Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Thank you for your concern

I want thank all of the Illini faithful who stopped by over the past couple of days with expressions of concern about me. Whether it was that I have "too much time on my hands" or that I have an "unhealthy obsession" or even that perhaps I have an unsatisfactory "penis size" it has all been very touching. I realize that there's a lot questions about me so I've decided I'd pull back the curtain just a little bit.

The first thing you need to know about me is that I'm not Baghead. Like a cheap tribute band or an Elvis impersonator, I'm just an admirer of Baghead, the genius who started fireronzook.com back in January of 2002, not the real thing.

The next thing I want to address is why I have an allegiance to the Gators. I do in fact have a bachelor of science from the University of Florida which I earned in 1991. I am from a major metropolitan area in Florida and not a local yokel from Gainesville, so save the "Billy Bob" jokes.

As far as my personal life goes, I have a relationship with a lovely lady (who is the only person who should really care about the size of my penis, and I haven't heard a complaint yet), have a couple of beautiful kids and love my job where I earn a six figure salary.

So what's with the "obsession" with Ron Zook, many of you have asked. Well obsession is a strong word. I wouldn't say it's an obsession. As you can see by reading my archives this blog has been around for about a year and I've only made a handful of posts. But what drives me is the great lengths to which some of my Gator brethren go defend Ron Zook, even today. And the reason it bothers me is that in order to defend him these people often end up smearing the reputation of the man who put Florida football on the map, Steve Spurrier.

You see I was at the University of Florida when the school had never won an official conference title. I sat there in the stands as the team underperformed in the pre-Spurrier era. I know what it's like to be 6-5 and disappointed to be playing in some 3rd tier bowl, if at all. I realize that for most of you Illini fans 6-5 doesn't sound so bad. But it's a matter of perspective. Once you've tasted success you don't want to go backward.

And Ron Zook really gets under my skin. First he downplayed the talent he inherited at UF, claiming he had an empty cupboard. That was a lie made out of whole cloth. Then he claimed that our Gators were improving. But the results never improved. All of a sudden our home field advantage was gone and we were losing to perennial doormats of our league.

Since he got canned at Florida, Zook has not relented. He takes subtle digs at UF whenever possible and made a ridiculous claim that he would have won a national title at Florida in 2005 if he had been given the chance.

I am sure Ron Zook is a helluva guy. To a man his players are loyal to him. And there's probably nobody I'd want to have watching my back, if I got into a spat with some frat boys, more than the Zooker. But Ron Zook is not a smart coach.

One of you Illini left a comment asking if Zook's difficulties at Florida had anything to do with his inexperience. My answer to that is no. Ron Zook may have never been a head coach before but despite his youthful appearance is man in his 50s who has been around football at the college and pro level for more than a quarter century. Given that, some of the decisions he's made are seemingly inexplicable. But I think there is an explanation. Ron Zook has some sort of learning disability. If man is the only animal that trips on the same stone twice, Zook is the only man that trips on it a dozen times and remains unconvinced of the presence of the stone.

Another thing. Why do you take anyone with a bag on his head seriously? Why do you care what I think? If you really have the goods in Ron Zook you'll all have the last laugh.

I will admit that the Illini have already surpassed my expectations this year. All of you, if you are honest, will admit the same. You have had 2+ seasons to watch and listen to Zook and you know that you've had your doubts along the way. Zook can be successful if gets out the way of his players and coaches and sticks to what he knows how to do: recruiting, barefoot water skiing, and squats.

Oh and one last thing. Don't count your chickens before they hatch. We're only halfway through the season. And although the schedule is looking pretty good for you the remainder of the way (except of course for OSU) there's still a good chance that Ron Zook I've come to love (as your coach, not mine) will make an appearance. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. Sue me.


Anonymous said...

Steve Spurrier taps feet in public restrooms.

Anonymous said...

baghead taps back.

Anonymous said...

If you're earning a six-figure salary (which in Florida is like earning 5 million anywhere else), how do you have time to do this?!?!

Anyway, thanks for the semi-rational post (the first on your blog). All I have to say is that Zook may not have been a great fit for Florida, but that doesn't mean he's not a great fit elsewhere (Illinois). I too had my doubts the last two years but i'm being proven wrong this year. Things might not pan out this year, true, but for now I see a program that has truly turned around and only shows signs of improving.

not baghead said...

How much time do really think it takes to write 10 posts in one year, about a subject you have experience with?

The answer is not much. And don't pretend there aren't a lot of corporate time-stealing weasels on your message boards either. You may be one of them.

In my mind, it's not a problem of fit. It's a problem of skill set. Zook arguably has some of the skills required to be a good coach. Our only argument is that when it comes down to Xs and Os and in-game management, the guy is a train wreck.

The problem is that people tried to re-write history and say that Florida's "problem" was lack of talent and that's why we needed a guy like Zook. I submit to you that that certainly was a problem at Illinois. But when your talent is equal that of the team on the other side of the field you need display some of the other characteristics of a good coach.

Florida was considered a top program when Zook got hired there. I'm not saying that recruiting would be easy but certainly it's harder to prove that Zook reeled in incremental talent that almost no other competent recruiter would have gotten. Some names would certainly be different but would the overall quality of the classes been that different? You'd have to prove it to me. Now at Illinois you can look at what was there before, you can look at the recruiting rankings and see that Zook has done good (if not great job) of landing some marquee talent that probably wouldn't have considered Illinois without him.

Like I said enjoy it. But if you look at the situation objectively you'd see that a) Penn State has been terrible this year and b) Wisconsin had no business being ranked 5th.

We'll see at the end of the season where the rankings wash out and how big those "big wins" really were.

Anonymous said...

OK, which of the Posse moro0ns were you on Gator Country? PKG, Ergator or GatorGirl?