Wyoming football coach Joe Glenn has been reprimanded. Utah coach Kyle Whittingham has admitted his mistake.
The soap opera is finally over.
But wait! Soap operas never die, they just go into reruns. So next year in Laramie it will come up again the bad blood between the coaches and programs, the Cowboys' quest for revenge, etc.
Just wondering: Isn't this all sort of high school?
Since when did teams need more motivation than just winning?
When I was in junior high, our basketball team was losing to a nearby school. Our coach used halftime to tell us he once worked at the rival school and he knew how they thought. He said those kids were raised from birth to beat us; that as their mamas were rocking their babies to sleep, they sang about whipping us. Those kids, he reiterated, had one goal in mind.
That fired us up and we won, thanks to Coach Parkinson's speech.
But we were only 14. That shouldn't be necessary when you're 22.
Last week, Glenn and Whittingham both acted as though they were trying to motivate a bunch of junior high kids. They even acted like junior high kids themselves. No slight went unchallenged, no disrespect went unnoticed. It was an acute case of:
"Is that so?"
"Yeah, that's so!"
"Wanna make something out of it?"
"I already did!"
The situation began Nov. 5, as Glenn was speaking to a small group of students. He got worked up and guaranteed a win over the Utes.
It was supposed to fire up the fans and his team. Unfortunately for Glenn, the Utes won 50-0. Nobody has whiffed that bad since "Casey at the Bat."
Whittingham seized the opportunity to rally his team against Glenn's guarantee. Utah built a 43-0 lead but didn't stop there. Whittingham ordered an onside kick, although the outcome had clearly been decided. That prompted Glenn to aim an obscene gesture in Whittingham's direction. In the post-game press conference Whittingham defended himself, saying Glenn apparently knew the outcome, so the Utes couldn't afford to ease up.
Whittingham wound up publicly apologizing the next day for trying to run up the score, and Glenn was reprimanded by the league for his one-fingered salute. Glenn also apologized.
A case could be made that the game would have been 50-0 even without the theatrics.
Both coaches said they let emotion get the best of them. That was a problem Ron McBride had when he coached at Utah. His combustible teams would get wild-eyed for BYU or Arizona but get caught looking the other way against Wyoming or New Mexico. Conversely, LaVell Edwards' stamp at BYU was that he and his teams stayed on even keel for nearly every game. Their emotion was self-generated. The Cougars never worried much about slights, perceived or real. At least publicly they didn't rally around newspaper clippings, either. Bronco Mendenhall is trying to use the same approach.
Former LDS Church leader Brigham Young is often credited with saying that anyone who takes offense when it's unintended is a fool, but one who takes offense when it is intended is usually a fool, too.
Note to Whittingham, Glenn and their teams: Don't get offended, just play.
Good college football players don't need silly motivations. They're grownups who know the difference between being prepared and just getting worked up over some slight. They shouldn't need junior high speeches about the other team's upbringing or even news clippings about what the other coach is saying.
While college football isn't as businesslike as the NFL, it's not about getting fighting mad, either. It's about winning, not righting injustices.When the Utah-Wyoming game is played next year, they'd both be better served to prepare well, stay focused and let the outcome be the only story that counts.
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