Thursday, October 9, 2008

Langston Wertz Jr.'s Q&A

Observer staff writer Langston Wertz Jr. answers your sports-related questions. Have one? Post it as a comment at the bottom of this blog or email lwertz@charlotteobserver.comFor older Q&As, click one of the following links:

Q. Garinger won tonight Langston. Take care of us tomorrow, like you promised. We're back!

That was amazing. People were calling me as Garinger was rallying. I got calls at 12-7 West Meck, then 17-12 Garinger and so on. I was at the Butler game listening to the crowd at Garinger over the cell phone. It was good to see them end their long losing streak. Congratulations.”

Q. Langston, heard you were at the Butler game tonight. When are you going to write about thier REAL stars? Hawatha Bell, Anthony Short, Jacob Davis, Markel Moore, Jawaun Edwards, Allonte Tuppins, Anthony Mcgill and junior Nate Charest, who's been outstanding EVERY game this year. These 8 gentlemen are the reason Butler is winning! It's time to give credit where credit is due!

“I was at the Butler game. Very impressed with the Dawgs. They’re going to something special. Why don’t I write about the real stars? Well, I think I mentioned every one of the kids you listed in the two times I’ve covered Butler this year. And I wrote a recruiting profile on Hawatha, who I’ll probably write about again. Tuppins was special Monday. He just lived in the Ardrey Kell backfield. He looks major D-Ish to me.”

Q. Hey Langston, how about the job Aaron Brand is doing @ West Charlotte!!!! These kids go thru more btween 7 and 3 than you could imagine. He has brought a since of respect back to our program with his hard work and lead by example attitude. I know that he does not hear this enough, so for what it is worth Coach Brand, keep pushing and caring about our kids. They really love and need you.

“I know there was a little concern in the tight coaching fraternity that Brand, a hard-working type, might burn himself out trying to deal with a troubled new program and a new baby at home. He seems to be juggling it pretty well. Tell me though, what are they going through between 7 and 3? Shouldn’t they be in school then?

" Brand’s doing a great job and I think Dub-C and Mallard Creek have a conference championship date coming up on Halloween.”

Q. Hi Langston, Have you noticed that Ardrey Kell football team has the potential to have a great defense and offense. We watched them last week and noticed that they run four plays on offense.

1) single back off-set formation with small speed back up the middle 45% 0f the time
2)single back off-set formation with small speed back up the gut 45% of the time
3) a sweep 5% of the time 4)their only pass play, a fly 5% of the time.

I'm sorry, I just gave up their offensive scheme. On defense, they have a very good defensive front and linebacker core. They hold down must teams the first and most of the second quarter until the opposing coach remembers that they have the one of the weakest secondary in Charlotte.

“I think Ardrey Kell has some good young talent. I especially liked sophomore RB Justus Pickett and sophomore QB Drew Alexander. As for the offensive plays, Kell did a lot of dives and motion sweeps, but you have to run the plays your talent is best able to run. My grandma used to tell me I had champagne dreams and Coca-Cola pockets. I guess what I am saying is, sometimes you may long for four wideouts and shotgun every play, but if your personnel doesn’t support that (yet) you have to give yourself the best chance you have to win.”

Q. Langston, I have never been your biggest fan. I have to say recently your work has been outstanding. Your'e writing about WHITE kids. Your'e being fair and not covering West Chocolate all the time. Glad you grew up finally after all these years.
“Well, thanks for writing. You make me laugh with the West Chocolate line. That’s good….ButI have always written about kids of every color. I like the good story. I don’t care where it is or who it is. Just that it is. Thanks for the kudos, though, and please keep reading.”

Q. LW, compare Christian leymay and Chris Leak at same age.

“Well, Christian, Butler High’s 6-3 sophomore QB, has more physical gifts. He’s a lot longer and taller than Leak is now and definitely what Leak was then. Christian’s father is a big, thick, man, and I can look and see where Christian’s going to be. Think 6-4 or 6-5 and about 220 pounds or more.

"But even as a 15-year-old sophomore, Leak was remarkably accurate. He had a quick release and a confidence I’ve rarely seen in high school players at any position. He believed in his ability. Christian has a bigger arm than Chris, but he’s not as poised or as accurate. He has plenty of time to get there, and you have to remember, Chris is probably the best high school football player our state has produced. You’re asking me to compare somebody to the best ever or at least one of them.”

Q. Langston, what are your predictions for the North Piedmont Conference this season? are you with the popular vote that Mooresville and west rowan will be undefeated in NPC play...and their match up in the last week of the season decides it all? who do ya like?

“I am with that popular vote and that’s going to be some game Nov. 7 at West Rowan with two of the state’s best tailbacks going at it (Mooresville’s Jishaun Pinkston and West Rowan’s KP Parks).”

Q. LW, when you compare Christian Lemay and Chris Leak remember to add that Chris Leak was a 4.0 honors student. Lemay has an arm but is no where near Leak when it comes to intelligence.

“Now that’s just not nice. Christian, who gave up celebrating his birthday to go do missionary work overseas, is a nice young man and a good student. Don’t believe the rumors you might hear and spread them. Chris was a great high school quarterback. Christian will be.”

Q. LW, I read with great interest the story about how CMS is becoming more and more segregated. What is that going to mean, if anything, for sports? We're considering a move from eastern NC to Charlotte, primarily so our son can benefit from the top notch coaching and competition in Charlotte. He's a sophomore Division I football/basketball recruit. I will withhold my name for obvious reasons.

“Well, first of all good luck with your move. I think Charlotte, by far, is the coolest place to live in the Carolinas. What does segregation mean for sports? Too early to tell, but the poorer schools tend to struggle academically and with a few exceptions might also do so in sports. CMS does look a lot different than we I went to school and was bused. I went to Irwin Avenue, Piedmont Middle and West Charlotte, all inner-city schools, all about 55-45 white. Times have changed. I think we all benefitted by learning about each other’s cultures back then. I wish we could do more of it now.”

Q. LW, I'm all for city championships, too, but how do you do it?

“In football, you have all the teams in CMS start on the first playing date and end one week before the end of the year. So this year, CMS teams would stop playing Friday, Oct. 31, leaving the Nov. 7 date open. This would be the endowment game for CMS schools, which is important (I’ll get to that).

“All year you’d have a top 25 ranking locally voted on by a city championship committee and kind of have a local BCS with bowl games. You could get sponsors to put money back into schools that need them: the Bojangle’s Bowl, the Harris Teeter Bowl and Chik-Fil-A Bowl. Those ‘bowl games’ would take the teams ranked 3-8. They would play two bowl games Thursday, maybe teams 7-8 at Ardrey Kell on the turf and teams 5-6 at Memorial.

“The remainder of the teams would play Thursday as well at higher seed sites in season-ending regular season games. On Friday, you would have teams 3-4 play at Memorial in one of your big bowl games. Then on Saturday, you have your city championship game between teams 1-2. You could announce your all-city team before the game or at halftime and give the kids trophies, T-shirts, jackets, etc. After the game, you’d have a ring ceremony and a trophy ceremony and this would be live on local TV (WJZY).

“By playing this last week as an endowment, it would not interfere with state championship seeding, since teams would be able to drop this game if it’s a loss anyway.

“Basketball? Cancel conference tournaments and do it at the end of the season or have a big two week Christmas tournament, with regional championships at four regional sites (Davidson, Charlotte, Charlotte Latin, Queens) and a Final Four at Bobcats or Cricket. Baseball? Cancel conference tournaments or do it over Easter. Same with volleyball or softball. I think city championships is the way to go here.”

Q. So whats up with all these pro players active or retired trying to steal the spotlight with their massive egos in the high school football ranks as coaches?

“Steal the spotlight? These guys love football and have knowledge and want to give back. I think if they’re qualified for the job, it’s a good hire. They know the ropes and can teach the kids. And who knows about big time college recruitment any better? There’s room for the NFL guy and the guy who didn’t play after high school. There’s plenty of coaching jobs now and more on the way.”


Anonymous said...

OK, Langston. Who is going to win garinger-berry & how 'bout them cats winning the league? We back, dog.

Anonymous said...

Langston, I agree w/whatu said on tv last week Butlere-East is game of year; will both of them be 0fer?

Anonymous said...

LW-heard alot of talk earlier in the volleyball season coming out of Butler, but they've been awfully quiet lately since being swept by Weddington. How about a story on the Weddington girls--SW4A champs even though their enrollment is 3A and only 1/2 the size of MP, Butler. Indy, Providence, etc.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure we should be spending 18M for trainers in this economy. W/o it they want to shut down football. Please explain

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

You must have gone to west chocloate, judging by your E-Bo-NOMICS

Anonymous said...

You surprised MC got a big test from Vance?

Anonymous said...

Langston....Why does South Meck continue to run the ball OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN?? Everyone knows they are running. This middle school offense doesn't work in the toughest conference in the state of NC. Maybe it worked in the backwoods of SC, but not here. The kids and the coaches in this conference are too good to not stop this middle school offense. Everyone is quick to praise the coach at South Meck, but they've only won 5 games since he's been there. It's so frustrating.....THINGS NEED TO CHANGE....LIKE PASSING THE BALL!!!!

Anonymous said...

Independence is has high potential to win a state championship this year. Their defense has only given up 46 points in 6 games this year arguable having the best defense in the state. What truth do you find to this? Who will they need to step up and make big plays?

Anonymous said...

Wow. Wasnt that the ex-Vance player who scored the winning points for Mallard Creek against Vance last nite? Or was it the ex-North player? Or both?

Naw. Must have been that great head coach from Miami who took over the brand new school made up of Vance and North including all their best players. Well show these yahoos how to play the game. Oh yea. BTW. Wake Forest just beat Miami last week ...

Looks like Da Creek gonna go undefeated in '08 and 'cane into Chapel Hill to win it all baby with LW and the CO hangin on tight to that wagon spot as usual. Too bad they will have to knock TK and Indy out too but that the way the ole football bounces.

Mavericks? Somebody messed up. Mallard Creek was originally named for ducks that lived in the local creek so they are now officially the mighty Ducks.

Anonymous said...

So CMS goes to Miami to hire a football coach and the woods are full of coaches even right here in Charlotte? So typical. CMS does the exact same when they hire teachers and will always go out of state ignoring these right here and then lie to the media saying they cant find them in NC.

We know this is the trend in Wake County Schools in Raleigh and Guilford County Schools in Greensboro. We cant understand why NC school school systems feel NC teachers and coaches are inferior to other states when in fact they are the ones who pay the taxes to fund and build schools and colleges over the ages.

NC teachers and coaches need to get first priority instead of these out of state slicksters with their padded resumes. Out of staters should only be used as a last resort freeloading into NC or Charlotte taking jobs that locals are as or more qualified for excluding the taxes paid by locals. Not only that they talk trash about everything in the process. We know their game.

Try going to Florida or any other state and see how quick you get hired. Most other states are very protective and would only hire out of state as a last resort.

CMS and other NC school systems need to HIRE CAROLINAS FIRST !!! Screw the vagabonds and freeloaders. NC has the best quality in America anyway in everything including athletes.
NC high school players should also be congratulated for picking NC schools to attend and play sports at instead of going out of state. Houston at UNC is a perfect example and the closest thing to another NC guy named Means in the 90s in size and ability. Both are beasts. Houston could be NFL too.

Anonymous said...

Langston let's see if you want to take back about what your answer to my last post about Vance coaching staff. If you was at that game you would say just like every parent on Vance side said. That coaching staff does not care about winning at all. (PERIOD!!) Let's say they don't know how to win!

Anonymous said...

LW...Why are people so negative against Coach Palmieri and Mallard Creek? I have a son on the Team and let me tell you he is absolutelly all about the kids. He is speaking with College Coaches constantly, monitors the grades and behavior weekly of all his players and is on record with the parents that his job is to get as many of his kids into College as possible. Yes he is from Miami, he is young, innovative, and has built a program before which is what Principal Rea was looking for kudos to a great hire and a great Coach with a plan.