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Football Clock Management reader comments

“It is a magnificently thorough treatment of the subject and is worthwhile reading for every coach and aspiring coach. It must have been fun to research and write it.”

Marv Levy, Hall of Fame NFL coach

Mr. Reed-

I am the Special Teams Coordinator at Capital University (OH). I read your book as a player in 1997 and I have also read it each year that I have been coaching.

Louie Matsakis

PS Your book has helped me tremendously as a college coach.

"This book has a lot of very useful information that I will definitely take advantage of while coaching. It has made me stop and think through clock-management situations much differently than I used to." Kevin McGarry, Head Football Coach, University of San Diego

"In researching [a clock] issue, I came across an excellent book titled Football Clock Management by John T. Reed. This book is one of a kind and an outstanding source of material. I found it to be as interesting and informative as any book on football I have ever read.

"I was so impressed with the book that I called Coach Reed and asked him to author a series of articles for us on some of the fundamental principles and theories he has discovered. Additionally, I requested he serve as a faculty member at our upcoming AFQ University continuing education conference for coaches. I truly believe the information he has to offer could win a coach a game or two each season." Barry Terranova, Publisher, American Football Coach magazine

"I know a guy who just wrote an entire book about clock management in football. ...I'd suggest that every NFL coach take a look at it because this is a much-neglected area of game strategy." Paul Zimmerman ("Dr. Z") CNN/Sports Illustrated 

"Fantastic book. The weekend after I skimmed it, I found myself discovering clock-management mistakes in the college and pro games I watched on TV. We'd like to add your book to our catalog." Darrell Bennett, Coaching Education Director, Championship Books and Video Productions, Ames, IA

"Every coach should read this book." Hal Mumme, Head Football Coach, University of Kentucky

"Excellent book. I loved it. The two best football books I have ever read are your Football Clock Management and Brian Billick's Developing an Offensive Game Plan. Please send two more copies of Football Clock Management." R. Keeth Matheny, Offensive Coordinator, Scottsdale Community College, Scottsdale, AZ

"This is the kind of information that can win you a game or two a season." Dana Bible, Offensive Coordinator, Stanford University

"Enjoyed reading the American Football Quarterly Clinic Bonus ' Clock Management' by John T .Reed. Mr. Reed brings up some interesting points that all coaches must be aware of when the game gets down to 'Crunch Time.'" Tim Salem, Quarterback Coach, Ohio State University

"Only a West Point graduate, a Harvard MBA, and a former high school coach woud think of writing a whole book on anything as esoteric as football clock management. Enter John T. Reed. He's all of these things and, we suspect, a man who learned the law of probabilities under Coach Albert Einstein. How else could anyone have amassed the incredible data in this book?

"He produces eye-popping tables, graphs, and true-life stories on every principle of clock management: when to take a knee, when to slow down, speed up, take a safety, spike the ball, fake spiking the ball, fake taking a knee, decline a penalty, use time-outs, and lots of other intriguiging stuff.

"He cites names, places, events, heroes, and goats of all kinds of good and bad cases of clock management. Steven Spielberg could make a movie out of all this." Scholastic Coach and Athletic Director magazine 2/98 

"I want to personally thank you for the time we spent on the phone. Your willingness to share some of your thoughts with me about time management meant a great deal. It is not every day that I can read a book then contact the author and get immediate feedback. Being a young coach, your book has allowed me to develop strategies and focus for critical areas of the game that I may not have grasped otherwise. I can tell that you have a great love for the game. Not everyone would go to the painstaking lengths you do to research game after game. Many, many coaches will benefit from your effort. Your book, Football Clock Management, has already had a tremendous impact on the outcome of two of our games. Our football staff believes that we have an edge against other teams in our conference because we are better prepared in critical time management situations. I know that [our head] Coach Miriello meant it when he said, 'Football Clock Management is the best football coaching book I have ever read.'" Gene McCabe, Running Backs Coach, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA

Coach Reed,

Don't think I ever gave you a report on our season. Faith Academy of Marble Falls. First year in 11-man football after 10 in six man. We adopted the single wing and got info, and most important, philosophy from your books. Result, we went 11-1 in Texas TAPPS league. Thanks, hope you do some more writing on football.

Let me go back to the beginning. Coached public school ball in Texas for 37 years, 34 as a head coach. Started in smallest classification (aprox 100 in high school) and worked from A to AAAAA (over 2,000 in school) Retired, moved to Texas Hill Country, Got hired to coach six man football at private school. Third year we go 11-man. Twenty seven players, five have played 11 man ball before. Have got to introduce game, train, teach and prepare in a matter of months. Found a copy of your "Coaching Youth Football" and remembered reading Clock Management book several years ago. I really liked that book(compare your book with Homer Smith--Wow you win) I have been looking up for ideas and concepts, Some High Schools, but mostly Colleges for my ideas on football for years, decided I would work the other way for a while. Read Youth Football which guided me to Contrarian Edge Book I love that book, have recommended to many and to my son who is an offensive coordinator at AAAA in Houston. You would get a kick out of the responses I get, "what we coach in Texas with the best HS programs in the nation an you want me to read some youth, and sub-varsity coach?" Oh well, it took me 30 years to find you. Contrarian book led me to Air Mirror Defense, and finally Single Wing, (left it for last because I actually learned a little about SW coaching against it.)

Well you see I read or skimmed most of your books who deal with football. Maybe all coaches don't need to see your way of approaching the sport, I did. As a 64 year old coach who was coached to be a "watch chain Guard," back in the 60s by excellent coaches, I BADLY NEEDED TO LOOK AT THE GAME THROUGH FRESH EYES. Have spent this spring (Most of your books I read in spring 12) contacting some of the old, (some in 80s) coaches who last ran Single Wing in Texas. I have found some fascinating info and stories. Have you ever heard of Paul Tyson, Waco High school 1920s to 1940s? Don't know how long I will stay with SW (Have to fight the parents with a stick) and we have not gotten the 10-1 defense to work well yet, but then at 64, how much longer will I even coach.

Always been near military people, grew up in San Antonio with huge respect for Military Academies (hobby is military history) so maybe I hear your voice clearer than others. (By the way my blocking back from 2012 has gotten an appointment to Naval Academy, not bad for private school with slightly over 100 students) Thanks for all your ideas, GOD BLESS YOU.

PS Write some more books.

R Roberts

My name is Andy Walters. I recently accepted the Head Football Coaching position at Marinette High School in Wisconsin. I also
purchased your book on clock management just after accepting the position knowing that I needed more knowledge in this area. I've learned more from your book than any other single resource in regards to football. I played at UW-Whitwater and was a student assistant there for one year. I've also coached under 2 Wisconsin Hall of Fame coaches. No doubt, reading your book is going to make our program better. I'm having every coach involved in our program read it.

Andy Walters

You may find this interesting. I have been a high school coach in Texas for 37 years, spending time in every public school classification this state has to offer, (even one, class B 11 man which no longer exsists). Retired, took a job as a private school which played 6 man, we moved up (even though we still don't have the recomemded number of boys) to 11 man football this fall. To prepare I RE-read your clock management, read your Youth Football, Contraian Football (extremly helpful), 10-1 defense, and single wing books last summer.
We went 11-1 won our district (first year I have ever won 11 games) and went two rounds into the private school Division III (smallest division) playoffs. Your books were extremly helpful, I found after 40 years in coaching, your Youth Football concepts more helpful than ideas I have picked up from college coaches.

Most of the schools we played were bigger. We have 103 students and we beat schools with enrollents of 400, 300, and 700 students, and again it was our first year to play 11 man ball. Thanks for your help. Keep me informed if you publish more books.

havae been listining and studing under good and great coaches since my junior year in college (1968) and I must say that you offer a fresh prespective. I have enjoyed and gained a great deal. THANK YOU.

Coach Reed,

I've been coaching football and watching every level for a long time now and have noticed that many of your ideas are being used. For instance sideline play calling with poster boards is just a spin off of your magna doodle. Warp speed tempo? Chip Kelly must have bought your book. The ducks look like a team you would coach.

I used the place kick punt this year on varsity and the other team was lost. We pinned teams deep with the quick kick on third down. All that stuff inspired by you.

I have read the GAM book over and over and I have tried to find stuff on the 10-1 to no avail. I can't seem to figure out why the GAM would not work at the high school level. The concept is sound and innovative. Every D has risk. I think it would be a great D for Varsity or at least combined with something else. I used it at the freshman level and it worked well.

Thanks for your time coach
Tim Mitchell


I just wanted to send you a short email thanking you for the resource that you created. Through four games this season, clock management lessons from your book have been instrumental in helping us secure two of our victories. As a staff, our coaches feel much more confident when approaching the end of the half and end of the game. We feel as if we have a distinct advantage over the teams we are playing. So thank you.

Sean Lynch
Walsh Jesuit High School

"Received your book today and I cannot put it down! What an outstanding work! I have been a head coach for 14 years and many situations you cover in your book have happened to me. Some of these situations my players won in spite of me. Others, I now realize, cost my team in some critical situations or I could have spared my defense some agonizing moments. I have already told my staff your book will be required reading when I am done. Those that are critical of your book should beware, they may well lose to someone that heeds the lessons that can be learned. Figures it would take a West Point graduate with a MBA to come up with this. Once again, outstanding job.

"Just finished Clock Management this AM. Again I compliment you on an outstanding work!! Over the past several days I have been sharing the info in the book with the coaches on my staff and there is great interest there. I might add that we are all 'old timers' and none of us have less than 20 years experience. You have a disciple in VA. Your book has put it all together for me. Thanks again." Dale Spitzer, Head Football Coach, Fort Defiance High School, Fort Defiance, VA

"Last season, we discovered two books that had a tremendous impact upon us: George Allen's Guide to Special Teams and a new book, Football Clock Management, by John T. Reed...they proved enormously helpful... " Kevin Reilly, Aberdeen (MD) High School quoted in his article in the September 1998 Scholastic Coach and Athletic Director Magazine

"Some of the best football books are not widely advertised, and, if you're not looking for them, you could miss them. For example, I've not seen a word about John T. Reed's Football Clock Management, the only book you're likely to find exclusively devoted to that subject. Perhaps it's noted in magazines for coaches since it should be required reading for any football mentor. And it certainly will change the way any fan watches a game."

Bob Carroll, Editor, The Coffin Corner, Co-author of The Hidden Game of Football

Hi John,

am not sure if this email will ever find its way to you, but I wanted to say how much I enjoy your insights on life, coaching and business. I coached youth football and baseball for 8 years (my son is a sophomore now) and I loved your coaching books and recommended them to many guys coming up that I mentored. Sadly, some parents in my affluent area ”just didn’t get it” and it was a source of encouragement and confirmation that I wasn’t out of line expecting discipline, teamwork and allocating playing time based on merit. Not only did I learn a lot from your books, but it was a pleasure reading the no-nonsense way you delivered the message (maybe that’s my military upbringing). I especially enjoyed the way you described how some coaches miss-assess talent and quoted those pages countless times to other coaches that were new to youth football. Now that I am done coaching it is gratifying to see my Pop Warner kids thriving in high school and the way they light up and say “hi Coach” every time I see them. I am toying with the idea of coaching at the high school level some day when I have more time and will be sure to purchase your books on that subject if I decide to take the leap.

Needles to say, I am going to purchase Succeeding, read it, and then give it to my 15 year old son as a gift for Christmas.

Happy Holidays,
Dave Roper

Hi Coach

Thanks for your advice this season. As I said before, this is my first year as head coach on any team. I purchased all your books and followed them to the best of my ability.

We won the league championship game 25-0. Your SW, GAM, and Warp-speed no huddle really work. So many people were complimenting me on all "my" innovations this year. Glad to see your books have not penetrated into my league yet. The coaches of the team we played in the championship were so freaked out the first time they lost to us that they totally chucked their entire offense and defense for a new one just for us. I think this is on your list of stupid youth coach mistakes. Needless to say we crushed their 1-week-practiced O & D with the [your] strategy that we installed on day 1.

Best Regards

Gary Grena
[Reed comment: Actually, my books have penetrated Grena’s league. He read them. I think my books are rapidly approaching the optimum situation for my readers: every league has one Reed reader. Consequently, he is often, like Grena, the league champion. For my income, everyone in the league reading them would be better. But there will always be many who claim you “can’t learn how to coach from a book” or who lack the guts to use contrarian approaches in spite of their obvious advantages. And although selling more books is nice, I like being part of championship seasons, too.

One other thing. In youth football, first-year head coaches often do not score a point or win a game all season. So for Coach Grena to not only do better than all zeros but with the league championship on his first try is pretty amazing.]

John, I have read and reread your clock management book dozens of times.  I am the clock management coordinator on our varsity team.  I went to your site today to recommend that a friend buy your flag football book and I saw that you have a new edtion of the clock management and I am looking forward to reading it many times over.  Thanks for sharing your knowledge and insight.

Mike Kahn

Your books on football coaching are fantastic. I've had them for 5 years now and still learn things each time they're read. Great antidote to the nonsense that passes as coaching these days. Thanks!

Shawn Frasier

Thanks Jack I've purchased 7 or 8 of your great books and refer to them often. Football for real dummy's made easy thanks!!! for making me look great and know, REALLY KNOW what I'm doing!

Buddy Hicks

Hi Coach Reed-
I have enjoyed your books over the years and have used the no huddle (with your play calling board) for three years. I'll never go back, the improved conditioning and amount of plays we run are a big advantage. I will try it without a cadence this year at the varsity level.
Thanks and keep up the great work,
Dylan Shelley

Dear Mr. Reed,
  Thank you.  I'm just coming home from a victory party for our 10/11 year old youth football team.  We won the league title today with a team mixed with kids who on two levels last year were a combined  0-8, 4-4.  This is my third year coaching, and having read and studied your books on offense, defense, youth football and clock management, you are a huge part of this championship too.  It was a battle at times with other coaches who fought me on many aspects of the game (I believe and follow your theories on the game because they are logical and they work) regarding offensive philosphy and time management, but it paid off.  
  Just one example: today we beat a team 6-0 who was 9-1, had scored 200 points in ten games, but by controlling the ball on our offense we kept their offense off the field.  We knew how to shut them down while on defense, and on offense had two long drives of almost an entire quarter each, both starting on our own twenty, that ended in one touchdown and the second leaving them on their own 7 with 9:00 left in the game.  
  They had an explosive offense with the two fastest backs in the league.  At one time in the third quarter, on 4th and two in our own end with my head coach screaming at me to punt, I lied and told the refs we were going for it.  In our league punts are dead ball plays, no time runs during them beacuse they are not live.  We went to the line after an injury timeout, ran twelve seconds off the clock trying to draw them offsides, and with one second on the play clock called timeout and then punted.  At the end of the game those twelve seconds came in handy as we were able to run the clock off with three kneel down plays at the end of the game, the last snapped at 24 seconds on the clock on third down (we run on 25 seconds a play) to end the game without them getting a chance to touch the ball again.  The other coach was furious the whole drive because we ran every play at 24/25 seconds, and ran off the last 4 minutes of the game.  
  If I had the time to, I could cite many other examples of how your books helped us to win all season long and today.  We had a team that was the third seed in the playoffs (I gave you our last year's records) and knocked off the one and two seeds to win the title.  Thank you, thank you, thank you again!
Bill Robbins
BANC Raiders Junior Division


I am writing this e-mail just to say that I have found that the philosophies and schemes outlined in your football books DO work. I have coached youth football for 11 years. I own all of your football books, and everything you have written is practical and applicable at the youth level. I have not necessarily followed everything verbatim as you outline it in your various books, but sometimes I have tweaked things here and there to fit our personnel. We have never won a championship, but we have been to the playoffs every year except one, and that year we had 14 first year players on a squad of 28. Our teams have beaten vastly athletically superior teams many times over the years. I think that you are 100% accurate in your analysis of the capabilities and limitations of the typical youth football team. I look forward to the next book you publish.

Bob Hughes
Shoreline WA

“I have been coaching Youth Football for 9 seasons. My teams have had some success (we were league champs in 1996), but over the last couple of years, our win total had diminished. I had a feeling that some of the problem was the fact that we were using the same offense for a couple of years (Wishbone) and everyone had game tape on us (We are not allowed to scout, but are allowed to tape our own games). I have been an assistant coach for all of my 9 seasons and have had trouble trying to convince others, that changing our stale offense was a good idea. This past season, I moved up an age group (10 and 11 year olds). The head coach on that team was a defensive coach. He said that I could do whatever I wanted on offense. I had been reading your books since 1997, but was never given the green light before, to implement any of your ideas. I decided to use the Wing-T this past season. I also decided to use the all game no huddle that you talked about in the 1st version of your Coaching Youth Football book (That took some selling).

In our first game, while running our no huddle, we actually got called for 2 delay of game penalties. The kids were wandering around and not looking for the board (I used the Magna Doodle, which you discussed in your Clock Management book). We ended up winning the 1st game 12-0 despite our poor no huddle performance.

By the second week, we looked like a completely different football team. The no huddle was clicking and we rolled up 22 first half points. We ended up playing subs for the entire second half.

Our third game, started much like the second. We rolled up 2 quick touchdowns and went on to win the game 20 -0. Several weeks later we ran into the coaches from the opposing team. They said that we had them reeling the entire first half using the no huddle style. He also informed me, that our team had run 73 offensive plays that game.

  At seasons end, we had outscored our opponents 172-30 and came in second in our league at 6-1-1. We had 20 kids on our roster, many of whom played both ways. Fatigue was never a problem.

I wanted to thank you for sharing your knowledge about the youth game with others. Your material has helped me to become a better coach. You have also inspired me to read something other than Sports Illustrated.

I have always liked the idea of using the GAM defense (10-1 from your old book). In 1997, I actually got the head coach to try it for the last 3 weeks of the season, since we were getting smoked every week anyway. It definitely stopped the bleeding. I was not able to convince him to use it the next season. I suspect, if we had used it from day one in 1997, we would have had a much better season.” - Jim Lochner

“I recently bought a copy of your book, Football Clock Management. I'm not a coach, but I must tell you this is the most thoughtful and thought-provoking discussion of football strategy I've ever read. As a Notre Dame fan since the glory days of Frank Leahy, I was tempted to send a copy to Bob Davie and his staff, but this is something anybody with an interest in football can learn plenty from.

By profession, I am a freelance writer, editor and proofreader. I'm telling you this not to impress you with how wonderful I am, but to try to impress upon you how impressed I am with your book. Regards, Ed Butler

"I must say, you have really ruined professional football for me. I'm a Seahawks fan (I'm from Seattle.) and when I watched the game against San Diego two weeks ago I wanted to send Mike Holmgren a copy of your book. With three minutes to go before halftime Seattle got the ball on their own 18. Instead of trying to run out the clock and keep that lead, they came out throwing. The first pass was intercepted, and San Diego scored. Instead of being up 3-0, Seattle was down 7-3. Take away that touchdown and instead of losing 13-10 on a last second field goal, Seattle wins 10-6. " Derek Wade, Kodiak, AK

"Here's another video game story for you (like the one in your book about the gap 8). I've noticed that when I play football video games if I try to run the clock down to the last second on every play it virtually eliminates the time the opposing team gets to run plays. The computer ends up with something like 45 total yards of offense. It's obvious that clock management is very important." Derek Wade, Kodiak, AK


"I have certainly never written an author about a book, but I knew I had to start, in view of the timeliness (pun intended) of your book, Football Clock Management. I was thumbing through it in the bookstore, and, being an Arizona State grad, was taken in by the play-by-play breakdown of ASU's scoring drive in the 1997 Rose Bowl. An excellent analysis. I had to purchase it and see what else you had to say. It is very easily understood and very correct. If I could send a copy of it to Bruce Snyder without him taking it as an insult, I would. I would hate to have my team lose another game due to poor clock management when such an easy guide is available.

In the past two weeks, I have watched several close games and seen gross errors in clock management that I would have missed had I not read your book. If you watched Notre Dame's last two games, I'm sure you recognized the errors they committed (particularly not calling defensive timeouts during Michigan's final goal line attack) that led to their JUST running out of time at the end of both those games. [See my analysis of those games at my Football Clock Management News pages.] And in yesterday's Vikings - Falcons game, the Vikings, trying to run out the clock, ran four straight dives up the middle and inexcusably left :02 for Atlanta to pull off a miracle play. They might have pulled it off had Jamal Anderson read your book and known that by allowing himself to be tackled he would lose the game. Of course, he should have instead lateralled to someone, ANYone! Bravo!"
Greg Webster, Phoenix AZ

"Great book. As a serious fan, I've enjoyed reading it so far." Chris Sowder, Arlington, VA

"Enjoyed your clock management book immensely---great ideas and obviously well researched." David Garic, Radcliff, KY

"I've been reading your great book for a month (I'm Japanese and it takes a long time for me to read a book that's written in English). This is the most wonderful football book I've ever read. There has not been a book like this, describing the importance of clock management." Ryuhei Uchida, Los Angeles, CA

"Rec'd the [Football Clock Management] book today. Thanx again, and I'm looking forward to your future football coaching publications. They've helped me tremendously these past 4 years." Lee McGuire, Hampton, VA

"I have just started reading your book, and I find it fascinating. There are so few books on the market that offer something really useful to a coach of any experience. Your book offers us new insight into managing the clock from the first score on. I assure you that everyone on my staff will be introduced to your ideas. Thank you again for your extensive research and for writing a book that an experienced coach can really sink his teeth into. I have found it to be a fascinating and very instructive experience. I hope that you will continue to add to the body of coaching knowledge with more books like this one." Mark W. Malcolm, Appollo Jr. High, Richardson, TX


"I just purchased your book today, and this is the first time I have put it down. I thought I knew a bunch about clock management, since I've been coaching high school football for 26+ years. Your book has shown me just how much I don't know. Great job!!!" Gene Shulman

"I purchased your book "Football Clock Management" last night, and I find it an eminently enjoyable and productive read. It is filled with breakdowns of many logical situations that most of us take for granted. (Which unfortunately then could lead to someone's undoing. :)" Travis Guy

"I also wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed the clock management book. Excellent job. I run a youth double wing offense and I too like to play around with the single wing and nobody in the Chicago area knows what to do with it! Keep up the good work and I am anxiously waiting to read this other book!" Bill Lawlor, Hanover Park Football Association, IL

"I'm a high school football coach in Minnesota. I recently bought your book Football Clock Management and I am learning a lot. This is only my second year coaching, but I'm learning things that would have taken me years to grasp, if ever. It is a very good book." Steve Lydon, Edina, MN

Today I am ordering two more copies of your Single Wing book for my other offensive coaches -- there is simply too much good, insightful information in there for them not to read it first hand . . . and I need them on the same page.

Again, thank you for the excellent publicatoins.  I have all the other football books now, some in multiple copies.

Wanted to drop you a quick note as I am a big proponent of the Single Wing and your GAM defense. I began coaching youth football two years ago (3-4th grade tackle) and am the GM for 3 other age group tackle programs that fall under my organization.

I put the single wing and GAM in two years ago with a team of 16 players of which 14 had never played football before.  We only won 2 games that first year,

However, our 2 wins were by over 30 points and our losses were by an avg. margin of 2pts.  In addition to head coach I am the offensive coordinator. Had I run the D we would have won most of those games.

I am proud to say that this year my team won the league championship with a record of 8-1 and we won our conf. with a record of 5-0.  The league is extremely competitive.  My team was the youngest team in the league as I have 14 of the 16 boys returning for next year.

Our Single Wing dominated teams as we averaged 33pts/game.  Our GAM defense allowed an avg of 6.6pts per game.  We had 5 shutouts in 9 games.  4 of them were in a row.

I have all of your football books and the time management book was instrumental in our Superbowl win back in Nov. We won the game 26-21 against an undefeated Cowboy team that beat us earlier in the season 29-26.  

As a former Army Airborne infantry officer I take great pride in being prepared and putting my teams in a position to compete at the highest level.

Your insight and experience have helped me in 2 short years to take a program that was floundering to one that is now being considered one of the best-run programs.  Thanks for your help.


John Sivilla