26 November 2009
I've kinda held off doing any sort of analysis or opining on the Mark Mangino-Lew Perkins feud. The main reason for that is because at the moment it's completely a Mangino said-Perkins said-Player X said-Parent Y said type of a deal. Bottom line, both sides are probably going to come out of this thing looking pretty bad. I think it's becoming obvious that Perkins is sort of a manipulative asshole (maybe that explains why kU got the Orange Bowl bid over Mizzou) and I think it's becoming obvious that Mangino is, well, just an asshole.
So without speculating over what to really believe in this whole saga here are some thoughts I've had that I believe are relevant and don't make unprovable assumptions.
-I've thought that Mangino was a dick for a while now. And not just because he coaches kU. And I didn't always feel this way. I can still remember the moment that I first started thinking, "Wow, if I were a college football player I absolutely would not want to play for that guy." It was at the end of kU's Orange Bowl victory over Va. Tech. There was less than a minute or two left in the game, the beakers had the victory well in hand and there was no chance that Va. Tech could mount a comeback. Aqib Talib and a couple other kU players grabbed a bucket of Gatorade and were trying to sneak up on Mangino for the obligatory Gatorade bath. The Jayhawks had sealed their 12th win of the season and cemented what was quite possibly the greatest season in school history. For all the shit talking us Mizzou fans do about how weak their schedule was that year, it was still one hell of a season (even if they shouldn't have gotten a BCS nod over Mizzou) and this was their moment to enjoy it.
But instead of going with it and having some fun with his players who had worked so hard for the last six months or so like just about any other coach in the country would've done Mangino started shouting at Talib. He was not having the Gatorade bath. And he seemed downright pissed that they would even consider doing such a thing.
Look, I get that some coaches are going to play the bad cop thing-disciplinarian thing with their players. Some coaches like their relationship with the players on their teams to be adversarial. But at some point you have to lighten up or their going to lose their passion for the game they're playing. If you're not going to let them enjoy a BCS bowl victory then why the hell are they going to try to kill themselves out on the field for you? That's taking the hard ass thing way WAY too far.
-One thing that I think is really telling about the entire situation is the lack of players that have stepped up in Mangino's defense. Kerry Meier and Darrell Stuckey have been the only ones I've read about doing it even though Mangino says the support he's gotten has been overwhelming. And they didn't do it until two days ago.
Lets say roles were reversed and it was Gary Pinkel that was in the middle of a six game losing streak (not that farfetched a few weeks ago) and Mike Alden out of nowhere decides to launch an investigation about how Gary's been getting a little too physical with some of his players. Can you imagine the number of guys that would fire back in his defense? Do you think Chase Daniel, T. Rucker, Zo Williams and Jeremy Maclin would sit back while their former coach came under fire? What about Sean Weatherspoon, Jaron Baston or Danario Alexander? I just can't see that happening. They'd be up in arms.
Maybe there have been more players go on record about the situation than I realized and I just haven't found the links. Maybe they think the best thing to do for Mangino is to keep quiet until the investigation is over. But I doubt it. And there have been more than a few players who have made comments that were either condemning Mangino's coaching methods or if not condemning them then basically saying "it is what it is."
-The comment that Mangino made that bothered me the most was when he went on Sports Radio 610 in KC and said this: "We are sending kids out into the world prepared. But I can't do the work of some parents, what they should have done before [the players] got to me. Some of these guys are bitter, they are bitter and [the allegations] are about that.
"There are some things that happen for 18 years of their lives that I can't change in four years of college. Can't do it. Can't change their behaviors, can't change their attitudes."
Dave Matter commented on this briefly on his Twitter page and basically said that's probably something that Gary Pinkel would disagree with. Some of the building blocks of Pinkel's program have been guys that had what were perceived to be character flaws. William Moore was a hothead and an undisciplined player. Tony Temple went from being potentially the biggest bust in the program's history to Tony Bowl Game by the time his final game was played. Xavie Jackson got suspended I think once every season he was at Mizzou and never really fully matured but made strides every single year. I'm betting he left the program a better person.
But to be fair there probably are some people out there that no matter how hard you try they're going to end up lost causes. But you gotta remember Mangino was the one who brought those guys into his program. It's not like he didn't have a say in the matter.
And don't you think Mangino lost just about all of his credibility when Joe Mortensen, who was a team captain last season, went on record bashing Mangino and saying "what goes around comes around"?
-This isn't necessarily about the Mangino-Perkins thing but it's related nonetheless. Last summer when the infamous Reesing Power & Light District, flag jacket and bag wine pics started coming out and it seemed like every other day a wasted pic of Sod was popping up on our laptops I wrote something that a lot of kU fans vehemently disagreed with. I wasn't super critical of Reesing because I understand you're probably going to drink when you're in college. Especially if you're a college athlete. But I just pointed out that I would be concerned if I were a kU fan and these pics of my quarterback were showing up the summer before a make or break year for the program.
I was told I was making something out of nothing. Reesing's just "livin' the dream." (I still don't understand how dumping a bag of wine on yourself while your buddy fondles your chest hair qualifies as living the dream but whatever.) Well maybe part of the reason Reesing and kU have struggled so much is because they weren't focused enough in the offseason. I mean, you had Reesing acting like he had already won the Big 12, Dez Briscoe struggling to get eligible and the bar fight where the dude got ran over with a car by his teammate.
Does that sound like a team determined to prove themselves as Big 12 Contenders? I don't think so.
-And this is way unrelated to any of this but I ran across this article from Aug. 2008 and just had to pass it along: Jocques Crawford didn't like his NCAA '09 video game rating. "“I wasn’t too happy because I don’t know where I am on the game,” Crawford said. “I don’t know if I’m that No. 21. I don’t know who that is — maybe it’s me.”
No word on if he was alright with his rating in NCAA 10 as the backup running back for Tennessee Central State Tech Community College University.
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