Locker Room: There will be no changes in VHSL practices

        A motion that would have eliminated out-of-season practices by VHSL member schools was soundly defeated by an executive committee vote of 29-3-1 Wednesday, but VHSL officials have decided to develop a committee to monitor the effect of out-of-season practices and see if maybe there can be some middle ground that would be satisfying to all.
        Make no mistake, this rule, any new ones, and any old ones, are about football. For years other sports could pretty much do whatever they wanted whenever they wanted to do it, and even if it was in violation of VHSL rules, seldom did anything take place. It was just accepted. But if two guys were spotted passing a football in the parking lot outside the band room, you just might have gotten turned in for illegal out-of-season practice. Do not laugh. That happened to Pulaski County High School.
       The issue is more about the availability of coaches, the overall quality of coaches, and the fact there is no compensation for additional time for coaches. There will be an effort to find some middle ground.
      Currently there are dead periods during the calendar that prohibit out-of-season practices around July 4. For instance this coming summer Pulaski County will take a 10-day break from June 28 until July 8th. But maintaining a year-round program is very time consuming, and there is pressure. If you do not have a serious off season weight training and physical conditioning program in high school football you will not be successful. It should also be mentioned that PCHS coaches are understanding when it comes to family vacations.
     So you must do the work. But if there was another down period and everybody adhered to it, that would take off some of the pressure and demand. This is the type thing that the VHSL will explore. However, one of the primary reasons out-of-season practice was adopted in 2011 for all schools was because some of them were not going by the same rules and it’s virtually impossible to discover all the violators.
        But this also effects other sports as well. You will still be able to have an open gym during football season and basketball players can shoot around and work on various skills if they desire. In the fall if the weather is nice, the baseball team can hit the batting cage and workout. It is an equal opportunity rule, and it was put in place in 2011 primarily because football was not receiving an equal opportunity.
      There are legitimate concerns at smaller schools about having enough qualified coaches and enough players to fill all their programs. That is certainly understandable and something that should be considered. But it is the age of specialization in athletics, and just because you prohibit one program from practicing during the off season does not necessarily mean they will play another sport.
  There are plenty of outlets for athletes to train, be it on their school campus or elsewhere. However, the feeling here is that it’s something that should be looked at. How about allowing a school so many hours in the summer and use those hours however you want? How about thinking about having a football camp for maybe a two or three-week period of time? There could be viable options, but the world of sport has changed in how it trains its athletes and it’s not going to turn back.
Saints Still Could Have Won:
     I’m about to upset some Saints fans who are certainly still mad their team will not be playing in the Super Bowl. First, bad calls come throughout a football game. Some of them get fixed, some of them don’t. You remember the last one because it was the last one. And yes, it was pass interference and yes, the official, who had apparently fallen to the ground missed it. It was a call that should have been made, but it was not reviewable. I find it hard to believe something isn’t reviewable these days. One of these days they will video how players squat in the huddle, those of them that still do. The thought of taking legal action against the NFL belongs in the bars on Bourbon Street.
    So yes, I agree. A badly missed call. Now for some more reality. The Saints still kicked a field goal to take a three-point lead. Now all you have to do is kickoff, hold the Rams and you win. The Saints could not do it. The Rams tie and it’s off to overtime. The Saints get the ball first. Drive and score a touchdown and you win. The Saints could not do it. In fact, they threw a pick! But the ball is still on the Rams’ side of the 50. Hold them and you can still win the game. The Saints could not do it. 
    So the argument that the missed call simply ended all chances the Saints had to win the game is simply not true. Overcome! Great teams overcome! The Saints could not, and had numerous opportunities still to win the game. When the chips are down and you need to make a stop. Make a stop. The Saints couldn’t, and on the most important possession of the game, they threw a pass interception and then the defense didn’t hold again. Yes, bad call, unfortunate no doubt. But to say the Saints didn’t have a chance to win the game because of the bad call is simply not true.
      And now the legal action? The people have gone nuts. Hopefully it will be thrown out of court if it gets there, and hopefully the NFL will not make any more stupid replay rules that stop the games even more than they are already being interfered with. I don’t care what team you’re a fan of, or for what reason, and just like in life when this society for some reason wants to keep adding rules and regulations. Let our own government be an example. There are ramifications to everything. Just read the item below if you need proof. And the next time it happens, and the same type play gets “reviewed” it just might be to the benefit of the opponent the Saints happen to be playing that day.
      The frustration continued with Andy Reid and Kansas City. He was upset because a Chief was called for being off sides against the Patriots. He said you don’t make that kind of call in a playoff game. Why not? The guy was horribly off sides, not tricked, didn’t jump, lined up a full yard off sides! That’s dumb. Trying to get a jump on a quarterback sack. Same thing. The Patriots had the ball and had to drive 80 yards to score in regulation. KC couldn’t stop them. The Patriots won the toss in overtime, took the ball and drove 80 again to win. Don’t complain about one of your guys getting called for lining up off sides, make a stop! Moral of the story. KC fired its defensive coordinator this week and when the score is tied and Tom Brady has the ball, you’re in a bit of trouble.
Here We Go Round in Circles:
      College football is even putting soap operas to shame these days. Nobody could have envisioned what the world of the college quarterback was going to turn into. College has its own free agent system it seems, and you wonder why all these educated people with “great” minds just sit back and let things happen. Recruiting used to be for the most part college coaches coming to high school stadiums around the country and finding talent. It was great to see the coaches come around. Great visits. I remember the Friday afternoon that three West Virginia coaches came to a Pulaski County football game in Dobson Stadium. They got there early, and stayed long after the game had ended. They wanted King Harvey to play football for the Mountaineers and he did, and may his kind and wonderful soul rest in peace.
       Now it’s different. Recruiting is national and it comes at four levels, not just high school. First you get the youngster out of the neighborhood school or more frequently with each passing year from a private school program. That’s phase one. Next you can get a player from junior college. Usually a kid that didn’t make the grades, but went JUCO and got himself eligible. Phase three. There is the transfer. A player transfers from one college to another after one, two, or three years, sits out a season and becomes eligible to play two years later.
      And now we have the dreaded fourth level of recruiting. The “Grad Transfer.” If a player has enough credits to graduate he can leave a school for another and become immediately eligible. So now you have three ways to recruit undergraduates as well as the graduate. Is it safe to assume the “grad transfer” doesn’t apply himself a great deal academically his first and only season with his new school? I think so. So now you recruit kids for three and even four years. Even after players go to other colleges, you still keep recruiting them. What a wonderful world.
     And what does all this mean? See if you can keep up with just what it means at the quarterback position. 1- Justin Fields transfers from Georgia to Ohio State. 2- Jalen Hurts transfers from Alabama to Oklahoma. 3- Tate Martell transfers from Ohio State to Miami. 4- Austin Kendall transfers from Oklahoma to West Virginia. 5- Kelly Bryant moves from Clemson to Missouri. 6- Brandon Wimbush transfers from Notre Dame to UCF. 7- Cam Rising leaves Texas for Utah. 8- Ben Hicks leaves SMU for Arkansas. 9- Shawn Robinson transfers from TCU to Missouri. The Tigers cash in twice. 10- Alex Dalton leaves TCU, they are heading out fast in Fort Worth, and will now play for Kansas State. That’s enough. There will probably be more, and this is just the quarterback position. There will be a total of over 200 transfers before it’s over. Hope you can keep up with who’s on your team. Remember the old complaint about professional teams? “The names on my team keep changing every year.” How about that.
      It wasn’t a good evening Monday for former Dallas Cowboy running back Darren McFadden. He was arrested for DWI. The police picked him up after he fell asleep in the fast food drive thru lane at Whataburger! How’s that for a legacy.
By DAN CALLAHAN, The Patriot