Coach's Corner

I'll admit, there are a number of things that I just don't understand. Not that anyone would find that surprising. I am getting older and my perception of reality and that of others don't always jive, but there are certain things in sports that just plain baffle me.

Celebration is probably the number one thing I don't understand.

But honestly, there are so many things in sports that I can't even begin to comprehend most much less have an opinion as to what is right or wrong.

Let's start with the sport I coached and lived first-hand; football. Why is it those wide receivers are always the most flamboyant, outrageous, and classless performers in the game? My perception is that anytime something happens that puts a bad light on the game it seems to involve receivers. Even the tight ends like the two kids in Miami get into the act. There is no question they are often the most athletic players on a teams or the field for that matter. They have grace, they have speed and they have moves, but they also are the biggest jerks in the game.

Why? Why can't they score a touchdown and give the ball to the official and go to their bench and accept the congratulations from their teammates? Why do they feel obligated to perform after they score? Why do they persist in drawing more and more and even more attention to themselves?

Isn't it their job to catch the ball and score touchdowns? Who started all the dances and all the choreographed displays in the end zones?

Receivers, that's who.

When they get criticized for their pompous acts, they don't understand why anyone wouldn't appreciate their lack of respect for their opponent, the officials, their teammates, and the game itself. Think about it. What drives Randy Moss to be so outrageous? What perplexes Terrell Owens to do the stupid things he does? Why would Joe Horn do what he did with his cell phone hidden in the goalpost pad?

For a little history, Billy 'White Shoes' Johnson was one of the first great football dancers. The current day Johnson, Chad that is, Oregon State alum, never misses an opportunity to make a fool of himself.

I doubt I'll ever understand it. Maybe I'm not supposed to.

It happened to me the one year I coached wide receivers for the Huskies. Why did Jason Shelley have to act the way he did? I used to ask him that and his standard reply was, "I don't know." It was different only because he was a young kid and was just imitating Deon Sanders and Michael Irvin. They were the registered clowns of that era.

Now we pay those two guys lots of money to yell their opinions at us on TV.

While I'm on football, can someone explain to me how Matt Leinart can pass up a multi-million dollar contract to stay at USC? The last few first picks have signed for upwards of 20 million. How can he not make the move? What if he tears out his knee next season? What if his stock falls like Oklahoma quarterback Jason White?

It's no wonder that fine impartial newspaper, the LA Times, isn't investigating how he lives, where he lives, how his rent is paid, what type of car he drives, and what he does for a summer job. Obviously Leinart is comfortable living on $895 per month, right?

Incidentally, that is almost $300 more per month than the Husky players get, but I'm digressing.

I know it makes perfect sense to stay in college rather than go professional, and hopefully he's doing it for all of the right reasons.

Even if he's not, USC is pretty much untouchable in terms of trying to snoop around for extra benefits provided by boosters.

Back to the celebrating thing. Now we see linebackers celebrating a tackle, defensive linemen celebrating a sack, and defensive backs celebrating an interception, or even just a knocked down pass. Finger wagging and taunting is part of the game on defense now.

Naively I ask, aren't they just simply performing their jobs? Linebackers are supposed to make tackles, D-Linemen are supposed to rush the passer and receivers are supposed to catch the ball.

Well, the receiver piece of that assumption maybe not work in Seattle, but in most other places it holds true.

Soon the day will come when offensive linemen will dance after making a good block. And if you've ever seen an offensive lineman dance, it isn't pretty.

If you couldn't tell, it's hard for me to accept the taunting and trash talking in opponent's faces. I coached this game and love it dearly and respect it, as I do any opponent we lined up against.

Call me old-fashioned, but all of the shaking of heads and crossing of the arms just doesn't convey respect to me. What ever happened to playing with class? All that sort of crap has now worked its way all the way down to the little league level, which should come as no surprise.

I know I'm jumping around, but here's another thing I don't get - Why hasn't the University of Washington already settled with Rick Neuheisel? Why on earth are they going to court? It's only going to get messier for everyone to see and read and hear about throughout the trial. It should have been over the day they fired him.

If you are going to fire someone, do it right. Pay him what you owe him and move on. They are doing the same thing they did with Jim Lambright by trying to low ball him. I'm sure they have a logical explanation (well, that may be pushing it), but is it worth all of the grief that has transpired?

From my seat - first he was fired for gambling and lying when confronted by the NCAA. Then it turns out that he was also fired for not being truthful about the San Francisco interview. Then all the things that happened at Colorado are thrown in and it winds up with Rick Neuheisel standing trial over his character.

If you do tell a lie, then correct it yourself, is it still a lie? How can Myles Brand and the other goofs from the NCAA not feel they influenced the outcome of his termination by their comments?

A quiet settlement sure would've been nice in retrospect, huh?

Speaking of getting fired - Bob Whitsitt recently got fired by the Seahawks. OK, I can understand that, but why was he ever running a football team in the first place? He had no background in the game and obviously had no understanding of the culture of professional football in this town. That would be akin to a major university hiring an athletic director that knew nothing about the revenue sports of football and basketball.

Oops. Never mind.

Let's shift gears to controlled substances, shall we? - Why is it that we have known about steroid use for thirty years but then are outraged about it's use in baseball? You mean to tell me that no one suspected the physical changes in many of the stars had anything to do with the juice? I was never that naïve about that topic, anyway. Plenty of others, but not this one. I was obvious to me that during the homerun chase between Sosa and McGuire, both had some help through good chemistry.

Why has there not been some sort of drug testing in that sport until now? They did it in the minor leagues but not at the major league level. Strange. With all the coke heads that have been busted through the years, the league never felt a need to a drug test? Then to finally make it mandatory and if you get caught for the "fourth" time then you are really in big doo-doo. Wow.

And do you ever think the NBA will start testing for marijuana? Nah, I didn't think so.

Back to college - How could Notre Dame fire a man of such substance and integrity and character as Tyrone Willingham? Here is a great sports educator and "they" decide to fire him without the consent of their own school president? Oh well, their loss is our gain. But, again I don't get it, especially when a coach takes his team to a bowl and then gets fired. Would someone please explain to Notre Dame that they are living in the past? Boy do I hope Tyrone sticks it to those guys on the field when the Dawgs face the Domers.

While I'm perplexed by the power of boosters and the media, how is it that Jim Moore, the "Go To Guy for the PI" and self appointed Husky basher, can go visit the best football player in the state and give a recruiting pitch on behalf of WSU and not be in violation of NCAA rules with regard to illegal contacts by "boosters"? He openly brags about trying to influence the perspective student-athlete into going to WSU. Interesting manipulation of the envelope to be sure.

I'm a member of the media, but I can guarantee you that if I made a home visit or a school visit with the same athlete and tried to convince him to go to the UW, I'd get nailed quicker than goose poop through a brass tuba. Oh well, sour grapes I guess. But now you know why I built my cabin way out in the woods, away from all this confusion. Top Stories