My wife popped out of a little boutique Saturday afternoon. It was at that moment when she’d just gotten to her phone for the first time all day. I don’t know why she chose to do it, but she paid a tax. She looked completely spooked.
“Tommy Tuberville went to Cincinnati?”
And so it began.
I can’t even enjoy this running joke anymore because it’s not a joke and it’s run me down after so many years and examples that, truly, I can’t go away for even a brief amount of time.
I used to be able to explain all of this in certain ways.
There are some weeks or weekends that are going to be newsy in my line of work. I happen to choose a few of those, it seems, because of convenience (my bosses have to remind me I have spare vacation days at the end of the year … and I still have two more) or preference (my anniversary is at the end of August, which is when football camp breaks, some kids transfer and others lose their minds downtown).
But, obviously, I can’t explain everything. I can’t explain what happened in May. I can’t explain why, seriously, every time I got on a plane last fall, something happened. I’ll never, ever forget a TSA agent making me turn off my phone in a security line in PIT and then me later finding seven messages from my source on the second Big 12 move that broke everything down in voluminous form — said source took great care of me because the first move was McConnell’d.
I could go on and on, I promise you, but it pisses me off to do so.
So, yeah, Saturday took a turn on us. The Tuberville move had implications, if even far-fetched, which is what I immediately labeled them. Still couldn’t dismiss them, though, because I literally wrote the book on this. Later, I broke my weekend treaty and looked at my phone. Saw a text from a Person that really worried me, and then all the laughs and teasing I have come to expect — which somehow helps.
Still, at that moment, nearly two days removed from intentionally avoiding all of this, I couldn’t be sure if all my friends were part of a conspiracy to prank me or not. Tuberville to Cincinnati! Daron Roberts objects to his firing! Buzzer-beater in the Coliseum! Mike Carey went ballistic in his postgame!
I mean, even to me, that seemed like a lot. But, no, that all happened. And what to make of it?
- Nobody I talked to yesterday is concerned about Dana Holgorsen and Texas Tech. Yet. You just about have to add that caveat anymore. Yet. But on the whole, the general feeling was that Dana is content, his people are taken care of and he enjoys the thing he’s in the middle of right now. For a guy who’s bounced around a little, that seems important.
Now, there are familial variables to consider in Lubbock, Texas, and the president and the athletic director there had nothing to do with Mike Leach, so it’s not quite as poisonous as a lot of people want to assume.
He happens to really like his athletic director and president here and he also has familial variables to consider here. He could be closer to his kids with a move back to West Texas, but some of Dana’s family has also moved here now and he’s got a mansion to occupy in a really nice area.
Now, might things change? I don’t have to answer that for you. Texas Tech seems keen on a few people before Dana, but what if the Red Raiders get four candidates deep and the people get unruly?
I know there have been a lot of sourced reports saying Texas Tech isn’t interested and that Dana is happy where he is, but — and let me be careful to say that I don’t know or think this is what’s happening, but I want you to understand how these things go — coaches and agents have found ways to protect the current job while looking for another job.
This is a critical recruiting time and no coach wants to deal with job rumors that other coaches can use to sway committed and uncommitted players. If a school thinks enough of a coach to consider him, that school or its intermediaries will cater to certain requests … like, “Don’t let my name out since we don’t know where this is going to end up, OK?” Or maybe, “Can we say I’m not interested? Because we don’t know where this is going to end up.”
- As for Roberts, fair to say I was surprised, but I understand someone had to go and we all understand that was bound to be the cornerbacks coach. I’m curious to see where he goes next because, let’s be honest: He hasn’t proven a whole lot. Great story, really good guy and I don’t think we have to worry about his future, wherever it goes, but I wonder where football will take him.
And let’s not ignore this: There is one less scapegoat on the farm now. Results matter.
- The fact that Kevin Noreen was the difference in Saturday’s game is what really made me wonder if this was a prank … though I’m still not clear if the Tuberville thing actually happened or if he was part of the gag.
Haven’t watched the game yet, but I do have to wonder how far this team can go lugging a heavy inability to shoot and score to wherever it travels.
- And then there’s Mike Carey, unbuttoning the top button one more time. He’s gone back and forth on the issue of fan support throughout his years here and he’s told me before he knows he can’t and shouldn’t say the things he feels because people will complain, which I counter is the truth hurting the ears of those who don’t want to hear it.
He went real hard Saturday night when his team played the back end of the double header after the men’s game and pretty much no one cared. I love it. It matters to him and I’m not going to crack on that. “If they don’t like it, tough. My office is right over there in the practice facility.”
I just think he’s fighting a losing battle. The double headers don’t work and they actually clear the arena after the men’s game, which … I don’t know. They get nice crowds here, and with a completely different audience than what you’d find at a men’s game, but the double header is tricky and it makes for a long day for the few and the proud. Long days in the holiday season are sometimes better spent in the mall or at Christmas parties.
I don’t know what the solution is. I do know the marketing people try hard and do good work and Carey is not mad at them, but, boy, was he mad at the rest of them Saturday night.