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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below are the posts that made this week's list:
Subject: Live by the sword, die by the sword
Willingham made his reputation as a stand-up guy who said what
he meant and meant what he said. And when he wasn't saying
anything, he was always given the benefit of the doubt
because...well, because he was a standup guy. A few major
shortcomings were overlooked because of this overall character
Criticism of TW now comes in two basic flavors:
1)The Conspiracy Theory--what-did-he-know-and-when-did-he-know-it timeline kind of stuff. The mysterious Notre Dame jet in Seattle before the Seattle Bowl. Did one of the new, improved Notre Dame regime immediately turn around and contact a kid who previously was "perfect for Stanford" and try to convince him that he was "perfect for Notre Dame"? During the official no-contact period as well? That kind of stuff. It's mostly circumstantial, but circumstantial evidence has put more than a few people behind bars.
2)Conduct Unbecoming a Guy Who Received Blessings-- One could argue that Ty is so good he was inevitable. If not at Stanford than somewhere else. But history is on Stanford's side. We DID give him the opportunity to become, singlehandedly, 25% of all the afro american college coaches in the U.S. And when he put together some stinker seasons Stanford stood behind him...because he was a standup guy. But when time came to cut and run TW forgot the manners his momma taught him. He didn't say thank you. Seriously. Coaches who leave for better jobs do it all the time. They thank the institution and people who gave them the opportunity and they do it because they have an appreciation of how much the breaks in life dictate the outcome of affairs. TW, apparently, has no such appreciation although a football coach, of all people, certainly should. He could have put in ONE sentence. One simple sentence in his ND press conference that wouldn't have detracted one bit from Notre Dame's glory. He didn't. Nor has he ever. And finally, he treated his players like pawns in his career game. Disingenuousness face-to-face with a few of them and, afterwards-- total disregard for guys sold out for him and his program. He may yet communicate with them, but it's all damage control. We have seen what he is.
And it's probably wise for domers not to treat this as Stanford's little hissy-fit, something that has nothing to do with you. From now on, win-or-lose, you will never know what is going behind that stony, impassive face, those information-lite answers. Is he thinking of jumping to the Vikings or Tennessee Titans? The stand-up-guy won't give you a clue. And when he does talk we all know already what his public pronouncements are worth. Worse, ND fans have made it clear that buy-in to tradition, reverence and appreciation of ND as an institution are essential for any ND coach to succeed. Now you have graphic evidence that TW doesn't really think like that, no matter what his lips are saying. He's all about his own iron agenda, and that doesn't involve getting warm and fuzzy about Touchdown Jesus. Good luck. This former TW supporter doesn't hate him, but I see his conduct with clear eyes...and hope we get to play a large part in his reversal of fortune.
Poster: Roble Hall
Subject: Cal fan behavior and the culture of resentment
From reading all of the accounts of last night's post-game
fracas, it's clear that some Cal fan (or fans) whacked Julius
Barnes in the head. In addition, Barnes and Chris Hernandez got
pushed, shoved and/or punched, and they had people grabbing their
In 1999, Cal fans attacked police at the Big Game, throwing bottles and other stuff at them.
In 1998, Cal fans tried to break through the double line of security guards that was shielding the Stanford fans at one end of the field after the Big Game. Punches were thrown, security guards were knocked down.
In 1997, Cal fans rushed the field and tore down the goalposts -- which was notable because Cal LOST, and the game was on Stanford's field. So it wasn't celebration, it was just destruction.
In 1996, a mob of Cal students (incited by the "mic man") rushed the field after the Big Game and ripped the Tree costume to shreds, roughing up the guy who wore the costume.
In 1993, Cal students rushed the field at Stanford after the Big Game and ripped up the turf.
In 1992, a group of Cal students attacked Stanford's flag runner at the end of the Big Game.
Many times over the last few years, Cal students have harrassed Stanford fans in the area of Memorial Stadium, threatening them and throwing stuff at them.
On several occasions, Cal fans have run on the field to attack the Stanford Band and/or the Tree.
* * * *
So we have a long history of violence and destruction by Cal students. I do not buy the idea that "both sides are at fault." Stanford fans/students have been guilty of taunting and crude behavior, but they have not been guilty of violence and destruction. I do not recall instances in which Stanford students attacked Cal's players, mascot, flag-runner, or band. I'm sure there have been fights involving Stanford fans, but I have not seen the kind of concerted violence and destruction by Stanford fans that we have seen from Cal fans.
How can Cal fans continue to defend this?
Cal fans take the attitude that it was just one or two bad apples. But why does Cal have these bad apples while other schools don't? Neither Stanford nor any of our other opponents has had fans/students who attacked the opposing school's players, mascot, band, etc. Neither Stanford nor any of our other opponents has deliberately trashed an opponent's field.
And let's not hear the typical weak answers about how Stanford asked for it, or should have got out of the way, or was taunting. There's a difference between taunting on the one hand, and violence/destruction on the other hand.
The real problem is that Cal fans have fostered a culture of resentment and even hatred. They resent Stanford's success, and they hate us for being more successful than they are, year after year. Because of these feelings of resentment and hatred, Cal fans have somehow crossed a bridge in their mind which allows them to justify violence and destruction.
I had hoped that the violence was fueled by their frustration at losing, and that once they won, they would replace the violence with celebration. But no. They finally win, and the first thing they do is rough up our players, whacking one of them in the head. And you know what? I don't think things will change, because Cal fans don't think there's a problem. They just keep making excuses for the behavior of their students. It's very sad.
Subject: Mark Madsen
Mark is Mark. I saw him play for the first time this season
tonight. He came in as a reserve as the Lakers were laying a big
hurt on the Pistons. Mark, of course, didn't let that faze him
and he went full tilt. On offense, he skies for a pass comes down
off balancearound the free throw line, starts an awkward dribble,
decides to go up with I guess, a hook, the shot goes in almost on
aline drive. He hurries back on defense and is all over the
court, not only picking up his man, but seemingly every Piston on
the court. Eventually, he loses his man off multiple picks (while
he was chasing every Piston down in sight) and his man gets a
pass right near the basket - his man misses the cripple, and
guess who comes flying in to sanre the rebound - you guessed it.
Mark grabs the rebound and somehow gets a nasty hit in the eye
from a Piston. He stops his movement temporarily to put a hand up
to his eye and apparently his eyes are closed. Then he realizes
that play is continuing, so he starts swinging his elbows wildly
several times, like you do to clear space after a rebound - only
problem everybody and I mean everybody had already conceded the
rebound and started to head down court - so Mark is just standing
there swinging away by himself. I just about died laughing. Then
he decides he really is in no shape to dribble so he has to wait
for someone to pass to and finally he does. The Lakers run it up
the court and their guard immediately puts up a 3 and makes it.
The camera switches to Mark and he is still on the other side of
the court with his eyes barely open, wincing, and holding one eye
- you can tell the poor guy is in pain - and he's saying to the
bench "I'm ok, I can play" - yeah right. He palys
defense, then goes on offense. Laker guard throws a lob pass over
his much taller defender, Mark skies again, makes a spin move
dribbles once or twice and slams it home. The announcers,
including John Thompson, go nuts! They're calling him Mad Dog,
talking all about his intensity, how he beats up on his opponents
and Shaq in practice, and what a positive influence he is on the
Lakers. They said he made a Shaq-like move on his dunk. Never
mind that the Lakers are up by 30, Mark was still boxing out in
picture perfect form and of course grabbed the next defensive
rebound after his slam dunk score. Finished with 6 bds and 6 rebs
in 13 minutes. Didn't see the last 6 minutes or so because they
switched to another game, but you got the feeling Phil Jackson
might have told Mad Dog to go a little easier on the Pistons so
he didn't get them ticked for their next match.
It's still fun to watch the Mad Dog!!!!!
Subject: Starting to think that:
1. Ted Leland was as critical of Ty as the most severe critics
on this board.
2. Ted's major criticism, shared by even more posters, was with the conservativeness on both sides of the ball, though the offense may've been the worse offender.
3. His second strong criticism was with recruiting, and the relative effort put into it. (I'll have to say that I am surprised by how often I hear, "we're really not into our recruiting season yet," a sharp contrast to the note in one Northwestern coach's office which reads, "Recruiting is like shaving. If you don't do it every day you start to look ragged."
4. Ted was almost certainly troubled--as virtually every poster is--by the total absence of outreach and the apparent belief that marketing was beneath the program's dignity and emphatically not part of the job description.
5. He wanted more obvious spirit and enthusiasm--if he could find it.
6. He respected Ty's strengths but became convinced his weaknesses were beyond fixing. (Someone viewing Ty's apparent rigidity might reach the same conclusion. May be merit to this.)
7. Ted believed he had a broad view of the program and its needs that Ty could not see, or could no longer see--a pretty typical result of getting to close to the trees (apt metaphor) and missing the forest. Very common problem among executives after the first few years, and part of what makes consulting so lucrative a business.
8. The money issue was a convenience for Ted to move on. Ted had reached the stage many of us had: We finished the regular season 9-2, and we're happy, never mind elated--which we would have been just two years before. Why not 10-1, minimum? What's the problem?
Suddenly, the last three year's 8-3, 5-6, 9-4 looks, well, like 22-13--the worst record of any Stanford team except field hockey (they dumped that coach yet, by the way, I keep asking!)
Everyone assumes Ted might have been aiming low here. What possibility he's aiming even higher than we are?
9. If Ted thought Ty could get us to 10-1, he'd have written the bigger check while they spoke. Could be wrong, but maybe he's more ambitious than we thought, just smart enough not to make it too transparent to some administrators, lest they start worrying Ted would transform us into Miami.
Just some thoughts, none convictions beyond all doubt--but these pieces fit together with everything I've seen, read and heard.