Now that college football season is nearly upon us, and wildly inspired by Cracked.com’s Sunday article, “The 5 Most Creative Acts of Insanity by Modern Dictators”, I couldn’t help but wonder if I could get my creative, historical snark on and write up a tome on similarly bat-shit college football coaches. After all, this a world where Bo Pellini, Les Miles and Wil Muschamp prowl the sidelines.
The amazing thing I learned in writing this diary is that a coach need not be named “GERG” to engage in motivational hilarity, and that our former Defensive Coordinator’s pep talk with a fur-covered hand puppet didn’t even make my Top 5 (though it might have been #6 since we were all left asking “What. The.F-ck?”). Neither did Rich Rodriguez’s use of YouTube and ten gallon hats and Josh Groban.
Google “insane college football coaches”, and you’ll get nearly 2.8 million hits, and not one of them will mention so much as a sock monkey (go ahead and check – I’ll wait).
#5 Brian Kelly Tries to Recreate That Scene from “Scanners”
You know the one I mean. Against a mediocre South Florida team in 2011, Notre Dame head coach, Brian Kelly, went all Bobby Knight after his team coughed up its third turn-over of the game. Now, I imagine that he was just reacting as most ND fans did at that moment, what with the Irish deep in Bulls territory and threatening to score, and all.
Still, Coach Kelly managed to put the “A” in “apoplectic”, nearly having a stroke on the sidelines that was captured and replayed by media talking heads far and wide for the next week and on opposing fan sites long after. There are MGoUsers who actually have the photo of the key moment as their avatars, and they’re probably not the only ones.
#4 Lane Kiffin Holds a Press Conference for the Recruit That Never Was
Back in World War II, the British made Mincemeat of the Nazis by staging an elaborate ruse that involved a real dead man, a fake identity, a submarine and a clown car (I’m finding the last bit difficult to confirm) in an effort to make the Germans believe the forthcoming Allied landings in Sicily were going to be anywhere but Sicily. Everyone who has ever head-faked their dog by pretend-throwing a Frisbee knows how the trick works. The Allies were delighted to find that Hitler was a lot more trusting than a retriever, who sent his army chasing a stick out near Malta while the Allies were invading Sicily.
Evidently taking a page from British history (or not, Lane Kiffin doesn’t strike me as the type to open a lot of books) the coach decided to stage a fake press conference for nine recruits to Tennessee in 2009. Unfortunately for him, that’s an NCAA violation.
But Coach Kiffin didn’t stop there.
Continuing with the “World War II” theme, the coach channeled Humphrey Bogart and the end of Casablanca by installing a fog machine to simulate a “game environment” for those same recruits, which is also an NCAA violation. No word on whether he was also thinking about adding a disco ball and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.
#3 Marshall Strength Coaches Think Kevin Bacon is a Pussy
Taking the term “hot seat” into uncharted territory, not only was the Omega house initiation apparently used as a how-to guide for motivating the Thundering Herd, but Marshall’s former staff upped the ante by lighting the paddles on fire.
With their breath.
Fortunately for Matthew McConaughey, none of the players on the business end seemed to enjoy lunches of double bean burritos and egg salad sandwiches. He’s done that movie once and his agent has probably insisted that he’s not interested in filming a We Are Marshall sequel, no matter how hot he is for January Jones.
#2 Woody Hayes Forgets That Size Does Matter
Speaking of wood, this story comes to us courtesy of Urbz himself, who claims he witnessed the event. I don’t normally speak ill of the dead but I’m making an exception in this case because Ohio State.
For those of you too creeped out to watch Urban Meyer (and who isn't?), I'll give you the gist of it. Evidently, Woody had advanced to that age where he no longer had a useful purpose for Little Woody, or at least one of the two that Nature most intended. So, just like in that heart-tugging ending from Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree, the old coach said “F- You!” to PETA, dug deep and pulled one out (of his pants).
After a humbling bowl loss, then-Buckeye head coach, Earle Bruce, asked Woody to come in and give a pep talk to the coaches on toughness. Immediately after berating the current staff on its lack of meddle, Hayes opened a box to reveal a snapping turtle, whipped his (apparently seldom used) baby maker out of his trousers, and demonstrated for Earle’s staff what a real man is capable of doing that they aren’t.
In case it’s not readily apparent what he did, I’ll let you use your imaginations or read the story yourselves. It hurts below my waistline to even write about it.
I feel awful for the turtle. Reptile or not, no species of plant or animal should have to do that for a Buckeye. And it got a poke in the eye for its troubles.
Thank God Bo didn’t bring every one of Woody’s lasting lesson with him to Ann Arbor.
#1 John L. Smith Tries to Get the Voices in His Head to Stop
What? You thought I wouldn’t remember this one?
In the raw vote (which I conducted solely inside my head) this episode of The Ball Coach Be Crazy Yo’ only finished second. But since this happened while he was still in the process of earning the Sparty No! Lifetime Achievement Award, and it was caught on camera by everyone, and it’s been replayed eleventy billion times, and he later went on to become some kind of Bat Shit Superhero at Arkansas, he’s earned the outright top spot in my list.
In doing the research for this story, I realized I could have written it as “Top 5 Reasons JLS is Insane”, but that would have been too easy. And it’s probably already been done.
As always, your mileage may vary.
Was looking for highlights of Denard in his first game, and found him featured in the Jags "Wired" video. Some Denard chatter and singing, but also some field level film of him trying to get it going, Link: http://www.jaguars.com/media-gallery/videos/Jags-Wired-Denard-Robinson/ea6231e6-fc76-412c-a310-e187e3b77bef
I didn't see this posted, but Rich Rod made his cinematic return in Hard Edge II as he is creating his own Dollars trilogy.
Meeting Roy Roundtree in the NFL
I am not a huge fan of the NFL. There is nothing really wrong with it, but my hometown teams growing up were the Lions and the Bengals. Not much to root for. In order to enjoy professional football, I switched from cheering for teams to rooting for former Michigan players on those teams. I want the Patriots to win because of Tom Brady. I want the Steelers defense to do well because of Woodley, and so on.
We live about forty-five minutes north of Cincinnati, so my brother and I piled our kids into my van and drove to watch the Bengals practice. More specifically, we went to see Leon Hall and Roy Roundtree. With the understanding that my most of my knowledge of football comes from watching games, this blog, and EA sports, I had a few observations. Roundtree ran crisp routs, and caught the ball well away from his body. While I do not have the roster memorized, he seemed to do was well as the starters in this regard. I did not see him drop a pass.
After some special team drills which neither seems to be a part of, they moved on to seven on seven. All of the players rotated every few snaps and they went out with different players each time. There did not appear to be a first team and second team. What surprised me during these drills was how much communication there was between defenders before the snap. I know Hoke has talked in the past about defenders talking to each other, and I now understand what he means. Hall and others were discussing who was taking the man in motion, and changing duties or coverage before anyone moved. None of the players Hall was guarding was open enough to be thrown to.
One of the things I noticed about Roundtree during this was his struggle with getting pushed around. While I think this occurred beyond the allowable distance, it did cause disruptions with this route running. This may be a skill he will be working on in the pros and he continues to add strength. When he was able to release he was able to create separation. My favorite was when starter Andy Dalton threw what appeared to be an out and up. Dalton focused on Roundtree the whole way and lofted the ball. The defender broke up the pass, but like the Northwestern game, Roundtree caught it off the deflection and took it in for the score. He got some dap from his teammates after returning to the group waiting for their turn again, and I shouted my kudos. The HBO Hard Knocks crew seemed impressed.
The best part of the day occurred after practice. Some of the players were out signing footballs, posters, signs, and t-shirts. Unfortunately, many of the players took their jerseys off and I did not recognize them. We walked past the players and my kids marveled that people could be that big. A couple of 6’ 6” or 6’ 7’’ guys well over three hundred pounds is an impressive site when you see them up close. Just as we were about to exit I look up, and there is #86 walking away after taking some extra passes. Not sure if we should say anything, I look at my brother for confirmation, or at least encouragement. I decided to yell anyway. “ROY,” I shout. He turns and looks to see who called his name. He sees my Michigan hat and my brother’s Michigan shirt and smiles, then comes trotting over. I get him to sign my hat, and he posses for a picture each for my brother and myself holding our kids. He is polite and engaging, just as I imagined a Michigan man to be.
As we leave I am probably a little giddier than a grown man should be. That is when I notice he signed my hat with his name and #21, Go Blue. I know I just talked to him for a few minutes, but I liked him, and I wish him success in the NFL.