The Milwaukee Penguins

The Milwaukee Penguins is the Division 1A collegiate football team for Milwaukee College. We're a school "known for its academics." This is a record of our accomplishments, on the field and off.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Season 2, Game 2: vs Northwestern University

Northwestern University Wildcats (#35) vs. Milwaukee College Penguins (#113)

Homecoming. People dressed up as penguins. Lovely.

Hayden (LOLB #56) got her first sack of the year. So did McClone (CB #46) and Loeb (DT #60). We got our first ever punt-returned for a touchdown, courtesy of Straka (CB #10). That boy can really motor.

My coverage scheme - same as last year's except augmented by Straka's speed - is starting to work. We netted 3 interceptions, one each by Straka, Bennett (CB #10), and Ziegeweid (FS #34).

The problem was that we couldn't capitalize on the interceptions. Zero points to show for them. Koch (QB #22), after such a great start against Ball State, was having a terrible half. He was just overthrowing. And my receivers made so many drops. Montgomery (WR #15) had three! Our offense was anemic, posting just 58 yards in the entire first half, 30 on the run and 28 through the air.

Northwestern made the necessary adjustments coming out of the locker room to break the 7-7 tie. They intercepted us on our first drive of the 2nd half to take a lead. Wetzel (HB #47), however, found his legs in the second half to go over 100 yards rushing for the game. First time he's done that in a while. But, on a last-minute drive, he again fumbled the ball away, extinguishing a possible game-tying drive.

Big groans from the crowd. But then Ziegeweid (FS #34) forced a fumble from their halfback that my dad (ROLB #50) recovered! We got the ball back. Big cheers from the crowd of about four thousand. A scant 32 seconds left, on the 27 yard line. An errant pass, a short 5-yard pass, another errant pass brought us to fourth-and-five. I signaled a pass-play, but the Wildcats' defense was like a blanket. Koch took matters into his own hands and ran it for the first down. He made it, but was tackled and fumbled away the ball.

On top of everything, their opportunistic cornerback scooped it up and ran it back for a touchdown.


score: 28-14
first downs: 11-17
total offense: 268-281
rushes - yards: 10-12 --- 34-160
comp-att-TD: 15-31-2 --- 15-37-0
passing yards: 256 - 121
sacked: 3 - 2
turnovers: 4 - 3
fumbles - lost: 1-1 --- 4 - 2
intercepted: 3 - 1
t.o.p: 10:01 - 21:59


Koch (QB #22) 62.6 rating 15-37 for 121 yards, 1 INT; 8-18 rush
Wetzel (HB #47) 21-125 rush (5.9 avg) 1 TD; 3-28 yards rec
Montgomery (WR #15) 4-25 yards rec, 2 TDs
Vee (C #63) 6 pancakes
Love (RT #70) 5 pancakes


Straka (CB #1) 4 tackles, 1 INT, 2 pass deflects; 1 TD
R. Umali (LOLB #50) 3 tackles, 1 fumble recovery
K. Anderson (SS #26) 3 tackles, 1 pass deflect
Ziegeweid (FS #34) 3 tackles, 1 forced fumble
Bennett (CB #10) 3 tackles (1 for loss), 1 INT

Notes: The starting QB question looms. Root has never started a game. That weighs heavy in my decisions.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Season 2, Game 1: @ Ball State

Milwaukee College Penguins (#113) vs. Ball State Cardinals (#103)

Ah ... new beginnings. My current job security, despite my success in recruiting Straka (CB #1), is rated as a "D+" - on the verge of failing. Not only do I think and hope my team will do well this season, but I *need* them to do well. Or it's back to the lower divisions.

When Mikulay (LE #45) starts the first defensive play from scrimmage with a sack, I'm thinking good things. Then, on their next play, their freshman quarterback burns our secondary for a long touchdown pass. I couldn't believe it. All the problems we sought to address in the off-season are still present. We are still vulnerable to the long pass, and to the big play.

I started Koch (QB #22) instead of now junior quarterback Root (QB #5). That was a big game-time decision. Ultimately, though, I felt that Root played well coming off the bench. I wanted to get the more mobile Koch into the mix early.

He performed well, responding to the Ball State touchdown drive with one of his own, finishing with a touchdown pass to Montgomery (WR #15). Koch wasn't without his share of mistakes, but I was impressed with his numbers: 162.7 rating, 23-35 for 334 passing yards, 3 TDs, 2 INT and also 10-39 rushing yards (3.8 avg). The 162.7 rating is the highest of any quarterback I've coached! The 2 interceptions, however, were very costly. Both occurred in the red zone, and the last INT happened within the last minute of play, on a potentially game-tying drive. He also tended to hold the ball a little longer than he should've, resulting in at least two of the three sacks against him. But I like the guy's confidence.

After the game, my job security is down to just a "D" but I'm actually quite optimistic about our team's chances this year.


score: 31-38
first downs: 26-12
total offense: 496-491
rushes - yards: 36-162 --- 12-73
comp-att-TD: 23-35-3 --- 14-22-3
passing yards: 334-418
sacked: 3-1
turnovers: 3-1
fumbles - lost: 1-1 --- 1-1
intercepted: 2-0
t.o.p: 22:23 - 9:37


Koch (QB #22) 162.7 rating 23-35 for 334 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT; 10-39 rush
Wetzel (HB #47) 17-73 rush; 8-100 yards rec, 1 TD
Montgomery (WR #15) 4-72 yards rec, 2 TDs
Khalafian (TE #80) 4-60 yards rec
Love (RT #70) 7 pancakes


K. Anderson (SS #26) 5 tackles (2 for loss), 1 pass deflect
Ziegeweid (FS #34) 4 tackles
Bennett (CB #10) 3 tackles (1 for loss)
Geigel (FS #23) 3 tackles
Straka (CB #1) 2 tackles, 3 pass deflects

Notes: Next game is against my alma mater, Northwestern University. It's also our homecoming!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Season 2

The full roster as well as the Season 2 schedule can be found here.

My 3-year contract with Milwaukee College stipulates that I guide the team to at least one winning season. The schedule, while still featuring our annual match-up against hated rivals Notre Dame, is a bit easier. No, there aren't any Ivy League patsies, but there is another team that has a penguin as its mascot.

I have an interesting quarterback situation. M. Koch (QB #22) is coming off his red-shirted freshman year. He's gotten bigger and confident. On the other hand, Root (QB #5) is game-proven. I can't decide how to start against our season opener in Muncie, Indiana against Ball State.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Incoming Freshman

With the #2 man on the corner back depth chart gone to graduation, I concentrated my recruiting efforts in shoring up that secondary. We got burned so many times last year. Despite being 2nd in the lead in interceptions (we had 26), our lack of speed meant that once our opponents did catch the ball, they were off and running.

That said, I'm very pleased that our top two recruits are corner backs.

F. Straka (CB #74)

R. Umali (CB #73)

B. Conti (MLB #72)

S. Price (LE #90)

T. North (LG #74)

W. Mesich (LF #76)

A. Barnes (P #8)

J. Gant (OLB #36)

L. Cruz (LE #98)

A. Stewart (FS #27)

Departing Seniors

All hail the graduating seniors.

J. Ross (QB #1) : 101.8 rating, 184-366 for 2170 yards, 11 TD, 15 INT. Playing through injuries during the last quarter of the season, Ross showed such moxy and bravery. She's been recruited to work in an arts organization in town.

D. Leplae (CB #16) : 25 tackles, 3 INT, 9 deflects. An unorthodox corner back if there ever was one. He's off to make music for a living.

K. Wood (LE #96) : 8 tackles, 1 sack. Played in one game but made the most of it.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Buccheri (RG #59), Offensive Lineman of the Year

In a season with only two wins, sometimes it's hard to find the bright spots. Our offensive line, led by a couple of sophomore guards, Buccheri at right guard and X. Leplae at left guard, played well enough to garner the notice from the NCAA. In the end, with 52 pancakes and allowing only 2 sacks, the award for Offensive Lineman of the Year went to Buccheri (RG #59).

She was just as surprised as me when we got the news. Pre-season favorite for the award, and eventual runner-up, was the hulking senior right tackle from Air Force.

As the football season winds toward the National Championship (#3 Auburn vs #1 Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl), the accolades would't stop with that award. Buccheri was also selected as a first-team All-American, alongside with left guard and fellow sophomore, X. Leplae.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Game 12: vs University of Louisiana - Monroe

University of Louisiana-Monroe Indians (4-6, #108) vs. Milwaukee College Penguins (2-9, #115)

Our last game of the season and we faced the 4-6 UL-Monroe Indians. Both of us were on losing streaks, both of us hoping to end on some kind of high note. I hate to say it, but we were evenly matched with those Indians. This was proved within the first minute: both our quarterbacks threw interceptions in their first series. It was a tight game. Ross (QB #1) was starting in her last game in front of the partisan crowd. A rabid paid crowd of about 4,000. Ross had been knocked out of the past couple of games, suffering chest problems and lingering elbow bursitis, but there was no talking her out of playing today. She got suited up at, like, 5 AM.

I wished it turned out better for her. She battled. On our second possession, she led us on a long touchdown drive: 92 yards in 11 plays, including two of her own runs (an 11-yarder and an 8-yarder), capped by a 12-yard pass to her favorite receiver, Wetzel (HB #47).

UL-M would tie it early in a hard-hitting 2nd quarter. It was a battle of the front-lines. Buccheri (RG #59) was getting the pancakes she needed to retake the league lead in that category. Despite her effort - as well as the left guard (LG #69) - neither us or them could gain an advantage. And then the second-leading tackler on my team, R. Umali (ROLB #50), got injured. Then Montgomery (WR #15) practically got murdered. Love (RT #70) missed an assignment, leaving Montgomery particularly vulnerable on the screen pass. The game was paused as the medical team had to cart Montgomery off on the field on a stretcher.

Prognosis: several broken ribs. Out for 12 weeks.

At the half, it was 10-7 in their favor. R. Umali came back for the 2nd half. We would need him as the battle in the trenches continued. It wasn't until nearly 5 minutes left in the game that we finally took back the lead. Typically in this kind of battle, it was our fullback, Ciraldo (FB #25) that punched the ball into the end-zone. 5 minutes left. We held them to 3-and-out. 2 minutes left. Ross ran it for ten yards to bring us to 2nd-down and five to go. She got hit as she released the ball. It floated in the air; Sieczek (TE #86) caught it for a loss. They got the ball back with 100 seconds left to go. Plenty of time.

Plenty of time for us to do what we did a couple of times this season: lose in the game in the last minute. This one was particularly difficult to swallow. On their last possible play - it was 4th down - with a crazy crowd of players running amok in the end-zone - their halfback somehow catches the ball for a touchdown with 35 seconds left.

What do you say to the media? To the players? To the five seniors who have just played their last game?


score: 17 - 14
first downs: 12 - 17
total offense: 236 - 266
rushes - yards: 23 - 47 --- 33 - 142
comp-att-TD: 14 - 30 - 2 --- 14 - 34 - 1
passing yards: 189 - 124
sacked: 2 - 0
turnovers: 3 - 3
fumbles - lost: 6 - 1 --- 1 - 1
intercepted: 2 - 2
t.o.p: 13:33 - 18:27


Root (QB #5) 69.8 rating 14-34 for 124 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT; 6-32 rush
Wetzel (HB #47) 13-69 rush; 3-31 yards rec, 1 TD
Columbus (WR #82) 3-40 yards rec
X. Leplae (LG #69) 11 pancakes
S. Buccheri (RG #59) 8 pancakes


Bushell (MLB #42) 6 tackles, 1 forced fumble
Bennett (CB #10) 6 tackles (1 for loss), 2 INT, 1 forced fumble
Hayden (LOLB #56) 5 tackles (1 for loss), 1 sack
Loeb (DT #60) 4 tackles (1 for loss)
Ziegeweid (FS #34) 2 tackles (1 for loss), 2 pass deflects, 1 fumble recovery

Monday, August 15, 2005

Game 11: @ Brigham Young University

Milwaukee College Penguins (2-8, #104) @ Brigham Young University Cougars (1-9, #100)

I thought I'd try something new and actually have Ross (QB #1) run the ball. Now I know she's not the most fleet quarterback, but once you send all your receivers down-field, and there's good blocking up front, one can usually outrun most of their hulking defensive linemen. So, on our second possession,I had her run. A 6-yard gain, followed by an 11-yard run, at the end of which she actually LEAPT, instead of sliding, to get more yardage. We were all yelling on the sidelines, "Slide! Slide!" I don't know why she leapt - maybe some plain old macho - but we do know that she actually injured her chest on the tackle. A bruised sternum was the prognosis from the locker room. Out for the game. I'm sure her bum elbow wasn't feeling too good, either.

In came plucky sophomore QB Root (QB #5) with six minutes left to play in the first, no score. It was essentially her game. Hers to win or lose. On that series, she went 4-for-5 passing, setting up an easy 3-yard TD run for Ciraldo (FB 25). I thought, and these were my exact words, writ on my clipboard, "Our future is closer than it has ever been before."

Our defense held them to 3-and-out. Then Root again led the charge down the field. We suffered an injury to Khalafian (TE #81) (strained pectoral), but what really hurt was Root's first of four (!) interceptions. At the threshold of the end-zone, she threw it right into the hands of their middle line backer. But we held them to another 3-and-out.

Our next drive stalled at the 30-yard line, setting up a long field-goal attempt by Goodman (K #30). His aim was true, but the wind was gusting some 20 mph against him, and it fell short.

Then the Cougars' offense came to life. 70 yards in 4 plays and 70 seconds to tie it up. On their next possession, a 32-yard pass puts them up 14-7 as we headed into half-time.

The Cougars opened up the half with a quick TD drive, capped with a 57-pass. 21-7. Our offense couldn't respond. Sieczek (TE) dropped a pass that he shouldn't have that would've converted a third down. Drives would stall just beyond Goodman's kicking range and then we'd have to turn the ball over on downs. On drives when that didn't happen, Root threw interceptions. Sometimes she just floats the ball in the air, or leads her receivers too far. Turning the ball over four times ain't going to win you games. She gotta get that under control.


score: 14 - 35
first downs: 20 - 11
total offense: 373 - 315
rushes - yards: 44 - 122 --- 8 - 36
comp-att-TD: 23 - 44 - 0 --- 11 - 32 - 5
passing yards: 251 - 279
sacked: 1 - 0
turnovers: 4 - 2
fumbles - lost: 2 - 0 --- 1 - 1
intercepted: 4 - 2
t.o.p: 25:55 - 6:05


Root (QB #5) 88.6 rating 23-43 for 251 yards, 3 INT; 8-38 rush
Ciraldo (FB #) 12-33 rush, 1 TD; 1-10 yards rec
Barber (HB #11) 6-24 rush, 1 TD
Montgomery (WR #15) 6-52 rec
Bogner (LT #52) 7 pancakes


R. Umali (ROLB #50) 3 tackles
D. Leplae (CB #16) 3 tackles
Ziegeweid (FS #34) 1 tackle, 1 INT, 2 pass deflects
Mikulay (LE #45) 2 tackles, 1 forced fumble
S. Umali (MLB #43) 1 INT

Note: Denton, TX, then Provo, UT. We've completed our Mountain Goats "All Hail West Texas" tour. We went 0-2.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Game 10: @ University of North Texas

Milwaukee College Penguins (2-7, #90) @ U of North Texas (4-4, #82)

With a few of our short-comings laid out in the Sports Illustrated article (slow secondary, and now a lingering elbow problem with Ross (QB #1)), I should've changed my strategy for the game against the North Texas Eagles.

Instead, I stuck with the usual. They must've not only read the article, but consulted with Notre Dame. They got to our quarterbacks four times but more importantly, they stuffed the run. Wetzel (HB #47) finished with only 35 yards. It's not just a combination of keying in on Wetzel; it also has to do with knowing my blocking scheme. Buccheri's (RG #59) effectiveness has been neutralized these past couple of games. Without her creating lanes for Wetzel or, to a lesser extent, Ciraldo (FB #25), who is beefy enough to create his own lanes, our running game is forced to go to the outside. Wetzel is fast but not that fast.

We were only down four points at the half, but it felt more like 40. Late in the 2nd quarter, Ross re-injured her elbow. She was lost for the game. In came plucky sophomore quarterback Root (QB #5) who, in our second series of the half, was rocked with a sack. With my 3rd QB, Koch (QB #22) red-shirted and thus unable to play, I turned to my kicker, Goodman (K #30). He's taken a few snaps in practice but never in a real game. He came in with 4:37 left in the 3rd, down 17-21, and facing 2-and-17. It was a strange sight seeing him line up behind Vee (C #63). He ran the Triple Option and handed off to Ciraldo; then, on 3rd-and-long, I called a passing play. Big mistake. He lofted the ball to Khalafian (TE #81), but it was their middle linebacker who intercepted it. The ensuing, short, drive resulted in a TD.

Root had seen enough and braved her back spasms to finish the game. She led the Penguins on a 74 yards touchdown drive, mostly through the air. A 32-yard pass on first down to Columbus (WR #82), a 9-yard pass to Barber (HB #11), and finally, a 29-yard toss to Wetzel set up a 3-yard run by Wetzel to make it cut their lead back down to four points. Biggest cheerleader on the sidelines? Ross.

But we couldn't score again. Realizing we weren't going to run the ball except on 3rd-and-short, the Eagles put on a relentless pass rush. Root was sacked twice more in the 4th quarter. Although she wouldn't admit it, I know her back spasms were bothering her.

In the end, they pulled away with a touchdown pass that came as a result of a blown coverage by both K. Anderson (SS #26) and D. Leplae (CB #16). I gotta watch those two. Sometimes they get distracted by each other out there.


score: 24-38
first downs: 17-14
total offense: 283 - 345
rushes - yards: 26 - 20 --- 28 - 125
comp-att-TD: 18 - 37 - 1 --- 12 - 21 - 4
passing yards: 263 - 220
sacked: 4 - 2
turnovers: 2 - 2
fumbles - lost: 0 - 0 --- 0 - 0
intercepted: 2 - 2
t.o.p: 17:06 --- 14:54


Ross (QB #1) 117.4 rating 9-18 for 129 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Root (QB #5) 112.5 rating 9-18 for 134 yards
Wetzel (HB #47) 11-35 rush, 1 TD; 2-40 yards rec, 1 TD; 3-59 yards kick return
Finner (WR #83) 6-69 yards rec, 1 TD
Bogner (LT #52) 6 pancakes


Wood (LE #96) 6 tackles (1 for loss), 1 sack
R. Umali (ROLB #50) 4 tackles
Bennett (CB #10) 4 tackles (2 for loss); 4-70 yards kick return; 2-23 yards punt return
K. Anderson (SS #26) 3 tackles, 1 INT, 1 pass deflect
Ziegeweid (FS #34) 2 tackles, 1 INT, 1 pass deflect

Note: Injuries provide opportunities. That's one way to look at it. An injury allowed Ty Cobb to start that amazing streak. In this game, it's obvious that our injuries to our quarterbacks hurt us; but that strained bicep to Mikulay (LE #45), who leads the teams in sacks, allowed senior left-end Wood a chance to get in the game. He made more tackles than anybody else on the team. Go, Wood!

Sports Illustrated, Part One

Just as I made aware the individual acheivements of my players (as well as the collective achievement of my slow-but-smart secondary), I turn to this page in the latest Sports Illustrated:

I knew Wetzel (HB #47) would one day make the magazine, but not on the receiving end of a spanking. (BTW, POTW means "Player Of the Week".)

Leading the League

I'll have more season stats, but I just wanted to note that with several games left to play, sophomore right guard Buccheri (RG #59) is leading the league in blocking. That is, she has collected the most "pancakes" - a block that knocks a person flat on his or her backside - so far. She's also allowed only 2 sacks. X. Leplae (LG #69), my starting sophomore left guard, currently ranks 6th in the league in blocking, with 34 pancakes and only 2 sacks allowed.

On the defensive side, junior free safety Ziegeweid (FS #34) has made 6 interceptions so far this season. That puts him tied with three others, at 3rd best in interceptions. As a team, the Penguins are ranked 2nd in the nation in interceptions. That's insane.

Finally, Bennett (CB #10), our punt-returner, ranks FIRST in the nation in average punt-return yards, with 16.6 yards. She's had 20 punt returns so far this season; her longest was a 55-yard scamper.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Game 9: @ Notre Dame

Milwaukee College Penguins (2-6, #90) @ Notre Dame Fightin' Irish (5-1, #9)

The national media was on hand to cover today's game. I wasn't expecting it, but I guess with Notre Dame being ranked in the Top 10 as well as this being a "rivalry" game, the powers-that-be thought to see Lee Corso and company to call the game. I heard on the pre-game that they were predicting a slaughter. Both Kirk Herbstreet and Corso said that this one could get ugly, Kirk saying that we couldn't stop their halfback, and Corso predicting an "aerial assault."

They got the ugly part right.

Coming off a strong game against the Blue Raiders, one where we had 7 interceptions, I didn't think we would wilt so easily under the television lights. But in a stadium-full of rabid "Irish", it was tough. They scored three TDs in the first quarter, including two straight off turnovers, a Ross (QB #1) "fumble" (I still contend that she was in the act of throwing) and a Ross interception. We fumbled the ball a total of four times, losing it twice.

By half-time, it was 28-7 and we had negative rushing yards, largely due to Ross getting sacked so frequently but also because they really keyed on Wetzel (HB #47). His 27 yards rushing for the game is probably his lowest since grade school.

A few bright spots: Sieczek (TE #86) got his first TD catch; Mikulay adds to his sack total. By the end of the third, though, Notre Dame had already scored over 50 points, the last touchdown courtesy of another Ross fumble near their end-zone.

It was only then did I start calling plays for Ciraldo (FB #25). Triple Option, Full Back Blast. No-huddle so that he lined up as the 2nd halfback on the Running Back Streak. Largely because of him, we brought our rushing yards out of the red to finish with a whopping 37 yards on the ground. In 31 attempts that amounts to 1.2 yards per carriage. Ugly indeed.

Check out a frustrated Bennett (CB #10) jawing at their wideout:


score: 17 - 59
first downs: 18 - 11
total offense: 230 - 335
rushes - yards: 37 - 31 --- 23 - 106
comp-att-TD: 19 - 35 - 2 --- 10 - 17 - 3
passing yards: 199 - 229
sacked: 6 - 2
turnovers: 4 - 1
fumbles - lost: 4 - 2 --- 3 - 1
intercepted: 2 - 0
t.o.p: 19:59 --- 12:01


Ross (QB #1) 109.5 rating 19-35 for 199 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
Ciraldo (FB #25) 11-66 rush
Wetzel (HB #47) 13-27 rush; 4-32 yards rec, 1 TD; 3-16 yards kick return
Beaumont (WR #81) 4-54 yards rec
Montgomery (WR #15) 3-28 yards rec


Bennett (CB #10) 5 tackles, 1 pass deflect
Mikulay (LE #45) 4 tackles (2 for loss), 1 sack, 1 forced fumble
S. Umali (MLB #43) 4 tackles
Miller (RE #62) 4 tackles
Ziegeweid (FS #34) 4 tackles

Note: Three more games left. We head to the Denton, TX next. I hear the best ever death metal band out of Denton was a couple of guys who had been best friends since grade school ... they never settled on a name. But the top three contenders after weeks of debate were Satan's Fingers, and the Killers and I think the Hospital Vomits.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Game 8: @ Middle Tennessee State

Milwaukee College Penguins (1-6, #96) @ Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (2-4, #102)

Wow. We're not the underdogs. What up? And their team doesn't even have one injury. Not one stubbed toe or one upset stomach. An even game, for once. Our best against their best. Sometimes you gotta play that way.

Both teams seemed hell bent on filling that injured-reserve list, though. People were hitting HARD out there. As a coach, it's really nice to see (and hear) because that's an indication that your charges are into it. Even when we were on the receiving end. There's something really uplifting seeing a player get flattened - receive a pancake, if you will - and have that person get up and shrug her shoulders as if nothing happened. Sure, she could be seeing double or think she's on Planet X, but to have the sense to display that kind of bravado is my kind of starter. I'm talking about our cornerback, Bennett (CB #10). Twice she was knocked down - ankle, and then a head injury - and twice she came back.

That said, it was a rough game. Our first three possessions resulted in punts - including a 14-yard shank. The Blue Raiders returned Taylor's (P #49) first punt back for a TD.

But the Blue Raiders kept us close. Or rather, D. Leplae (CB #16) kept us close. He actually had two straight interceptions, both of which prevented touch-downs. We tied it in the 2nd quarter on a Wetzel (HB #47) 7-yard run. Then, on their very next play, we intercepted them again. This time, it was Hayden (LOLB #56). That made it three interceptions on three straight plays. Felt like a 1977 Reggie Jackson out there.

Hayden's INT led to a Goodman (K #30) field goal.

On their next play, their QB actually completed a pass to his own player ... but following that, HAYDEN INTERCEPTED HIM AGAIN! I knew our players were smart but they were reading minds out there. MINDS, I tell you. That's 5 throws and 4 interceptions. At that point, their QB only had three completions!

Yet we were tied at the half, 17-17. And we lost Ross (QB #1). She injured her elbow on a particularly vicious sack. (For our part, we would injure their strong safety, and later, BOTH their QBs. What's that about taking knives to a gunfight?)

In came plucky sophomore QB Root (QB #5) to try to win the game for us. And win she did. After missing her first three passes, she went 14-19 for 159 yards, including 2 touchdowns, one to Barber (HB #11) and the other to Beaumont (WR #81). Lovely. Plus, our secondary continued to show their smarts. Bennett, Ziegeweid (FS #34) and Miller (RE #62) each got interceptions ... and Miller plays on the defensive line! With D. Leplae's and Hayden's INTs in the first half, Miller's gave us 7 for the game. A Penguins record.


score: 38 - 24
first downs: 20 - 9
total offense: 390 - 303
rushes - yards: 34 - 88 --- 16 - 89
comp-att-TD: 22 - 37 - 3 --- 13 - 32 -1
passing yards: 302 - 214
sacked: 3 - 1
turnovers: 1 - 7
fumbles - lost: 1 -1 --- 1 - 0
intercepted: 0 - 7
t.o.p: 20:39 - 11:21


Ross (QB #1) 155.4 rating 8-15 for 143 yards, 1 TD
Root (QB #5) 154.4 rating 14-22 for 159 yards, 2 TD
Wetzel (HB #47) 20-98 rush, 1 TD; yards rec, 3-16 yards kick return
Beaumont (WR #81) 3-74 yards rec, 2 TD
Khalafian (TE #80) 5-77 yards rec


D. Leplae (CB ) 4 tackles, 2 INT, 1 pass deflect
McClone (CB #46) 5 tackles (2 for loss), 1 sack
S. Umali (MLB #43) 5 tackles (1 for loss)
Hayden 1 tackle, 2 INT
Anderson (SS #26) 5 tackles

Note: Turns out the injury to their starting QB was a serious one - broken ribs, out for at least three weeks. The injury to their back-up QB (QB #16), caused by a McClone (CB #46) blind-side sack, was actually even worse. He's listed as having a "strained back" and out for 12 weeks! Our starting QB, Ross, has a "bruised elbow" and is questionable for our game against arch-rival Notre Dame.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Game 7: vs. Navy

Navy Midshipmen (1-3, #70) @ Milwaukee College Penguins (0-6, #117)

For the second straight game, we faced a team that had been decimated by injuries. Both their starting quarterback and their starting halfback were out with injuries. Having learned the lesson from the Marshall game, when I faced another team wracked with injuries, I wouldn't take anything for granted. Especially when our promising first series stalled out on the 37 yard-line.

But on Navy's first throw, though, Anderson (SS #26) intercepted it and nearly ran it back for a touch-down. Wetzel (HB #47) ran it in soon after to make it 7-0.

We get another interception on their next drive - the guy was seriously overthrowing This time, the INT was by star cornerback, Bennett (CB #10). Our ensuing drive resulted in a Goodman (K #30) 31-yard field-goal.

10-0 turned into 10-7 nary a minute later, when their back-up halfback busts our front-line and gets into the open field. As smart as our secondary is, we have no speed. None.

They tied it by the half, 10-10. I gave my charges a "look, see here" in the locker room; we made the necessary adjustments, basically running a 4-4 or 5-2 defense to stop that run. It worked. With no confidence in their QB's arm, they forced themselves to run. When they did try to pass, it was often into double-coverage. Their QB completed only 4 of 21 passes all day.

But with only a 7-point lead, nobody was willing to bring out the charcoal, let alone the Gatorade. Even with a fresh set of downs, with a minute and 51 seconds left to go, the fans were still bracing for the worst. Such was our creativity in losing. But this time, we ran smart, sapped that clock, Wetzel stayed in-bounds. 32 seconds left and, with Navy expecting another run, Ross throws a beautiful pass to Montgomery (WR #15) for the nail in the coffin.

Fire up the vegan grill! Fire up the vegetarian grill! Fire up the meat grill! We finally won one!! "The monkey is off our back." We beat the Navy Midshipmen!


score: 10-24
first downs: 8-22
total offense: 212 - 321
rushes - yards: 23 - 147 --- 35 - 174
comp-att-TD: 4 - 21 - 0 --- 19 - 39 - 1
passing yards: 65 - 147
sacked: 2 - 0
turnovers: 2 - 2
fumbles - lost: 1 - 0 --- 3 - 1
intercepted: 2 - 1
t.o.p: 12:42 - 19:18


Ross (QB #1) 83.7 rating 19-39 for 147 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 1-10 rush
Wetzel (HB #47) 18-84 rush, 2 TD; 2-18 yards rec, 2-47 yards kick return
Barber (HB #11) 9-43 rush; 2-28 yards rec, 1 TD
Montgomery (WR #15) 6-44 yards rec, 1 TD
X. Leplae (LG #69) 8 pancakes


S. Umali (MLB #43) 5 tackles (2 for loss)
Mikulay (LE #45) 4 tackles (2 for loss), 1 sack
Miller (RE #62) 4 tackles (2 for loss)
Bennett (CB #10) 3 tackles (2 for loss),1 INT, 1 pass deflect; 1-16 kick return yards, 3-49 punt return
Anderson (SS #26) 1 INT

Notes: We were 3-3 on 4th down conversions.

Friday, August 05, 2005


How does one deal with a loss like that? One reads about the world. One stops talking about football. For instance, tomorrow is the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Democracy Now! has a really good program re-visiting that day.

I also spent some significant time in the morning and midday recruiting, socializing with one of my defensive tackles - but never once talked about our heart-breaking loss to the Thundering Herd. To a person, football is never the number one reason why any of my players are in Milwaukee, so it's refreshing to be reminded of that, of how rich and full their lives are outside of the gridiron. Sure, we spoke about athletics - but in a more round-about way. It was more aesthetics than athletics.

FINAL UPDATE on "Fat Tuesday" - Nobody on this team, that I am now aware of, has any contact with the legendary "Fat Tuesday." Perhaps he (or she) is being recruited by another team? Perhaps that person doesn't want to play for the Penguins?

Game 6: vs. Marshall

Marshall Thundering Herd (1-3, #70) @ Milwaukee College Penguins (0-5, #117)

Despite our winless record, I went into the game against the Marshall Thundering Herd (perennial also-rans in Conference USA) with an unusual degree of confidence. Don't get me wrong, even they stacked up well against our team. But this week, they came in with several key injuries: one of their starting cornerbacks, their starting middle line backer, and their second-string halfback.

Then on our first possession, Ross (QB #1) gets sacked twice and we have to punt. Oh-uh. But then we sack them twice back: first by freshmen cornerback McClone (CB #46), and then, on the very next play, by blitzing junior cornerback Smith (CB #2). He actually knocked the ball loose and McClone picked it up for our first fumble recovery of the year.

Then we started to have some major fun. After converting on 3rd-and-10, plays to Wetzel (HB #47), Ciraldo (FB #25), Montgomery (WR #15), Beaumont (WR #81) had us positioned on the 4 yard-line. Ross ran the no-huddle, as is our practice, and called a play for the fullback. Montgomery lined up in Ciraldo's position, but powered it in nonetheless.

We continued to put pressure on their QB. This resulted in a Bennett (CB #10) interception. The ensuing drive featured a cast of different characters - Khalfafian (TE #80), Barber (HB #11), Finner (WR #83), Sieczek (TE #86) - with the same end result: a touchdown, this time a beautiful 11-yard touchdown run up the gut - courtesy of a key block by left guard X. Leplae (LG #69) - by Barber (HB #11). She strode in virtually untouched. 14-0. Our biggest lead of the season. Felt weird.

And on their next possession, 3rd-and-10, McClone, having the game of her life, intercepts a pass and runs it back 46 yards for the TD. 21-0 in the 2nd quarter. Started to feel mighty strange. We were ... dominating.

So when they broke out for a - gulp - 74 yard touchdown pass to quickly make it 21-7, I thought nothing of it. We'll just score in our next possession. Hubris? Try this: Ross to Khalafian three straight times. First for 10 yards, then 25 yards, and then 11. Felt like Montana and Rice out there. Khalafian was just having her way with her defenders. At the 6 yard line, Ross to Khalafian for our fourth touchdown of the half.

On the Thundering Herd's next possession, this time the defensive hero is free safety Ziegeweid (FS #34) getting his fourth interception of the year. And - ho hum - we scored again. Barber got her second TD of game, this time receiving. She can do it all: run, catch, paint.

They scored in their next possession but what of it? We had 35 points to their 14 going into the half. That's more than we've scored in any entire game!


A coach I admire once told me, from the confines of her easy chair, that she's "rather have a tiny lead than a huge one." While I don't particularly share that sentiment, after this game, I think I'm starting to understand her way of thinking.

With a three touchdown lead, we simply stopped scoring. Our offense kept looking to our defense for a sack, an interception. Instead, it was us that gave up the ball. On our first drive of the second half, Ross tries to force the ball to Columbus (WR #82), who had been well-covered all game. It gets intercepted in the end-zone. On their ensuing drive, an 83-yard touchdown run makes it 35-21.

Still, it wasn't enough to sound the warning bells in me or any of my players. I took full responsibility for that. I run a loose camp, something that other coaches might call "undisciplined", but I believe in a football that is first and foremost, fun. And sitting on a 35-21 lead with 12 minutes to play was, well, fun.

But you don't win by sitting. You don't win by firing up the vegan grill in anticipation of celebratory Not Wurst. And you certainly don't win by missing open-field tackles.

Our lead dwindled down to 7 points by the start of the fourth quarter. We started to play again. Beaumont started to respond to the trash talk. Tempers started to heat up, especially when the Thundering Herd noticed our grill. We drove down to the 11 yard-line, and then stalled out. Goodman (K #30) came in to give us three more points.

Four minutes left to play. 10-point lead. It felt so tenuous all of a sudden. When they converted on fourth-and-1, I ordered the kids to douse the coals. With 2 minutes to go, they had closed the gap to three points.

Keep the ball on the ground, a couple of first downs. That was the plan. But I called a play-action because I knew they were expecting run. They blitzed. We were just plain lucky they didn't intercept that blimp of a pass. And then I called ANOTHER passing play. Miss. On third-and-10, I had to pass. With only 8 seconds elapsed from the clock, Taylor (P #49) punted the ball back to them. They take only a minute to get into the end-zone to finally take a lead in the game.

49 seconds left. Working from the 28 yard line, Ross connected to Montgomery for 21 yards, more jawing on the field - a rivalry between the Penguins and the Thundering Herd has begun, another Ross to Montgomery pass. 41 yard-line, over-the-shoulder catch by Khalafian put us on the 19th. Ross to Montgomery into the end-zone. She had it - "YES!" - the immediate tackle knocked it loose. The officials rule: she never had possession of the ball.

We try thrice more to loft it into the end-zone, but they knew what was coming.

There's nothing worse than having the visiting team celebrate on your home turf.


score: 42 - 38
first downs: 16 - 27
total offense: 497 - 415
rushes - yards: 13 - 112 --- 31 - 120
comp-att-TD: 17 - 32 - 4 --- 25 - 46 - 2
passing yards: 385 - 295
sacked: 2 - 2
turnovers: 4 - 1
fumbles - lost: 1 - 1 --- 0 - 0
intercepted: 3 - 1
t.o.p: 10:22 - 2:38


Ross (QB #1) 118.2 rating 25-46 for 295 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Wetzel (HB #47) 15-84 rush, 1 TD; 6-43 yards rec, 4-76 yards kick return
Barber (HB #11) 7-24 rush, 1 TD; 2-28 yards rec, 1 TD
Khalafian (TE #80) 7-110 yards rec, 1 TD
Buccheri (RG #59) 12 pancakes (!)


McClone (CB #46) 4 tackles (1 for loss), 1 sack, 1 INT returned for a TD
Ziegeweid (FS #34) 4 tackles (1 for loss), 1 INT, 1 pass deflect
Ciraldo (FB #25) 4 tackles
D. Smith (CB #2) 3 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 sack
Bennett (CB #10) 1 INT, 1 pass deflect

Notes: The league officials have awarded McClone (CB #46) player of the week honors for our conference, the 1A Independents. Thanks. No, really. I'm just pissed that her effort was for naught.

Root (QB #5) by Barber (HB #11)

This afternoon, early afternoon, I went biking around, happening upon various members of the team who live on my side of the campus. I had heard that there was an "art exhibit" on the corner of Booth and Wright streets.

These are paintings done by my sophomore halfback, Barber (HB #11), a rare talent. The painting on the left is a rendition of my plucky back-up quarterback, Root (QB #5), with her beau. In the painting, she has the mischievous grin on her face, with her eyeballs trained to right. I know that look well.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Game 5: vs. Wisconsin Badgers

University of Wisconsin - Madison Badgers (2-1) @ Milwaukee College Penguins (0-4)

Our homecoming game. People were keyed up all around our fair city. I biked around in the heat and people were tensed with excitement. Sure, they went about their business in the usual manner, but I knew what's in their heads: the Milwaukee College Penguins versus their in-state rivals the Wisconsin Badgers. #117 versus #36.

When it came down to the game, we didn't disappoint. We won the coin toss, elected to receive, and then proceeded down the field with a masterful and excruciatingly long drive. Five and a half minutes. Three third-downs converted to firsts. Ross (QB #1) couldn't miss. She connected on her first eight passes! Fittingly, Wetzel (HB #47) caps off a drive with a run up the middle.

How would Wisconsin respond? Starting on their 28 yard line, they connected on passes for 11 yards, then 4, then 25. A minute later they're in the red-zone. Twice they took shots into the end-zone. Bennett (CB #10) showed me why she's the number one Corner Back. Covering their best Wide Receiver, she batted away both passes.

They have to settle for a field-goal. We score a field-goal in our next possession. Remarkably, the game then became a defensive struggle. The first half would end 10-3 in our favor.

At the half, they only had 24 yards rushing. Their average yards rushing per game thus far this season was 261!

We continued to trade scoreless possessions to begin the 2nd half. Then, with 5:30 left to play in the 3rd, the Badgers get the tying score. But we didn't break. With a minute left to go in the third, we put together a drive that found us on the 9 yard-line. Third-and-two. Ross audible-ing through the myriad of plays to get us that first down. Running Back Streak. Half Back Lead. Triple Option. Back to Running Back Streak. Kid was going nuts trying to mess with the Badgers' heads. From the shot-gun, she dropped back seven steps as both Wetzel and Ciraldo rushed to the end-zone. Time enough for their Outside Line Backer to hit her as she's about to throw the ball. The ball popped out - it's recovered by Wisconsin - and they ruled it a fumble. No forward progress. They deemed she wasn't in the act of throwing. Hello, Tom Brady?

And so we took the 10-10 deadlock into the 4th.

That's where all hell broke lose. Wisconsin finally found its legs. 39 yards rushing up until then. In the 4th quarter alone, they amassed 136 yards on the run. Their halfback was just too fast; catching passes in mid-gallop, his speed was just too much for my secondary populated with poets and curators and Co-op volunteers.

We couldn't keep up. Even though Columbus had her break-out game (4 catches for 84 yards) and Montgomery continued her excellent play (5 catches for 53 yards) - even Ross had a nice 19-yard run - we couldn't match Wisconsin's better athleticism. Time and time again, their defense made one huge play to stop a drive. Whether it be keying on Wetzel, or sacking Ross, they did it. And that's why they're heading back into the AP Top 25.

With a minute left, and backed up against our end-zone, down three touchdowns, Ross - again under pressure - threw up an errant pass that their Outside Line Backer easily caught and returned the ten or so yards back for a touchdown. That was tough. That game was already lost but to have that done to you? I felt bad for Ross, who looked like she was going to heave on the sidelines.

With only our pride to play for, we refused to run out the crowd. Less than a minute left and we were aiming to score. But it was too much for Ross, who had to leave the game after yet another tackle as she was throwing the ball. The score-keeper listed her departure as due to an "abdominal strain." Athletes just want to play, and here's as good a time as any to publicly state that Ross played the entire game with an upset stomach. This was her last homecoming!

In came plucky Sophomore QB Root (QB #5) for the final 30 seconds. Never saying die, and as our thanks to the fans who never left the stands no matter how lopsided the game became, Root threw a 30-yard touchdown pass with no time left on the clock to Beaumont (WR). While it wasn't exactly a bullet - the ball was actually headed towards Ciraldo, but it was tipped off his fingertips, then off a defender's fingers before it fell into Beaumont's hands - it did give the fans something to smile about. On top of that, we ran a fake extra-point kick and made the 2-point conversion: Root passing to Khalafian to finish the scoring.

Take that Badgers.


score: 38 - 18
first downs: 10 - 20
total offense: 365 - 357
rushes - yards: 17 - 175 --- 37 - 79
comp-att-TD: 9 22 - 2 --- 22- 37 - 1
passing yards: 190 - 278
sacked: 1 - 3
turnovers: 1 - 2
fumbles - lost: 0 - 0 --- 4 - 1
intercepted: 1 - 1
t.o.p: 9:33 - 22:27


Ross (QB #1) 113.8 rating 21-35 for 248 yards, 1 INT
Wetzel (HB #47) 19-59 rush, 1 TD; 5-57 yards rec, 3-30 yds kick returns
Montgomery (WR #15) 5-53 rec
Columbus (WR) 4-84 rec
Buccheri (RG #59) 5 pancakes


R. Umali (ROLB #50) 3 tackles (1 for loss), 1 pass deflect
K. Anderson (SS #26) 2 tackles, 1 INT, 1 pass deflect
Bennett (CB #10) 2 tackles, 1 pass deflect, 3-65 yds kick returns, 1-32 punt return
D. Leplae (CB #16) 2 tackles
Mikulay (LE #45) 1 tackles (1 for loss), 1 sack

Notes: I'll have to list Ross as "questionable" for our next game. Mister Finner (WR #83) broke his thumb in the 3rd quarter but gamely came back by the 4th. It was his non-catching hand.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Ah, the pageantry of homecoming. For me, I was just happy to be back in Milwaukee, after four difficult road games. The city is going crazy ... and that's before the game. General rioting, utter violence of the ilk I wrote about earlier. I don't know. When a fight breaks out between two of my charges I always say "Save it for the field." Works every time. Well, almost.

Yesterday, I was feted by one of the homecoming queens. Call it "coach's prerogative." At the local vegan eatery, I had a seitan philly; however, the messiness that I usually enjoy about the sandwich disturbed me. One of the cafe workers, perhaps as a gesture to "go and have a good game", gave me a sample of the fruit soup she was about to put in the 'fridge to chill overnight. Overall a most pleasant meal, and despite seeing my starting Left End, Mikulay (LE #45), outside of the eatery, I did not talk one bit about football with the charming co-ed. We wondered about the essential qualities of seitan, grieved over the general disarray of the world, and shared stories about family vacations. The Penguins' 0-4 win-loss record completely forgotten. Well, almost.

For now, the horrors of the UA-Birmingham game behind us, and soon within the safe confines of our playing field at Rolling Mills, and hopefully with at least five thousand or so crazed Penguin fanatics, we'll face our goliath proudly. The University of Wisconsin Badgers, currently ranked #35 in the latest coaches' poll, features a 2nd Team All-American halfback, will be our toughest opponent yet.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Game 4: @ University of Alabama - Birmingham

Milwaukee College Penguins (0-3) vs. U of A-Birmingham Blaze (1-1)

I scheduled the game because I always wanted to go to Birmingham, the city where teenager Claudette Colvin inadvertently inspired Rosa Parks and the Montgomery County Bus Boycott. Buoyed by just being in the place of an unsung Civil Rights hero, and by the way Ross (QB #1) has been throwing the ball and Wetzel (HB #47) has been running it, AND by the fact that the UAB Blaze were ranked #85 to our #115, I felt confident going into the game.

Confident enough to go for it on 4th-and-goal TWICE in the first half. We were rewarded with touchdown runs. First by Ross herself from 1 year out, and then, predictably, by Wetzel from 4 yards away.

The triple option worked out well. I called it numerous times with Ciraldo (FB #25) busting through the middle to get important yardage.

For the first time this season, we took a lead into the locker room. 14-7, when it should've been 17-7. Bennett (CB #10) intercepted a pass and ran it back to the 23 yard line. With 2 seconds left to go in the half, I sent Goodman out for the makable 41-yard field-goal attempt. But with the wind swirling predominantly to the right, he overcompensates and kicks it wide.

Still, the lead held throughout the 2nd half, despite numerous attempts to give it away. Our first two drives of the second half resulted in turnovers: a Ross INT and a - gasp - Wetzel fumble. But because the Blazer's kicker missed two field-goals (what is up with that Birmingham wind?), so our miscues didn't cost us any. You gotta be lucky sometimes.

Then, the lead now at 17-7, the Blaze stop trying to throw the ball. They have two good halfbacks and both were used to great effect. All of a sudden, we were giving up 4-6 yards per run play, and then, on 4-and-2 no less and expecting a run, they throw a quick pass to their slot receiver and soon it's a 17-14 game, my lead down to 3.

It's a basic tenet in football: the run sets up the pass. I do that all the time in all aspects of life.

We don't score on our next possession. On theirs, they methodically drive down the field, converting two third downs and eating up three minutes of clock. 3-and-9 on the 13 yard line. Shotgun Trips versus Cover 2 Man. Their QB, under pressure from the left side, lofts it into the endzone. And my Free Safety Ziegeweid (FS #34) gets his third interception of the season. I couldn't believe it. We were all jumping up and down the sidelines as "Z" was huffing and puffing towards us on the sidelines. He returned it some 29 yards.

The game was ours. I couldn't control myself. 1:27 left to play. Our first win. All we had to do was control the clock. Ciraldo for a few yards, they expend a time-out, and then I call a play for Wetzel. He gets past the first-down marker and then ... he runs out of bounds, stopping the clock

I like to think that that bonehead maneuver - which basically gave UAB an extra time-out - was what gave them that tiny bit of spark that would see them eventually get the ball back, connect on 4th-and-10, and then beat our susceptible secondary to score a TD with 12 seconds left. Game-set-match.


score: 17 - 21
first downs: 14 - 14
total offense: 248 - 334
rushes - yards: 28-98 --- 32-134
comp-att-TD: 11-23-0 --- 9-27-2
passing yards: 150-200
sacked: 1 - 0
turnovers: 3 - 2
fumbles - lost: 2 - 1 --- 0 - 0
intercepted: 2 - 2
t.o.p: 14:48 - 17:12


Ross (QB #1) 85.2 rating 11-23 for 150 yards, 2 INT
Wetzel (HB #47) 13-70 rush, 1 TD; 3-41 yards rec, 1 TD
Barber (HB #11) 3-15 rush; 2-19 yard rec
Ciraldo (FB #25) 7-31 rush
Buccheri (RG #59) 3 pancakes


S. Umali (MLB #43) 9 tackles
Miller (RE #62) 5 tackles
K. Anderson (SS #26) 4 tackles
Ziegeweid (FS #34) 3 tackles, 1 INT
Bennett (CB #10) 3 tackles, 1 pass deflect, 1 INT

Notes: Our home-coming game is next. It's against in-state rival, Wisconsin. I'm too disconsolate to look at tape, to examine our mistakes, to even make more out of my mom's 9-tackle performance. All that preparation, that pesto, that alternate-nostril breathing, to lose with less than a minute left.

Pre-Game Rituals

Before tonight's game, I attended a Yoga class with my Kicker, Goodman (K #30). As one of my consistent performers so far - a coil of steady nerves, a powerful right leg, and the calmness of, well, a yogi - I figured that participating in one of his pre-game rituals might do me some good. The class was held in a basement of a mansion, in a low-ceilinged, carpeted room. The class was led by the younger sister of one of my Right Ends, Miller (RE #62).

What I like about Yoga is that there is, at least in this class, a constant acknowledgement of your body. I'm directed to think about it, to feel my breath travel down the length of my body and exit through the tips of my toes, wafting with it a message of peace, leaving behind relaxation. I'm given timely reminders to drop my shoulders. If every college football player would engage in some Yoga, the world would be a better place.

At the end of the class, Goodman said, "Namatse" which I think translates to "Thanks." This is significant. Bring on the University of Alabama - Birmingham Blazers.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Post-Game Meal

At the suggestion of my star Right Guard, Buccheri (RG #59), we decided to console ourselves after a disheartening defeat by making pesto. She and our Kicker, Goodman (K #30), have grown quite a bit of basil that needs harvesting. Apparently, if one lets the leaves of the basil plant grow too big, the more bitter the taste. I didn't mind it at all - I'll take my medicine for all the bonehead plays I asked Ross (QB #1) and the rest to run - and I used the bitter leaves to make my first batch of vegan pesto.

Here's the recipe I used:

1/2 cup of basil
1/2 cup of parsley
4 tbsp of oregano
1 tbsp of thyme
1 tbsp of rosemary
3 tbsp of pinenuts
2 tbsp of barley miso (brown miso)
about a 1/4 cup of olive oil

Put all the ingredients, including the olive oil, into the blender and then run it. It was sumptuous. In the end, we made three different batches of pesto, Buccheri and Goodman electing to make theirs with a really expensive cheese. I think it was called Reggiano. Goodman thought his was too bitter and actually elected not to eat it.

Our sophomore Corner Back, Bennett (CB #10), popped in unexpectedly, as is her wont. The humiliation of the game forgotten in the humidity and the herbs, I didn't talk to her at all about blown coverages. Or anything about football. Her verdict on the pesto: she didn't think mine was bitter at all.

Game 3: @ University of Minnesota

Milwaukee College Penguins (0-2) vs. U of Minnesota Golden Gophers (1-0)

Playing in domes really irks me. There's that artificial turf, all that noise, and a perverse lack of the outdoors. Football should be played in the out of doors, with the sun creating lens flare on the film cameras, or with the wind playing havoc to your kicker's 45-yard field goal attempt.

The school newspaper had couched the game as a home-coming for my star running back, Wetzel (HB #47), a Minnesota native who had been heavily recruited by the University. The paper only made slight mention of my kicker, Goodman (K #30), having played Division III football there at Macalester College. But it was Goodman that scored our first nine points, two of the three field-goals kicked from a distance of over 40 yards (41 yards out, 45 yards out). That guy got some legs.

But to start a debrief of the game by saying we scored three field goals begs the question: Why didn't we score three TOUCHdowns?

I'm reminded of Sean Connery's portrayal of the old-school Irish policeman in The Untouchables. "We took knives to a gunfight." For every field-goal Goodman made, the Golden Gophers came back with touchdowns. It was such that by half-time, after our three field goals, we're still down 21-9. What's worse is that they did it by making the big plays. Time and time again, they connected down-field for long passes, or their star half-back produced monster runs. He even had a kick returned for a TD. I hate when that shit happens. Meanwhile, we had to fight and scrap for every yard. Our time of possession was over three times as much as theirs.

A potential TD-drive late in the 1st half was thwarted by their 2nd team All-American MLB intercepting a pass by Ross. Despite going over 300 yards for the first time this year, that one interception will surely mar her memory of the game. It certainly does mine.


score: 24 - 45
first downs: 26 - 7
total offense: 453 - 360
rushes - yards: 40-137 --- 15-210
comp-att-TD: 25-48-1 --- 5-13-2
passing yards: 316 - 150
sacked: 3 -1
turnovers: 3 - 2
fumbles - lost: 3 -1 --- 0 - 0
intercepted: 2 - 2
t.o.p: 24:02 - 7:58


Ross (QB #1) 105.9 rating 25-48 for 316 yards 1 TD, 2 INT
Wetzel (HB #47) 19-110 rush, 1 TD; 8-75 yards rec, 1 TD
Beaumont (WR #81) 5-104 yards rec
Goodman (K #30) 3-4 FGs
Bogner (LT #52) 6 pancakes


Loeb (DT #60) 4 tackles (1 for loss); 1 sack
Miller (RE #62) 3 tackles (2 for loss)
Ziegeweid (FS #34) 1 tackle1, 1 INT
D. Leplae (CB #16) 1 INT

Notes: K. Anderson (SS #26) returned to play after injuring her pectoral muscle in the game against Rutgers. Sophomore halfback, Barber (HB #11) became a commuter student last week, electing to live way off-campus. Because of the amount of time our offense was on the field, she got in a lot of touches. And she produced: 7-21 yards rushing; 1-14 yards rec.