Learning The Buddy System ™

Suddenly it all makes sense. Leave it to those paragons of patience and compassion, the scribes who cover Stanford Football in the employ of the local dailies, to get me to wake up and smell the bran muffins. The reason Cardinal football bears an uncanny resemblance this season to the homecoming parade scene in Animal House – you know, the part where the school band is duped into the dead-end alley – is all due to injuries and, uh, the difficulty of absorbing the intricacies of the new system.

Aha!  At last, we have the answer.  And all this time, we were bashing Buddy, speculating on locker room laggards, the frailties of "the scheme", the sartorial shortcomings of the new unies, and the possibility of too much tofu on the training table. Just get those studs back to health, encourage them to burn a little more midnight oil studying up on The Principles of Fun-and-Gun (lecture and lab), and pretty soon the Card's kickin' some serious ass again.  Hey, why can't we smoke a couple of more guys as we head to our Bowl-free holidays, right?

One of the biggest revelations in this lost and lousy season is the amount of slack donated by the local media to the relieved and grateful braintrust in visors. It almost smacks of the kid-glove treatment given to Barry Bonds in the aftermath of the Disneyland Debacle("Back off, or I'll snap", reminded us another self-absorbed jerk with the same initials, Bobby Bonilla). Were it not for the National TV talking goatees like Jim Rome and a magazine like Sports Illustrated, would local denizens even be aware of Sir Barry's new lows in post-game clubhouse comportment?  To be sure, the audience and interest in the San Francisco Nine dwarfs the Stanford Eleven, but this reluctance to probe beyond the injury reports has got to give way soon to some accountability questions.  Like, why can't D-1 scholarship athletes snap a football directly into the hands of a punter on a consistent basis? What impact do injuries or an intricate system have there?  Or, why are Stanford students so slow to absorb the rules that say you cannot hit an opponent after the whistle, especially when said opponent is out of bounds and preparing to return in-bounds for the next play? 

More to the point might there be some connected-ness, some relationship between the quality of the tutelage imparted during the week and the quality of the performance displayed on the weekend?   Do the perpetual pratfalls reveal an anomalous glitch that will dissipate with a mild tweak or two, or are they emblematic of a systemic flaw?  Memo to media: less slack and more hard questions, please.  Thanks in advance.

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