Friday, May 16, 2008

Wertz Q&A: 'Pressure busts pipes'?

Q. What did coach Flowers mean in his pressure busts pipes comments? And what kind of coach do you think he’ll be at Chester?

A. He was responding to people in school and state administration, feeling they had overreacted to the situation at West Charlotte.

Flowers contends he did nothing wrong. That the NCHSAA banned him for 365 days means it felt strongly something did happen and he had some role. Flowers feels they jumped the gun a little.

I do not know who did what at West Charlotte last fall, so I cannot comment on that, but do I think he’s an excellent football coach? Yes. I think he and Pete Gilchrist were kind of natural successors to Tom Knotts at Indy as the resident high school star coaches. It’s a shame we’ve now both lost them. It seems like Mecklenburg County is bleeding great coaches and not gaining many. I hear Aaron Brand at West Charlotte could be that type of guy. I hope so, and we need to hold onto folks like Mike Newsome at Butler and Kurt Wessler at Butler basketball.

I know coaches find it hard here with the red tape, which CMS is trying to eliminate, and the tight reigns on camps and weight rooms and having your athletes in class together year round -- and other behind-the-scenes kind of things that coaches feel are integral to running a successful program. But there are many advantages to working here, and a few coaches outside the system tell me that once the smoke clears from all the investigations and things get back to normal, maybe those will be easier to see again and we’ll begin to attract some top flight talent. I’d like to see that.

Q. Hi Langston, the Observer again ignored North baseball. We read and
heard about great 2nd round playoff games about every school except
North. Not one mention, not even results, about the two-hitter pitched
by the North starter Eric Finley (7-0) against Davie Co. High School or
the home run hit by Patrick Ledford, which clinched the win.

A. I know in a vacuum it seems that we may ignore certain teams then cover others. Sometimes playoff games are scheduled on days when we don't have space, or manpower, or didn't have enough time or notice to arrange adequate coverage.

We try to do right by everybody and always will. Also please encourage your team to phone in results to us. That always helps.

Q. LangDaddy good to see you back. No sitout rule was added by the citizens committee on eligibility. The NCHSAA enacted a 365 sitout rule for people providing fraudulent documentation. I think CMS would have adopted that if not put in place before they had a chance to act. CMS has sitout rules in place that are much tougher than any other area and those remain intact.

A. I hear you. Thanks for writing.

Q. Langston, is Brand the right guy at WC and what's going on with the Chester job? Will Shipp go back to work with Brand? Will Tedder?

A. I think Brand is the right guy, yes. Will Shipp go back with him? I don’t know. Wherever he goes, though, he’ll be an asset. I’d really like to see Shipp be a head coach one day. I think he could be special. He needs to take a few steps first, but he’s not far away, I’d say. Tedder? I don’t know. I thought he took a head job in Virginia or somewhere.

Q. Langston, I'm a West Charlotte parent VERY involved with our football team. I'm glad to see coach Flowers get a new job. I don't care about some undeserved ban he got from CMS for a year. He's a good coach. Like Toguchi, he did not do ANYTHING WRONG. I know.

A. OK, thanks for writing. Flowers got himself a very good job. Chester is a program that’s been long suffering but had great support and in the past three years, the Cyclones have started winning. I hope Flowers can schedule some CMS schools and some local privates and get back to town for some games. I think his brand of wide open offense will work well in S.C. Duncan Byrnes has used that style to dominate that run-happy state across the border.

I know people will say S.C. football is better than N.C. I think the gap is closer than S.C. fans will admit, but N.C. football is definitely ahead in terms of innovation. Most S.C. teams are still running ‘70s offenses. Some of them will be dumbstruck trying to deal with Flowers’ zany formations and plays. But Flowers needs to develop his run game and defense to go with his offensive wizardry. He’s a little like Knotts in the old days. Knotts learned and look what he’s done. Flowers can do the same thing.

Q. Mr. Wertz, pardon the intrusion. I'm a writer at a small paper, a young writer. I was curious who do you think is the best high school reporter in the state and who taught you? What advice would you give a cub reporter?

A. Never an intrusion. We welcome everybody. I always try to help out guys like you because I was that guy once. Anyway to your question, best high school writer in the state? Hmm. You know I have an ego right?

No seriously, I learned how to cover this stuff from Richard Walker of the Gaston Gazette and Chris Hobbs of the Hickory Daily Record. Richard is the most aggressive reporter I’ve ever seen and his sources go deeper than tree roots. Chris is the ultimate numbers guy who just knows all the ins and outs of this business. When I started here, we all worked together. I remember my first day on the job Chris stuck me in the passenger seat of his Ford Mustang, took me to the bank and we talked about how to do this. I’ll never forget that. I was scared to death. His talk helped calm those rookie nerves.

I’m biased but I’d start with them.

I think Earl Vaughan does a great job in Fayetteville. I think Mason Linker of Winston-Salem’s Journal is the second hardest working guy in the state behind our own Brett Honeycutt (you all have NO idea how much of what you see in our coverage is a direct result of BH’s efforts).

So there’s lot of good ones. I think the crew at the Salisbury Post probably covers the stuff better than anyone except us. I just think with our reach and staff, we touch a lot of bases in a week. Check out our online page. It’s chock full every day.

Advice for a cub reporter? The former publisher of the Charlotte Observer, Rolfe Neill, once told me this: “Get it right. Get it right. Get it right.” He’s one of the people I’ve most respected in this business. I flat admire the guy. So it’s his advice I’ll pass on to you. Get it right. Get it right. Get it right.

Q. LW, what do you know about the Florida team Indy will play?

A. Indy will play Madison County, which is about a half-hour from Bobby Bowden-ville in Tallahassee. Madison is Florida’s 2A state champion and the 2A class there is third smallest of eight classifications.

Madison returns 17 starters and two have committed to Florida State (DL Jacobbi McDaniel and RB Chris Thompson). The team was 13-1 last year.

Sounds like the Shelby of Florida to me, and having two high major recruits is solid.

Q. Thoughts on kell-providence saturday? I think we'll get 'em this time -- Dence 8

A. This should be a great game. Kell shut out the Dence the first two times. Providence now is a different team. These girls are quite determined…and what’s that old sports adage? It’s hard to beat a good team three times? Kell’s at home, though, and confident, but they may be a little nervous, just two wins from a first state final appearance.

The girls on this Providence team have felt playoff heat before and come from the best program in the county. That’s where Kell wants to get to.

So to me, this is either a passing of the torch game or another Providence playoff win. It’s the biggest match of the year so far in our county.

Q. Langston, we saw Butler had ineligible player today. Will they forfeit all their games?

A. But let’s see. Butler will not forfeit games. CMS determined that this was a players’ action and the school would have no way of knowing.


Anonymous said...

Langston, you didn't answer my question about Jessica Freeman. What givesdude?

Anonymous said...

If South Meck had to forfeit...then Butler needs to forfeit!! What happens to the Coach & AD!? Will they be suspended? If all administration has to say is "we didn't know"..the problem will never be fixed. CMS rushed to judgement on S. Meck and for some reason thought WC was the only school "helping" kids...Can't wait to see how they cover for Indy...Just like CMS inconsistent.

Anonymous said...

Langston, how do you see the private school football picture breaking down next year and why didn't you answer the queston about the private school lax? I saw it, too.

Anonymous said...

CMS did not rush to anything on South Meck. They broke the rule that is set by the state. It was unquestionable. They also forfeited basketball games.

Indy investigation is based more on recruiting. No team in NC has been investigated as deeply as the Indy football program was this year.

It appears Butler and/or CMS might have ideas sooner on the softball player since she had only dressed for four games. Did she sitout while an investigation was ongoing? jt

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wertz,
How will North Carolinas Independence compete against Floridas Madison County? Be specific; I'm really interested in your insight considering i will be in attendence of the game on Sept. 5

Anonymous said...

Langston, Providence only beat Butler because of poor coaching. Ardrey Kell will easily handle Providence in soccer Saturday night.

Anonymous said...

If CMS is doing such a great job investigating Indy...then they would find something. If Indy does not violate any will be a cover up! Players who play at other next to players that go to Indy...the email tips are coming. This would go away if CMS was fair.

Anonymous said...

Ardrey Kell will kill North Meck in soccer. AK slaughtered Mallard Creek twice and North lost to them. Stop putting all that stuff in the paper about North. The only real soccer is played on the south side of Charlotte. Go Knights!!!

Anonymous said...

Langston, when does all observer come out. any insights on golf? what about prep football section. what can you tell us?