More than a
century ago, essayist Henry David Thoreau wrote, "Be not merely good; be
good for something."
Those words can
serve on the headstone of Glenn Scobey Warner. No one may doubt that old Pop
was good for football. Indeed, long before his wonderful spirit left him in
Palo Alto, it had already settled for all time on the broadly scattered playing
fields of the game to which he devoted his life.
Warner helped fashion football more than any one man. Every football lineman
today uses the crouch start. Warner thought that one up at Carlisle, over 50
years ago. The single-wingback style of offense, the double-wingback system,
mousetrap plays, the screen pass, the rolling block, the naked reverse,
hidden-ball plays, series plays, the unbalanced line and backfield, all came
out of his energetic brain.
At the turn of
the century when football was a wild, brutal, push-pull-maul-and-batter sport,
old Pop combined power with deception and emphasized speed. This was his
heritage to football. Five decades later it is still the way the game is
played. No one may judge the full degree of personal and moral influence Pop
Warner had upon the game that was his life. As far back as 1908 he was giving
courses in football by mail and his sound teachings reached deep along the
R.F.D. routes throughout the country where the game was being played by
What did Pop
Warner teach? After playing for him for three years at Stanford, including two
Rose Bowl games, I believe that may be summed up in a few sentences,
"...You cannot play two kinds of football at once, dirty and good...There
is no system of play that substitutes for knocking an opponent down. When you
hit, hit hard...You play the way you practice. Practice the right way and you
will react the right way in a game..."
things, yet they add up to a way of life as well as a successful way to play
football. This he gave his players and those he taught. This they pass on to
others. This, I believe, is Pop Warner's greatest accomplishment, greater than
all the games he won through the years. He coached you, as well as