As I am working on my second piece in the TJ Woods, Offensive line triumbrant, I had a few thoughts that I wanted to share for those who thought my musings had any merit:
1. I have already ran into people that have told me about a lot of differences between Mike Riley and Gary Andersen. The football stuff seems to be all positive. I was pretty critical of Riley, at least for me, this year, and I felt like he need to take more control over the offense, more responsibility for the play calling, and more responsibility for putting his players in position to win. I have heard from many people that Riley lost this team the last few years, and I would have to agree, because the last few years looked nothing like the 2006-2009 seasons.
That being said, there are going to be those who are not as big of fans of Andersen. People who were used to how Riley operated — and how he took care of people and looked out for everyone from the bus drivers to the bystanders at practice. Andersen is all about football and is a guy who players will love and thrive under, but who also is very focused on one thing, and that is his team. The family atmosphere will be there for the Beavers, but that circle will be smaller and more focused.
This is probably what the Beavers need right now. You see it in sports all the time, where a new coach comes in, brings excitement, and is someone that addresses the needs that their predecessor couldn’t. The success of Coach Robinson after Coach John is a good example. There are lot of reasons for his early success, but some of them were just him being a better fit for which players Jay brought in. He then changed a lot of what he did to try and attract different players, and they didn’t fit what he knew. Coach Tinkle comes in and the players are playing great for him because they needed something different, and Wayne is brining a whole lot of that. Competent coaches can maintain that — and exceptional coaches can grow that.
While I think that Mike Riley was a very competent coach, I honestly think that Andersen will be excellent. What that means in the long run is anyone’s guess, but people need to realize it will be different. He is a different coach with different agendas and a different personality. To expect everything to stay the same, but for the team to just play with more passion is not going to happen. We need to embrace a new reality that holds NOTHING from our past. Just as this year’s men’s hoops team looks nothing like last year, we need to realize that will be the same with Andersen. He is going to create new routines, new traditions, and a new legacy — and we will need a few years to find out what that is.
There will be no Hip Hip Hoorays after a win, but there will be something new, and it may just be “This game is over, we are now focused on the next one…” and they go home. I don’t know, but in nine months we will find out.
2. I am already tired of the comparisons and the need to put down or point to the mistakes of past coaches while complementing current ones. I understand many need this, but I say move on. I will always thank Mike Riley for what he did and the great memories. I will always thank Craig Robinson for the new practice facility and taking the program to a new level, even if it wasn’t as high of a level as we wanted. But we have new guys and they are home run hires. As people begin to worry about Coach Andersen taking awhile to get his coaches, or how we worried when Coach Tinkle’s players lost to Western Oregon, we have to realize that there is risk in everything, but we need to look forward.
I see nothing about Coach Tinkle that says he cannot take us to the NCAAs as soon as next year. I see nothing about Coach Andersen that says we might win a Civil War as early as next year. I see nothing about these guys that is worrying me in the least. Give it a few years and a few recruiting cyclesm and then we can see if there is reason for worry. Otherwise, it all looks up and onward, so I am choosing not to look back or downward.
I know people will do what they want, but if you talk to me and I sound exasperated, that is why.
3. You know, there is a difference between op-ed and feature writers and beat reporters? Many don’t. I see a lot of people trashing The Oregonian and their coverage of OSU sports. Now I am not a fan of Ken Goe or John Canzano, so I don’t read them. The last time I read anything from Canzano, John Kerry was trying to unseat President George Bush. For Goe, it was President Obama gearing up for his second campaign.
They are writers of musings and opinions of their own, and have a huge avenue to do that. If you don’t like them, the lack of banner ad impressions and clicks on their articles will send that message far more than a “I hate that $*@(# Canzano, but I will keep reading him because like a car crash I cannot look away.”
Unfortunately, what gets lost in all this vitriol over their column writers is the really great beat reporting by Connor Letourneau and Gina Mizell. Both of them have done a fantastic job covering football and basketball. Gina wrote some amazing articlea breaking down plays and games, and Connor’s work during the basketball coaching search, and shortly after the Tinkle hire, were some of the best sports writing I had read from The Oregonian in years.
They are doing exceptionally well and I REALLY hate to see them lumped in with the two other guys who are world apart in my mind. So please, if you don’t like Canzano and Goe, stop reading their articles, but do take time to check out what Connor and Gina are doing because it is great and will really help you see The Oregonian in a new light.
4. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone. This season is super busy for this father of two young girls, and I have been sick on top of that. That being said, we are going to have a lot of new features the coming weeks and a new look to the site for 2015. I am sorry if there is not a lot for the next few weeks, but we are hitting the ground running in 2015, so be sure to check us out!