Maybe Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy has seen one too many Al Pacino movies. Or perhaps he gets off on watching Jack Nicholson tell Tom Cruise, “You can’t handle the truth!” Whatever the reason, his outrageous postgame tirade after OSU defeated Texas Tech, 49-45, on Saturday goes right in the “stranger than fiction” category. At the same time, however, a look at the story surrounding the rant reveals a few kernels of truth in the complex world that college football has become. For those of you who haven’t seen Gundy’s post-game outburst on YouTube, ESPN or your local news channel, the 40-year-old coach went on a three-minute tirade against Jenni Carlson, a columnist for The Oklahoman. Gundy was absolutely incensed at what he considered to be an insensitive, inaccurate piece that attacked OSU quarterback Bobby Reid’s toughness – both physical and mental. Going beyond anything I’ve ever seen from an angry coach, Gundy got even more personal than Carlson got when she said, “Does he (Reid) have the fire in his belly? Or does he want to be coddled, babied, perhaps even fed chicken (by his mother)? “This article had to have been written by a person that doesn’t have a child,” Gundy yelled. “If you have a child someday, you’ll understand how it feels, but you obviously don’t have a child. I do. If your child goes down the street and somebody makes fun of him because he drops a pass in a pickup game or says he’s fat and he comes home crying to his mommy, you’ll understand.” At another point, Gundy says: “If you want to comment on his play, comment on his play. But don’t comment on something that’s outside of his play that is downgrading or belittling to a young man who is trying to do things right, and he has to get splashed all over the newspaper in the state of Oklahoma.” It’s clear from the video that Gundy is a passionate person who has a deep concern for his players and his fellow man. It’s clear he wasn’t afraid to deviate from standard protocol – and risk taking some heat – in order to defend one of his players. What isn’t clear is just how smart he is. It is admirable Gundy felt the need to defend his player from a harsh critique that felt too personal. Regardless of whether she’s right or wrong, Carlson risked stepping over the line when she questioned Reid’s ability to handle pressure, basically labeled him a momma’s boy and strongly inferred he wasn’t tough enough to play hurt. But while Carlson may have stepped over the line, Gundy stepped right off the cliff. He was so theatrical that a valid question – how far should we go in dissecting a college athlete’s humanity for the sake of in-depth coverage? – was overshadowed by his emotion. More important, by stomping off the podium and refusing to take questions after he finished attacking Carlson, he failed miserably to give proper recognition to his players’ dramatic victory. That is as dumb as it gets. By not having the discipline to either wait until Monday to address the column or perhaps talk to Carlson in private on Saturday or Sunday, he made his views the headline and shafted his own team. The story continued to make the rounds the past few days. On Monday, Football Writers Association of America president Mike Griffith issued a statement that read, in part: “I consider Coach Gundy’s behavior completely inappropriate. It shows a lack of respect for the media and doesn’t speak well for the university and the fans he represents.” Gundy said he had no regrets, although he said he “shot from the hip,” and maybe should have prepared a better response. Carlson wrote a column Tuesday in which she defended her credibility and complained that Gundy wouldn’t give her any examples of how she got her facts wrong. In the end, there are several conclusions that can be made. First, the world has been forever changed by YouTube and the Internet in general. There will soon be 100,000 downloads of Gundy’s tirade, turning what once would have been a spicy story for Oklahomans into a national event while provoking a mixture of laughter, surprise, admiration and disdain. Two, major college football is bigger than ever and more intertwined with the real world than ever before. Gundy’s ballistic reaction, ironically, created a far bigger story that does more to justify Carlson’s intrusive position than it does to repulse it. Third, it says a lot that the media reaction I’ve read is critical of Gundy’s outburst, but gives little thought to Carlson’s critique of Reid. Gundy was ridiculously unprofessional, but is it now acceptable to question a young college athlete’s heart and guts to explain a coach’s move? It appears it is. Elite three: The Heisman Trophy race is starting to take shape and Arkansas running back Darren McFadden remains the favorite heading into the last weekend of September. He finished second last year and he’s on pace to gain more than 2,000 yards as a junior. However, two quarterbacks are coming on strong. Florida sophomore Tim Tebow is shaping up as a phenom while guiding the Gators to a 4-0 start. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound left-hander has tight end strength, 4.6 speed in the 40 and a quality passer’s touch with a good understanding of the spread option offense. He’s thrown for 1,096 yards and gained 358 on the ground, while throwing just one interception. Senior Andre Woodson, meanwhile, is putting up great numbers under former Oregon coach Rich Brooks at Kentucky, which shockingly is in the top 15 at 4-0. He’s completed 64.2 percent of his passes for 1,008 yards, with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. This and that: Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon hasn’t thrown an interception going into this week’s huge game against Cal. At the moment, he’s a Heisman candidate worth watching, just like USC’s John David Booty. … When Appalachian State shocked Michigan, AP changed its rules to allow Division I-AA teams to be included in voting for the top-25 rankings. Shouldn’t they be excluded again, now that Wofford has beaten Appalachian State? … This blogged response to the Gundy story came from ChickyBoomBoom129: “The way Okie State is going this year, good guy Gundy will be fired at season’s end. Gimme a winner, not a preacher.” email@example.comWant local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
admin January 3, 2020 wcfwnnna