Be Careful What You Ask For
December 3, 2015
It is that time of year in college football. Time for the programs that did not reach expectations to think about making a coaching change. LSU almost let Les Miles go. Georgia did let Mark Richt go.
Recent history tells us that firing a long-time successful coach like Richt usually does not pay dividends.
Richt, over a 15 year span, has won 73% of his games. Miles has come out on top at a 75% clip over his ten year stint in Baton Rouge.
Mark Richt is gone
Yet fans believe that a coaching change will get their team a National Championship much more quickly than if they stayed with the tried and true veteran. I seem to remember it took Bobby Bowden 16 years to win a national title at Florida State.
It did not take me long to find numerous instances where letting the longtime coach go did not work out too well.
Remember when Nebraska was a national power? Frank Solich won 75 percent of games himself, and took a team to a National Championship game. But he was fired in favor of former Oakland Raiders Coach Bill Callahan, who had a much lower winning percentage (55 percent), and a pair of losing seasons, two of only four in the previous 46 years of Nebraska football. It got back quick and the Cornhuskers have not recovered. They actually had a losing record this season.
How about Texas. Mack Brown posted a 77% success fate. He actually won a national title and got to another national championship game. But he was forced to step down. Replacement Coach Charlie Strong loses more games than he wins.
Closer to home, how about Tennessee. The Volunteers decided to oust Coach Phil Fulmer, despite getting the team their first National Championship and winning 78 percent of his games.
Replacement Lane Kiffin was an embarrassment, while Derek Dooley was hapless, winning only 44 percent of his games.
UT’s Mack Brown
Current Coach Butch Jones is better than Dooley, but has won 53 percent of his games with Tennessee.
Maryland fired Ralph Friedgen after he went 8-4. He only had a 60% winning percentage. But that is markedly better than Randy Edsall who went 22-33 over five seasons before being deservedly fired this season.
Lloyd Carr won 75% of his games at Michigan. He also won a national title. Replacements Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke never came close to Carr’s successes.
I am a Georgia fan so I hope the Bulldogs buck the recent trend. But history tells me they will not.
I spoke last week of how the NFL has been neglectful in getting quarterbacks off the field after suffering concussions.
Three weeks ago, if you recall, it was Houston Texans’ quarterback Brian Hoyer. Two weeks ago it was Case Keenum of the St. Louis Rams. This week it was Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben played nine more snaps after Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett collided with him late in the fourth quarter of the Steelers’ eventual 39-30 loss to the Seahawks.
The league reached the trifecta level just one week after the NFL held a conference call with all its teams. The call was to review the comprehensive program and protocol the league already has in place.
Taking part in the call were team doctors and the concussion spotter each team is required on hand during all games to monitor collisions that could lead to concussions. Reportedly there was talk of disciplining teams and individuals if it is discovered players were not examined immediately for possible concussions.
So much for that conference call. I am about as far from a doctor as one can get but I watched the game on TV and immediately knew something was wrong. But, somehow, those on hand at the game did not see it or did not have the power to remove Roethlisberger from the game.
I learned this week that the concussion spotters do not have access to a TV to watch replays or the live feed of the game. I find that unbelievable. Maybe someone will bring that up at the next conference call.
Okafor Finds The Police Blotter
Perhaps Durham was just too small for former Duke Star Jahlil Okafor. Perhaps he felt the need to get out and sow his oats.
But I digress. Since landing with the Philadelphia 76ers, Okafor is finding his name in the national media more for breaking the law instead of his play on the basketball court.
Since the season started, the 19-year old was pulled over for driving 108 mph on the Ben Franklin bridge. For those who are interested, the bridge speed limit is 45 mph. Last week, he punched a man in a street fight after leaving a club in Boston. The altercation came a few hours after the 76ers remained winless for the season. After this incident, it was released that Okafor, on October 4th in Philly, had a gun pointed at his head after leaving a nightclub.
I do not recall any similar incidents occurring in Durham. At least that were released to the general public. Perhaps we have another instance of a young adult becoming an instant millionaire and struggling to find the maturity to handle it.