Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Leather Helmet Blog: Challenging Your Fanship
A friend texted me this morning, "Leather Helmet Blog is calling you out."
My response: "I Don't Care."
And in actuality, that's true. I don't. I don't care, because I generally respect the opinion of ecdawg, and I don't know him to be a malicious sort. So, I was certain that whatever challenge was being tossed out was benign, and meant purely for conversation. So, I checked out the blog. He seems to suggest that I don't believe in critical opinions of coaching.
This is not true. If you are a reader of my blog, you know that I go to extreme lengths to examine the performance of our team and its coaches. I've done statistical analysis of YEARS worth of coaching, I've done play-by-play analysis of player performance and playcalls. I am a big fan of true critical discussion.
What I am NOT a fan of is the ridiculous and asinine nature of the growing Anti-Richt population which is, naturally, the most vocal of the fans on these boards and blogs. I keep reading things like "Bobo Draw, Bobo Screen, Bobo Draw, Punt." I implore people who write that kind of sensationalist garbage to go back through my breakdown of the last two games, and show me where anything resembling that playcalling series exists on a consistent basis. It doesn't.
And THAT is what this blog fights against. I don't just sit and say "Coach Richt doesn't win, but I don't care, I think he has a great haircut and a nice tan, and he should be our coach." That's idiotic. I'm not here to be the Champion of the "Save Richt's Job" cause. However, when I see that so many people are piling on a movement against him, and that it can cause a negative air to exist around our team, I have to speak out against that. My biggest issue with this is that it's GAME FRIKKING TWO, and the crowd isn't into the game in the first half....and then, they're leaving with four minutes to go, and us getting the ball down only by ten. That is NOT fan support. It's childish. It's "I'm not getting my way, so I'm taking my ball and going home."
That's what I can't stand. I remember fans leaving my last game in Sanford Stadium early. Yeah, we got our asses handed to us by Georgia Tech, and the fans bolted on us. It was a cold, rainy day, and they didn't want to watch it. The last time I left that field as a player, it was to a 2/3 empty stadium. I don't want any of the players on the team to experience that garbage, and when Richt came in and started winning titles, I never thought I'd see it again. But fans have a short memory, are a fickle bunch, and believe they are somehow "entitled" to more than a good day's entertainment.
So, no, I don't mind contrary opinions to my own. I don't mind people being critical of Bobo, or Grantham, or Richt or anyone. But I do ask that you at least educate yourself on the facts before you run around attacking them loudly and crying out for peoples' jobs.
We're 0-2, and that's not the way any of us want to start a football season. But, here's what we know:
We came out with the wrong game-plan against Boise. We looked a bit timid to pressure Kellen Moore, and when an injury forced us to play a less-experienced and less-talented player at a key position, this compounded the ease at which Moore would be able to slice us up in the air.
Our Rushing D came out better than most people thought they would. In the fourth quarter against USC, there were holes which didn't exist earlier in the game. People jumped on this saying conditioning was poor. This is a fallacy. Our line wasn't suddenly getting run over - but we did miss a couple of key assignments allowing for big holes.
Against USC in 2010, we scored 6 points. In 2011, 42 points. I'd say that's a healthy amount of improvement.
See, what bothers me isn't that people are upset with losing. I hate losing. There is honestly nothing on this planet that I hate more than losing. Show me someone who is ok with losing, and I'll show you someone who's done far too much of it. What bothers me is the outcry of "the sky is falling" over a loss in which we show 1) Significant improvement over a year prior and 2) Significant improvement over a week prior.
You want to be critical of the staff? Fine. Be Critical....but before you go crying for a retooling of the staff, see what these coaches do with this season. Why? Because no coach is going to come in and make this year better than Richt will make this year. You won't find an interim coach who is going to come in and suddenly turn this season on its ear. You won't find an interim coach who is going to come in and suddenly make us 2-0. We're 0-2. You have to deal with that, and move on. Be a FAN. Go out and be FANATICALLY SUPPORTIVE of your team. Give them a REASON to play for YOU. Right now, they're playing for themselves, and their coach. Those players love these coaches. That's why they devote themselves to the coaches for their careers. They trust them. They believe in them. And many of them, right now, don't care too much for alot of you.
Now, this is NOT to say that players don't care about fans. And this is not to say that ALL FANS are bad fans. I know that some people will read this and think "F&*! this guy. I cheer hard! I love this team. I stay till the last second of the game." Well, genius, I'm not talking to you. I'm talking to those who show up late, leave early, bitch about Bobo the whole game (while he's busy putting 42 points on Carolina) and then call the post-game show saying Richt should be fired. Players appreciate the true fans...it's the fair-weather know-nothings they get tired of. The problem is, again, those fans are the most vocal.
I don't ask people to blindly support everything our coaches say and do. Hell, I don't do that. Why would I expect you to? What I do ask, is that you actually support your team. Show them that you are with them, and their coaches. Some people believe that the following is supportive:
"I love Coach Richt, and I want him to do well, but (insert one or more of the following): we've lost too many games for me to believe he can do it anymore. We just don't seem to recruit the right athletes. Our program has fallen apart in the past four years. Everyone else wins titles, we beat Vandy. Elite players go to Bama, thugs and "projects" come to Georgia. He's just doesn't have it any more. He cares more about mission work than winning football games."
That's not supportive. Just because you say "Honey, I love you" doesn't mean "but your butt is the size of a houseboat" is supportive.
And some fans will say, "But Dukes, we've just been through so much, we've lost too many close games, we haven't won a title, it's been so hard to be a fan...I just don't know how much I have left in me." You're not a player, you're a fan. Your job is to be as LOUD as possible IN SUPPORT of YOUR TEAM at ALL TIMES. That's your job. You want the players and the coaches to do their jobs? Do yours.