Can someone please tell me what the heck is going on with these big-time college football coaches?
Just a few weeks into the season and these guys are taking paranoia to a whole new level.
Is it their million-dollar contracts? The pressure to win?
I understand the Nick Sabans, Urban Myers and Lane Kiffins of the sports world want control every part of their program — assistants, players, fans.
But you are not going to control the media…no matter how hard you try.
Here’s an example of those tries so far this fall…
No. 1 — New Ohio State Buckeyes coach Urban Myer. Just before his very first press conference the announcement of a new rule banning reporters from using Twitter during the news conference.
Among the reasons for the ban, school officials said reporters can’t listen to the news conference if they’re constantly tweeting. Jason Lloyd, a reporter from the Beacon Journal wrote, “My job is to decipher what is worthy of reporting instantly on Twitter and what is worth saving for later. I don’t need OSU officials to make that decision for me.”
And get this. The press conference was being carried live on the school website and by a local radio station. Tweet from home or the office but not from the scene? Crazy.
The next day OSU lifted the Twitter-delay policy.
No. 2 — Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban. After dismantling Michigan on opening day. Now he’s getting ready for lowly Western Kentucky, a school in its 6th year of big time FBS play.
He berates reporters at his weekly press conference, “when you people write stuff about teams we’re playing that doesn’t give them proper respect, that’s not fair. It’s not fair to our players who need to respect them. There is so many more good things you could write about…some of you need to do a little research and figure it out.”
I thought it was his job to motivate his team?
On the way out of the room Saban said “I didn’t mean to intimidate you all today, I just had to take it out on somebody.”
Saban’s team beat WKU 35-0.
No. 3 — Arkansas coach John L. Smith. After two straight losses, including one to Louisiana-Monroe, Smith demanded everyone in the room smile before he would start his weekly press conference. He started yelling, “get your chins up…SMILE…OK…I’m not talkin’ til you smile…”
I guess losing a couple of games is nothing compared to filing for bankruptcy. The coach is $25 million dollars in debt. That’s right, $25 million.
The Razorbacks lost for a third straight week, 35-26 to Rutgers.
No. 4 — USC coach Lane Kiffin. He suspended LA Daily reporter Scott Wolf from covering team practices for two weeks because supposedly Wolf reported on a kicker’s injury. USC says you can’t report on injuries you see at practice.
Turns out Wolfe’s information didn’t come from practice. Athletic director Pay Haden overturned the reporter suspension. Haden spent two decades as a TV analyst before arriving at USC.
USC lost its next game to Stanford.
Just four of the most recent examples of why I tell students in my Sports Journalism class they must have thick skin.
ITEMS FROM THE DUFFEL BAG:
— OK. Sometimes stats don’t paint the complete picture. Toronto SS Omar Vizquel (2,874 career hits). Babe Ruth (2,873 career hits).
— As the Milwaukee Brewers continue their drive to win a NL wildcard spot, wonder what Mainer Mark Rogers thinks. After pitching 95 minor league innings and 39 major league innings, the Brewers shut him down earlier this month for the same reasons Washington shut down Stephen Strasburg.
— As NASCAR runs its playoff chase make sure you check out “Ricky’s Rule of 72.” Maine’s Ricky Craven is great as ESPN studio analyst and his “rule of 72″ makes sense.
— The Pawtucket Red Sox won the AAA International League title this year for the first time since 1984. Back in ’84 the Pawsox beat the Maine Guides of Old Orchard Beach for the Governors’ Cup. It was the first year in OOB for the Guides.
— Not everyone wants to officiate or run a clock at youth games — Smokey Lawerence did. Day after day, year after year. You could always count on him being there. RIP Smokey.