The new emails are in, and lots of talk about OSU and the NFL.
Stan wrote about Mike Gundy’s hiring of Dana Holgorsen as offensive coordinator: “Man, you really had to go deep in the literary satchel to come up with Larry McMurtry, but it sure worked. You think the hire was Gundy’s decision or from somewhere up the food chain?”
Oh, I certainly believe it was Gundy’s decision. I don’t think Boone Pickens is micro-managing. Pickens wants two things. He wants to win, and he wants to be included in the process. But he doesn’t claim to know football.
Jim: “Thank you for finally agreeing with me that Gundy should hand over the reins!! Like I said in the past, his style of a hurry up offense is really a slowed down version. He seems like a nice guy and good head coach for his players, but an offensive coordinator he is not. He cannot be the quarterback of old his whole life, he has to give up reliving his past life.”
Hey, I’m the guy who brought up the problems back in October 2008, when the OSU offense was going good. But it’s a good point about reliving a past life. When you become head coach, some things have to be sacrificed. I think this is one of them.
Kash: “I still haven’t figured out how OSU has been able to usher in a new coach without showing someone else the door. Someone has to be removed as an on-field coach.”
Someone will be moved to office work. Administration, film, etc. Robert Matthews probably. We would be stunned if we knew the total number of people working in a football program.
Jim wrote about my list of the greatest seasons by 40somethings. “What about George Foreman? He became the oldest man ever to become heavyweight boxing champion of the world when, at age 45, he knocked out Michael Moorer, age 26, to reclaim the title he held 20 years earlier. To me that’s more impressive than Mark O’Meara winning the Masters at 41. Golf can be played at a high level when men are in there 40s. Boxing on the other hand, a different story.”
Boxing definitely is a different story. And here’s the story. It’s a sham. It’s unregulated. Foreman fought a bunch of stiffs, when and where he wanted. No way was I going to include a modern boxer on my list. Meanwhile, Mark O’Meara played on courses and against players not of his choosing. The point about golfers’ longevity is valid, but there aren’t a ton of major champions in their 40s. Much less a 40something winning two in a single year.
Doug wrote about me saying that I had 363 days left as a 40something: “Hmmm, you must have been born same day JFK was inaugurated. Right?”
Now that’s a dangerous man. A guy who knows his math and history.
Mac: “Dang, I thought I had ya. Early Wynn won the Cy Young Award in 1959 – when he was 39.”
Wynn was sort of a sad case. After that Cy Young win, he had 271 career victories. He got 13 in 1960 at age 40. That got him to 284. But it took him until July 13, 1963, to get win No. 300. Wynn was 1-2 that season.
David: “I know you must have forgot Jack, for winning the Masters at age 46. That has to be your No. 1.”
I was ranking best sports seasons. Nicklaus’ Masters victory was probably the greatest event or accomplishment by a 40something, but not the greatest season.
Jimmy: “What kind of a man writes opinion pieces in August very critical of Favre for being old and wanting to play football, that the Vikings are Peterson’s team, blah, blah, blah, then comes out with this beauty about how proud you are? No, you are a Favre-hater sports writer that was slapped in the head and again after most mainstream sports writers have long apologized and realized their error.”
The kind of man who earlier said I was wrong about Favre. Meanwhile, you pipe up after the games are played, which makes predictions much easier. In fact, I’ll bet you bat about 80 percent using that method.
Jason wrote about my blog concerning the Vikings’ running up the score: “Is it OK to be OK with the Vikings scoring that last touchdown and being OK with what Keith Brooking did afterwards? I was fine with both.”
Interesting take. I was basically bothered by both. But being bothered by neither is a live-and-let-live philosophy that works reasonably well.
Justin also wrote about the Vikings: “During Adrian Peterson’s time at OU and his first year at Minnesota, Adrian hit the line of scrimmage like a crazy man. Two out of three times, he would have no gain, but on the third try, he would run for 80 yards. Now he talks about being patient, which seems to me to mean being hesitant. Seems to take him too long getting to the line, then he gets tackled behind the line. Granted, Minnesota’s O-line stinks with the run (or he would not be getting tackled so often behind the line). However, his lack of explosion to the line seems to be hurting him. He is scary if he gets by the line of scrimmage, but it does not seem like he does that much anymore. Also, I have never thought Adrian had good vision. He does not seem to pick holes very well. Emmitt Smith was a master at it.”
You’re probably onto something. The hesitating could be linked to the fumbling, too. Fumble some, and you start slowing down, when in reality you should just be concerned with ball protection no matter how hard you’re running.
Budd wrote about my Wade Phillips column: “Good piece on Dallas. People like owner Jones bring little to the game but grief. He appears to have two moods, one for gloating and one for pinning blame. The team took a long time to get over North Dallas Forty. Now they need some quiet improvements to get back up where they belong.”
North Dallas Forty? The Cowboys had to get over North Dallas Forty? Are you talking about the 1979 movie or are you talking about the Michael Irvin/Nate Newton shenanigans? Jerry Jones brings a lot to football. Not much of it football acumen – the Cowboys still need a general manager or director of player personnel – but Jones most definitely is a shrewd businessman who keeps the Cowboys humming financially. If there’s no salary cap next season, no telling what Dallas might do.
Joe: “I agree with part of your column. Phillips has done a good job on defense, although Dallas allowed too many points yesterday in their biggest game of the season. Why not designate Phillips as defensive co-coordinator (only) for next season? Of course, he might not take it, but I think he’s had enough chances as their head coach to do better with the talent the Cowboys have. I also agree Jerry needs to make some other coaching changes. I don’t know who would be the best candidate for head coach, but with all his money, Jones can hire some skill people. And yes, calling on a guy who has missed a lot of field goals to make a 48-yard kick on 4th-and-1 was asinine!”
You can’t demote a guy from head coach. Way too many political problems would arise, in the staff meeting room and the locker room. Players have to know who the head coach is. A guy can come back a few years later – ala Dave Campo – but not like this. And besides, Phillips is a heck of a head coach. His record proves it. If he can just solve the playoff problem, which he partly did in 2009, the Cowboys have one of the league’s best.
Christopher: “You were dead on yesterday as to why Dallas should keep Phillips. I still thought Jerry would not think clearly on that one. I was wrong on the Gruden hire.”
Gruden remains in the broadcast booth. What if that’s a better job, calling the games instead of coaching them?
Jack wrote about Dusty Dvoracek’s arrest over the weekend: “Dusty Dvoracek is a punk! And a bully to go with it. Back when he was with OU, he literally beat up one of his close friends to the point of being near coma. Dusty has fallen in the category of past ex-OU players that have not matured into society after college and breaking the law. Now he has an arrest record and probably 10 years from now, you’ll see a V.P.O. filed against him for beating up his wife. He is a worthless excuse for a citizen and representing the University of Oklahoma, and not a trust worthy person who. He likes to get drunk and bully people so he can curb his demons in life. Take him off the list of past Sooner greats!”
Was Dvoracek ON the list of past Sooner greats? I don’t think he’s representing OU. I think he’s representing the Chicago Bears. This is a Roger Goodell issue, not a Bob Stoops issue. But I don’t understand the anger toward Dvoracek. The guy obviously has an alcohol problem that he can’t lick. He’s a tortured soul. Dvoracek is to be pitied as much as condemned.
Greg: “As I watched the Texas-Kansas State game Monday night that didn’t end until around 10:40 p.m., I noticed that David Hall, who I have never been a big fan of, was calling the game. Fast forward to OU’s game Tuesday and guess who’s calling that game as well? Neither Manhattan, Kan., nor College Station, Texas, are recognized as major transportation hubs, so I just wonder about how Mr. Hall made his way from Manhattan to College Station and was still fresh enough to call a second ballgame in less than 24 hours. Want to bet that he will be calling another Big 12 game Wednesday night? I find it hard to believe that these 50 something college refs can call ballgames up to 4-5 games a week and still be at the top of their game. We don’t ask that of 20-year-old players. But the refs are the only guys on the court that never get to take a seat or take a break from the action. These guys are either in terrific shape or there aren’t enough new guys entering the officiating ranks or what is probably more the case, these guys love the limelight and monopoly they have and they don’t want any others to join their ranks. Has anyone followed the schedule of a major college ref just to see how the do it? This week, there is no way David Hall got out of Manhattan before 11:30 p.m. or so and I doubt that there are any commercial airlines operating out of there, so he probably had to either stay the night or drive to Topeka or Wichita to catch a flight out and who knows where you fly into to get to College Station. Maybe Superman is in our midst.”
I think you’re being too hard on refs. First, I’ve always thought David Hall was pretty solid. But either way, refs don’t decide who calls what games. Conferences monitor officiating, and limelight has nothing to do with it. There probably is a shortage of quality officials, so corners are cut on travel. I don’t think it knocks officials off their game. I think the biggest worry is the risk in not making it to the arena, should a flight get canceled or something. College basketball officiating is better than it’s ever been. And I think that’s because we’ve got the better refs calling as many games as possible.
Jim also wrote about college basketball: “I have season tickets to the OU games. But I am far enough away from the court that I do not see the players up close. Watching the OU-A&M game last night, I was once again confounded by the appearance of some of the players. A closeup of Tommy Mason-Griffin shooting free throws revealed a young man , just barely out of high school, disfigured (in my opinion), potentially for life, with grotesque tattoos from his ears down. Unfortunately he is not an exception as this practice has become widespread among college players. College men’s sports claim to want to prepare young men for life. In my view this growing practice does not do that. I assume this practice is driven by what is seen on pro players. But we have young men marking themselves for life with emblems that are more common among gang members than successful participants in American society. I believe sports writers (using your national and state organizations) could begin to lead in an effort to diminish this practice. Coaches could be led to speak out against such practices. I suspect such an effort would lead to criticism of being insensitive to cultural and ethnic norms, but I believe it would be worth the effort.”
Here’s the deal. Athletes aren’t coming to college and getting tattoos. They’re getting tattoos long before that, and they’re not influenced by NBA players. They’re influenced by people around them. I don’t like tattoos, myself, and I think they close some avenues to the future, but the other group of Americans who are noted for their tattoos are World War II veterans.