Walking the sidelines for football games you pick up all sorts of chatter from the team bench and coaches.
There’s always things to watch for out on the field.
“Watch the football!” Well, that sure seems obvious, but reminders are always good.
“Watch the pass!”
“Watch the fullback”
“Read your keys!”
Working the Princeton Tiger sidelines you hear all sorts of things. Tiger coach Ryan Pearson’s playbook for his no-huddle offense is full of code names, which are unique, some what humerous, but effective.
Each week there seems to be new addition of play calls by code names. I have a mental note of my favorites.
Sorry, opposing coaches. I’m not talking. That’s top secret in Tiger Country. The only Code Names I can divulge are when I play the game “Code Names” with my girls at home.
Pearson says his method of getting the plays out to the field has evolved over time.
“Just over the years, I’ve developed this scheme just for the fact we tried wristbands earlier in my career,” he said. “You go call out a number and the kid runs the wrong play because when he looked at the wristband, he thought it was this play. So I just decided to eliminate that possible error and go to code words for our plays.
“Credit to our kids, they picked it up really well.”
Those code names seem to stick well with the players, even beyond their years in uniform.
“It’s funny, you get messages from some of your former players and they’re like, ‘You still running such and such code word?’ (I tell them) ‘absolutely, it’s not changing.’ It’s something that’s been ingrained in their heads and something they’ll probably remember the rest of their life.”
Did you know?: Saturday’s playoff game will be Princeton’s 30th in school history. The first two (1984, 1986) were before my time, but I’ve been blessed to cover the last 27 and looking forward to a few more this year.
The Tigers have a 17-12 playoff record. A footnote to the 1986 playoff game. It was held during my first week in town, 36 years ago, but my predecessor, Dick Volker, stayed on to cover that game.
World Series history: Even though my Cardinals got knocked out early by the Fighting Phillies, I’m going to watch every inning of every World Series Game. Wednesday’s Game 4 was truly a Fall Classic.
Four Astros pitchers — starter Cristen Javier and relievers Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressley — combined for the first no-hitter since Don Larsen’s perfect game for the Yankees in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series. That was before my time, but it is certainly one of great legend.
Larsen, reportedly, did not expect to pitch that game and went out for a night out on the town the night before. He stumbled into the clubhouse the next day only to be shocked to find that Casey Stengel left the game ball at his locker, the venerable Yankee manager’s way to show who was starting that day’s game.
Larson’s game was described as the “Imperfect Man threw a Perfect Game.”
Kevin Hieronymus is the BCR Sports Editor since 1986. Contact him at email@example.com