Posts Tagged ‘Cornell’

Warner Teams Scored the Most Points

December 15, 2013

While researching the 1906 Carlisle Indian School team, I came across something that might interest my sports statistician friend Tex Noel in the December 7, 1906 edition of The Arrow, Carlisle’s school newspaper. In addition to summing up Carlisle’s season, the article titled Football Resume closed with a list of points scored and points allowed by team for the top 34 college teams. Carlisle scored 244 points for the season where Cornell scored 237. The only team to outscore them was the University of Western Pennsylvania (known as Pitt today), which racked up 254 points. Pitt not only played an easier schedule that year than did Carlisle and Cornell, they lost to them 22-0 and 23-0, respectively. It is fair to say that Carlisle and Cornell far more points than did the other major football powers that first year under the revolutionary new rules. But why?

Sure, they had good players, but some teams had All Americans. I propose that it was the offensive schemes these teams ran that made the difference. Ironically, both teams ran formations developed by none other than Pop Warner. Warner stated that the Indians were the first team to run the earliest incarnation of his single-wingback formation and they first ran it 1906. But Warner didn’t coach Carlisle in 1906 because he was at Cornell then. However, he spent a week at Carlisle before the season started coaching the Indians’ coaches, Bemus Pierce and Frank Hudson, in his new offensive schemes designed to take advantage of what the new rules allowed, including the forward pass. It’s probably true that both Carlisle and Cornell ran Warner’s single-wing that year. Given that, even though they don’t use it themselves, some modern-day coaches acknowledge that the single-wing was the most effective running formation ever devised. In those days of run mostly, even an early version of the single-wing would have given teams running it an advantage that could show up on the scoreboard.

1906 points scored

Where Did Bill Warner Go

July 13, 2012

I received a question today about Pop Warner’s brother Bill. The questioner wanted to know what Bill Warner did in 1904 after Pop replaced him as head coach of Cornell. I was vaguely aware of all this before but hadn’t thought about it much. I even recalled reading an announcement of Bill’s new job, so I was able to confirm what I thought I knew. A little background is required.

That Pop Warner coached Carlisle from 1899 to 1903 and returned to Cornell in 1904 is well known. The details of the transaction are less clear but will be made clearer in Jeff Miller’s upcoming biography of Pop Warner. It’s fairly well known that Warner and star quarterback James Johnson had a confrontation in the late-season road trip to the West Coast. You’ll have to read Jeff’s book to learn the details of what happened. Ironically, all three, Warner, Pratt and Johnson, each for his own reason, were gone from Carlisle before the start of the 1904 season.

Now let’s get back to the original question. Pop Warner replaced Bill as head coach of Cornell after Bill who went 6-3-1 in 1903 with ugly losses to Princeton and Penn, 44-0 and 42-0, respectively. Pop understandably had misgivings about taking his brother’s job and, likely, made up for it a bit by helping Bill get another job. By virtue of coaching at Carlisle for five years, Pop surely had contacts within the Indian school system and at Sherman Institute in Riverside, California in particular because Bemus Pierce coached there in 1902 and 1903. Bill Warner took the reins at Sherman Institute in 1904 while Bemus Pierce returned to Carlisle to assist Ed Rogers. Bemus and his wife might have wanted to return east to be nearer to family in New York State.

Bill Warner led the Sherman Institute Braves to a more-than-respectable 6-1 season with wins over USC and Stanford and a loss to Cal. That record likely led to him being hired by North Carolina for 1905.

Were Carlisle’s Jerseys Unique?

January 6, 2012

As mentioned in this blog previously, I am in process of reprinting the Spalding Football Guides for the years that Carlisle Indian School fielded a team.  That process is progressing well but I have not yet found the 1901 and 1911 books as yet and don’t hold much hope of coming across books for the years from 1894 to 1898.  Be that as it may.  I am already discovering interesting things without having a full set.

While flipping through the 1906 volume, I noticed that the Cornell team was wearing jerseys quite similar to those worn by the Carlisle Indians (a Carlisle jersey is depicted in the color drawing on the masthead of this blog).  I had seen photos of many other teams wearing jerseys with stripes but none with the stripes located just below the elbow on an otherwise solid-color shirt.  Of course, I haven’t done exhaustive research on this matter, so the possibility remains that this pattern was not unique, just not widely used.  All the period photos are in black and white, so nothing can be known for certain about the colors on these jerseys just from the photos.  Regarding the dates of photos in Spalding’s guides, most team photos seem to have been taken at the end of the previous season.  In Carlisle’s case, players were generally wearing their letter sweaters which were a solid red and were acquired from Spalding in various styles (see photo below).

So, the Cornell team of 1905 wore jerseys similar to those that Carlisle was noted for wearing.  But when did the Indians start wearing them and were they special ordered?  A circa 1902 photo of James Phillips shows the stripes clearly as does the team photo for that year.  More research is needed to determine exactly when Carlisle and Cornell started wearing those jerseys and who made them.  What is known is that in 1902 Carlisle, then coached by Pop Warner, wore them as did the 1905 Cornell team that was also coached by Pop Warner.  Were these stripes another Warner innovation?  Much more research is needed to answer these questions.




1899 Carlisle-Hamilton College Game

March 28, 2011

Recently, I received a question about the 1899 Carlisle Indian School-Hamilton College football game. That person hadn’t been able to find anything about it and wondered if it was actually played. I had never given that game any thought because the Indians played three of the Big Four and beat Penn for the first time that year. 1899 was also Pop Warner’s first year at Carlisle and Walter Camp named Isaac Seneca to his All America First Team, the first Carlisle player to be so named. It’s easy to see why the game with Hamilton College could be overlooked. For starters, this was the first, and only time these two schools played. Secondly, the game was played in Utica, NY and was probably the only time Carlisle played in that town. Thirdly, even though Hamilton had been having decent seasons the past few years, they weren’t in the class of the big teams Carlisle normally played on the road. After all, Pop Warner’s Cornell team beat them 41-0 the previous year. But that may be the hint we’ve been looking for.

Pop Warner may have had a relationship with Hamilton’s coach plus Hamilton College may have offered Carlisle a good bit of money to play them. Clinton, NY, Hamilton’s home is near Colgate and Cornell plus Warner’s home was in Springville, NY. So, there may have been some familiarity. Hamilton was more than holding its own against Colgate at that time and was even competitive against Cornell in 1899. Hamilton supporters may have thought that they had a pretty good team that year and wanted to see how they stood up against a powerhouse.

I found Carlisle Indian School newspaper mention and New York Times coverage of the game, so it was definitely played. What is most interesting is why was it played? More research is needed to determine that.

Warner Did Run Hidden Ball Play Against Penn State in 1897

January 30, 2011

In responding to a comment from Jeff Miller, I did a little more research on the hidden ball play and found something useful. In its coverage of the 1897 Cornell game, the December 1897 edition of the Penn State school newspaper, “The Free Lance,” described the dastardly play that Pop Warner ran under against their boys in the cover of almost darkness. Now we know for sure that Warner did first run the play essentially as he said he did. What we still don’t know is whether Heisman ran it a year or two earlier. Perhaps the Auburn, Vanderbilt or Georgia school newspapers covered their teams’ respective games.