Football Forensics: The Silence Of The Fans

When Mike McGee pulled-off what some called, 'The College Football Coup of the Century' in 1999 by hiring former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz away from CBS, it was understood by the fans that Holtz would bring 'old fashioned football' to the SEC's sleeping giant known as USC East. Was all of that nothing more than a mirage? A smoke and mirrors tactic to cover an inadequate decision making process ...

Something is amiss in Gamecock Land these days. USC boosters in the Palmetto State are screaming in silence. Proud children of a forlorn program taking their medicine from a parent who keeps telling them it is for their own good. Medicine that goes down hard, smells rotten and tastes worse.

Lou Holtz force-feeds Gamecock fans their yearly doses. He does it with a joke and a smile. Or at least that's been his modus operandi in past seasons. Fans can either open-up and say ahhhh, or risk a Louish repercussion. Classic Lou fallout would see one of his patented silent-treatment temper tantrums complete with unspoken threats to leave. Of course this "tantrum" would be in the name of better health - for their D-I SEC football team. In medical terms, this team is in serious need of a transfusion. It must be something akin to being married to a trophy babe that long ago lost her luster. Her beauty now faded, there are times you grimace at the very sight of her. You may not want her but you sure don't want anyone else to have her either. You're reluctant to let her go. Only her snobby, snooty, haughtiness remains. She is no longer the prettiest girl at the party and now, she's not even nice to live with. Divorce is always an option though you fear the hissy fit which will certainly go along with it. Face it, you're in a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation.

That's got to be what it is like having Holtz at the helm of your football program. Nothing new, it has always been that way. Lou needs to embrace change. He is no longer the prettiest coach on the block. Yet Gamecock fans do not relish the thought of his leaving them. Even those that acknowledge Lou's "same-old-same-old" approach are, too loyal and trusting for their own good. They are a strange lot, these Iron Fans of college football. Many are grateful for the two Outback Bowl victories and several highly rated recruiting classes later. Holtz shows flashes of old brilliance, a hint that he still has it in him. And it seems to be this glimmer of greatness just out of reach, that keeps the fans by his side. But Le Coach Antique is not a marathon runner - never was. He's a sprinter in the business - a mad-dasher in a 10K race rounding the 5K mark and gasping for air - only half way there ... the finish line a championship.

It is obvious that Coach Holtz must reconnect with everything within his light. He must reconnect with his fans, those that love him and those that hate him, (too few in-between to count), his players, (they need to know that the old man practices what he preaches), his son Skip, (a man who sacrificed all for the love of his father and has now endured more than any son should have to in the shadow of a living legend) as well as the new coaching staff, (to exude confidence in their abilities). It will take no less than an enormous gulp of his own bitter pride for Lou to illustrate his wisdom and willingness to leave a legacy befitting an accomplished man of his stature. It will take a very wise and accepting Lou Holtz to allow the transition/transfusion to take place, ever so slowly and fluidly. A graceful shift in a gentle breeze amidst the harbinger of hot and impatient southern gridiron winds. A calming of the brimstone blowing from the silence of the fans, the qualms of the players and the chaffing agitations of a highly toxic and obnoxious media.

So with this opening declaration a mandate has been issued to forensically examine, piece by piece, the life-style changes necessary to benefit the USC program's health. Today's will be followed by Monday's, a QB piece, and so on and so forth until a conclusion is reached by season's first whistle. You be the judge.

- Todd
The Forensic Footballer

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