold 5-10 sec / 8-10x’s mobility in hips, stability in lumbar spine, mobility in thoracic spine, stability in scapula, mobility in Ankle mobility (top) shoulders, stability in elbows and Keep the heel of your back foot in contact with the ground at all times etchsideside glide: w/ w/mobility in wrists. glide: fingertips,” during the stretch. involved “From feet to knee hip flexed and knee Harber lved hip flexed and said. “For table. Maximal have example, when you Lean forward and bend both ot placedthe table. Maximal on the aced onrestrictions in your hips and are not knees, driving your knee over your should be assumed. Opposite uld be assumed. Opposite it throws rotating like you should, toes. Do sets of seven with toes in, extended atlumbar stability, which can ded at off hip hip and knee. the the and knee. then toes out. spine shouldin ain neutral Energy give be sore back. e should beyou neutral andand is not The athlete leans towards the from Hip mobility (above) athlete being transferred properly leans towards the hips to slightly Stand facing a table that is mid-thigh ng erect spinespine.” bending rect spine slightly bending Harber encourages athletes level or higher. Externally rotate the push flexed hip inward toward to flexed include simpletoward to help hip inward exercises leg to be stretched and place it on eg. with mobility. the table, keeping the knee in-line Here are some that can be done with the hip. / 8-10x’s home as part of at Bend the knee of the balance 0x’s regular workouts: leg enough to feel a stretch in

gle

the opposite hip. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds, repeat 10 times.

Shoulder mobility

queeze: eze: to raise the hips utes s to raise towel eezing thethe hips ing the30 USA Football towel ard as possible Magazine

Sit on the floor with your back Created by Ryan Harber LAT, AT against the wall and St. Vincent Sports Per the soles of your feet together, pulled toward the body. Elbows and hands placed on the wall in a “touchdownsignal” position. Pressing your elbows and hands into the wall, slide your arms up overhead while pressing your knees toward the floor at the same time. Go as far as possible while keeping your elbows and hands against the wall. Do four sets of 15.

OFFICIATING CENTER

Start with junior leagues
By Dave Finn

E

very official got his start somewhere. And according to two longtime referees, working at the youth level is the best place to begin. That’s where rookie officials can gain the most experience. “Aspiring officials should join an officials association,” said Pat Miles, a referee in the NCAA Division III Wisconsin State League. “Through an officials association, they will receive (rules and mechanics) training, mentoring, information on where they can find officials equipment and access to games where they are looking for officials.” If your goal is to rise to the highest levels, don’t wait, Big Ten official Julius Livas said. Calling a season of youth games is better than anything you can learn from books. “You need to get involved early,” Livas said. “Do midget games, junior high games, junior varsity games – work as many games as possible to gain the experience that’s needed to give you the confidence that you can do this.” Working at the youth and high school level is the ideal situation for making contacts, for learning the officiating ropes and for building a solid foundation for a potential future. “It’s easy to get involved, because there is such a need for officials,” Miles said. “The important thing is that you don’t move up the ladder too fast, because you can come crashing

Aspiring officials should join their local officials association.

down just as fast. You have to be patient. Learn the profession, learn the rules and mechanics, work as many lower level games as you can and then make the leap.” Of course, ascending that ladder

“Do midget games, junior high games, junior varsity games – work as many games as possible to gain the experience that’s needed to give you the confidence that you can do this.”
– Julius Livas, Big Ten official

does not come without challenges. “Learning to work as a crew is the most unique thing that I learned early in my career,” Livas said. “Officiating is tough, and if your crew members don’t work together it will make it very difficult to be a success at officiating.” Success does not happen overnight, and careers are built in stages. Opportunities are there for those who can progress through the years. “Unfortunately, because there are not enough officials these days, young officials are asked to work at the high school varsity level before they are ready,” Miles said. “The best way to overcome some of this challenge is to attend camps or clinics, study the rule book on a daily basis, shadow other crews, stand on the sideline during a game or sit in the stands and take notes.”
USA Football Magazine

31

Feedback is crucial to improving as a league
By Joe Frollo

T

he season is over. Players, parents and coaches are going their separate ways. Don’t let them leave for the winter without getting some feedback on the season. Fresh perspective and new opinions help strengthen a league’s procedures and even may offer new approaches. Reactions will never be fresher than right after the last game, so commissioners should collect those opinions as soon as they can. “We have a banquet where everyone is there, the entire organization,” said Ron Word, president of West Nashville (Tenn.) Youth Sports. “We have an evaluation form that is given to our parents, another to our coaches. “Upon leaving the banquet, we get those forms back from them. When we start league meetings a few weeks later, it’s great to have those in hand.” Whether on paper or through an email site such as Survey Monkey, leagues can ask about coaches’ performance, scheduling, rules, equipment or anything else, said Petrina Fennell of Six Rivers Youth Football, an organization that serves two Northern California counties and one in Southwest Oregon. “You are looking to get the good and the bad from people,” Fennell said. “Coaches will give you most of the feedback on rules. Parents will tell you about coaches. You want to see what is working but also what isn’t working. Sometimes, coaches

Here are some sample questions a league can ask at the end players and parents at the end of the season: Were you comfortable talking to your coach? Did you understand what your coach wanted? Did the coach act as a good role model for the players? Did practices/games start on time? Was the crowd a positive part of the gameday experience?
who have been around a long time can get negative reviews. It’s hard to get them to be open to constructive criticism, but in the end it is best for

Parents, players and coaches can provide the feedback that league administrators need in order to improve for future.

the league.” USA Football League Affiliation members have access to sample evaluation forms to get things started. Each league will have its own set of specific questions. Keeping responses anonymous helps as well, Word said. “It has been beneficial,” he said. “Parents have come up with ideas that have benefitted how we do things administratively, with communications and with concessions. “We’ve found out from these evaluations that parents want to be kept in the loop during the offseason beyond just what’s on the website. “We’ve started a newsletter in direct response to a need we didn’t know existed.”

32

USA Football Magazine

DEFINING SPORTS PERFORMANCE®

PLAYER CENTER

Presented by

Alonzo Johnson:

WHAT FOOTBALL HAS TAUGHT MY SON

A

By Jeff Fedotin

bout six years ago, a reporter approached the shy, reluctant toddler to ask if he would participate in his father’s new youth football league. “Nah,” Alonzo Johnson Jr. said, “I don’t think I’m going to play.” It turns out Alonzo Jr. not only would play football, but the sport would help him become a more assertive and well-rounded young man. “He was kind of a quiet, little guy,” Alonzo Johnson Sr. said. “It has built a lot of character for him.” The younger Johnson started playing flag football at age 5 in his father’s Coach Alonzo Watford Inner City Youth Football League in Indianapolis. CAW is named for

the boy’s great-great-grandfather, a former Indianapolis Crispus Attucks High School athletic director and coach. “He’s a legend here,” Alonzo Sr. said. “We just thought we’d keep his legacy going.” Though the father said his son played at first just to make the old man happy, Alonzo Jr. became enamored with the sport. He learned important life skills, especially teamwork. A straight-A student at Center Grove Middle School North, Alonzo Jr., now 12, often helps his classmates with their studies. In part through maturity, in part because of football, Alonzo Jr. has morphed into an extrovert. “He can go into any room and talk to

anybody,” the father said. Football brought out his son’s fun side and his rugged exterior. After a year of CAW flag football, Alonzo Jr. moved on to tackle. Though his son was once scared at the prospect of playing any kind of football, dad knew he would prosper. “In flag for some reason,” Alonzo Sr. said laughing, “he kept tackling guys.” The year in flag football gave Alonzo Jr. confidence and helped the transition to tackle football. A center, he became adept at blocking incoming pass rushers and moving big run stuffers. “You’ve got guys coming at you so many different ways,” Alonzo Sr. said. “You have to be tough.”

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USA Football Magazine

PLAYER CENTER

The Art of … Pass Blocking Footwork
By Josh Weinfuss

M

ichael Roos doesn’t take a day off. The Tennessee Titans offensive tackle works daily on his footwork, improving his technique and adding small tweaks that landed him on USA Football’s All Fundamentals Team in 2010. One critical element to being an NFL offensive lineman is pass protection, and the main way to make sure a defender stays away from the quarterback is through proper footwork, he said. “For me, I’m not really that strong,” Roos said. “I don’t have very long arms. I make sure I can get my technique down as well as I can. If you have

good technique, it can overcome a lot of other flaws.” Roos said it’s important to have a square and balance stance, that way the defender can’t dictate which direction the offensive lineman moves. His technique and fundamentals have helped the Titans’ offensive line to be ranked No. 2 in the NFL, according to NFL.com. “Depending on which side of the ball you’re on, 90 percent of the time your right foot is pointing forward, and my hips are squared,” Roos said. “When the defensive end is making moves, you’re facing the line of scrimmage, and you can redirect when you need to.” Roos said young offensive lineman need to know where their feet are supposed to be and how many steps

they need to be taking. Offensive tackles must establish depth and width when blocking an oncoming defensive player. That way, Roos said, the tackle doesn’t lose the pocket. A young tackle needs to have his feet spread for a good base at the moment of impact, and, through practice, he needs to be comfortable with his feet moving. Another key to strong pass blocking footwork is to use your hands to get a lot of power. “A lot of kids’ feet stay stagnant,” Roos said. “Most defensive ends will swat your hands or go around you. “If you have good footwork and pass protection, it’ll put you in a position to win. It’ll increase winning that down and every down after that that much more.”
USA Football Magazine

35

Stanlin Colinet, ASG vice president
By Joe Frollo

T

he message is simple. The only thing giving up “there were kids who lived 30 minutes away but in a does is ensure failure. different world in terms of socio-economics.” It is a lesson Stalin “I learned the world is Colinet learned while bigger than my block, my playing at Boston College immediate neighborhood,” and in the NFL. Colinet said. It is one he still adheres “I saw how these kids to as vice president of played, how they practiced. sports coverage at It caught my eye at a ASG, USA Football’s league young age.” insurance partner. Success followed him to “The skills you learn high school and college, in football: diligence, where he worked just as sportsmanship, work ethic hard in the classroom as he … when I speak to kids, I did on the football field. always tell them it won’t “I was by no means an come easy, but if you set honor student, but football your mind to it, you can brought out the best in me usually get what you truly academically,” he said. desire out of life,” “If you never sell yourself Colinet said. short, it becomes a way “Football teaches you of thinking.” perseverance. It may be Colinet spent seven the 50th try that you finally seasons as a defensive get it, but there are lessons lineman in the NFL with the in those 49 attempts that Vikings, Browns came before.” and Jaguars. Colinet grew up a Now, he helps youth Redskins fans in the Bronx, football leagues develop N.Y. He liked the tough, insurance plans, making physical play the team sure young athletes can “I was by no means an honor played, and watching play the game he loves Washington’s road to safely and securely. student, but football brought out Super Bowl XVIII “If we teach the kids to the best in me academically. If you be complete players, the solidified it. “From there, I asked my never sell yourself short, it becomes same accountability should dad if it was OK to try out be held to the league a way of thinking.” for a local youth team,” in terms of coverage,” – Stanlin Colinet, ASG vice president Colinet said. he said. “Playing furthered my “The hope is you never passion for football. I had coaches who made it fun need the policies, but they are there if you do.” to play.” Football also gave Colinet a window into the way other Commissioners can email Stalin Colinet or call him at kids lived. Growing up in a poor neighborhood, he said (617) 398-5564 to discuss insurance options.

36

USA Football Magazine

FOOTBALL FACTS, STATS & FIGURES
Australia (20) – 27 percent Other (13) – 18 percent Germany (12) – 16 percent Finland (10) – 14 percent Netherlands (6) – 9 percent American Samoa (5) – 8 percent Italy (4) – 7 percent Others include: Brazil (3), France (3), Ireland (2), Sweden (2), Estonia (1), Korea (1), Moldova (1), Switzerland (1)
Italy oa am .S Am

Net her land s
Finland

Australia

Other Germany

The college experience

F

ootball is becoming a world game, and as skill levels catch up to interest, Bjoern We rner more and more international players are making their way to the United States to compete at the highest level. This fall, 73 foreign-born players suited up for NCAA or NAIA programs, including Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams (Australia), Florida State defensive lineman Bjoern Werner (Germany) and Boise State safety Cedric Febis (Netherlands). Above is a look at where those players are coming from.

All eyes on football
The tradition of watching NFL football during the holiday season continues this year in record numbers. An average of 19.3 million fans watched games in Week 12 (Thanksgiving week) and Week 13 – the most to kick off the holidays since 1992. In addition, the 19.3 million average is nearly three times the average of broadcast primetime (6.7 million viewers) in the same time period. Thanksgiving weekend was the most-watched NFL regularseason weekend in 18 years and featured a pair of Thanksgiving afternoon games (Miami at Dallas, Green Bay at Detroit) topping 30 million average viewers – the first time both broadcast networks topped the 30-million mark on Thanksgiving Day.

The number of girls high school football programs in the United States has grown by 65 percent during the past four years – from 284 in 2007-08 to 469 in 2010-11.
SOURCE: National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations.

469

37

USA Football Magazine

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