15 November 2010
Pressure. Plain and simple it is the “maker or breaker” of true greatness. There are those that rise to the occasion each and every time their number is called. They welcome and live for the scrutiny and tension that accompanies these defining moments. Regardless of how large a check is written, they are first in line to cash it! They are willing to miss many shots in order to make a few. The glow of the spotlight is never too bright and they never shy away from center stage performances. We have all seen performers like this…Montana, Jordan, Woods, Irvin, Marino, Elway, Magic…list goes on and on. Sure, they have had bumps and bruises along the way…but when the pressure was on, everyone wanted them on their side! Can you recall one of them opening up the "Excuse to shelter my ego" playbook and say "It's all part of a process"?
The flip side to this equation is what unfortunately comes to mind during RS’s tenure as our coach. Time and time again, our team underperforms spectacularly in games in which there is that extra dash of “everything we have worked for is on the line tonight”. As a matter of fact, they usually do well once the pressure of that sort of expectation has been removed. Once again we are in a position to play out the year without controlling our own destiny. If this happens once…you can write it off a “missed that one!” Twice…"This has to be the last time!” Over and over…”We have a trend that needs to be analyzed and corrected!”
All roads lead back to Randy. He is a Hurricane true and true. He cares about out the program. He wants to be here for good. He has the best of intentions. Etc., etc., etc. But there is obviously something wrong with his message and the manner in which we clam up in those big moments. One of his recent quotes comes to mind…As Lamar Miller is about to have his first start of the season…Randy’s advise is (And I paraphrase) “You don’t have to score every time you touch the ball. Take it slow and try to gain a few yards here and there”. Now mind you, I understand what he is trying to accomplish. I clearly understand that we have a young RB, starting for the first time, blah blah blah. But here is my question…Why lower the kid's expectations of greatness and glory? Why have him settle for mediocrity? Why instill in him the notion that “okay” is okay? Why not tell him..."Hell yes son, every time you touch the ball go out and score us a touchdown!" Or, "You know what, I can't wait to celebrate with you after you go out there and kill it today!"
The answer seems obvious to me, and it fits perfectly with his whole “This is a process nonsense”. And every kid on our team is believing and repeating that nonsense. When have you heard this come out of the mouth of one of the aforementioned Champions? When have you seen someone that lives to be the greatest in their given field open up the “It’s part of a process” line of thinking? You know when? NEVER! And as a result, our team has been described as flat…emotionless…unprepared in games that would inspire greatness. His attempts to lower expectations and as a result protect the egos of all involved have led to our current malaise. Excuses and crazy things like the "150 yard walk at Duke" come out of his mouth...and then the kids buy into that?
Listen, I was a RS supporter through and through. Arguments with father, friends and those who opposed him where the norm. But I can no longer sit back and ignore the trend mentioned above. So as I sit in my season ticket seats Saturday, knowing damn well that we do not control our destiny...I will wonder what team will show up? What did Randy say to them this time? “Stay controlled”? “Don’t try to be a hero”? “Avoid mistakes”? “It’s all part of a process”? It seems he is so nervous or scared to lose, that he passes on his tentative mentality to the players. And the rest is history…another season in which we are depending on help to back into the ACC Championship.
Well, for me…this process wreaks of mediocrity and settling for middle of the road results. Randy has been very good to get us back to where we are, but it is time for a change. We need a fearless leader who is willing to risk in order to win. Not someone who hides behind the “It’s part of a process” nonsense.