Wednesday, August 26, 2015

2015 RS Football Camp

Hi all….OK, I’m back from driving across the country last week (Cleveland to San Diego). It was great to take some time and see some of the natural beauty this great country has!

All right…we have dates confirmed for the 2nd Annual RS Football Camp. Here are the details:
Dates: November 14-15, 2015 (Saturday and Sunday, with people being around Friday night if you want to meet up and talk some ball).

Times: Saturday, 8:00 check-in. 9:00 am to about 5:00 pm on the field. Sunday, approximately an 8:00 am start, until about 3:00 pm. This will allow people who need to catch a flight east time enough to get to the airport. Please note that times may be adjusted slightly between then and now, but that is the idea.

Cost: $40 per player or visiting (non-instructing) coach. Those who are prepaid (via PayPal @ will also have a camp T-shirt reserved for them. We took a real hit last year on T-shirts that were ordered for people who then didn’t show up.

Hotel: We recommend the Best Western Santee (link here). We don’t have a discount with them, but the rooms run around $90, so split up to four ways, that’s still pretty inexpensive.  Plus it is only about a mile from the school.

Airport: San Diego Lindbergh Field (SAN) is really the best choice. It is a little bit of a hike out to the school, so either a rental car or Uber/Lyft is recommended. For first time Uber users, you can get a discount by using the code markr2313. For Lyft, you can use MARK9202.

School: Santana High School (map here). Please note that although the address of the school is on Magnolia Avenue, the entrance to the field parking lot is on 2nd Street. The field is turf.

General Format: We will post/distribute a schedule of coaches and topics once it is finalized…..might not be until a couple of weeks before the camp. Generally speaking, sessions will be 45-50 minutes each, although sometimes coaches who are scheduled for double sessions will just go straight through. The emphasis is on learning and development, not necessarily on competition (although there will be sessions in which you can put your skills to the test). There is no game to get ready for, there is no depth chart to be set. It’s November… is time to learn new things, refine what you know, time to see things from other perspectives.

It will be a padded, contact camp. Our recommendation is for a minimum of helmet and shoulder pads.

You as a player can choose which sessions you go to. If you’ve played one position your whole career, and want to switch up or learn another spot, this is a great time to do it. If you’re a raw rookie and have no idea, the coaches can certainly steer you in a direction, but ultimately, you can choose. Again, this camp is for you as a player, not for the instructing coaches. We may give you honest feedback, but you can still choose what you want to do. 

Need to take a break for a session? No problem. The only thing I think we as coaches would ask is that when you are out there, you give it your best effort.

Coaches: In addition to members of the San Diego Surge staff, as of right now we have a commitment from Angel Rivera III, the outstanding defensive back coach and conditioning expert from the Dallas Elite. Coach Rivera was an absolute hit last year, and we’re looking forward to seeing him again. I’m waiting on two other coaches from Dallas to give final commitments, and still need to reach out formally to some other coaches. Again, if you think you are an outstanding teacher and technician for a position, please contact me at We’re always looking for great teachers to join us!

Facebook: I’ve created a Facebook event here. Please let me know there if you’re coming or not, and feel free to pass along an invitation to anyone you think may be interested. If you are coming, I’d like to know your name, team, position and t-shirt size. Your spot and t-shirt will be reserved once I receive the PayPal. Of course, you can also always pay at the door, we just can’t guarantee you a t-shirt.

I think that is about it! If I left any piece of information out, feel free to ask!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Another One In The Books

The WFA National Championship was held last week, and I’m happy to report that it was a great game, with the DC Divas coming out on top, 30-26. I wasn’t able to see it, as my men’s team was playing about a half hour away, but from all indications it was a game worthy of a national championship.

In the earlier games, the National (East) All Stars beat the American (West) All Stars 26-0, while the Central Cal War Angels cemented their spot as a legit Top 10 team by beating Atlanta 28-8. I saw that a ranking system had Atlanta in the Top 10, while Central Cal was down around 15, and I never bought into that.

I was also able to watch the IWFL championship. Interesting game, for sure. Pittsburgh showed more power than I thought they had – their lines commanded both sides of the ball, especially in the second half. Early on, Utah’s speed gave the Passion some problems, and also occasionally in the second half as well. Utah got some nice matchups in the Pittsburgh secondary. As I suspected, Pittsburgh QB Lisa Horton was able to hit her targets, and they did a great job of holding onto the ball – their receivers are pretty darn good.

After all that, my personal Top 10 doesn’t change, except I do think that Dallas deserves to move up to #2. They gave DC all they could handle. All in all, it was a great year in women’s football!

As I mentioned, my Bears team was also in LA, to face a talented SoCal Apaches squad. The Apache’s DC, Ed Rycroft, is somewhat a legend in the semi-pro ranks, and he is one of the few coaches I really look forward to going up against, because I know I’m going to have to be firing on all cylinders to have a chance. We won, 18-0, but it wasn’t the offense’s best moment. Our defense had two INT’s for TDs – one from 60 yards, and one from 102 (the 102 was by one of my receivers, but give credit to the defense)! Once again, we were oh-so-close to breaking things open. We rolled up there with only four OL, so grabbed a DT to fill in, and he played the whole game, and gave it his all.

There was one series I’d definitely like to have back, that I don’t think I handled as well as I could have. We were up 18-0, with about 12 minutes left in the game. We’d made them fairly one dimensional on offense, and we wanted to run the ball to take time off the clock. However, I strongly dislike going into a shell too much before about 4 minutes left as I think that players tend to relax if they sense that is what is happening. We started off somewhere around our 20 or 25. Had a nice mix of runs and passes, and then hit about a 40 yard pass to get down to their 20 or so. Had a decent run (5 or so yards) on first down, and was getting ready to just pound the ball. Then we got hit with a false start, to put us back to 2nd and 10. 

Here’s where I started to screw up…..I thought a short pass would be OK and safe. It was, but it was dropped. So now 3rd and 10. I knew I was in 4 down territory (once again, the kicker didn’t show, just like last week). I ran the ball on 3rd, got about 3 yards….clock is running, now down under 6 minutes. I got the great idea to call a timeout to make sure we got into the best play possible on 4th. I got so excited that I called the TO right then, instead of letting the play clock wind down. Probably cost us 30 seconds. Then the 4th down pass was intercepted……sure, it was inside the 10, so they were going to have to drive 90 yards and score three times in 5 minutes, but still – I was mad at myself for those mistakes, even if hardly anyone else noticed. As it was, they ended the game on our 5. If I’d managed that series a little better, the game would have ended on their side of the field.

Had the opportunity to do a little community service Monday night. One of my old QB’s is coaching an Under 8 team, and he asked me to come out and go through some basic drills with his OL and for his OL coach, who is just starting out. So of course, I went out. It was fun – remembering how to relate a little bit to 8-year olds was a blast! We did about an hour and 15 minutes, and held their attention for the most part, so it was a win.


OK, I’ll be out on vacation next week, so the week after that, it is all about The Camp! Still slated for November 14-15, I’m hoping to have full details ironed out by August 26 – still 11 weeks to go, should be plenty of time.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


First, a quick men’s game update…..while I was in Dallas, my men’s team won 36-0. It helped to have 7 OL at practice that week, plus it helped to play a bit weaker team. But that’s what we needed to get the OL all on the same page. This week, we traveled up to LA to play the LA Inferno. On film, they looked a bit undisciplined, sort of a backyard style of play. That’s something I need to get used to, how to respond to that a bit better. In the women’s game, you’re seeing more and more good coaches and fundamentally sound teams. So no longer are we accustomed to reacting to the “backyard brawler” style of play. It’s sort of like a trained martial artist going up against just a wild swinger – if the trained fighter isn’t careful, he’ll make assumptions on how the brawler will act based on the trained fighter’s sense of what is “right”, and that may or may not be the case. I tend to think in the same terms sometimes, and assume that the defense will react in a fundamentally sound manner.

Anyway, the Inferno was more structured than they showed on film. Maybe it was a Week 1 thing for them last game, or maybe they thought we were going to do different stuff, who knows? We came out of it with a 16-14 win. In an unexpected development, our kicker didn’t make the trip (along with about 10 other guys), so we had to go for two each time. As I mentioned, we were missing about 10 guys, so it was sort of a scramble. Some guys I knew would be gone, others I had no idea until about an hour before kickoff. Welcome to the men’s game! 

We ended up driving up and down the field on them….our only three and out was the very first series. But each time we got down in the red zone, we’d do something to shoot ourselves in the foot. I can honestly say that there wasn’t a single play call that I’d take back, it was just another case of guys learning to work together. We’ll get better. We finished the game on their five, kneeling twice to run out the clock. I almost thought about running one last play down there, but all I could think about was, “OK, dummy, with your luck it’ll be ‘fumble and scoop ‘n score’, or even worse, they return it just far enough to be able to kick a field goal”. So we took the knee……

Now the fellowship part. The day after the Dallas Elite beat us in the conference championship, their OL coach, Billy Hughes Jr., took me out to lunch. Coach and I have become friends since we first met in 2012. He’s a great guy, and a fine coach. We of course reviewed the game from the previous night and we asked each other what we were thinking at various times, and then got a bit deeper into certain techniques that we both used. To me, this is what the coaching fraternity is all about: helping each other and having fun while doing it! Amongst the mutual respect, there was plenty of laughter and genuine friendliness. I wish I had those types of relationships with more coaches.

With that, I wanted to talk more about our camp coming up in November. The whole reason for the camp is to bring some of the best coaches in the women’s game together to benefit each other. It’s not a Surge recruiting tool. I’m sad that people would think that, especially when we invite opposing coaches, even from our own division, to attend and be as involved as they want to be. We had a coach from another SD county team come out last year, who watched everything very closely – not from a “concerned” standpoint, but so he could quickly and quietly translate what we (Coach Hughes and I) were teaching into his terminology for his OL. I hope it benefitted his OL – I see that one of them made IWFL All American this year as a rookie!

I’ve always been guided by the great John Robinson on this. My second year as a coach I went up to USC, when Coach was in his second stint there. They had a coach’s clinic, and Coach gave the introductory talk, and he said, “If you want to get in the huddle, get in the huddle. If you want to be ‘right there’ for a drill, get as close as you want. Just don’t get run over.” That’s the level of access we want to offer here also.

Last year, besides the Surge players (who often provide a good measuring stick for other players), our largest contingent was from the Utah Falconz. Our next largest group (7 players) was from the Minnesota Machine! We didn’t get anyone from any of the LA teams (although a couple from Ventura) or Las Vegas, which I thought would be the largest groups given the proximity.

So coaches – let your players come on out. Let them mix in with other players from across the country. Mix in yourselves with the other coaches who are there. Sit down and have a meal with us, maybe an adult beverage or two. Fellowship is good.