Daily Archives: February 23, 2009

Leadership as a Rorschach blot

I feel certain that this post by David Hale is going to get a lot of attention from the Dawgnation, and with good reason.  Anyone that follows the program closely would have to admit that last season was disappointing and when things don’t go as planned, everybody wants an autopsy of the body.

That being said, it’s easy to read all sorts of hidden agendas and meanings into these players’ comments about what went wrong in the locker room last year.  And I’m sure we’ll see all manner of speculation about that (it’ll be interesting to see if this is a topic that Jeff Owens explores on his blog).  What I do think we have to be careful about here is reading more into the criticism about what was lacking than is merited.  Any way you want to look at the leadership issue, there’s still an underlying factor that involves every member of the program peering into a mirror for at least some of the answers.

My two cents on this whole thing hasn’t changed.  I think this team – players and coaches – fell in love with the level of talent in the program and that was reflected in the approach that was taken in preparing mentally and emotionally for the season.  There was an abiding faith that this team was truly special at the offensive skill positions and good enough everywhere else to succeed.  The failure to develop a mental edge and the injuries combined to prove that attitude wrong.

I’ve never been in the locker room, so I don’t want to go off the deep end here, but it’s apparent that chemistry counts.  So does focus.  If this team learns nothing else from last year than the realization that nothing good in life comes easily, that’ll be a great head start on being relevant in the SEC East this season.

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Filed under Georgia Football, The Blogosphere

Funny what mediocrity does to a guy.

I could hardly believe my eyes when I read this this morning:

… Spurrier pulled the prized prospect into his office and, during a lengthy conversation, let him take a peak at his Heisman trophy and many championship rings. Spurrier also let Shaw know that the admiration was mutual.

“South Carolina is bringing in a little more of shotgun offense with a zone read, and [Spurrier] said that I would pretty much be a perfect fit for that system. He said that I was the guy they wanted, and that was pretty cool hearing that from … one of college football’s greatest coaches.”

Steve Spurrier is going to the zone read. That’s like George Bush proposing a national takeover of the financial sector… oops, wait a minute.  Anyway, you get my point.  It’s almost sacreligious.

Of course, the OBC could be blowing smoke up the kid’s derriere.

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Filed under Recruiting, The Evil Genius

Thanks, but no thanks, Mountain West.

I suppose it’s understandable to see the Mountain West’s current effort to rejigger the BCS formula to include more participation from non-BCS conferences as cut from the same cloth as the insurrection that Tulane’s president led a few years ago to get those same conferences a seat at the table.  That plucky-band-of-revolutionaries-aiming-to-change-the-system-for-the-betterment-of-all-men stuff usually plays well in America.

Certainly that’s how the Mountain West wants it portrayed.

“I think the way the system is set up right now, it’s rigged,” Colorado State University athletic director Paul Kowalczyk said. “It’s a situation where the rich get richer, and there are consequences for the programs that are not involved in the BCS revenue sharing. It doesn’t just affect football; it affects all of our sports and, in the end, all of our student-athletes. It sets up to some degree a caste system.”

Interestingly, not everybody is buying the narrative, though.

… Regardless, as people applaud the conference as forward-thinking and actively moving toward a new system, they are completely missing the point. The MWC simply wants into the party it said it never wanted to be a part of. You can’t blame them. Their success has made them look at it, well, the way the BCS conferences do. Whether they get in won’t change the message that they are sending, though.

To the other non-BCS schools the MWC is saying, “If we are invited, don’t expect us to keep hanging out with you.”

Dennis Dodd says much the same thing.

Even more interestingly, it sounds like conferences such as the Sun Belt would like to tell the Mountain West to piss off when it comes to this proposal.

Wright Waters doesn’t want the Mountain West to get the seventh automatic BCS bid.

The Sun Belt Commissioner said that if the BCS had seven automatic bids, it would shut the rest of the non-automatic qualifying schools out of potential BCS bowls.

“There are only 10 slots,” Waters said. “If you go from six to seven automatic qualifiers then you’re filling three at-large spots rather than four. And when you’ve only got four, every one of them is important. I am not in favor of a seventh automatic qualifying team.”

Waters knows what’s hanging over every non-BCS conference’s head with threats like the Mountain West’s:  the risk that at the end of the day the big boys pick up their football and go home with it.

“I don’t know what [the Mountain West's] plan is and any time you take on a project of this magnitude, you better have a really good exit strategy because at the end of the day, the BCS is still a voluntary organization. Our leagues volunteer to be part of it. I think when you join a club, you also subscribe to the club’s rules.”

That’s something Congress ought to keep in mind, too.

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UPDATE: This ain’t no Three Musketeers scenario.

Western Athletic Conference Commissioner Karl Benson was the only commissioner from a non-automatic qualifying conference on Craig Thompson’s conference call last Friday.

And he hung up early.

After Thompson, the Mountain West Conference commissioner, explained that his plight was only for his own conference and not the rest of the non-automatic qualifying schools, a computer voice came over the line that said Benson had left the conference.

It wasn’t intentional. Benson left the teleconference early because he was on vacation with family and friends, but the tone his abrupt departure set was not unlike the feeling he and his counterparts felt when they heard of Thompson’s visit to Capitol Hill…

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, It's Just Bidness

No room for Leach

One last observation on the Leach contract, from John Pennington at MrSEC.com, that I mention because I got a good chuckle out of it.  In talking about the spin of who approached whom with regard to certain SEC head coaching positions being open recently, Pennington notes

… These things get spun in any number of directions, of course.  Tennessee and Auburn sources would tell you that Leach approached them and they weren’t interested.  Leach’s people would tell you that he was approached by those schools.

(Personally, I think it’s a good thing Leach didn’t wind up at one of those schools.

Face it, there’s no way Auburn would turn to a spread offense after the failed Tony Franklin experiment… and a program like Tennessee would never want some loose-cannon as their head coach, running around saying God knows what.)

Boy, how things change…

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Filed under Mike Leach. Yar!, SEC Football, The Blogosphere