Share

Extra Points

Going Down Memory Lane With Bill Belichick

FOXBOROUGH ó It's Raiders week at 1 Patriot Place, but for Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, Wednesday's press conference will be memorable for referencing the T-Birds, his eighth grade football team.

Sweating after what appeared to be a workout, and sporting a particularly sunny mood, Belichick addressed the media and began his daily press conference with updates on the team's preparations and thoughts on the Oakland Raiders, the Patriots' opponent for the home opener, in his usual routine. But he became particularly enthused and expansive when asked to explain his preference for unbalanced lines (an extra offensive linemen in place of a tight end), explaining its intricacies before taking a broader historical look at its significance. His response led to a range of topics, including the T-Birds' offensive philosophy.

"Itís certainly an interesting aspect going all the way back to the single-wing days," Belichick said. "That was the whole single-wing offense was the balanced single-wing, then the overloaded single-wing then the box shift back to the weak side. It was all overload blocking angles trying to create. I donít think the plays were checked back then. You were just trying to show power over here, now youíve got power over there and show power over here and run counter back the other way and all that. Thatís really what football was in the Ď40s; Ď30s and the Ď20s. That was a huge part of the game. Itís interesting to see how all that, how they tried to handle those different things, both offensively and what they tried to create and defensively what the answers were to them.

Followup question: Does the veteran coach ever wish he could've coached in that era?

"In a way, I really feel lucky because the one year, in eighth grade I played for the T-Birds in Annapolis," he said. "It was the Ford dealership. I think it was 110-pound football and so we were the T-Birds and so our coach played college football at Clemson so we ran the single-wing. That was our offense. Whatever year that would have been, call it í62, somewhere in there, í63, whatever it was. So, for a whole year I got to experience what a single-wing offense was.

"It was pretty interesting, just being a lineman, which that was the game really, was the blocking play, the blocking patterns and the calls," Belichick continued. "Thatís kind of all he knew, was to run the single-wing. So we ran the single-wing. Really looking back on it, it was a great experience I never would have gotten otherwise just because it was kind of going out of, hardly anybody was running it. Lawrenceville ran it and when I played at Andover in 1971, Coach [Ken] Keuffel down there, I think he might have been the last one to run the single-wing because he ran it all the way through his career at Lawrenceville. So we actually played against it when I was in high school. The principles and the elements of it are interesting. Iím glad I got to experience it. I got to experience the wing-T in high school, the single-wing in Pop Warner football, the Wishbone in college and my exposure to all the NFL stuff since í75."

The T-Birds, Belichick recalled, had a pretty good year, losing to the Elks. "Those were big tilts there in Annapolis."

The veteran coach's historical tangent lasted about 10 minutes, which accounts for about two-thirds of his normal press conference routine. Wednesday's presser went 26 minutes.

Other notes:

- Belichick has no idea what the league's new drug policy means for suspended players Brandon Browner and Brian Tyms. "You have to talk to the league about that. We donít know anything. Itís a very confidential policy and itís really handled between the league and the players. Coaches are really out of it. Iím like Sergeant Schultz [from Hoganís Heroes]. I donít know anything."

- The Raiders are 0-2 and lost last week to the Houston Texans 30-14. Oakland defensive back Charles Woodson told the San Jose Mercury News "we suck" this week after the disappointing loss. Belichick was a bit kinder. "They fell behind early and then just were kind of never really that close. Houston was able to just stay far enough ahead, a couple touchdowns ahead. Look, weíve all been there before. Last week is last week. It doesnít really mean anything. Iím sure that based on the comments that Iíve seen out of there and the leadership that they have on that team, the veterans that they have on that team, Iím sure that weíll come in here and we wonít see the team we saw against Houston last week. Thatís what weíre getting ready for Ė weíre getting ready for their best game and I donít think Houston was probably it."

- On Woodson: "[He] really doesnít look like a 17-year veteran, Iíll tell you that. He makes plays all over the field Ė very aggressive, fast, instinctive, strong tackler, tough. Just couldnít say enough about how impressed Iíve been watching him on film."

- On Khalil Mack, the Raiders rookie and fifth overall draft pick from 2014: "Heís been disruptive. ... Heís got a lot of talent and heís certainly made some good plays. Like any rookie, heís got a lot to learn, but heís a force out there."

Zuri Berry can be reached at zberry@boston.com. Follow him on Twitter @zuriberry and on Google+.

Continue Reading Below