In the history of press conference blowups, there is none that truly compares to Dennis Green’s 2006 “They are who we thought they were tirade.”
It lasts in the sports lexicon to this day and has kept Dennis Green from passing into the obscurity that has engulfed Mike Tice and Jim Fassel. He’s even tried to trademark it to ensure future riches (don’t worry Denny, the check is in the mail).
While everyone just remembers the rant, people ignore the sheer genius of it. “They are who we thought they were” is very prophetic, especially in college football, in which perception of a school’s power and prestige is of the upmost importance.
It helps you land recruits and gets you on television. What people think of you is important for the development of a program.
This is why this year’s coaching changes are fairly confusing. It’s not as much some schools aren’t what we thought they were so much as these schools aren’t what they think they are – and they have made moves accordingly that boggle the mind.
1. Florida Gators
The first example is Florida. Florida under Urban Meyer has been the football power of the 21st century. A slight downturn in the post-Tebow era notwithstanding, there are few programs that most observers view to be as dominant as Florida.
This dominance is why their choice in the replacement of Meyer makes no sense. Nothing screams dominant football power than stealing another programs coach-in-waiting.
I know Will Muschamp has a reputation as a defensive genius and a great recruiter. He’s a top-level up-and-coming coach. Too bad Florida didn’t need an up-and-coming coach to shake things up. It needed someone to keep the team on the path that has led it to success this decade.
The rationale behind a coach-in-waiting is it exists to secure a seamless transition when a legend retires. Seamless is not the word that describes the changes at Florida. The high-powered spread offense has made Florida a power.
So, excuse me if I’m not sold on probability of instant success in replacing one of the most dominant offenses in college football with a pro-style offense run by fattest fraud in show business. Memories of Bill Callahan at Nebraska come to mind. Florida had the successful program in place.
Why start over?
2. Miami Hurricanes
Not leaving the state of Florida, Miami could win an award for underselling themselves. Al Golden is a good head coach, a strong recruiter, and he has proven he can build a program.
Miami stole Temple’s coach. Temple. I can’t type Temple enough times here.
Miami is the U. It was the dominant program for more than a decade. The name still means something. It hasn’t tried to reinvent its reputation from a school of criminals to the Harvard of the South.
Guess what, everyone still thinks your school is a bunch of criminals. Now, it’s just a bunch of criminals who play mediocre football.
And nothing screams mediocre than stealing Temple’s coach.
Take a page from 80s Georgetown: own your rep and hope the students you are looking to draw are smart enough to know the difference between football and the biology department.
Speaking of Temple, I love its hire. This is a school that knows what it is and knows where it’s going. Steve Addazio has been essential to Florida’s success and should have gotten a head coaching gig a long time ago.
A strong recruiter, he is the perfect choice to take what Al Golden started and bring it to the next level.
In the opposite light, you have Maryland. This school is the king of self-deception. It seems like everyone from Cumberland to the Eastern Shore knows one thing about the school that its administration and the good folks at Under Armor don’t seem to get.
It is a basketball school.
I know it just expanded the stadium and wants to put butts in the seats. Guess what, Maryland? You probably should have never expanded the stadium. Your tradition is limited to begin with.
The best football player to come out of Maryland was the guy in the locker room screaming “we must protect this house” from inside the TV, and even then he probably couldn’t start over Terry Tate office linebacker.
And if you did want to make a splash and fill the stadium, you pick Randy Edsall?
That’s your splashy pick? Did you not think Ralph Friedgen’s weight-loss plan was working fast enough so you decided to just hit fast-forward button and hire the after picture?
Edsall’s not a bad coach, and he did have a great job building UConn into an average team in a crappy conference. So, he should have no problem, taking another average team in a crappy conference and make it averagier.
Well played Under Armor U.
I can’t even get started on Pitt. Yes, Wannstead’s teams underachieved. But here’s the thing. Pitt isn’t the school of Dan Marino or Tony Dorsett, and it hasn’t been for a longtime.
The Stash helped bring Pitt back to prominence — or at least back into the national spotlight.
But, I guess hiring a coach with one year of success at a MAC school only to fire him a week later when it was revealed that he was, in fact, a terrible person accomplished the same thing.
Michigan got its Michigan man in Brady Hoke. I can’t knock it. Michigan knows what it is even more so after the grand RichRod experiment. Now we have to wait and see if it is good enough to compete in today’s college football landscape.
Finally, as a Syracuse fan, I welcome Coach P back to the Big East. In 2005, Syracuse was the program that was not what it thought it was. A basketball school that wasn’t putting money or effort into expanding its football program fired one of its winning coaches after he produced results commensurate with effort the university was putting forward.
Now with UConn, he comes home to a run-first program with recent success.
It’d be great if he could end his coaching career here, which will probably happen. Though, it will only take a few years. As much as I respect Coach P, he’s obviously a temporary solution at UConn.
Why else hire a 61-year-old who’s been out of college football for six years other than the fact that the Connecticut high school coaches liked him and there are only a few weeks left in the recruiting period? (That and Mark Whipple is an idiot, giving up his best chance to be a BSC head coach).
Expect a coach-in-waiting soon.
Dennis Green may have been a mediocre football coach, but his genius is something most universities should look to. Heck, I think Dennis Green missed his calling as a top-notch athletic director. He appears to be onto something that most of the college football professionals have missed.
Mark Porter is a Staff Writer for The Juice Online.