College Coaches Gone Wild
All those sneakers got the college coaches feeling a little frisky this weekend. So many noteworthy quotes. Let's review.
1) GW gets stomped by Xavier. I figured something interesting would result from the post-game. I was right. From the Hatchet:
The expectations Hobbs faces in Foggy Bottom are a little different than those of other schools, including his alma matter, the University of Connecticut.
"The great part about being the coach here at GW, no one is asking me to win the national championship here," Hobbs said.
Undeniably true, but such an odd thing to highlight after being humbled during one of the three or four biggest games of the season. "Luckily, we have low expectations here, which allows us to overachieve a lot by beating up on the MEAC," seems to be the implication. Like I said, it's 100 percent factual, and I can see where that would be reassuring coming from a Big East grad, and I'd love to know the context, but it just sounds so odd. I can't remember ever hearing a DI coach say something like that before.
2) For the sake of comparison, let's recall the beginning of Steve Goff's George Mason game story, after the Patriots lost at home to Hofstra:
Jim Larranaga has had enough.
"They will see an entirely different side of me and my personality these next few weeks because these performances are totally unacceptable to me and our program," Larranaga steamed....
"I don't know if our guys are feeling sorry for themselves, but I guarantee you there's nobody in our league feeling sorry for George Mason right now. Everybody's loving seeing us."
I've never heard that particular side of Larranaga. Also, the great thing about being at George Mason is that no one is asking Larranaga to win a national championship there. He forgot that part.
3) Dave Leitao eschews spin and anger in favor of confused resignation after Virginia's loss at Virginia Tech. Local Poll occasional voter Darryl Slater writes:
Cavaliers coach Dave Leitao, known for his volcanic emotions, spent more time than usual slouching in his chair, arms crossed, face blank, as if he couldn't quite believe what he saw....
Said Leitao: "We've played in some tough environments against some good teams already and really haven't had a day like today. And so that really, really concerns me."
In the locker room afterward, Leitao "wasn't as angry as he was shocked, really," freshman Will Harris said. Maybe searching for the reason behind the flop dulled Leitao's emotions. "If John Wooden had that answer, he'd probably still be coaching," Leitao said. "Can't tell ya."
4) The Gilbert Arenas revenge train might have been derailed Sunday, but at least someone proved all the doubters wrong and then gloated about it afterward. Someone being Gary Williams. The doubters being anonymous message board posters and pithy commenters, presumably. From David Steele's column:
Williams doesn't have the thickest skin any big-time coach has ever had, but when he took his verbal shots at the army of critics after the convincing 72-60 victory at Comcast Center, he was wholly entitled.
"We're not in disarray. OK?" he said. "You don't beat the teams that we've beaten already this season and be in disarray. Disarray is losing seasons, and we haven't had one of those around here in a long time."
Tell 'em. Better yet, blog about it.
5) Looking for a more classically restrained coaching response, a bland deflection of praise, a rote reliance on one-game-at-a-time restraint? Look no further than John Thompson III, post-Marquette win, which made the (upcoming) unveiling of this week's Local Atlantic 11 sort of anti-climactic. From local voter Barker Davis's story today:
Minutes after No. 22 Georgetown trampled No. 11 Marquette 76-58 on Saturday, a visiting reporter asked coach John Thompson III whether he thought his Hoyas were playing the best basketball in the nation.
"Wow," a blindsided Thompson exclaimed before recovering to deliver his stock response to big-picture queries. "I really don't worry about the rest of the country. It's about us. It's how much can we improve? What can we focus on? What can we take care of internally? Looking at the big landscape, honestly, I don't do that. We'll pick our heads up at the end of the year and see where we stand."
(Or, maybe, a few Georgetown fans could come here and give us some big landscape hints. Pleeeeease?)
6) I'm sure most coaches felt this way, but here was Blaine Taylor on the Coaches vs. Cancer sneakers look, after ODU's massive home win over VCU:
"You feel like and idiot wearing this outfit," he said. "I stopped for a coffee at Dunkin Donuts before the game, I walk in and everybody thinks I'm fashion challenged."
Plus, Taylor called one of his players "Ol' Tangle Foot." Now that's a quote I can get down with.
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