Sorry if this is a bit long. Hope it's worth the read.
Somewhere nearing the end of my 27 hour trip home from Korea Thursday I emerged from semi-consciousness to hear the man seated behind me (waiting for the same flight to DTW from Newark) cursing tOSU and railing on how much they suck. I turned to notice that this man was garbed entirely in MSU gear. Cap one shirt. Cap One Bowl Ring. MSU bag. Leather Belt with little gold metal S's going all the way around. Together it all looked ridiculous. So, there's no way he could be anything other than a football coach. The pilot/tOSU fan he was cursing noted that he should probably turn his attention to me (I was in a Michigan hoodie) which he did. After he talked some trash we actually settled into something resembling conversation. Things of note:
-Rich Rodriguez is an idiot
-No way we can win with a true freshman QB (Henne's success was apparently due to the running game in 04)
-Our system puts too much pressure on a freshman for him to be successful
-We lacked a vertical passing game last year, and it killed our offense
-Recruiting is going really well for them, and they're looking forward to getting all the freshman in soon
Those are specific talking points, but the in the broader sense I got the feeling that he really expects us to be just as bad this year. Maybe it's part of the coaches persona to be proud, outspoken, and infinitely confident in his own guys, I don't know. But we were talking specifically about Michigan, and the complete lack of respect struck me as odd. While State fans aren't above low digs, I think most of them admit that it won't be long until we're back in the chase. And I feel like most coaches are even more safe about how they speak of opponents. I wish I had been less travel delirious and able to ask more in-depth questions, but that's all I was able to really get.
So, do you think this is specific to this coach, or might we have the opportunity to surprise several coaching staffs this year? And will the oft referenced "pride before the fall" now be on the other foot? How might the psychology of playing as an underdog (even in the minds of other coaches) affect us this year?
To be sure he seemed like a nice enough guy, intense and confident (bordering on arrogant), but nice: