I really wasn’t going to comment on the B. J. Coleman situation because it’s to be expected that there’s always a group of kids that leave a program in the wake of a change at head coach and I didn’t find the news anything out of the ordinary.
Until I read this article about his departure in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, that is.
This is the quote that I had seen previously…
“It’s the best move for me,” the former McCallie School star said. “What changed my mind is, after this spring, I don’t see myself getting a fair shake. Based on conversations with coaches and things that happened this spring, I feel the staff has goals that do not include me…”
and it’s the kind of quote you see all the time from kids in Coleman’s situation.
But the article goes on to note that Coleman met with Junior and his position coach to ask for an assessment of his future with the program, got blown off twice about a follow up meeting for an answer and then met with the athletic director.
From there, it turned ugly, at least according to Coleman and his high school coach.
… After meeting with athletic director Mike Hamilton and the UT compliance office, Coleman returned to Kiffin’s office later Thursday afternoon to inform the coach of his decision to leave. According to Coleman, Kiffin became agitated.
However, Thursday evening a university athletic department spokesperson said he was unaware of the finality of Coleman’s decision.
“That’s hard to believe,” said Ralph Potter, who coached Coleman at McCallie and now is the athletic director and football coach at Brentwood Academy. “I know for a fact that B.J. met with Mike Hamilton, the director of football operations and Coach Kiffin and told all of them he wanted his release to separate himself from the team so he could pursue other options.
“I heard that directly from B.J. before and after Thursday’s meeting.”
Hey, at least it wasn’t Coach O who “became agitated”.
In his defense, the kid had a pretty good spring, especially compared to his competition for the position.
… In the three spring scrimmages that were treated as game situations and played in Neyland Stadium, Coleman was a combined 41-of-60 for 425 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
By comparison, Crompton was a combined 31-of-70 for 324 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Rising junior Nick Stephens, who missed much of the spring work with a broken right wrist, was 13-of-25 for 159 yards and two TDs.
So why the brush off? Coleman has an explanation for that, too.
“I believe the reason I wasn’t moved up is because it would hurt them in recruiting if they name a sophomore as their starter,” Coleman said. “Some of the high school guys they’re recruiting might not want to go where they think they’ll have to sit for a couple of years…”
“They” really means “he”.
“It’s been frustrating to hear Coach Kiffin talk about how the quarterbacks have struggled so much this spring when I knew I didn’t. It seemed like, for Coach Kiffin, the day was based on how Jonathan does.”
Ouch. I can’t wait to hear the damage control on this puppy. If Junior’s been surprised at the level of negative recruiting he’s faced to date, wait ’til the competition gets ahold of this story and uses it on the recruiting trail.