About Travis Normand

Attorney, Husband, and Father. - Interests: College Football, Cigars, Freemasonry, History, Research, Writing, LOAC / IHL, Law, and much more.

Keith Jackson, 1928-2018

by Travis Normand
January 15, 2018

Keith Jackson passed away on January 12, 2018, and with his passing, a large chapter of college football’s history is permanently closed. Mr. Jackson was the voice of college football for as long as I can remember; and his voice is what I hear during the endless loop of replays that run through my head.

It saddens me to know that I will never hear another game called by Mr. Jackson, even though he actually retired a few years ago. Losing the voice of college football is something that future generations will simply have to learn to live without.

For more, I highly recommend the following ESPN.com article and video on Keith Jackson.

Advertisements

2017 Lombardi Award

Travis Normand
January 15, 2018

Apparently the following information was released back in October but I had completely missed it and did not receive a press release about it (until today, January 15, 2018). As I previously posted, the Rotary Club of Houston announced that they would not be giving out the 48th annual Lombardi Award despite having presented the previous 47 awards. You can read the Rotary Club of Houston’s press release here on OnePointSafety.com, or on their site at LombardiAward.org.

Today I received a press release in my email announcing that the award would be given out on January 27, 2018. However, it will now be awarded by the Lombardi Foundation (click here to read the October 2017 press release).

A few notable differences between the October 2017 release, and the release I received via email today, are: (1) the location of the event will be held at Lone Star College (in Houston) as opposed to the Hobby Center, and (2) the second release contains a list of award nominees.

The list of nominees are:

  • Saquon Barkley, Penn State (RB)
  • Lamar Jackson, Louisville (QB)
  • Ed Oliver, Houston (DT)
  • J.T. Barrett, Ohio State (QB)
  • Derwin James, Florida State (S)
  • Da’Ron Payne, Alabama (DT)
  • Bradley Chubb, N.C. State (DE)
  • Joel Lanning, Iowa State (LB/QB)
  • Rashaad Penny, San Diego State (RB)
  • Tyrell Crosby, Oregon (OT)
  • Bryce Love, Stanford (RB)
  • Roquan Smith, Georgia (LB)
  • DeShon Elliott, Texas (S)
  • Hercules Mata’afa, Washington State (DE)
  • Vita Vea, Washington (DT)
  • Minkah Fitzpatick, Alabama (S)
  • Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma (QB)
  • James Washington, Oklahoma State (WR)
  • Shaquem Griffin, UCF (LB)
  • Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame (G)
  • Christian Wilkins, Clemson (DT)

The release also states that: (Emphasis added)

Up to seven finalists from this list will be selected by the award voters this week and announced next Monday, Jan. 22. Four of the finalists will be invited to the Lombardi Honors presentation that will include several other awards being recognized, including the Lombardi Coach of the Year.

For a copy of the October 2017 release, visit: https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2017/10/26/1154553/0/en/LOMBARDI-AWARD-UNDER-NEW-DIRECTION-2018-EVENT-DATE-SET.html

If I find a copy of the January 2018 release online, I will post it here later.

SEC vs. SEC, No apologies, I loved it!

Travis Normand
January 8, 2018

Final (OT), Alabama 26 and Georgia 23. This post is not a national championship game re-cap, it’s not completely about Nick Saban, and it’s not a 2017 season in review. If anything, it might be a little bit of all of the above, as well as my immediate reaction to the Alabama vs. Georgia championship game. I consider this my farewell message to the 2017 college football season and my contemplations after tonight’s championship game. 

Tonight the Crimson Tide picked up their fifth national championship in nine seasons, their 17th overall (depending on who you ask), and Nick Saban’s sixth (five at Alabama and one at LSU; tie-ing Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant for the most national championships during the poll era, or post 1936).

Over the past week, ever since Alabama won the Sugar Bowl and Georgia won the Rose Bowl, there has been a lot of talk about whether it is “good” for the game of college football to have an all-SEC national championship game. If you know me, you know that I am not the biggest advocate of using a playoff to determine the national champion of college football. This puts me in the minority, as most people favor a playoff. Further, most people grew tired of the old system where “we” selected the national champion (especially under the BCS system where “we” tried to manipulate which teams would get selected to play for a national championship).

Continue reading

Baylor vs. Texas A&M: Remembering a 1926 tragedy

Travis Normand
January 2, 2018

I have been looking for this article for some time (I remember having read it a while back) and I finally found it. I am reposting it here for future reference. Enjoy!

Baylor vs. Texas A&M: Remembering a 1926 tragedy
Web Posted: 09/29/2005 12:00 AM CDT
Mark Wangrin – Express-News Staff Writer

WACO — Eighty-five miles down the Brazos River from here, in a college town where many hate Texas or Texas Tech with every ounce of their being, Baylor University suddenly is relevant again.

The Bears’ 35-34 overtime victory over Texas A&M at Floyd Casey Stadium last season, in which a team that hadn’t defeated the Aggies in 18 years jumped from speed bump to mountain, has Aggies’ emotions normally reserved for Longhorns or Red Raiders boiling over.

They are angry with Baylor in College Station, but not as angry as they were in 1926.

Not as angry as when one of their own was beaten to death in full view of the crowd at halftime of a game against the Bears.

Not angry enough to commandeer a howitzer to shell the Baylor campus. Not angry enough to sever all athletic competition between the Southwest Conference schools for four years.

What happened the afternoon of Oct. 30, 1926, at The Cotton Palace in Waco is an event disputed in fact and wrapped in legend.

This much is certain: Lt. Charles Milo Sessums of Dallas, a senior in the Corps of Cadets, died at 9 a.m. Halloween morning at Providence Sanitarium in Waco. The cause of death was listed as a blood clot stemming from a fracture at the base of his skull, the result of being severely beaten at halftime of Baylor’s 20-9 victory over A&M the previous afternoon.

From here, paths to the truth diverge. Culled from newspaper articles, letters, statements and eyewitness accounts; from sources at research libraries at Texas A&M and Baylor and Baylor’s alumni magazine, this is what likely unfolded:

The predominant Baylor version is that a Ford — described as a “stunt” car and flatbed truck in different accounts — was paraded at halftime. Six women, carrying signs with the scores of big Baylor victories over SWC rivals, passed in front of the A&M cheering section.

Aggies accounts contend that the cadets thought the women were men in drag, and that the appearance of the car violated an agreement between spirit groups that a “bucking” Ford, which was used in a stunt at the 1924 game and nearly ran over some Aggies players, not be used. Baylor’s yell leader, Frank Wood, denied such an agreement existed.

A statement later released by a committee of 10 A&M seniors, while conceding it was not the same Ford, said “it was just as obnoxious and insulting.”

Three cadets rushed the car to seize control of it, knocking Louise Normand off the back.

“Then almost the entire Baylor student body and most of the Aggie contingent stormed simultaneously onto the field and all Hades broke loose,” recalled former San Antonian A.T. Moses, then a Baylor freshman, to The Baylor Line alumni magazine in 1985.

“Precisely what happened next, I could not tell, nor could anyone else, for in a moment, there was a swarming crowd of hundreds in a melee,” Esther Didsun of Houston told the Express-News in an eyewitness account published Nov. 2, 1926.

M.M. “Barney” Hale led a wave of Baylor freshmen players, sitting nearby, toward the vehicle.

“These were A&M students, had their uniforms on,” Hale told The Baylor Line in January 2005, seven months before he passed away in Brownsville at 100. “And we started picking them up and throwing them over the fence.”

A&M’s senior statement said the assault was the result of a misunderstanding.

“We apologize to the ladies of Baylor for this incident, because one of our traditions is that no A. and M. man has ever willingly or knowingly harmed a woman,” it read.

When that excerpt appeared in The Lariat, the Baylor school paper, it read, “no cadet had ever willingly laid hands on a woman.”

Thirty yards behind the melee, someone struck Sessums’ fatal blow. The Aggies seniors’ statement contended that 1,500 Baylor supporters were armed with clubs, stick and iron rods. Another account suggested that the attack was premeditated because Baylor had two trunks filled with sawed-off two-by-fours.

Hale denied those charges, saying only football equipment was in the trunks. The likely weapon, the Bears said, was part of the fence or a broken chair.

As the public address announcer detailed the riot, the Aggies’ band struck up the opening chords of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

The cadets sprang to attention — some later claimed Baylor supporters continued to beat them as they stood — and the riot was quelled.

Head Aggie Yell Leader J.D. Langford came over to his Baylor counterparts to apologize and Corps Captain P.L. Ware of the commandant’s office at A&M issued a statement of contrition that read, “The college does not in any degree condone ungentlemanly conduct, and this act this afternoon was the result of three unthoughtful men from the college.”

Other accounts, though, suggest some cadets weren’t so conciliatory. Legend has it that some commandeered a howitzer, loaded it on a flatbed rail car and were headed to Waco to shell the Baylor campus when Texas Rangers felled trees across the tracks to stop them.

There is no known substantiation for any part of that story.

Fixing blame proved impossible. A.B. Sessums, the dead cadet’s father, demanded an investigation, and Baylor president S.P. Brooks and A&M president T.O. Walton met in College Station on Nov. 4. After 10 hours of consideration, they issued a three-page statement that tried to explain what happened and expressed the regrets of both schools.

The statement set off a rebellion at Baylor. Within hours The Lariat published an extra edition decrying the statement and immediately circulated a petition calling for the ending of athletic relations between the schools. By the end of the day the petition had 500 signatures.

A&M’s seniors, concerned their school was being assigned the blame, said in a statement they were “indifferent” as to whether the series should continue.

On Dec. 8, Brooks and Walton co-signed an agreement that voided all athletic contracts between the schools “that at some future time a renewal of games may be made, and the games played according to the high ideals that govern both institutions.”

They would not play again until 1931, a game A&M won 33-7 in College Station.

Waco and McLennan County police investigated the incident. A.B. Sessums asked Lancaster attorney Byrd White to look into his son’s death, telling him he “had a man placed” as his son’s assailant.

Brooks, in a letter to White, explained a local detective had full run of the campus to investigate.

“I told him frankly I thought he was on a cold trail,” Brooks wrote. “He said he promptly thought I was correct.”

Available records show no one was charged in Sessums’ death.

On Nov. 1, 1926, 2,000 fellow cadets gathered outside the YMCA for a tribute in place of the normal yell practice. Eulogies were given, and the band played “Nearer My God To Thee.” The brief ceremony closed with a solitary trumpet playing “Taps.”

The next day Sessums was buried in Dallas.

A full-page tribute, entitled “In Line of Duty,” was published in The Longhorn, the 1927 A&M yearbook. Beneath Sessums’ photo was a poem, “At The Eleventh Hour.”

“Aggie of ours, in manhood’s prime,
Time leaves little but names.
But you and yours will always live
In Aggie halls of fame.”

Sessums’ death quickly faded from the headlines in Waco, replaced by another, more personal tragedy for Baylor. On Jan.22, 1927, a bus carrying the Bears’ basketball team on a misty Saturday afternoon skidded onto railroad tracks in Round Rock. A northbound passenger train, the “Sunshine Special,” rammed into the rear of the bus, telescoping it and killing 10 players.

Sessums’ death has faded, too, in Aggies lore. Earlier this week, a senior Corps officer who asked not to be quoted said he was unfamiliar with the incident or the Corps’ legendary plan for revenge. He referred the matter to A&M spokesperson Lane Stephenson, who said, “I’ve been here 40 years, and I hadn’t heard about that. At A&M we’re more concerned with today’s service than the past, even the tragic.”

The Corps of Cadets did not attend a game in force in Waco again until 1995. Then, on an overcast Oct. 22 morning, hours before the Aggies took on the Bears, they marched. Thirty companies strong paraded down Franklin Avenue and then turned left onto 32nd Street, ending at the Baylor track stadium.

When they were done, all was quiet.

mwangrin@express-news.net
San Antonio Express News Artlice

 

Bowl trophy stolen from stadium (in 1999)

Travis Normand
Repost to OnePointSafety.com on January 2, 2018

This is another re-posting from my old blog. I have always covered stories about college football trophies, and this is an oldie but a goodie.

By Andy Staples
Alligator Staff Writer
(The Independent Florida Alligator Online – Alligator.org)
March 23, 1999

Nancy Sain walked into her office in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Friday and saw a pile of empty bubble wrap where an 80-pound trophy had stood the night before.

The UF Lemerand Football Office manager knew the silver and wooden 1999 Orange Bowl trophy had been on the floor in front of her desk the night before. It had just arrived after some repair work Thursday, and Sain said no one was available to lug the 2 1/2-foot tall piece of hardware downstairs to the safe.

On Friday, the punch-bowl sized silver bowl and the thick wood base were gone.

“It’s pretty bizarre,” Sain said Monday. “You wonder what they would do with that size object.”

At practice Monday, UF coach Steve Spurrier was none too concerned about the fate of the trophy.

“They can make new trophies,” Spurrier said. “I don’t get upset about things like that. Somebody stole it and we can’t find it? They can always make another.”

Still, Sain was shocked anyone would try to steal from the office. She also was surprised the thief did not grab anything else.

“There are other items around here that are not tied down that we’ve never had a problem with,” Sain said. “It has never been a problem before.”

UF police spokeswoman Stacy Badics said the case is under investigation, and UPD will release more information as it becomes available.

From Cover 0 to Cover 4, in images.

Reblog by Travis Normand
December 13, 2017

I don’t normally “reblog” other people’s posts, but I enjoyed this one so much that I figured I would go ahead and do it. Hopefully others here will enjoy it as well. If I had more time to write about plays, coverages, and schemes, I would do so. However, why re-create the wheel when someone else has done such a great job already.

Be sure to check out the entire site over at “Code and Football.”

Code and Football

I’ve been getting some decent feedback from the pass defense images I’ve made, so I’ve decided to extend this series for now.

Cover Zero and Man Free

In Cover Zero, all the defensive backs have assignments, and so there is no “free” safety. This is good for blitzes, but can be weak if your defensive backfield lacks the ability to cover for any length of time. In this image, the stippled lines represent an assigned ‘man’.

Cover Zero, Tampa Under front, ace backfield. Cover Zero, Tampa Under front, ace backfield.

The coverage “man free” or “one free” is a defense where the free safety is a free agent, able to defend or double cover or safety blitz, as the need arises.

man free, Miami 43 over front. man free, Miami 43 over front.

Cover  1

Cover 1 keeps the free safety back in a deep zone. Otherwise, coverage beneath is man to man, or perhaps a mix of man and zone.

Miami 43, shade front, man plus cover 1 by the free safety. Miami 43…

View original post 378 more words