Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Coach Spotlight – Part 3

This week we’ll take a closer look at some of our outstanding visiting coaches. These are truly special people for volunteering their time and effort to come out and help us out. We definitely appreciate all that you do!

The Utah Falconz Defensive Coordinator, Mike Ramos - Now entering his 5th year of coaching women's football, Coach Ramos' coaching background also includes coaching athletes from little league to high school.

Coach Ramos' style employs a variety of defenses and schemes.  He believes in having a defense which is smart enough and flexible enough to adapt quickly.  His defensive philosophy preaches hard-hitting, and team-tackling.  He also puts an emphasis on take-aways,  stressing to his players that a game-changing takeaway is possible on every play.

This style can be seen in his 2014 Utah Falconz Defense, which scored more points than it gave up.  According to Ramos, this team ranks among his elite.

"Our defense scored more points than we gave up," Ramos says, "and we did it with our 2nd- and 3rd teams playing a majority of the game. That means we had total team buy-in.  I'm really proud of that.  It's a testament to the defensive coaches, but also the players.  They did a great job of being aggressive, and having a nose for the end zone."

Coach Ramos also takes great pride in helping to provide instruction to all football players, even those playing for other teams.

Says Ramos, "I've got former players who play for other teams, and they ask me for tips, or feedback on their play.  Of course I'm going to accommodate.  I don't care who you play for, if people want to learn football, I'm willing to help."

Coach Ramos is married with three children, and lives in Salt Lake City.

Coach Rick Rasmussen is the Head Coach of the newly formed Utah Falconz.  He is a graduate of the US Air Force Academy and a former F16 pilot.  Rick entered into law enforcement and served 22 years.  Rick coached for 14 years at the high school level all in the 5A classification, the largest in Utah, and this upcoming season will be his 4th coaching women's football.

(This is Mark Ring speaking): Coach Rasmussen is a very humble coach who failed to mention that the Falconz were undefeated in their first year, and that if you saw any film on them, you saw a very fine-tuned machine in place on both sides of the ball. Whereas many of the coaches in camp are spread passing types, Coach Rick will give others a keen insight into the option world. His views on leadership and team building are also worth the price of admission. We are very fortunate to have him with us!

On a sad note, Coach Lori Locust informed me today that she wouldn’t be able to make the camp due to business commitments. Coach Lo has been a huge supporter of the camp, and I know it is breaking her heart to miss this one. If you’ve seen her Facebook posts, you know she was looking forward to it. So we’ll get her out here next year.

In the meantime, Coach Mike Suggett will shift over to take a lot of the defensive line work. In that capacity, he is a very aggressive coach and will get the DL going upfield towards the QB in a hurry. I don’t see any letdown at that position at all.

Remember, please take a look at our Facebook event page and let us know you’re coming! We’re at 57 coaches and players right now, and with at least a couple of teams having tryouts before the camp starts, I expect that number to increase.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Coach Spotlight - Part 2

This week we’ll highlight the Surge offensive coaches who will open up their playbooks at the camp:
Coach Carrie Suggett is beginning her second year as the Offensive Coordinator for the 2014 American Conference Champions, the San Diego Surge. She also has served as Quarterback Coach for the Surge since 2011. Last season under her guidance, the Surge led the Women’s Football Alliance in scoring with an average of 63.3 points per game, while averaging 343 yards per game. Coach Suggett also helped develop Melissa Gallegos into one of the most prolific passers in women’s football. She is an outstanding teacher of quarterback fundamentals and can improve almost anyone’s technique.

Prior to coaching football, Carrie played football in various women’s professional leagues dating back to 2001 with teams such as the San Diego SunFire and the So Cal Scorpions. In addition to coaching football, Coach Suggett has more than 10 years of combined experience coaching high school softball and women’s basketball.

Coach Suggett is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa where she played collegiate softball and earned a Bachelors of Arts degree in Education. She has also recently earned her Masters of Science degree in Educational Leadership from Walden University. Coach Suggett has more than 20 years of teaching experience and currently works as a Special Education teacher in Lakeside, California.

Coach Mike Vargas is the Surge’s longtime wide receiver coach. He also served as an offensive coordinator in 2004 (with the SoCal Scorpions) and in 2011, when the Surge made a national championship appearance. That year the Surge averaged 56 points per game scored. 
Prior to coming into the women’s game in 2003, Coach Vargas spent five years coaching at various San Diego high schools. The Surge receivers, for all the successes they have had in the passing game, are known as tenacious and ferocious blockers, which is a direct result of Coach Vargas’ emphasis in making his unit a complete group. 

He, too, is an outstanding teacher of fundamentals and has a complete list of innovative drills that will help both new and veteran receivers up their game. His 13 years of experience coaching football will result in some great learning opportunities!

Coach Mark Ring is co-hosting the camp with Mike Suggett. He is entering his 25th year of coaching football. Coach Ring started his football career in 1991, at San Clemente High, then moved to Westminster La Quinta. From 1994 to 1998 he was at Southern Section power Fountain Valley High as the offensive line coach and strength & conditioning coordinator. In those 4 years, he had three All County offensive linemen and sent four linemen from his 1996 team to NCAA Division I scholarships.

Moving back home to San Diego in 1999, Coach Ring became the offensive coordinator and line coach for the San Diego Patriots, a semi-pro men’s team. In 2001 & 2002 he served as an assistant with San Diego Point Loma High, his alma mater. In 2003, Ring joined the SoCal Scorpions as the offensive line coach. He remained with the Scorpions all the way through their WPFL National Championship in 2007, when he was also the offensive coordinator.

After taking a break when the Scorpions ceased play, Coach Ring returned to the men’s game as the offensive line coach for the San Diego Stallions in 2009, then took over as the offensive coordinator in 2010. In 2011, he coached year around as the Surge started play. That year he was the offensive line coach for both the Surge and the National City Bears, a men’s team. 

2012 saw the Surge win the WFA National Championship with Ring as the Special Teams Coordinator, as well as the OL coach. That same year, he also took over offensive coordinator duties with the Bears, who won their league championship.

In 2013, Coach Ring became the offensive coordinator for the Surge and devised a completely different (for the Surge) offense, due to inexperience at the QB and WR positions. Despite those challenges, the Surge went 9-2 and averaged over 40 points per game. Also that year, Ring took over as the head coach for the Bears and led them to a playoff berth.

In 2014, Ring returned as the OL and ST Coordinator, helping the Surge to their third national championship appearance, which included three of his linemen being selected to the All American team, one of them (Katrina Walter) for the 6th time.

As you can see, the Surge offensive coaches have all called plays and coordinated offenses. With 42 years of experience just on the offensive side of the ball, they are eager to share what they’ve learned over the years. With a franchise record of 43-4, they’ve developed a successful formula on offense.

Please remember to comment on our Facebook event page with your team, position and t-shirt size. We've got almost 60 people attending as of today - it is getting huge and will be a blast!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Coach Spotlight - Part 1

Since we’re now one month out from our first annual RS Football Camp, I thought I’d start to highlight some of the coaches we have as instructors.

First up is Angel Rivera III.

Coach Rivera was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas where he attended Churchill High School and where he gained leadership skills in football, baseball, tennis and marital arts. He graduated in 1990 and then went on to Texas A&M University where he had an opportunity to play defensive back under Coach R.C. Slocum and DB Coach Larry Slade. In 1997 he was introduced into AFL/AFL2/IFL (Arena Football) where he played for seven years on teams such as the San Antonio Stampede, Houston Thunder Bears, Dallas Desperados, and Dallas Knights. After earning 2 championship rings and a multitude of sports injuries, Angel decided to leave Arena Football and share his expertise.

He then moved to Monroe, Louisiana, where he began to train athletes at local high schools and ULM. He began an intensive method of training for a group of young athletes; many were recruited into the DI, DII, NFL, CFL, and AFL. In 2010, Angel was homesick for Texas, so he moved to Dallas and in 2012, began his own performance training company now known as All Out Sports Training (AOST). He has also used his expertise as a defensive back to coach in the USIFL, IFL and LSFL and as Assistant Defensive Coordinator in the TUFL and AEFL. Most recently, Angel has been employed as the Defensive Back/Speed/Conditioning Coach for the Dallas Diamonds (Professional Women’s Football Team), selected to be a NIKE SPARQ Combine Testing Coach training under Matt James (SPARQ Performance Head Coach and Dr. Tom Shaw (ex. Strength & Conditioning Coach for the New England Patriots). Angel currently trains SELECT/AAU Football, Baseball, Soccer and Basketball Teams and High School, College and Professional athletes in Football, Baseball and Soccer throughout the Metroplex. He does SAQ Camps in California, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, Louisiana and Oklahoma for Football, Soccer and Baseball. Angel also volunteers for the DISD as a coach/SAQ coach for Pinkston, Sunset and James Madison High School as well as Rainbow Days (Homeless Kids Group) Mercy Street (Inner City Kids Group).

His mission is to inspire and challenge all athletes to develop the skills and mindset to excel to the next level and reach their goals.

He is certified by the NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) in CPT (Certified Personal Training) and is SAQ (Speed, Agility and Quickness) and PES Certified (Performance Enhancement Specialist).

The defensive backs will be well taken care of and will learn a lot!

Next is one of the co-hosts of the camp, Mike Suggett.

Coach Suggett is one of the most successful women’s football coaches in the country. He has 17 years of coaching experience, starting with Hilltop and traditional power Sweetwater High schools in San Diego County, serving as a running back, quarterback and defensive line coach.

He started in the women’s game in 2001, serving as the Defensive Coordinator for the San Diego Sunfire, taking over as the head coach in 2002. In 2003, he was the first Head Coach of the SoCal Scorpions in the WPFL. Coach Suggett was also the Head Coach in 2005, when the Scorpions turned the corner into a winning franchise. After stepping away from the game for a little while, Suggett returned in 2010 when the Scorpions came back after taking two seasons off. He led them to a playoff berth their first year back.

In 2011, the San Diego Surge formed, with Mike at the helm. The first year he led them to an 11-1 record and an appearance in the national championship game. In 2012 while serving as the head coach and offensive coordinator, he completed the perfect season: a 12-0 record, including a win over Chicago in what many consider to be the most exciting women’s football game ever, played out on a national stage in Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field and an ESPN audience. Coach Suggett continued as the head coach in 2013, then was “only” the defensive coordinator in 2014, when the Surge again made a national championship appearance, going 11-1.

Mike’s overall record as the Surge HC is 32-3, and the Surge franchise record is 43-4. He will coach linebackers and running backs during the camp, but can fill in at any other spot where needed. He is truly one of the most versatile and knowledgeable football coaches I’ve ever known.

Please remember to let us know you’re coming on our Facebook event page HERE. We also need to get your t-shirt sizes, and you can pay in advance through PayPal HERE, using as the account. Remember, the cost is only $20.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Camp Update and Random Stuff

First of all, some camp updates: While we don’t need you to pay in advance the $20, you may want to definitively post on our Facebook event page (HERE) that you are coming and what t-shirt size you’d like. We do need to get that order in fairly soon and want to ensure that we have enough of your size. Remember, your t-shirt is included in the $20 cost. Yes, I know – we’re awesome.

Things you need to plan for, if you haven’t already:

1. Transportation to San Diego.

2. Transportation within San Diego. If you’ve never used Lyft, here is a code for your first ride: MARK9202. You can download the app, and put in the code in the payment section. The code will get you $25 off your first ride, so going from the airport to the field/hotel won’t cost much. Most Lyft cars can take up to four, so one of you can use the code from the airport, and someone else can use it on the way back to the airport. Even if you’ve used Lyft, it is a lot cheaper than taxis.

3. Hotel. Here is the link to the hotel. We don’t have a special rate, but the cost the last time we checked was in the $80 range, so for 4 people, it’s pretty good. There are only 47 rooms though. So book them already! Obviously, if you know people here, then you may have other options.

4. Food – We’re having lunches brought in both Saturday and Sunday. The final cost hasn’t been determined, but should be in the $7 range, and it is goooood. Think Hawaiian style chicken and BBQ. There are places very close to the field as well, but remember that we are having presentations during a good portion of lunch both days, so you’ll want to hustle back.
For dinner, again there are several places very close to the hotel. One of them, Margarita’s Mexican Food, will have discount coupons on registration. This is where we hold our 5th Quarter after games, and it is pretty good and reasonably priced. It is right across the street from the hotel, as is a pizza place and some fast food places.

In a nutshell, we’re trying to provide you all with the maximum amount of information and learning with a minimum of cost. We’re controlling what we can the very best we can. Any excess funds after we pay for the field and t-shirts will be going back to the coaches that traveled in. We appreciate their willingness to pay for their travel with little in the way of guaranteed payback. That is why we selected who we did, because of their passion for teaching and a love for the game.

So – let us know that you’re coming on our Facebook page!

What a crazy week in college football, huh? Not only all the Top 10 teams that lost, but did you see that Cal-Washington State score? 60-59! Cal returned two kickoffs for TD’s in that game. Washington State fired their ST Coordinator on Monday. True story….special teams matter!

I wonder if everyone in Mississippi is still drunk? That’s a party that should have gone on for a long time! The last time both State and Ole Miss were both ranked in the top 10 was 1958. And the last time in the top 5? That would be never. Congratulations to both teams, because they are both playing lights out.

When was the last time your defense actually practiced a Hail Mary defense drill? Do you think that USC will ever NOT practice it again? Details, folks, details. These things need to be practiced just like anything else.

In the NFL, there can be no further doubt that it is a QB-driven league. All you had to do was watch the San Diego – New York Jet game. Holy moly, are the Jets’ QB’s bad. Not much talent around them either, but their play was just atrocious. And on the flip side, you have Philip Rivers who isn’t in the mold of the modern dual-threat type of QB, but is really, really efficient.

I believe that in the women’s game you can mask a weak-throwing QB. You’ve gotta be pretty creative, but it can be done. I don’t know that you can win a national championship without a pretty darn good one, but you can be better than average and competitive.

That’s about it for this week – there’s some great games coming up this weekend as well, so I’m sure there will be lessons to be learned!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Game Remains the Same

This particular blog may be a little of the “preaching to the choir” variety, but I do think the topic merits discussion. What am I talking about? Right now it is the tendency of those coaching or playing men’s football (at any level) to discount what we’re doing in the women’s game as irrelevant from a scheme perspective.

I’ve coached at the high school varsity level, the men’s semi-pro level and of course women. Recently on a men’s Facebook forum, the topic of the Fly Sweep came up, and how best to block it, what to run with it, etc. Now, if you’re familiar with us at all, you know that in the last two years we’ve probably run more fly sweeps than any non-scholastic team around (just because I know of a couple schools that run it exclusively), and we’ve had a lot of success with it. So I felt pretty comfortable in talking about the Fly in depth.

Some of the responses I got were along the lines of “that stuff won’t work with men”….which is funny, because I got those very schemes from Saddleback Junior College, which,  the last time I checked doesn’t have a women’s football team.

I also remember a DB on the men’s team I was the OC of in 2012 talking smack just before we went to team about how he “tore up” our offense during 7-on-7 and that “this isn’t the women, Coach”….OK, so noted. The defense didn’t stop us that night, or really any other, that whole season, and we won the league title that year (it was a nice daily double for me – winning the national championship with the women, and a league title with the men).

So what’s my point? That the game is the same, no matter what level you coach. I coach my individual female OL the exact same way I coach my male OL. The schemes I use are virtually identical, and the next time I coach a men’s team, that playbook will look a lot more like my women’s playbook than vice versa. My latest men’s playbook is based off of stuff I picked up in the women’s 2007 season and I refined a little bit to my own taste. The new playbook that I’ll use will look much more like what we’re doing with the women now with some expanded ideas for the future.

I think the only allowances you need to make in differing levels of football are in understanding and practice time. I wouldn’t teach as many concepts to a youth team as I would an adult team – there’s a difference in understanding. I don’t think you can have as many adjustments on a men’s and women’s level as you can on a high school level – there’s a huge difference in practice time.

What IS interesting is that I think in general, women can handle more variety in concepts and assignments than men can, from a mental standpoint. Women are like sponges and will willingly soak up whatever you’re teaching them…..although some long-time vets need to be careful that they don’t fall into the same trap that men usually do – that they know everything there is to know about the game.

In all honesty, I think that coaching high school ball is the best mix. You get to actually mold someone as a person and as a player. The time you spend around them all year makes for lifelong friendships in many cases. The level of coach you go up against each week keeps you on the very top of your game.

You get that sometimes in the women’s game; there are staffs out there that keep me awake at night trying to figure out how they’ll react to what we do. There’s a couple in the men’s game too, but not usually. Part of the reason is that in the men’s game you rarely get film. If you get one game you’re lucky, and that was usually shot by someone’s girlfriend and it focuses on him the whole game, including when he’s waving on the sideline…..So there’s not a whole lot of specific game planning going on, because you don’t have a whole lot to go on. It’s more of just doing what we do and seeing if our best stuff is better than their best stuff.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that there’s an awful lot of good things going on in the women’s game. There are some excellent staffs, some really, really good football players – not just athletes like there were 10 years ago, but actual good players. No one coming into the women’s game as a coach should look at it as being easy in any sense – it’ll take hard work to get near the top, and if you’re not on point the players will call you out. And that’s a good thing!
Interest in our November camp is really taking off. We're almost to the point where we might need to bring in extra coaches - not quite, but it's close. Please go to the Facebook event page here. If you have any questions at all, please let me know! 

On a congratulatory note, one of the instructing coaches, Lori Locust, just won a men's national championship with her team, the Central Penn Piranhas. Way to go Coach Lo!