Ralph's Message to Booing Fans
I figured Ralph Friedgen would reach a boiling point regarding the backlash of the fans, many of whom were heard booing Steffy (or the offense) Saturday. I asked Ralph what he would say to fans who boo Steffy, and Ralph got a little emotional, choking up some, when he answered:
“It is their right, they paid for their tickets. They can do really what they want. I am just saying. If you would know this person, and the contribution he has made to his football program, and the fact that he is going through tough times right now, and still doing everything in his power for us to be a good football team, it speaks volumes about the character this kid has, what kind of team player he is. I know he has the respect of our players. I know he has the respect of our coaches.
“Maybe I am like a father. If you’re booing my son, I’m going to get upset. That’s how I look at this kid. If he was a kid who didn’t give effort, who didn’t prepare, then that would be a different story. But that is not the case with this kid. People don’t believe me. I have a lot invested in this also, and I would not put a guy out there who I didn’t think was the best guy. In practice he is. I have had other kid; Sam Hollenbach developed the last five or six games in his college career. It is a learning process. The game has to slow down for you. It has not always for Jordan right now. I don’t know.
“You want to boo me, boo me. Don’t boo the kid.”
Ralph was also asked whether he was worried about Jordan’s confidence at this stage of the season, and Ralph let loose:
“There are a lot of things that bother me right now with this whole thing. I have got a kid who has done everything he can possibly do. Would I like him to make some better decisions or make some better passes? Sure. But this kid to me is the epitome of what we want in this football program. With what he is dealing, and the scrutiny of every pass being judged, some of those people booing him would love for their children to be like Jordan Steffy. The perseverance, the courage, the toughness that this kid is going through, to keep a smile on his face and a positive attitude, he has nothing but my admiration.
“And I personally don’t think it is justified, I really don’t. I know this is a tough sport, and all of that, and we’re here to win football games. But we’re also here to develop young men for the future. And some of the things this kid is dealing with are going to make this kid an even better person later on. I can’t tell you how proud I am that he is in our program and how proud I am if he were my son or anyone else’s son. I get a little discouraged because he is the type of kid that he is, and he wants to please, he wants to do as well as he can. Instead of having a positive effect, it probably makes his job even tougher. And yet, he has not hung his head. He was trying to go Monday, but Coach James Franklin told him not to. I want that guy in the foxhole with me. That is the type of kid he is.”
I just got word that the quarterbacks will not speak to the media today, but they are planned to be made available tomorrow. I will have a detailed story in tomorrow’s paper, constant updates on the blog throughout the day and also an immediate post on whether Steffy is practicing today. Stay tuned, and thanks for all the comments. Keep firing away!
September 2, 2008; 3:22 PM ET
Categories: Football | Tags: Boo, Booing, Fans, Jordan Steffy, Ralph Friedgen
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