Category Archives: College Football

Chris Petersen is smarter than the rest of us

I have always admired Chris Petersen.  Nobody has done more with less, first at Boise State and now at Washington.  Then I read this article, and I have even more respect for him.

Chris Petersen does not have “yellers” on his staff:

We’re trying to develop self-esteem out there, and that is a really hard thing to do. Because it’s usually never quite good enough. It’s a fine line, to really bring the intensity on the field and demand a standard. You have to be a really skilled coach to understand that. But we’re never going to scream at our guys, that’s not how we do it.”

I personally hate the phrase “self-esteem” but I agree with Petersen’s point.  I understand that “yelling” is considered a part of sports, but it should be limited to when you really have to use it.

Let me define yelling.  I do not mean simply raising your voice and telling someone to hustle.  I mean screaming and m-fing people.  Being vicious.

If you’re a coach who is yelling all the time, your athletes might start tuning you out.  If everything is so important that you have scream, then nothing is.  In my opinion, there are two types of kids:

Kid A – This is a sensitive kid. If you yell at him/her, it will upset them.  They will be so upset that you’re yelling that they won’t hear your message.

Kid B – This kid has a little more swagger.  You scream at this kid, and s/he just tunes you out.  You’re probably pissing him off.

Either way, the coach loses his/her “teachable moment.”  The first thing a coach is is a teacher.  If you’re not communicating to your students, you are done.

Finally and most importantly, if you really beat up your kids verbally for ticky-tack crap, you will lose them.  Nobody wants to be mother-f-ed all the time.  Your team will not work for you.  Why would they fight for a coach who berates them when the unknown successor might treat them better?

Let’s watch Notre Dame this season.

 

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Oh no!

After a more than two-year break from this blog, my child is more self-sufficient, and I’ve grown accustomed to her poor sleep habits.  That is not the reason I’m writing today.  It’s because I have to make a comment on these kids who are skipping their bowl games.

They say it is to “focus on the NFL Draft” this April.  Okay.  Let’s call a spade a spade.  Just say you don’t want to get hurt.  I’m sure Willis McGahee will understand. 

Overall, I agree with Miami Head Coach Mark Richt, who calls it “sad.”  If nothing else, I think it’s a really (pardon my french) shitty thing to do to your teammates, university and fanbase. 

I don’t get how you sign a scholarship and get away with this crap. This is a slippery slope.  Sam Darnold, the stud redshirt freshman QB at USC, is an almost-guaranteed first-round draft pick once he is eligible.  Next year, can he say, “Hey Clay (Helton), I might get hurt vs. Washington and it will hurt my draft stock.  I’m sitting out.”

Playing in the bowl game is the right thing to do, but I can see the other side.  Coaches ditch their teams for greener pastures all the time, and an interim coaches the bowl game.  Nick Saban made a good point too when he said the bowl games are being devalued.  At least Willis was playing for a national title.  No player wants to blow out his knee at the Toilet Bowl.  I’m digressing,  but there are too many bowl games.  OMG.  Bowls used to be a privilege for teams that had outstanding seasons.   I think we have a 5-7 team in a bowl game this year.  5-7, 6-6, 7-5, and even 8-4 teams should not be in bowl games.  Having formerly worked in athletics, I understand the coaches want the extra practices but come on.

In Willis’ interview with TMZ, he mentioned that he’s played for four pro teams,  but his college team at The U is where his loyalty lies.  The reason the 2000-3 Miami teams were so great (besides sick talent) was that they believed in something bigger than themselves.  Now, it’s all about ME.  There is no loyalty anymore.  This is a result of society worshiping sixteen year olds on social media, among other things.  Ken Dorsey, Willis McGahee, Ed Reed, etc. were lucky not to have this problem.

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This is Too Good Not to Share

The 2001 Miami Hurricanes Football team was, no doubt, the greatest assembly of talent of ALL TIME.  Read this article that came out today on FOXSPORTS and see all the names affiliated with this team.  A couple of observations from the article:andre ken

1. I love the part about them beating up the Gators on and off the field prior to the 2000 Sugar Bowl.  Classic.

2. The fact that the University of Miami administration let Butch Davis leave for Cleveland over so minor a contract issue is unforgivable.  I’ve been saying it for years.  He wanted to stay.

3. The leadership on this team was outstanding.  They would not allow themselves to lose.

The article was quite long but was worth every minute.  While there will never be a team like this again, I hope Miami can be restored to its former glory.  This article made me proud to be a Hurricane again.

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Egg on Their Face…Again

The bowl ban against the Penn State football program was lifted this past Monday to the joy of some and the dismay of others.  While Jerry Sandusky’s crimes were the most atrocious in college football history, the NCAA should have kept its nose out of the entire thing.  While I’m no lawyer, the Penn State case was a criminal one over which the NCAA should have no jurisdiction.

What is the role of the NCAA?  I always thought it was to protect amateurism and keep things fair in athletic competition.  By inserting itself in the Penn State case, the NCAA has said that Miami’s boats and hoes, Reggie Bush, and academic misconduct at UNC are worse than child abuse, the ultimate crime.  Miami was in NCAA purgatory for three years over dink and dunk charges.  USC made major compliance changes and their AD appealed the loss of thirty scholarships.  All this over ONE player and the worst violations were in men’s basketball!  But, the NCAA dismissed Pat Haden and told him to suck it up (main because the previous AD, Mike Garret dared to stand up to the NCAA.  I say good for him).  All the NCAA had to do was keep out of the Penn State scandal, and they would not be receiving the criticism they are today.  Side note:  I also like how they released the Penn State news the same day the NFL got egg on its face for its handling of the Ray Rice situation.

Now, some want the NCAA to come down on Famous Jameis, but they won’t because it is a criminal/civil case (and the Tallahassee Police Department has show itself to be so transparent).  I guess things have changes since the Penn State scandal in 2011.  And Jameis is good for college football right now.  Prior to Jameis, Johnny Football and Cam Newton were quickly exonerated in scandals that affected their amateurism (which is what the NCAA is supposed to patrol).  In the case of Johnny (one-half suspension, BFD), he admitted it with his subsequent behavior (see below).

johnny I guess the point of this is why are some more equal than others?

 

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Not Impressed

I have delayed posting on this topic as I feel very strong about it and would hate to put into writing something I would regret.  Over two weeks later, I think I have composed myself.

The subject is the new football uniforms for the University of Miami.  The tagline is “Respect the past.  Represent the future.”  Unfortunately, there is little respect for the past shown and UM has allowed for Nike to impact its tradition.  I’m not impressed.

I was taught that before giving criticism, one ought to give three praises.  I like the orange jersey (with white or green pants and the traditional U helmet).  I like the green one (with white or orange pants and the traditional helmet).  I can live with the white one, although it looks like South Florida.  I am pleased that the traditional white helmet will be a part of the rotation, although it should have NEVER been messed with in the first place.

I am not a fan of the “orange crush” or orange-on-orange look.  Secondly, I strongly dislike the smoke gray uniforms.  When did gray become a Miami color?  If I turned on TV and saw this uniform, I don’t know if I would recognize it as “The U.”

I am horrified by the alternate helmets.  Just disgusted.  Again, the helmet should have NEVER been touched.

The whole new uniform package has forty-eight combinations.  Who cares?  Let’s take one of college football’s most known brands and make it unrecognizable.  The whole thing looks like something Oregon would do.  Why would The U try to look like Oregon?  Oregon has never won anything and would love to have the tradition of Miami.

I understand there are uniform upgrades to incorporate the “latest Nike technology.”  I understand that recruits might like this.  I also understand that the kids on the current Miami team have been through a lot the last few years with the NCAA investigation, but I don’t think that gives license to screw with tradition.  Maybe I’m a dinosaur and should embrace the new identity, but I can’t.  Why do USC, Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State (to name a select few – not talking about the once per season deal) not feel the need to do this?  This isn’t about looking “fresh;” it’s about representing a tradition bigger than you.  It’s like new money vs. old money.  Although Miami is a newer university, it has had unprecedented success in college football over the past thirty years.  Act like it.  If you ask me, this is all about pandering to egos.

So, in the meantime, I will continue to cheer for the ‘Canes, but I’ll be wearing my Ken Dorsey circa 2001 jersey.  Those teams wanted to represent The U tradition and kick butt on the field, and that’s why they were great.

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Loyalty

I have always liked Duke Johnson.  That’s not just because he is an exciting football player.  I like him even more because he is a man of his word.  In a world where you can be “30% committed” (that’s like being a little pregnant) to a university, Duke committed to play at the University of Miami back in a time when there was a lot of uncertainty around the program.  Who was going to be the coach?  What was going on with this rumored NCAA investigation?  Would the Canes ever return to their former glory?  It is known that rival coaches used these points to try to turn him away from his commitment, but Duke shut them down.  He had given his word.  Miami was his team, and he was going to stand with The U through thick and thin.  I find that admirable in a society where loyalty is no longer valued.

We live in a “me” society right now, and I’m using sports as my vehicle to discuss it.  I get that people need to take care of themselves first, but I feel there is a real disregard for the values that we should have.  Our beloved NFL is willing to make money through any means possible, but they aren’t willing to stand by the men who sacrifices their brains and bodies to play the game.  That’s one of the main reasons I’m not as invested in pro sports, especially Major League Baseball.  Everyone seems to sell to the highest bidder, but that should hardly be surprising anymore.  I’m not a huge fan of Hines Ward, but I respect the guy for retiring rather than becoming a washed-up journeyman (I’m looking at you, Brett).  “I will remain a Steeler for life,” Ward said at his retirement announcement.  You just don’t see that anymore, across any profession.

In early 2011, I had a pretty good shot at a position that would have paid much better and been a lot less stressful  than the one I held at the time.  I removed my name from consideration because a) I realized there was a good chance we would be moving when Eric finished medical school the next year and didn’t want  to give my word that I would be there when I most likely wouldn’t and b) I wanted to show loyalty to a coach who I believed in.  With the benefit of hindsight, it would have been better for me professionally to have pursued the new position, but I didn’t do it because I felt connected to something.  Crazily, I felt so loyal to The U that I have said that I will never work in college athletics again (among other reasons).  And I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

People just aren’t loyal to each other anymore, even within families.  Look a the parents who put their children second, third or not at all rather than first.  “Having it all” is more important than loyalty and doing what is right.

I believe that we are all only as good as our word.  That is why I am so careful about my commitments.  I cannot tell you the number of times, in both my personal and professional lives, when someone has flaked on a commitment.  If I say I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it.  Sometimes, things happen, and if I can’t do something I said I would, I’m going to let you know.  Even if that something is really simple, like ‘I’ll call you Wednesday afternoon.”  You can bet your bottom dollar I will call you sometime Wednesday afternoon!

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A Tale of Two Coaches

This is the tale of two coaches.  This one: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20140108/bobby-petrino-louisville-jurich-win-now/ and this one: http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/bruce-feldman/24372078/despite-being-cleared-in-unc-scandal-davis-still-waiting-for-next-gig

The first one was the head coach at the University of Arkansas (more recently Western Kentucky) and is an excellent coach.  This post isn’t really about him.  Coach Petrino was taken down by a motorcycle crash that included a young football office employee with whom he was having an affair.  It was revealed that he gave this young woman a $20,000 cash gift and that she received preferential treatment in the hiring process.  All this happened in the spring of 2012.  In 2013, Petrino was hired by Western Kentucky in his coaching comeback.  Last week, it was announced he would be the new head coach at Louisville, where he had previously been head coach from 2003-2006 (so much for loyalty to WKU).

Bruce Feldman tweeted “Save it with the talk abt how this is a “second chance” for Bobby Petrino.  His rep as a world class creep came from yrs of bad behavior.”  I guess that includes him bailing on the Atlanta Falcons thirteen games into he season to coach Arkansas.  Regardless, I believe in “second chances,” and it would be wonderful to see Petrino as a changed man.  “Hate the sin, not the sinner,” the say.  The one thing I don’t understand is why the second coach, Butch Davis, has gotten no such “second chance” (he really hasn’t done much wrong).

Coach Davis was the mastermind behind the greatest assembly of talent of ALL TIME, the Miami Hurricanes of the early 2000s.  He was the coach there from 1995-2000 and resurrected the Hurricanes from some of the worst sanctions in NCAA history.  The talent he recruited won two national championships (and should have played for a third) and held modern college football’s longest winning streak.  His quarterback, the one that was too skinny and not gifted enough for everybody else, went 39-1 as a starter (had to get my Dorsey plug in).  The majority of the Miami talent you see in the NFL today was his doing.  He left a bad taste in Miami fans’ mouths when he left for the NFL, but it turns out the whole issue was about a buyout clause.

After a failed NFL gig, Coach Davis landed on his feet at UNC.  The NFL talent he recruited to Carolina was unprecedented.  They were probably two seasons away from making a BCS bowl and were becoming regular contenders in the ACC.  Then, Coach Davis was fired in the summer of 2011.  There was an NCAA scandal involving improper benefits provided to UNC players by and agent via a rogue coach.  Then, there was a second investigation involving a tutor and academic misconduct.  This could have been really bad, however, Davis was cleared of any wrongdoing.  After the investigation, it would be shown that this was a widespread problem at UNC, not a football-specific issue.  I find Bruce Feldman to be very credible, and it sound like Davis had worked through these issues with the administration at UNC and was blindsided by the firing.

“There have been guys that get re-hired, who have had affairs,” Davis said to Feldman.  “Guys get re-hired that have trouble with kids and the NCAA.  Guys have gotten in trouble for being drunk, but the minute you say academics and football coach, it’s like you have leprosy.  People are terrified that I had anything to do with it, but I didn’t.  The NCAA even said as much, and I have a letter from the NCAA saying that.”

The aforementioned letter says, “This is to confirm that former University of North Carolina head football coach Paul “Butch” Davis was not alleged to have been involved in any violations of NCAA legislation in the University of North Carolina Case.” Three football seasons have passed, and Davis is still sitting on the sidelines (he was a special assistant in Tampa Bay but it sounds like he would have preferred to coach).  Davis wasn’t even given the NCAA’s dreaded show-cause penalty.  I honestly don’t understand how universities are looking past this talented, proven coach (probably for cheap!) but are willing to look past major character flaws in other coaches.  Heck, the assistant coach in the recent Miami scandal (who has a show-cause penalty) is still employed by Louisville.  Just this week, the new regime at Louisville told a commit that they were no longer honoring his commitment for no apparent reason (you don’t screw with kids, in my opinion).  I guess having your name mentioned in an academic scandal is worse than having a history of poor decision-making and unethical behavior…at least at Louisville.

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