Saturday, October 27, 2012


Just browsing photos from the Houston game.  Offense on the field.  I'm looking for fun photos, photos you might enjoy.  After selecting a few to post, I wonder if there is a pattern.  And a pattern emerged. 

To spoil the suspense, I'll tell you up front that
Cookie got the pass away.  She did have a collision
with this tackler but didn't get knocked down.  This
is an example of what happens when the blockers
don't sustain the block.
Quarterbacks and running backs are smaller than defensive guards and tackles.  So football custom inserts offensive guards and tackles between the offensive backs and defensive line.  The job of the offensive line is to keep the defensive line from crushing the quarterback and running backs. 

Sometimes it works.


Tara Andrickson playing offense and doing a good job
of containing the Houston defender.
A couple previous posts featured Tara Andrickson as the Outlaws defensive player of the year.  I studied her play and suggested she might do well on offense.  When she saw the post she told me that in fact she did play a little offense.  Effectively, I might add.  She is featured in two of my blocking photos. 

The running back normally starts with a plan.  In the huddle the tell her where to run.  Hopefully the blockers will be successful clearing a path for her.  Things rarely go perfectly so the runner needs to identify where the path is.  And then blast through it fast!
In the foreground left, number 33, Tara Andrickson, is holding off
a larger defensive linewoman.  Deidra Hollad has the ball and
is checking the path Tara has opened for her.  Her job is to
blast through there in a second or two, quick enough to capitalize
 on Tara's block.  And she hopes Houston number 74 doesn't
notice what's happening. 

Number 14 is Deidra Holland, taking the hand off from
quarterback Cookie Rivas and hoping number 50 Malia
Capers-Cristobal will be able to sustain her block for
just a couple more seconds.
Normally you have large offensive linewomen blocking large defensive linewomen.  But everyone has to block.  If you're a back who isn't carrying the ball, you're expected to participate in the blocking.  Ideally, the line takes care of the bigger defenders and the backs either pick off a blitzing defensive back or linebacker, or run ahead of the running back clearing away any stray tacklers. 
This looks like a passing play.  Whether a pass or a run, backs are expected to block, to protect
the quarterback or ball carrier.  Cookie, the quarterback, looks pretty safe, doesn't she?
I don't know the outcome of this play.  I just liked the photo.

  Sometimes, though, you have a small back going against a large defensive                   linewoman.  In most cases that can be a problem.  However, if the smaller black is Charmeine Jackson I'm ready to bet the defender won't be making a tackle.  Even giving away a hundred pounds, Jackson is super strong and likely to win any one-on-one contest. 

Number 22 is Charmeine Jackson.  She works out a lot and
is extremely strong, extremely tough.  Even against a
large defender, my money is on Jackson.
 In a previous post I noticed how fast things happen in football.  The quarterback has about three seconds to do something with the ball.  Likewise the runners have about three seconds to get the ball and blast through the path opened by her blockers.  And Griff, the punter, has about three seconds to get her kick in the air.  That means the blockers need to contain the defense for three seconds. 
Griff punting.  Blockers successful in keeping the defender
at bay.  Barely.  But barely is okay.
Sounds easy, doesn't it.  Only three seconds.  But three seconds is a long time.  If you're trying to control a two hundred pound athlete who is quick and strong, three seconds is forever.  And what happens if the blocker maintains the block for two seconds?

This is Griff the punter again.  This time the blocking didn't hold long enough.  I think this
is a case where the snap from center wasn't true and Griff used up her three seconds
retrieving the ball.  If the blocking doesn't work, things can go hard on the punter.

If the blocking doesn't work, things can go hard on the runner.  Deidra Hollad getting caught
in the middle of two Houston defenders.  I selected this photo because it is a great
action shot.  These ladies play some serious football.

What happens when blockers can't sustain their blocks?  Runners and punters find themselves being handled roughly by unfriendlies. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


No photos with today's post.  You'll thank me.  I don't have photos that support my message.  Even if I did, I think you would prefer I not post them.

I'm older than you.  Grew up in the 40s and 50s.  I was there when television was invented.  Black and white only (well, as a photographer I know we're really talking shades of gray).  Small screens.  Three channels available. 

My folks weren't rich.  I went to a friend's home to see his television.  The show was "The Lone Ranger" and it was so cool. 

Televisions had antennas.  Either a V-Shaped contraptions called rabbit ears because they looked like rabbit ears.  You'd set then on top of the television and connect to the tv by a flat plastic cable carrying two wires.  If you wanted better picture quality you'd have  a more complex thing mounted outside on your roof with a wire running down and through the window to connect with the television.  Some were really fancy, lots of aluminum arms running in all directions.  From above, neighborhoods looked like little forests with all the antennas sticking up into the air from the rooftops.  If you Google TV Antenna's, you'll find lots of photos. 

TV images were small.  Often there was lots of "snow" in the picture, white dots on the black background.  If snow was a big problem you'd get a fancier antenna.  Or a "tena-roter" you could use to turn the roof antenna around to get a better signal.  Sometimes the the snow was caused by birds landing on the arms of the antenna.  You'd need a beebee gun to shoo them away.

Sports on TV were great.  Pictures weren't crystal clear but clear enough.  You could definitely see the action.  You could read the numbers on the jerseys.  I especially loved watching hockey. The white ice provided a great contrasting background so the players were clearly visible.  The puck was a problem, too small to see clearly. 

Football was great on tv.  Much better than just listening to a radio announcer try to describe what was happening.

I wonder if TV created the need for teams to have different uniforms for home and away games.  Before tv, people attending games could see the games in color.  It was easy to distinguish between the guys in blue uniforms and the ones in red.  On tv, all colors  presented in shades of gray and you might have trouble figuring out who was who.  So they had one team wear white, the other team use team colors.

Baseball... this is where disgusting comes in.

Not disgusting back in the day with the little shades-of-gray images on the little screen.  Actually it was fun watching baseball in those days.  Not a lot of detail, though. Even if you had a huge antenna on your roof.  The cameras were good but you didn't get super close-ups.  You couldn't see the seams of the ball and pitcher's hand griping it. There were no close-up of player's faces except in after game interviews. 

That was then.  This is now. 

I've been watching a lot of baseball lately. I'm a big Tigers fan and just delighted they'll play in the world series.  I've been watching playoff games on a 42" high definition television.  The close-ups are spectacular. 

And disgusting. 

Baseball players spit.  All the time, all the players.  Spit spit spit spit.  Why?  Where do they get enough hydration to spit so much?  In one of the games (Giants vs Cardinals) I noticed the field seemed wet.  I wondered if it was wet from rain or spit. 

Do players in other sports spit?  Do the Outlaws spit?  I haven't seen any spitting at Outlaws games.  I don't recall spitting at football games in general.  Maybe because the face masks are in the way?  I don't spit.  In the old days it was a guy thing to chew tobacco and that generated a lot of spitting.  Bars had spittoons to so tobacco users didn't have to mess up the floor, provided their aim was good. I think some modern baseball players chew tobacco.  That would explain some spitting. 

Some chew gum. I chew gum.  That never makes me want to spit.

Most baseball players just spit.  That's what baseball players do.

Isn't spitting unsanitary? Watching a baseball game, I wonder if there is a square inch of the field not wet from spit.  Spit contaminating the turf with whatever germs players may be carrying around.

When I see players sliding into a base I'm distracted from the action by wondering if they're getting spit all over their uniforms. 

I'm going to watch the world series.  Hopefully the Tigers will win in four so I'll only have to endure about twelve hours  of spitting. 



Monday, October 15, 2012

More Tara Andrickson Photos

Tara Andrickson was the Outlaws defensive player of the year, 2012.  In my last post I featured photos of Tara.  Here are a few more.

Tara working out, sit-ups.  Furrowed brow
suggest effort.  Stoic expression.  Focused.
I don't really know Tara.  She seems quiet, stoic.  If you  know her feel free to add comments to this blog post and enlighten me.  Now understand that I like quiet, stoic.  A businesslike approach to the game.  Even to prepping for the game building strength, doing sit-ups, hitting the blocking pad. 
Practice running the ball, running over would be tacklers.
This is Tara with the ball, Lily with the blocking pad.  Once
again, I'm seeing a focused, hard working football player.

Tara, #33, eye on the ball, looking pas the blocker.
All I know of Tara I've learned viewing action photos.  She appears focused, eye on the ball, taking a bead on the ball carrier.

Same game but another play.  Tara has passed the line and
is ready to take on the blocking back.
Tara looking for the ball carrier.  Blockers trying to keep
her away from the running back.  She often has several
blockers working on her.
In my photos she is often surrounded by opposing players.  She seems to attract blockers.  She manages to break through the line of scrimmage and becomes a problem for the blocking back, players with smaller numbers on their jerseys.
Number 14 is a running back.  Tara has eluded the line and
reached the second level of protection for the quarterback.

Football is a physical fight.  My photos show Tara engaging the blockers, doing combat. 
Tara, lower left, getting a hold on the runner and then being joined in the tackle by
about six other Outlaws. 

When Tara gets past the line, when she fights off the backfield blocker(s), she knows how to stop the runner.  Sometimes she hangs on until help arrives.  Other times she just brings the runner down on her own.  Either way, Tara is an effective defender. 

Tara bring the runner down all by herself. 
This is the first of two photos shot about a half-second apart.  I like this one because I'm
intrigued at all the tattoos on the running back.  And by the lack of tattoos on Tara.  I'll
comment further on this at the end of this post. 

The second of the two photos of this solo tackle by Tara.  I included this second shot because
I like the runner looking at the camera, kind of wide-eyed, seeming to say
"What hit me!?"

Now I'm going to get myself in trouble just a little.  Just for fun.  I've admitted often in this blog that I'm not a coach.  That just isn't something I could do.  If I showed the players everything I know, it would take up about five minutes in a practice, if I spoke slowly.  I could show them how to do the three-point stance.  I could explain how to get low to control the opponent. 

But not being able to coach doesn't keep me from giving advice to the Outlaws coaches.  Which they wisely ignore.

In a previous post to this blog I opined offensive and defensive players are different.  Not just in their roles but in their personalities.  Offensive players are naturally neat.  Defensive players are naturally messy.  I presented some arguments to support my point and suggested it just makes sense.  Offensive comes with a plan and tries to do things in an orderly fashion to accomplish the plan.  Defense just wants to mess things up. 

Offense - neat.  Defense - messy.

After viewing my photos of Tara, I've decided Tara is neat. 

She is quiet, stoic, businesslike, focused. 

Tara should be playing offense.  If I were a running back (talk about an absurd idea!) I'd want Tara out front of me.  Tara is a strong player.  Tara will do whatever she is asked to do.  She'll play defense if you ask her do.  And she'll do it right well thank you.  But Tara belongs on offense.  She was born to block. 

Just my opinion.



Monday, October 8, 2012

Tara Andrickson, Defensive Player of the Year

Visit the Outlaws website and you'll learn things about the team. 

Tara Andrickson.
She doesn't look fearsome, does
she?  But there's an aura about her.
I keep my distance.  (This photo
was shot with my telephoto lens
from a safe distance.)
I learned Tara Andrickson was named defensive player of the 2012 season.  I wondered if I have any good shots of Tara in action.  And I found a few.  Quite a few.  So I figured she might make a good subject for a blog posting.  Or two postings.  I have more photos than fit reasonably in one post so I'm going to do two. 

This isn't one of my player profiles.  I've never met Tara.  Seen her on the field a lot but we've never talked.  I've told you I'm kinda shy.  I didn't even know her name until I saw the photo on the Outlaws website. 

So I've been quietly hanging around shooting action photos, some of which were Tara. I do find her interesting.  She might make a good subject for a player profile.  If you see her, ask her if she'd be willing to talk with me.  I'd ask her myself but I'm shy. 

Tara is #33 and generally lines up on the right side of the defensive line.  She's not small but not among the bigger players in the league.  So she often is facing blockers who have a substantial weight advantage.

Tara often lined up against blockers who were
much bigger than she.
In spite of the size differential, she manages to elude the blockers.  And sometimes opponents resort to breaking the rules to keep her away from the running back.  Like holding.  (Note a previous post about breaking the rules sometimes being a good idea.)
Yes, holding is illegal.  Wonder if the official saw
the foul.  Difficult to catch the runner when you're being held.
Another technique other teams use to keep Tara away from the ball carrier is doubling up.  Two blockers versus one Tara. 
Doubling up on Tara.  Makes it tough to get into the backfield.
A lot of gray jerseys between Tara and the quarterback.

Fighting off two blockers.  When two are blocking Tara, another Outlaw may go unblocked.
Unlike holding, ganging up is perfectly legal.  But when two blockers are required to contain one defender that means there may be another defender who isn't being blocked at all.

In spite of the best efforts by opponents, Tara managed to elude the blockers and avoid being held.  All she had to do then was catch the runner. 


A big challenge for a line player to chase down a
fleet-footed running back. 

And sometimes she caught the runner.  In fact, she caught enough runners to make her one of the leading tacklers on the Outlaws team.
Gotcha!  Gonna take the ball while I take
you down.
Somehow the runner managed to hang onto the ball.  But she definitely is on the ground. 
See why Tara intimidates me?
I have a few more shots of Tara.  I'll post them in a few days. 


Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I can't believe I'm doing yet another post about clothes.  Fashion is not my thing.  This is a football blog.  Not dress for success.  Blame Tiffany James.  She got me noticing socks and that let to a humor post about socks.  Then shoes.  Makes sense - shoes are right next to socks. 

Then I got to thinking about tee shirts.  I started checking my fan photos and noticing the writing on their shirts. 

Lazy but talented.
Some of the shirts have clever words.  One says "Lazy but Talented."  I like that one.  Another, "The One and Only." 

Dad is "The One and Only." I can't make out the
design on the son's shirt.
I expect a sports theme in shirts and this Outlaw fan is saying "Everyday is Gameday."  With pictures of a baseball, basketball, football, and soccer ball.  I love sports but I'm losing the joy of baseball - except now that playoffs are starting. 

Promoting lots of sports. 

A pet theme is common.  Snoopy is a pet isn't he?  Is the little yellow bird a Peanuts cartoon character?  I thought that was Tweety bird and showed up in Looney Tunes cartoons being chased by Sylvester the cat.  Been a long time since I watched cartoons.

Is Snoopy going after Tweety Bird?
Or is there a bird in the Peanuts cartoons?
Cute dog.  The tee shirt designer isn't good at English syntax. 
It should be "Who Rescued Whom."
Another pet tee shirt.  The words are "Who Rescued Who?"  and is explained by the little tiny dog sitting on the wearer's lap. it bad for me to correct syntax?  I think it should read "Who Rescued Whom."  Not many people use "whom" anymore and often use it in the wrong context.  Actually I encounter lots of syntax errors every day and I sometimes regret majoring in English.  Life would be so much easier if I didn't notice, didn't care.

Some shirts are used for advertising.  I puzzled over this one:  "DGK - Dirty Ghetto Kids."  I wondered if it were some kind of criticism or put down but doubted that.  I googled the term and all I could find is merchandise with that title.  So does the DGK have no significance outside of shirts and stuff?  If you know the answer please enlighten me.
Can you tell me anything about this logo? 
Is "Dirty Ghetto Kids" a positive?

I'm not sure... The guy on our right is advertising the Radio Shack 500.  I can't tell what the other guy is
promoting.  Actually, it probably doesn't do the sponsor much good to have after-the-fact advertising.
I thought about shirts as advertising. I wonder if businesses would pay me to wear a shirt featuring their logos? 
I'm a big guy and I could promote lots of logos.  More than in the photo below of a young woman with lots of logos.  Just think if each of those logo owners pay her $100 for the advertising.  Think if she were as big as I am.  I could advertise twice as many merchants.   At least a dozen or so.  Let's see, $100 x a dozen = $1,200!  I think I'm going to quit my day job and become a human billboard.
I count about eight logos.  At $100 each, she could
be making serious money.

But I think my business idea is fraught with difficulties.  For one thing, people happily pay to wear tees that advertise; why would anyone pay me when others will pay him/her?  And I suspect you'd want your logo displayed on...  ah, how shall I say this?  Well, on someone who looks good.  Like the two pictures below.  One is a young woman, one a baby.  They look really good.  The Outlaws must be delighted to have their brand associated with such good looking persons.  In my case, the Outlaws might just pay me to not wear their logo.

I've seen this young lady at
lots of Outlaws games. 
Wouldn't you pay to have her
wear your logo?

Did you even know the Outlaws have apparel with their logos?  You can become a walking billboard for the team.  Just imagine all the good you could accomplish just wearing a shirt that causes people to ask and you answer, Yes!  Austin does have a professional football team.  What a great conversation starter.  And the Outlaws gear looks really good.


Advertising works best when the wearer of the
shirt is a great looking little person.
 You can buy the gear at any Outlaws game.  Just look for Lily's mom.  She is a serious marketer and clearly has a lot of fun promoting the team.
Lily's mom having fun with an Outlaws fan trying out an Outlaws hat.

Outlaws store at the fancy Round Rock stadium. 


But you don't have to wait for a game.  Go to the Outlaws website and order stuff on-line. 

Here's a link to the merchandise page  on the website. 

Here's a link to the main website.

So let's do it.  Buy some Outlaws stuff and wear it proudly.  Tell people about the team.  Christmas is coming.  Buy Outlaws stuff for Christmas gifts.  Not only do you get the satisfaction of wearing neat stuff, you promote the team by being a walking advertisement.  And you promote the team financially.  It takes money to keep a professional football team going.

Questions about the Outlaws?  There's contact information on their website.  You can also find an Outlaws facebook page.