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Posted Apr 22, 2015
The game of football is under attack.
We see it every day in the headlines and on the news. The medical concerns are pressing. The game has taken its share of criticism. President Barack Obama said that if he had boys he wouldn’t let them play football. Even LeBron James has publicly said no football in his house.
The question is asked over and over: Why would anyone want to play football? And why would anyone let their kids play?
Here’s my answer: I believe there’s practically no other place where a young man is held to a higher standard.
Football is hard. It’s tough. It demands discipline. It teaches obedience. It builds character.
Football is a metaphor for life.
This game asks a young man to push himself further than he ever thought he could go. It literally challenges his physical courage. It shows him what it means to sacrifice. It teaches him the importance of doing his job well. We learn to put others first, to be part of something bigger than ourselves. And we learn to lift our teammates – and ourselves – up together.
These are rare lessons nowadays.
Football has faced challenges like this before.
In 1905, there were 19 player deaths and at least 137 serious injuries. Many of these occurred at the high school and college levels. Major colleges said they were going to drop football because the game had become too violent.
That’s when President Teddy Roosevelt stepped in to call a meeting with coaches and athletic advisers from Harvard, Princeton and Yale. He wanted to find a way to make the game safer. They made significant changes, introducing new rules like the forward pass and the wide receiver position. Those changes turned football more into the game we know it as today.
We made progress. Rules changed. Society evolved. The game advanced.
We’re at another turning point in our sport. The concussion issue is real and we have to face it.
We have to continue to get players in better helmets. We have to teach tackling the right way, and that starts at the NFL level. Change the rules. Take certain things out of the game. It’s all the right thing to do.
But even with all of that, the importance of football hasn’t changed. In some ways, it’s more important than ever.
And I believe the most critical place for football is at the youth and high school levels. For 97 percent of football players, the pinnacle of their careers is the high school game. Few players ever go on to the college level. Even less make it to the pros.
For a lot of these kids, it’s not until it’s all said and done, and they look back on it several years later, that they realize the difference the sport made in their lives. They are proud of playing the game. Have you ever met anybody who accomplished playing four years of high school football, and at the end of that run said, ‘Man, I wish I wouldn’t have played’? It doesn’t get said.
We know that football players aren’t perfect. Nobody is. But millions of former players, one by one, can recount the life-altering principles they learned from football.
They know the value of football is the values in football.
That’s why high school football – and particularly high school coaches – play such a vital role in our society. Our football coaches are on the front lines of the battle for the hearts and minds of the young men in our society. The culture war is on and we see it every day. These young men are more vulnerable than ever.
How many youth and high school coaches serve as a father figure to their players? How many mothers look to the coaches of their son’s football team as the last best hope to show their son what it means to become a man – a real man? More than we’ll ever know.
Coaches teach our young people the lessons of life that very often they learn from no one else. Coaches have the kind of influence in our schools, and with our young people, that is difficult to come by.
Billy Graham once said, “One coach will influence more people in one year than the average person will do in a lifetime.” My dad also says all the time that it just takes one person to believe in a young man or young woman to change their lives. I couldn’t agree more.
Our culture teaches us to judge an activity by how it’s going to make us feel right now. But football doesn’t work that way. The game challenges and pushes us. It’s often uncomfortable. It requires us to be at our best.
Isn’t that what we want in our society?
Football is a great sport. Football teams can be, and very often are, the catalyst for good in our schools and our communities. Millions of young men have learned lessons in football that they could only learn through playing this game. Football has saved lives.
That is why football matters.
June 26, 2015
Missy Koslowski, GHSA News
Cobb County School Board Approves Lutzie Field Dedication
Lassiter has worked very hard with the Cobb Community to muster support for an extremely good cause. Hundreds of supporters have worked tirelessly to re-name Lassiter High School’s new field after Auburn football player and former Lassiter High School stand-out, Philip Lutzenkirchen.
This morning, GA News received news that the Cobb County School Board “unanimously” approved the project.
Special thanks go out to Bob Penter who lead the effort and the entire Lassiter Community!
Lutzie Field…We Need Your Help!
As many of you are aware, the Lutzie 43 Foundation has been working very closely with the Lassiter community over the past 11 months on a very special project, the resurfacing of Lassiter’s stadium field and naming of the playing surface (“Lutzie Field” at Frank Fillmann Stadium.) This project came into our hearts to serve as a tangible reminder to the Lassiter community of the mission of the Lutzie 43 Foundation, “Live like Lutz. Love like Lutz. Learn from Lutz.” Through the field project, we feel we can best emphasize the “Learn From Lutz” element of our mission. The new turf and its name “Lutzie Field” will serve as a constant reminder for Lassiter students and community members of the importance of developing and displaying good character, but also of the dangerous effects of poor decision-making.
Throughout this process, we have been humbled to receive overwhelming backing from the community for this project. There have been numerous supporters for the project, both financially and otherwise, and we would first and foremost like to recognize many of them:
Additionally, we have received support from countless other individuals; this group includes significant private donors that wish to remain anonymous, other members of the Lassiter High School staff, and various members of senior leadership within the Cobb County School District (CCSD) construction, legal, and procurement groups. Each and every individual has played an instrumental role in helping bring this project forward. We have been humbled and touched by the outpouring of support from every corner of the Lassiter community and beyond.
From the very beginning, the objectives behind this project have been multiple and integrated:
We have been blessed to have this project come together to meet the aforementioned goals, and serve as an example within Cobb County about the benefits of a community coming together to create a positive and lasting legacy out of a tragedy.
Challenge with the Cobb County School Board Chairman
Over the past 11 months, we have gone to great lengths to bring this project to fruition. While the project is 100 percent privately financed, the size of the project requires it to meet certain bidding requirements and county construction reviews. Lastly, the project must receive an official vote from the school board. We have worked closely with the CCSD to ensure that all requirements are met in order to proceed with the project. In a nutshell, we were told by the CCSD that we needed to fulfill the following:
a) Appropriately bid the project
b) Secure all financing
c) Demonstrate community support.
At this time, we have completed all of the necessary steps for the project. We were placed on the agenda for the June 10, 2015 Cobb County School Board meeting to put the project to vote. At this meeting, we were hopeful to receive approval from the board and begin the project immediately thereafter. This would keep us on-schedule for the field dedication scheduled for August 14, 2015.
Late last week, we received word that Randy Scamihorn, Chairman of the School Board, removed the project from the agenda for the June 10 school board meeting for reasons unstated to us. In a previous meeting with Mr. Scamihorn, we reviewed the project and the timeline we needed for completion. We discussed the ramifications of eliminating the project from the June 10 meeting agenda.
We Need Your Help!
When we began this project, we only wanted to move forward if we had full backing within the Lassiter community. We have been truly humbled and blessed by the outpouring of support, both financially and otherwise.
However, we now need your help to positively demonstrate your support directly to the Cobb County School Board. If you are willing and able to help keep the Lutzie Field project on-schedule for August 2015 completion, we ask that you do the following:
a) Share your support publicly through social media. You can follow the Lutzie 43 Foundation on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on this process. We are using the hashtag #LutzieField to measure public support on social media. Help us get this trending!
b) Send e-mails to all the CCSD board members regarding your support for the project.
We want the e-mails to be positive and specific, and for you to be willing to sign your name. In communicating with the board, our main goal is to emphasize that project approval is time sensitive in order to complete the field re-surfacing by our August 14 dedication date. You can help address this by requesting the project be voted on as soon as possible, including through special session if necessary. It is important that any messaging regarding this manner positively reflect the mission and values of the Lutzie 43 Foundation.We ask that all emails and social media posts be respectful and demonstrate great character.
Below, we have provided the contacts of the Cobb County School Members:
Randy Scamihorn: firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Thayer: email@example.com
David Morgan: firstname.lastname@example.org
David Chastain: email@example.com
David Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Sweeney: email@example.com
Brad Wheeler: firstname.lastname@example.org
We would also suggest you e-mail Chris Ragsdale, School Superintendent, email@example.com.
Thank you for all your support.
GA News Online
“A Proud Supporter of all that is Georgia High School Football”
May 29, 2015 Missy Koslowski, GHSA News
This summer is not a time of rest for those “elite” athletes that seek to get Bigger, Faster, Stronger and to Improve their Skills.
A local Marietta, GA athlete (Clark Kent, Lassiter) competed last week against his peers at the FBU (Football University) combine held at Peachtree Ridge High School. After these three days, former NFL receivers like Billy “White Shoes” Johnson and Stacey Bailey, evaluated the top receivers and picked the best for “Top Gun” (Dublin, OH).
Clark competed against many 4 and 5 star Defensive Backs in 1-on-1 and 7-on-7 drills to earn a spot in this highly coveted event. College scouts follow this event and consider it an opportunity to see (what competitors do) against “The Best of the Best”. (Top Gun Itinerary – HERE)
No event is bigger than Football University
TOP GUN athletes are given the unique opportunity to practice the techniques and skills they have been taught against athletes who are as big, as strong, as fast, and as gifted as they are.
They also are blessed with the chance to impress the best group of NFL faculty ever assembled at one camp. TOP GUN will feature approximately 70members of the coaching staff that have more than 700 years of combined NFL coaching and playing experience! These coaches share their immense knowledge of the game to the athletes through on-field drills as well as detailed classroom film breakdowns.
Every year at TOP GUN, several rising seniors are picked to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Clark Kent WR Lassiter Trojans scores winning TD at the 2015 OD Bowl
January 21, 2015 Missy Koslowski, GHSA News
Clark Kent (a WR with the Lassiter High School Trojans) scored the winning TD with 51 seconds left to give his All Star Team – Showcase Team 4 the win at the Offense Defense Bowl for 2015 held in Orlando, Florida (Citrus Bowl) on January 4th.
Clark represented his school Lassiter and all of Region 5 AAAAAA in this prestigious Bowl that showcases talent from all over the USA.
Clark was named an Offense-Defense All-American and invited to participate in the 9th-annual Offense-Defense Bowl Week festivities taking place at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, FL. Clark was selected for this honor from a group of young athletes numbering in the thousands across the country and was recently given MVP honors at an Elite 1-on-1 Invitational held in Myrtle Beach, SC.
Offense-Defense Sports has been running full-contact football instructional camps for the past 45 years and currently operates in approximately 40 camp locations nationwide every spring and summer. For more information visit http://www.o-d.com.
When discussing receivers, the typical evaluator will discuss size, speed, strength, hands, body control, and route running. Hands, speed, and strength are pretty self-explanatory. Body control is more about a receiver’s ability to haul in the ball while he’s in the air. Route running is about a receiver’s ability to make sharp cuts and that gives him a better chance at getting separation.
Separation is the Holy Grail for a wide receiver. Being able to put space between his self and a defender is a quarterback’s best friend. It allows the QB to be more confident in his read and his throw.
It also has a big advantage in tight coverage.
I know that sounds confusing. If there is tight coverage, then it doesn’t seem like the receiver has separation, right? A lot of times a receiver must separate himself from a defender while the ball is in the air. There are very nuanced and subtle ways to do this that many receivers overlook. The best receivers in the league can fight off defenders with subtle tactics to create separation just before the ball arrives that essentially makes the defender incapable of defending the pass.
In New England, Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker were two of the best at these very sly ways of separation. Welker has continued that tradition in Denver, and it’s a big reason why Peyton – and Brady before him – trusted Welker so much even though diminutive in stature and speed.
This catch against the Colts in week seven is a perfect example.
Crucial situation. The Broncos are trailing 39-30 against the Colts. It’s 3rd and 17 in the 4th quarter and only 4:45 left. If the Broncos don’t get a 1st down here, the game is pretty much over. Peyton Manning shows his trust in Wes Welker to win in a tough situation.
Welker is running a seam route up the numbers here. He has a hard outside stem and puts the cornerback on his inside hip. The corner will jam Welker off the line of scrimmage but the strong outside stem allows Welker to get into his route without much disruption to the timing.
Cornerback Darius Butler is stride for stride with Welker on this route when the throw is made. The ball is in the air and Butler has great position. This coverage is about as good as it gets.
Welker is listed at 5-9 and 185 lbs. and is used to having to find ways to get separation. The route here will help Welker with that, but most importantly, note his hand placement on cornerback Darius Butler. He’s not shoving Butler, instead this is more of an arm bar while the ball is in the air.
This is a better shot of Welker’s hand placement. Notice how it’s low and under the shoulder. This is really a form of offensive pass interference but the lower the hand placement, the less likely it is to get called. This is actually a call that offensive players get away with on a regular basis, but Welker is the master of it.
You can see that Welker is angling back into the numbers. This throw is supposed to be thrown a yard or two outside the numbers to keep the safety from getting involved. Manning will throw it perfectly, except Welker is angling his route slightly back into the middle of the field. This drives the corner, who is on his inside hip, further away from the ball location. Welker’s use of his hands and feet have put Butler, who has played this route perfectly, in a position where he actually doesn’t have a play on the ball as it comes down.
The ball is placed perfectly just outside the numbers. Welker has used his hands and feet to create separation when he extends for the ball. Butler, who initially was blanketing Welker, is now just an innocent bystander watching Welker haul in the pass.
This is a great example of how Welker can use subtle techniques to create spacing. This is a hard skill to evaluate as many scouts can overlook this principle. Welker likely learned it instinctively because he’s had to fight against bigger and faster corners his entire life. Larger receivers are less likely to have these subtleties down because they’ve never had to resort to them.
This is one of the largest factors in a wide receiver’s ability to win on throws down the field. Even a little separation can mean the difference between a deflection or a catch. When running routes down the sidelines, receivers will sometimes slow their feet while the ball is in the air and then speed up while using their elbow or arm to help create separation. Randy Moss and Brandon Lloyd were fantastic at this tactic.
In football it’s the details that matter. It can mean the difference between an incompletion or an explosive play for a touchdown. With such a small margin for error every week, it would benefit receivers to practice these tactics often.
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