Fly your flag proudly today

Published 12:22 am Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month falls today. Known to the present generation as Veterans Day, the national holiday was in my time called Armistice Day.

It initially memorialized the time and date in 1918 when the armistice ending World War I was signed. After World War II, in order to honor veterans of all of our wars, the name was changed to Veterans Day. As a veteran of four years in the United States Air Force, I will proudly fly my flag today.

When Mississippi State lost to Kentucky a week ago, the Bulldogs had an extra point blocked and missed a short field goal (which would have won the game for them).

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As far as I can tell, many major college football coaches hate to use one of their precious scholarships on a simple kicker. They prefer to invite several kickers and punters to walk on, then compete for any scholarships which might become available.

While that system occasionally works out, it generally produces a weakness for a couple of years. With the rapidly expanding popularity of good soccer programs in Mississippi high schools now, there should be no shortage of good strong legs belonging to kids who would gladly expand their athletic resume to include football.

As fans know, most kickers see less contact in a football game than they would see in a normal soccer practice session

I think I wrote earlier that Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer and Mississippi State’s Sylvester Croom were the Southeastern Conference coaches really on the hot seat.

Well, Fulmer is gone (it seems his players did not win one for their old coach, as the Vols lost to lowly Wyoming Saturday in Knoxville) and Croom has to face Alabama this Saturday.

I wonder how some college athletic directors keep their jobs. Tennessee’s athletic director recently engineered a long-term extension for Fulmer, and now must find $6 million to pay him not to coach.

I have met both coach Fulmer and coach Croom, but both got their head coaching jobs after my active officiating days so I do not really know either man.

There are no active head coaches in the SEC now who were head coaches my final year on the field. I am not close to the Tennessee situation, but it seems to me that Coach Croom has been unable to recruit the type of players he needs to run the offense he has chosen.

Watching the LSU vs. Alabama game Saturday raised a couple of questions that might need clarification.

First, in spite of the television announcers, there is no mention of the words “in the grasp” in the college rule book. A college passer may intentionally ground the ball only under a certain set of rules.

He must be outside of the tackle box when he throws the ball. The tackle box is defined as the frame of the offensive tackle’s body when he lines up in a normal formation.

The ball must be thrown past the line of scrimmage, and may be either in or out of bounds. The quarterback, in order to conserve time, may throw the ball directly into the ground. He must have gained control of the ball after the snap, and can do that even from a shotgun formation.

In MPSA eight-man football Friday night, Calvary Christian gained revenge on Tensas Academy with a 64 – 54 win (a typically low scoring eight-man game).

I am glad to see that Trinity, Huntington, and Centreville all advanced, and Natchez High will begin their quest this Friday.

Good luck to all of them, and congratulations to Cathedral for evening their season record with the win over West Lincoln.

And, that’s official.

Al Graning writes a weekly column for The Democrat.