The Sock 'Em, Bust 'Em Board Because that's our custom

Friday feedback

Needless to say, I was more surprised than Fred Goldman to see some activity in the comment section this week. In order to encourage such behavior, let’s read and discuss.

JX says:

Lloyd Carr is NOT a good coach….no no no!

And, LSU is in fact the best team in the country.

/2 pennies.

I’m not going to argue about LSU. As for Lloyd Carr and Michigan, well, I’m not convinced Lloyd Christmas doesn’t have a headset this year. Still, you don’t bumble your way to a national championship … and you probably don’t turn Tom Brady into a sixth-round draft pick, either. The national title is long forgotten, the loss to Appy State is not and the Wolverines almost have to beat Ohio State this season to keep the ax from falling.

It occurs to me that a bad football season might disillusion fans and affect an unsuspecting victim in Ann Arbor.

Mark says:

Clebert is no DingleBerry

Indeed he’s not, though I’m not entirely sure what this has to do with USF defensive tackle Richard Clebert. Of course, Mark is referring to this:

DingleBerry...get it?

Poor West Virginia — not the university, the state. Remember this?

Stop sitting togethe!

Erinn says:

The Mountaineers are like the Yankees? Was he serious?

She, of course, is referring to WVU Coach Rich Rodriguez’s analogy that his team’s knack for helping other teams sell out opponent stadiums is very much like what baseball’s New York Yankees do when they hit the road. The Mountaineers, like the Yankees, are popular, and the Mountaineers, like the Yankees, have fans (alumni) virtually anywhere they go.

And the answer is yes. Yes he was.

Sam says:

It seems that almost every columnist has taken the columnist’s side, and every coach the coach’s. Fair enough. But what the columnist did in this situation does seem slightly out of line. Was she trying to embarrass this guy? Was she trying to shame him? The mother feeds her kid a bite of something to eat – so what? That couldn’t possibly have any bearing on his (in)ability to helm his team.

I understand columnists arguing that she has a right to her opinion, but other columnists might want to step forward and argue that while she enjoys a right to her opinion, in this case maybe it went to far. I understand the desire to do otherwise – circling the wagons, so to speak – but one can defend somebody’s right to do something without seeming to implicitly endorse what was done.

This seems like the majority’s opinion and perhaps it’s the right one. Most columnists will defend their own because it’s probably reassuring to think that if something similar happened to him/her, the defense would be mutual. Same goes for coaches. But the essence of and the pride behind column-writing is the privilege to express and illustrate an opinion. We’ll defend that, no matter the case.

That said, whether you think you’re right or wrong in what you write, you absolutely have to take the heat as a columnist. I think Carlson has handled herself very well, even asking Gundy at a press conference the next day to address the quarterback issue. Remember, this was not her intent and she didn’t ask for anyone to defend or scrutinize her. It just happened because Gundy disagreed with her, ahem, opinion and the means she used to illustrate it.

Gundy, too, has been OK. He did not relent afterward, which is good because an apology or expression of regret would have made his tirade seem random and irrational. Clearly, it was not.

Here’s my take on all of this: Carlson had to have some inside information. I can’t believe anyone would write what she wrote unless she felt she could defend her opinion by telling someone (read: a superior) that it came from coaches or teammates or someone with a view that matters. Denied an explanation for the quarterback situation, she used her column space to fill in the blanks with what she thought/knew/was told. Reid’s mother feeding him chicken was the evidence Carlson saw and used to convict Reid of an attitude problem.

That’s a column, folks. I don’t think it was a particularly strong argument, but that doesn’t matter.

She also made other points and claims, including one theory in which she suggested Reid got the job last year after threatening to transfer. In a column, she doesn’t need to attribute that story, but it would have helped. Carlson also recycled an old quote given to another reporter where Reid made a rare-for-a-college-athlete admission he got nervous before a game. Reid could have never seen it coming, but an insightful and otherwise harmless quote was used against him and his makeup. That, in particular, is unfortunate because it only discourages players from opening up with reporters in the future. 

Regarding Gundy, as a writer/columnist, I think he could have handled everything in a less visible, more professional matter. Just pull the scribe aside and air it out in private. Sometimes rants like that seem like stunts to inspire the locker room. Gundy could have seen that as his chance. Instead, it overshadowed a really good game and a big win for his team.

However, he looked so clearly agitated and paced so erratically that it didn’t look like a designed meltdown. Then again, will anyone, whether it’s players, assistants, administrators or, most important, future players ever question Gundy’s allegiance to his program?

Kim says:

I will say what you men can’t about Ms. Carson’s column – it was written by a lard butted woman who has never played the game. How dare she chide Ried for not playing through his injuries, even if he is a wimp. Put her fat ass out there and see how long she would last. No wonder the coach was incensed to the point he lost control. If I were Reid’s mother I’d kick Carson’s ass myself. He can’t help it if he’s overcome with nerves. Nerves mean you feel something, by the way, if Ms. Carson doesn’t know.

Too bad Oklahoma can’t put Ms. Carson out to use as a blocking sled during the next practice. Then she would at least have standing to criticize Reid for not playing when he was “nick[ed]”.

Kim, can we be friends? Because I don’t want to be your enemy!