Here are a couple of stories that have nothing to do with each other, besides reminding us that some of these kids we hover over and pass judgment on as they make decisions about where they’ll spend the next four years of their lives come from places that are so different from our comfortable middle class backgrounds as to be almost impossible for us to comprehend.
There are some kids like Montez Robinson…
Robinson was born in Alabama, but since he was a young child, he had been a ward of the state. With eight younger siblings, he was thrust into the role of an adult early on, and his hard work and determination on the football field has been just a small piece of what he has accomplished in his life, Garner said.
“Here’s a kid that came from a very difficult set of circumstances, but yet he was able to rise up and is going to be able to do something special with his life,” Garner said.
… and there are some kids like Billey Joe Johnson.
… Piles of recruiting letters litter the back seat, the remnants of life as one of the most sought-after running backs in the Class of 2010. Alabama wanted Billey Joe. So did Notre Dame. And dozens of other schools. He was ready to commit to Auburn. By many accounts Billey Joe was a popular, big-dreaming, clean-living kid. So it’s no wonder his father stands in the yard next to a single-wide trailer, trying to play forensic expert. Searching – like many in this rural community – for answers about who shot his son.
Local authorities stopped Billey Joe for a traffic violation on the morning of Dec. 8, and they say the truck is simply the site of a terrible tragedy. But to the elder Johnson, it’s a crime scene.
Nearly two months later, only one fact is certain: Instead of running out of George County as a football hero, Billey Joe was buried beneath it at the age of 17.
There’s no rhyme or reason to any of this, why one kid makes it and one kid doesn’t. Or what path either of them took to get where he did. But maybe we should cut ’em all a little more slack than we do sometimes as we get wrapped up in the hype of the recruiting chase.
What is it with noob coaches bitching about negative recruiting these days?
Now it’s Rich Rodriguez and his staff who are whining.
… “There’s more and more negative recruiting all across the board than there’s ever been,” coach Rich Rodriguez said. “There’s always been some, but to the level to which they go now is probably heightened, and I think it’s because of the coaches feeling that they have to do that to get a young man. I don’t think you have to.”
Michigan quarterbacks coach Rod Smith , who played a key role in much of the recruiting, said he experienced a great deal of negative recruiting.
“It’s sad, it really is, but at the same time it’s out there,” he said. “It’s some people’s tactics. To me, if you’ve got to bash someone, you’re hiding something you don’t want to reveal.”
Smith offered some examples of negative recruiting.
• “Everybody talks about the weather — that got worn out.”
The best thing about this? The weather really did suck this year for recruits.
The weather failed to cooperate during some of Michigan’s key recruiting weekends.
“It seemed like every weekend we had here in January, it was either the record coldest January or biggest snowfall in January,” coach Rich Rodriguez said. “A couple of (the recruits), I told them, ‘Can you believe it snowed here in Ann Arbor? Its the first time in five years in January.’ I don’t think they believed me.”
Can you believe it snowed here in Ann Arbor? In January? What was he telling kids before he got them to take their visits – that it was just like south Florida without the palm trees?
First, it goes without saying that as a Georgia fan, I don’t have a dog in this whole Kiffin-Meyer, Kiffin-Saban hunt, but for me as a college football blogger, Lane Kiffin is manna from heaven. Best of all, he’s just getting warmed up. So when I use the word “final” in the post header, rest assured it’s just a reference to the current fooferaw. With regard to Junior, I feel certain that this is the beginning of a bee-yoo-tee-full relationship.
Anyway, here’s some stuff to chew on, some of it serious, some not so much:
- For all the talk about the resumes of the guys LK has taken on with this, don’t forget that Junior’s got a pretty good one, too. How many coaches can say that by age 33, they’ve been the head coach of an NFL franchise and a major SEC program? I can see why the guy is a little cocky.
- That being said, doesn’t Junior bear a somewhat eerie resemblance to George W. Bush at this point? (Not politically speaking, of course.) Both used their daddies and connections to move up the ladder with a series of gigs that neither proved particularly adept at. If this doesn’t strike you as Junior’s “bring it on” moment, I don’t know what will. And it’s likely to have the same effect: great theater for the true believers, an invitation that will be accepted by the ones it was directed at.
- I think I underestimated the blow to the collective ego of the Volunteer fan base that the last few years of the Fulmer regime delivered. But judging from the almost universal adoration Junior has received from Urnge Nayshun, at least as evidenced by what I’ve seen posted on the Vol message boards, it’s pretty clear that he hasn’t. That’s smart on his part, but at some point in time he’ll have to replace the bravado with wins and titles, won’t he?
- Seriously, Vol fans, give this whole “the SEC is skeered of Lane Kiffin” stuff a rest. People slow down all the time to look at car wrecks. That doesn’t mean they’re afraid of the guy who crashed his three year old Volvo fourteen year old Chevy pickup with the busted tail light.
- HeismanPundit – well played, sir.
- I realize that Meyer is likely buried in a rewrite of his latest book with a new chapter being written entirely in third person references to himself and thus unable to respond, but why, oh why, haven’t we heard from the GPOOE™ by now?
- Oh, about that apology – “if I offended anyone“? If? You mean you’re not sure if calling someone out in public as a cheat would offend them? That’s lame, brother.
- For those of you who have been cracking jokes about which question Junior missed on the recruiting test, don’t you know that Spurrier hates it when you steal his material?
- And for those of you who don’t see any difference between Junior’s comments and The Celebration, at least Mark Richt’s move was directed at lighting a fire under his team so it would play hard. Junior’s likely set his team up for a couple of ass whippings this year just to get a rise out of the fans seven months before the season starts.
- I can’t wait to see what Eric Berry decides to do with his career after this season’s over, particularly if UT only wins six or seven games. If he turns pro, how much credit do you think the Kiffins try to claim for themselves for his success?
That’s all for now anyways.
UPDATE: Jerry, over at The Joe Cribbs Car Wash, has the perfect Auburn perspective on this.
… but forgive me Vol fans, for the time being I’m glad to have the leagues’ new successful-coordinator-but-poor-head-coaching-record head coach who’s got his coachin’ head down and out of the way.