Posts of the Week
Each week, we will highlight a few entertaining and/or informative posts from the previous week. Please keep in mind that it is hard to keep track/prioritize all posts so we would welcome input from all Booties. You can make a "Bootie Selection" post as a response to any post that you deem worthy or you can email a link (to the nominated post) to me at email@example.com.
Below are the posts that made this week's list:
Subject: "SOUTH BEND, SOUTH BEND!"
With apologies to Frank and Liza...
(Sung to the tune of " New York, New York.")
Start spreadin' the news!
I'm leavin' today!
I wanna be a part of it...South Bend, South Bend!
Those darned Bootleg posts
annoy me no end!
I'll make a brand new start of it
in old South Bend!
I wanna wake up
in a city that stays asleep!
And say to Lars and his pals:
"Go take a flyin' leap!"
I told Jesse J.
"Dude, I'm not for sale.
But I'll keep all my young men
Far, far from from jail!"
If I can make it there
I may not need Kent Baer!
It's up to me.
South Bend, South Bend!
(PS: As Gerry Faust once said, "If you're hired for the wrong reason, you're bound to fail.")
Subject: Message to Recruits and their Families
As a parent of football player who went through the recruiting
"jungle" a year ago, my advice to the recruits is to do
everything you can to avoid letting the Head coaching situation
affect your decision. Focus on what is important you and your
future (a solid education and good football program). Notre Dame
was one of the schools that tried to recruit my son, and living
in the midwest made it "attractive". Our son chose
1. Stanford Football is one of the better programs in the country regardless of the headcoach, It is in the best athletic program in the country. The team is solid with great talented student atheletes who can compete for a national championship.
2. Stanford education is much better, how do I know? I have worked in colleges for the past 20 years of my career. Do not let anyone convince you that the quality of education at Notre Dame is comparable to that at Stanford.
3. Banking on having the same coaching staff throughout your college football career is as good as banking on not having snow in Alaska. Put your education and future first!! No one could guarantee that TW will be at ND thoughtout next football season.
Try to make a wise decision. Good Luck!
Subject: What Happens Next
1. First off, I am not going to do anything but wish TW well.
He took this program to new heights in his tenure, I have the
utmost respect for both the man and the coach and hopefully we
can find a way to continue to build upon the work he's done here.
2. My first priority if I'm TL would be to try and tie up Mark Wateska long term as our strength coach. He is a key guy. One of the thing that no one is talking about right now is that TW's biggest impact on the program has been improving the physicality of play, the conditioning and the mental toughness of Stanford football players. He sets the tone for all of that, but Wateska does all the dirty work. He is, simply put, the best in the business, and TW will undoubtedly try to take him with. We need to counter that and continue to build up our players. We didn't lead the conference in rushing and rushing defense by accident folks.
3. As far as hiring a new HC, my guy is Tom Williams.
I played with him, and he was as smart a player as I ever ran across. As a defensive coordinator at Hawaii, he awed people with his schemes and ability to work with LITTLE TALENT and put an effective D together. He's young, he's energetic and he's a winner. His reputation as a recruiter is excellent already and we could tie him up in a long term incentive laden deal. I don't want to bring some re-tread coach in here and I want somebody young. Tom Williams is my choice.
Poster: The Griffin
Subject: TW the Hypocrite
In my book there is no worse a human quality than hypocrisy.
The way this went down, TW is nothing short of a hypocrite. TW's
best quality as a coach was his supposed integrity, his desire to
do things the right way, the way we all hope Stanford will always
do things. That is what made him endearing to the Stanford
community. As other people have stated, it was not his on field
decision making ability rather his demeanor, even in the face of
adversity which made allowed us to rally behind him so strongly
(think Oregon this year).
At Stanford, it is not just about winning, it is about winning the right way. That is why I am proud to take my kids to the games and why I am excited when they have the opportunity to meet Stanford players around town. As a former player, I know just how special it is to be a Stanford football player. Having had the opportunity to play in the NFL, that becomes even more evident. I may not have liked all of my teammates while at Stanford, but I sure respected the heck out of every last one of them. I wish I could say the same for my teammates in the NFL.
Over the years I questioned many things about TW, but I never questioned his integrity and his loyalty (mostly to a fault in sticking with older less talented players). The way he has left Stanford makes it easier for me to see him go. He has set the table nicely, good players with the heart and desire to win and most importantly he has instilled a belief that they will win every time they step on the field. In my days at Stanford it seemed like USC and UCLA just found a way to win, they willed it to happen though they may not have been the better team. I saw that happen up at Oregon this year, we willed that victory to happen. But it is time for somebody else who truly believes that Stanford is an utterly unique football school to come in and take us the rest of the way. It is obvious that TW did not feel this way about Stanford from his awkward departure.
I have thought for years that all Stanford had to do was prove that it could win and go to bowl games every year and it would be a self fulfilling prophecy. Much as Duke has done in Basketball, except that we would keep the Standards even higher than Duke has done in BBall, more like Stanford BBall has come close to doing, we just need to get over the hump. I know this, I would not trade our basketball program for Duke's. Though I still think Duke tries better than most to do it the right way. When I was being recruited the only bad thing coaches from other schools could say about Stanford was , "yeah but they can't win there." Well TW has proven that we can win. Throw in a cozy 60,000 seat stadium with no track that is packed every Saturday and what smart kid that is also a great football player will not have Stanford at the top of his list. We are another 2 good recruiting classes away from the self fulfilling prophecy of becoming a perennial top 10 program.
We are at a crossroad, bring in a great coach and the Stanford football job will no longer be a stepping stone to a perceived greener pasture. So I say thanks and good riddance to TW, Stanford deserves better. When you take away a man's best quality as a coach, his integrity, what is left, his X's and O's. Notre Dame can have TW's X's and O's because we can certainly do better, and given the flaws in his character that have been exposed by just a little flashlight, we can do better in the integrity arena as well.
Just one man's opinion.
Subject: Why this matters and where we're heading
These recent events remind me how easy it is to suffer a love-hate relationship with college football, and how an institution like Stanford, built around great ideas and ideals, can feel uncomfortable, too. Asking a university to embrace modern college football sometimes appears like proposing that a respected US corporation become involved in pinball machines and drugs. College football has not just an ugly side, but an ugly underside. Maybe nothing more vividly demonstrates its weaknesses than the fact that for years, Ty Willingham was considered college football's paragon of virtue.
What, heaven help all of us, if this is true?
Seen as a viewer of only bright sides, I've seen the darkness here. Visit the athletic and alumni directors of Division One schools--I've done it often--and you quickly learn that football, with few exceptions, no longer wags the dog. Football is the dog. Everyone and everything else are the fleas that jump aboard, hoping they can be symbiotic. This is because football revenue does more than support other activities. Football games are the tool through which every school reaches its supporters and relieves them of huge sums of money. Football is the tool schools use to legitimize themselves, to appear worthy of mention with the most prestigious schools. Football is the tool Florida State used to be taken seriously, when nothing else at the school merited it. At most schools, the Saturday football game is just the keynote speaker at the $30,000 per person fundraiser--and the speaker better be worth every penny.
And so universities seek out unusually big, strong, and fast young men who can perform at these events, five or six times annually, and bring in the millions. The difference is that while the keynote speakers command $20,000 an hour multiplied by 100 events a year, the players receive an education--of sorts, in most cases--that may prepare them for their eventual careers--careers which, judging from the bios of former USA Today All-Americans, favor corrections officers, salesmen, or "unknown." (My guess: We don't want to know.)
In most cases, no one asks or even expects these men to graduate. At some schools, perhaps on the theory that allowing them to attend classes for free isn't enough. they don't even ask that the players write their own papers. Alums and others have seen the graduation rates and looked away, knowing that US News and World Report won't downgrade them one spot for this imperfection. These alums and administrators only hope these performers remain in school long enough to provide the entertainment--and only wins are entertaining--that reels in the money. At most schools, the football player is a unpaid fundraiser, not different from the 38D Playmate who leaps out the cake to the delight of the drunken men who slip $100's in her G-string. The celebration, the good seats, the beer, wine and lobster, and above all the win--these are there to intoxicate the guests just long enough to pry them for their money.
If you'd been present at the founding of the modern university and its early beginnings, or even been in them as late as the 1950's, and were fast-forwarded to now, you'd think we'd gone mad. It would be like returning to Rome centuries after its rise and learning that the Romans had decided its role in civilization was to promote gladiators and lions, bread and circuses.
So when I hear that Stanford University struggles with the role of football, I'm sympathetic. That doesn't mean that I agree that the answer is to play football in a field surrounded by apple crates--especially when we play baseball in a park so splendid you'd think Stanford's foremost ideals are learning, God, and the value of three-run home runs. I want young men to come here and do honor to this place, and for this place to return them that favor. We must make sure they can benefit from coming here, and then make sure they do. I don't want young men coming here because we offered the better deal and weight room--but I do want them to see that they'll be rewarded with a program and facilities that reminds them that they matter, and that anything worth doing is worth doing well--right down to almost Augusta-like perfection of the grass in our outfield.
I love this game. My absence on other Bootleg boards may indicate it is among the few games I still love. The pros have ruined every professional sport for me (Peter Angelos delivered the sledgehammer blow to baseball, which had been hanging in there.) For me, a game only works if some ideals are in place; throw those out and we might as well bring in George Steinbrenner as AD, leverage our portfolio, and see if we can't buy NCAA championships in everything. (Only Harvard has the endowment to compete with us on this, and my guess is they'd pass.)
What this means to me, finally: Anything worth doing is worth doing splendidly. That includes providing the best and most beautiful facilities (beauty is as worthwhile as anything, right there with courage and integrity) and the best training, coaching, and preparation. That includes measuring and paying what it costs to achieve those goals.
What does Stanford get it return, and represent by making this investment? Excellence. For all its darkness, I'm convinced that is value of sports: the value of seeing a task--any task--performed brilliantly. At their best, sports remind us of the heights that we can reach, and the value of the relentless use of all our gifts along the lines of excellence.
I think that is what keeps most of us coming back here. It's not the practice reports or the prospect updates or the dissections of the play-calling, but because they game matters in a bigger way, not just as a reminder of our youth or our days learning what they mean by "the magic of the grass."
Stanford has embraced this already, and can and should embrace it in every sport. This uncompromising but uncompromised devotion to excellence is a worthy goal not despite our obstacles, but because of them. Nothing worthwhile comes easily; the easy way would not be satisfying, at least to me. I'd go back to golf, my last hope for excellence with honor, along with bridge and books and runs around the lake.
We can get there from here, soon.
We are about to get a clearer sense, clearer steps, and a better man to help us get there. GR and Mick will be back, LW will actually sound optimistic, JR will be doing his Eddie George imitations, and I will be sitting back and shutting up (I know I will regret providing posters with that straight line). At that point, I will have little to say except,
Isn't this fun?
Subject: 19 THOUGHTS
1. I dont think it was all planned out for the Seattle
2. I do think TW may have had something to do with engineering OLearys downfall, albeit perhaps indirectly. I think he may have caused White to question OLeary, then find a reason to get rid of him.
3. Hulk said at least 4 players were upset. I think hes at least 80 shy of the real number.
4. I think White went from very concerned/edge of panic, to full-fledged panic, then to the ultimate realization that TW is the best job insurance hell ever have. Faced with mediocre coaching choices (in NDs eyes), it would be a PR nightmare to fire White and the media will want to extend TWs honeymoon to, say, three years, if he goes 6-5 and 6-5 in his first two years.
5. TWs keys are two: first, and foremost, his coordinators and assistants. Personally, I think hes a poor judge of them. I think he lucked into the group he has (how good they are, Ill keep to myself). If he doesnt get top-notch Xs and Os guys, hell be screwed.
6. Second key is recruiting. Notre Dame will always recruit well. Personally, Ive often wondered whether TW is a great recruiter or if his coordinators/assistants are great coordinators. And if, as I suspect, it is his coordinators who were the great recruiters then TW will have to get a great, great staff. And I dont think thats his forte. So if he gets his key Stanford assistants to come with him I think that they will do great things.
7. Funny afterthought: typically, if the head coach is not a great Xs and Os guy, and is not a great recruiter, and is not a great assembler of staffs, hes at least usually great with the media and alums. Tyrone is none of those things, although probably comes closest when assembling his staff. He also had the absolute and total luxury of what must be the lowest collective expectations (collectively) in all of D1 football, and for sure the lowest in the Pac 10.
8. Second funny afterthought. Tyrones best advantage is his ability to instill discipline and secondarily to relate to players. Much of his authority rested in his rock-solid personal core. One wonders how much damage he has done to his core in his recent poor handling of the Notre Dame hiring situation.
9. I dont blame him for leaving. Im unhappy about it. I dont like how he handled it. But I understand the lure of doubled compensation, a cheaper place to live and the challenge (such as it is) of coaching ND.
10. Part of it is that ND is one of our toughest competitors. I left a job once, for compensation that ended up to be about double what I left. The practice I left was in the dumper, the direct competitor was not only terrific but poised to ramp up quickly. My Ted Leland (boss) told me that I was the most immoral man he knew. Two futile years later, he followed me out the door.
11. Current firm another guy left, in almost exactly the same fashion as TW, virtually identical situation. He is the most reviled human being at our firm. I understand how the Booties feel.
12. Others have pointed out that TWs daughter was a senior at a Peninsula school run by the Holy Cross folks same as Notre Dame. One wonders did his daughter apply to Stanford and did she get in?
13. Really exceptionally poor integrity on TWs behalf. TW was clearly slobbering, by all accounts, for the ND job all along. His decision to play it coy early on cost him. I actually thought (and posted) at the time that his early coquettishness turned off ND and bound him for us. But when White made the panic pick, and Gruden and the other saviors were unavailable, then I became very concerned. I posted to that effect, as did GR, that I thought now, ND in general and White in particular would need to hire TW, though other board regulars disagreed. Dam it. I knew it.
14. TW brought a lot to Stanford football. He also learned a hell of a lot on Stanfords nickel. When all is said and done, he had a Davie-like record. Not the best, not the worst. Far better than the doldrums days. Not as good as the best days.
15. He wont be there in four years. I really doubt it. I honestly think that theres about a 20% chance that hell be there in four years. I dont think hell get to the NFL he really lacks what they need. Ill make my TW/ND over/under 2.5 years.
16. Finally, I have to say it one last time TWs strengths really mixed well with Stanfords needs, and his weaknesses were a non-issue for Stanford. Incidentally, I work with someone who, whenever she opens her mouth, I know that 1/3 of the time she will say something foolish, 1/3 of the time it will be pedestrian but 1/3 of the time it is sheer brilliance. While I wouldnt ascribe that exact ratio to Glenn Dickey, I would say that his article on the TW to ND story was accurate.
17. Anyway, hes gone and hes a memory. On to bigger and brighter things. The recruiting season will be one of the finest in years. It will work out great. I think the yield over prospects will fill out the recruiting season well. I know LW mentioned that we should only fill out those scholarships who are awesome, whether or not that comes to all available scholarships or not but lets face it, any coach coming in will fill out ALL scholarships no matter what.
18. We also need a great coach. My instincts say Murphy would be a good one, though I dont know about his D1 recruiting abilities. He would be my choice. Riley? Ron Turner? Dave Baldwin? Dont know. Not really sure. I hope we get someone with the qualities of TW.
19. And lastly, GR goes and so does Mick. A twofer