Culpability

As you may know sports is my thing. If didn’t know, now you know: I love sports. I can watch, play, talk, think, eat, sleep, breathe, etc, etc without even trying, but I normally tone it down; as a grown man I need to be focusing on responsibilities, education and women… at least that’s what everyone tells me.

Anyways, yesterday my sports world got a rude awakening: my boy T.O. got fired (released by the Dallas Cowboys) and Billy Gillispie’s Kentucky Wilcats lost another game. Even though these are two completely unrelated situations in, two completely unrelated sports the bond of responsibility is shared in both cases.

I am so sad for Terrell Owens. He is a great player, still possessing far above average skills, who so happens to come with a lot of baggage. Some of that baggage he brings upon himself:

T.O. being T.O. Just one of the antics that earned him his rep.

T.O. being T.O. Just one of the antics that earned him his rep.

But a lot of it is contrived and people projecting character flaws on him that he has never exuded. Terrell Owens is known as one of the hardest working NFL professionals in the game. At 35 he is probably the fittest receiver in league history (next to ‘roided out David Boston). He always plays hard, brings his best effort and downright wants to win. The problem is the evil media (ESPN) plays him out to be a bad guy, and the rest of the world runs with it.

Take for instance the Dallas situation, Stephen A. Smith said something like more than half of the team liked T.O. (just like in Philly, but they don’t tell you that too much). However there were these perceived enemies in the form of his quarterback, tight end and offensive coordinator leaking information about the in house stuff.

Owens didn’t put up the numbers that we are accustomed to seeing, but the rest of the team was pretty inept offensively primarily because of quarterback Tony Romo. Towards the end of the season Romo, blatantly tried to force the ball into Jason Witten’s hands at key junctures, more often than not leading to not so positive results. Additionally, Mario Barber ran at a less than four yard per carry average and Felix Jones didn’t even play half of his rookie season, making the offense extremely one dimensional. Jason Garrett, the “head coach in waiting,” hardly imaginative and creative in his play calling, didn’t do much either.

I could go on for a while especially about the Cowboys’ defense, but I really think T.O. is getting scapegoated to a level I haven’t seen since Clay Bennett gutted the Sonics talent and then accused the city of being bad fans. Eventually, you have to say wait a minute, T.O has stayed out of major trouble put up numbers and been great for a sustained period of time, what are these other guys doing? Hmm.

Shifting gears, Billy Clyde IneedtogetfiredbecauseIcannotcoach Gillispie lost another game that he should have won, to another team that his guys should have beaten. Head coaches take too much of a hit when their teams play poorly, but in this case Gillispie isn’t getting enough heat.

I stumbled across this Bleacher Report post that sums up the inconsistency in the mindset of UK fans. Henry Nichols really hits on how Tubby Smith succeeded beyond what 100% of what other college programs expect, and still got run out. Don’t believe me, if Roy Williams didn’t win another title within the next 7 years, no amount of tradition, history, prestige would run him out of town. He would be able to leave on his own terms whenever he wanted to without pressure just for winning one and keeping a team that was constantly among the upper echelon of college basketball.

I refer to Nichols’ column because when I think of Billy Gillispie I think of this:

The look of a champion!

The look of a champion!

Some smirking bum who is constantly rude to media personnel, looks as if he has no idea of what is going on, and definitely has no control of his team.

By no means am I a bandwagon detractor though. I thought the hire was worse than the way Tubby was “let go”. Statistically, every major sports outlet, even ESPN showed the extreme similarity to the way their coaching styles played out over their respective careers. The four letter network also debunked the myth that Billy G was this amazing recruiter and talked about how he lucked out with Acie Law IV (a three-star recruit, turned PTP’er) and how Josh Carter was his only real “big time” recruit.

In his short time at UK, he has run off two players (Derrick Jasper and Alex Legion) in particular that would compliment and augment the 1-2 punch of Meeks and Patterson. Imagine having reliable guard play and the chemistry of two years competing with. He should be on a hot seat, isn’t that right Rob Dauster.

Oh and did I mention recruiting is a crapshoot. The only school I can think of that does not have to get the specific recruits they go after is North Carolina–someone pretty good is always waiting in the wings there. Hmm, I wonder why?

At the end of the day the coach has to prepare the players to beat inferior teams and that just isn’t happening right now, but what’s worse is there is no indication of anything getting better…

In case you didn’t know, culpability means blame… both individuals deserve the blame for what is going on. Obviously, for me T.O. is a more sympathetic figure and I tend to view him favorably and wish him the best. But from where I am sitting, Billy G is getting a pass. Next time you watch a UK game tell me if you catch Gillispie doing anything like this:

Tubby Smith coaching... try it some time Billy G

Tubby Smith coaching... try it some time Billy G

If it looks strange… it’s because it really hasn’t happened much this season. I really feel for the players because they are taking the hit for this and as much as they aren’t the best, they are not being properly prepared to play college ball. Maybe next year guys.

Salute

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