Hope you’re well. I said I would try to have a post up Monday and I did not do that. Kind of a crazy day, but not an excuse.
Anyway, I talked to Bobby Bowden Monday, which was fun. (This ends up getting around to Georgia State.) He is a pretty entertaining guy and was at the Atlanta Touchdown Club in part to help push his book, “Called to Coach.”
1. Book plug alert
I say this without having read it – knowing Bowden’s gift of storytelling and also knowing that my friend and former AJC colleague Mark Schlabach would never put his name on something that he didn’t do good work on – I feel pretty confident saying that if you love college football, it’d be a book worth reading.
Anyway, two things GSU-related (for the purposes of the blog, Georgia Southern fans, we’re going to call Georgia State “GSU.” If I were doing a Georgia Southern blog, I’d use “GSU” there also.).
2. Bowden on Curry
Bowden talked up Bill Curry pretty good, saying he didn’t think Georgia State “could have hired a guy more capable than Bill Curry.”
In retrospect, I wish I had asked a more pointed question, because what else is Bobby Bowden going to say? “Bill Curry is a bum and can’t coach his way out of a wet paper bag.” ? (let’s be clear: he did not say that)
Regardless, if you were looking for further confirmation that your team is in good hands, there you have it. By the way, I love the phrase “can’t (hit/coach/verb of choice) his way out of a wet paper bag.” I remember the first time I heard it, I thought it was one of the funniest things I’d ever heard because it’s a great image. Granted, I think I was in sixth or seventh grade at the time. I thought boogers were pretty funny then, too. (Full disclosure: Still do.)
3. Pressure to win?
Bowden also talked about how much the pressure to win has ramped up in recent years. I confess I’m not a big fan of coaches talking about this, even if it’s true. Although in fairness, he was asked about it, so it’s not like he brought it up on his own. Still, no one likes to hear people talk about how hard or unfair their job is.
Regardless, it made me think about Georgia State and the way some of us, myself included, reacted to the Lambuth loss, and about the season in general. Let’s start with Drew Little, for instance. I don’t think there’s any way to cut it other than that he played poorly, as did many of his teammates. Curry said he’ll start again Saturday against Jacksonville State, by the way.
But should we be that surprised? Little (and many teammates) was starting the second game of his college career. Even if it was against a team Georgia State should beat on paper, it’s still better competition than he’s ever played in his life. It was disappointing, obviously, for a lot of GSU fans, but perhaps to be measured with some perspective.
One thing coaches have told me is that a tough part of having a mostly freshman team is that there aren’t many leaders to set an example. I’d have to say that was probably part of the problem Saturday. Regarding run-defense failures, defensive coordinator John Thompson said “you’ve got to bow up and get down in your gap,” which speaks a lot more to determination than talent. I think a lot of Thompson’s younger guys are getting their eyes opened now about what college football is.
So while I’m not big on Bowden’s notion of there being too much pressure to produce, perhaps there’s some application here.
4. Time for a new headline
And to go a little farther, how much does it matter that Little played poorly and that GSU lost? My take, and I have to try to remember this as the season goes on, is that in the bigger picture, the loss last Saturday and the likely loss this Saturday to Jacksonville State won’t matter much if it helps GSU get ready to play in the CAA in two years.
I don’t discount that for marketing and ticket sales reasons, GSU needs to do well. But in terms of record, I sort of think they’re playing with house money right now. Winning and losing matters, but not in the way it will in a couple years.
For our preview section back at the end of August, I asked Curry, given the wide range of teams GSU is playing and the circumstances of the season, would he measure success by wins or losses or by another standard?
He said “we’re not going to measure it by the scoreboard.” He further said that wins and losses will never be more important than getting better, and that if you get better, winning takes care of itself (paraphrase).
Of course, only a dope would say, “I want to be judged this season solely on wins and losses.” But, I think, only a dope would actually want to judge this season solely on wins and losses.
5. The week ahead
I’ll be going to practice this morning, and then the press conference this afternoon. I’ll have a notebook up by the end of the day and a story for Saturday with some blog posts and Twitter feeds mixed in.
If you have any questions or thoughts about this blog or anything else, send them my way.