View Full Version : Soft Players Liable Too!
11-13-2002, 11:44 PM
I'll preface my post with a disclaimer that I'm not condoning Mackovic's actions, nor does this post have anything to do with whether or not I believe he should stay or go.
You know, the more I think about this entire debacle, the more angry I become with the players. I know that they are not the people in charge and that for the most part they are a bunch of naive kids, but I'm disheartened by their complete lack of tact, gumption and common sense. Being the players does not make them whipping bags nor does it serve as an excuse for their lack of intestinal fortitude.
Not to go to Mackovic first for fear of reprisals is understandable (but still pretty wimpy) in my mind. But then to develop a mob mentality and completely skip over Jim Livengood to go whine to Dr. Likens is pretty pathetic. This is supposed to be a tough group of young men playing a hard game. I can understand their feelings being hurt by Mackovic's hard words, but just maybe he hit the nail on the head with some of these kids. Maybe that's why they quit during games. And don't give me the BS that they quit on the coach, because all they would be doing is proving him right. They are a big bunch of cry babies and need to get a grip.
That being said, Mack is still not doing a good job. His people skills stink and he has run the program to a new low. It's funny, but a more grown up approach by the players might have gotten Mack thrown out. Instead, their little coup has backfired and now Mack will probably stay, because Livengood won't let the inmates run the asylumn (and rightfully) so. This whole thing is a mess and the players can only look in the mirror. They might not like what they see, guys with the type of low character that Mackovic has accused them of having.
Bearing Down on 2 Sides To Every Story
PS On a personal note, I was raised by a Bob Knight type of father. No sh*t taken and no excuses made. I was called every name under the sun. I loved the man for it, because even though his methods were sometimes questionable, he was right. And he did it out of trying to make me better and stronger. Plus if I had a problem with him, I fought back and did not go running to mommy for help. And his tough love helped make me into the strong man I am today.
That being said, not all people are of that type of stregnth to deal with a strong, direct type of leader. From what I'm hearing, these players had only a fraction of the type of berating I got as a kid. I guess when one is soft like these players are and have been coddled by people like Dick Tomey all of their lives, they cannot deal with a disciplinarian. Or maybe they realize the ironic truth in what Mack is saying and the message really hits home.
I guess that is why these got together as a group and wept to Likens. What a bunch of pansies! And it seems in character for many of these kids, because berating coach or not, that is how they've performed on the field this year. No heart, no gumption, no guts and no wins. And that's how they handled their problem: like a bunch of gutless wonders.
11-14-2002, 12:01 AM
I couldn't agree more.. The other part of this that bothers me is why Likens would go to such a meeting without at least giving Livengood a heads up. The best response would have been to tell the players that he would meet with them only if Mackovic could be there to respond to their complaints. If they didn't care enough to air their greivances to Mackovic's face, in my opinion they should have kept their opinions to themselves. The players have come across as gutless in my opinion. As it sits, Likens severely (if not terminally) undermined Mackovics authority..
11-14-2002, 02:05 AM
But do you believe that your father cared about you? Did your father have a method to his madness? I suspect that, deep down, you knew that he was a hard-ass because he was trying to make a man out of you.
I don't believe that Mackovic cares about his players, or at least they don't believe that he does - and that is paramount.
As for the players being wimpy - I'm sorry, but I don't buy that SO MANY could be wimps. If Mack was berating players (AND ASSISTANT COACHES) left and right, then approaching him directly would have done nothing except get them a one-way ticket to the doghouse - or the door. Mack sounds like an egomaniac who you can't tell anything to. To quote ricky from a post at the CatTracks board... ".. the nature of whistleblowing... more often than not the chain of command stuff is at its worst an organizational structure designed to keep a lid on things rather than get to the bottom of things".
11-14-2002, 02:49 AM
I don't agree. You can't blame the players one bit. The players are just the tools of the coach. They run the plays, practice and have a state of mind which are all dictated by the coach and his actions. Here is my thinking on this:
Mac has a terrible attitude. You could totally tell from the behind the lines show (whatever it was called on espn) that he is NOT a nice guy. He showed no compassion toward his players. There is a difference between being just a coach, and a GREAT coach. Tyrone Willingham is a great coach. Why? Because he took his team, that quite frankly should have only won 3 games this year, and compelled them to be better than they are, just by his own persona. He is always complimenting his players. He single handedly makes them a great team by his confidence in himself and players. THAT is the difference between why Mac will never be a successful coach anywhere, ever again.
11-14-2002, 03:24 AM
41 players who have been through hell over the past two, three or four years in this program. They are plenty tough - they have more character than their coach and now they know it.
The gutless reaction of the Athletic department is what surprises me. On CBS.com Livengood is quoted as saying that 'outside influences' made the athleetes do what they did. No outside force in the world would have gotten anywhere with them if the INSIDE was put right. These guys are proud to be Wildcats - I am very dissapointed that anyone, especially you would find fault with the players on this issue. They want to get better. The fans want to get better. Only Livengood and Mack don't give a flying rats ass about the program.
11-14-2002, 04:09 AM
The problem should have been sorted out and nipped at the bud many moons ago, as soon as the smell became apparent. And *if* Livengood was unaware of what was going on, that bespeaks of incompetence too.
The evidence that Livengood lacks executive skills mounts.
This sordid affair never would have occurred under Ced's watch. And, as a matter of fact, perhaps Ced should be coaxed out of retirement to restore credibility to the Athletic Department.
As an executive manager, Livengood is an unmitigated disaster. He's broken all the rules.
11-14-2002, 10:23 AM
LL- Yes I do believe 41 players (mostly holdover from nice guy Dick Tomey's reign) can be soft. I also believe that if they were tough guys two other things would have happened before this week: 1. They would have confronted Mackovic/Livengood. 2. They would have reacted like angry hornets and won a Pac Ten game for their own pride.
Argaen- Mack is not at the UA to be a nice guy (even though it would not hurt!). He is being paid to coach a football team and try to make these guys tougher. Apparently he's failed to do so because his people skills stink. But the players also have some culpability. They've reacted like a bunch of elementary school girls who are being picked on by some sort of mean bully. Real men would have gone to Mackovic and or Livengood and tried to work this out like men.
Quencher- The players have put Livengood in a "No Win" situation now. If they would have gone to JL first, he might have been able to do something and not let the UA get embarassed like this. Instead the players went over his head and wept to Likens. "Dr. Likens, coach called me an embarassment". "Dr. Likens, Mac called me a p*ssy!" Now because of this Livengood's hands are tied. If he fires Mackovi, he's let the big bunch of babies win. If he keeps Mackovic, he let's a poor coach whose done a poor job stay. It's a no win situation here. I know JL wants the program to get better and that's why he canned Tomey, but right now things are dicey. What I'm hoping for is that after the season, Mackovic is allowed to save face by resigning and this mess can be put to bed.
WMU- I agree with you that the emperor has no clothes. Livengood has obviously been oblivious to a potential problem and let things get out of hand. He is a terrific fund raiser, has hired mostly good coaches and administrators, and has the uA's best interests at heart. But he has badly mismanaged this fiasco. And I also agree that Ced Dempsey would have never let this happen under his watch. Let's see how Livengood now deals with this situation between now and next season. It will give us a far better picture of his crisis management skills!
Bearing Down on Tough Answers To Salient Points
11-14-2002, 01:08 PM
Auercat, I would agree with your heartfelt post if these kids, like you, grew up under the type of father you had. But guess what? Most didn't. Some don't have fathers -- not in any meaningful sense.
Perhaps you could take the daily drubbing from Mack because you're used to it. Because you've built up the psychological callouses.
But some of the kids went from Tomey to Mack. Which is like going from Ward Cleaver to the Great Santini overnight. That's a big culture change, and there wasn't much time to adapt. Too bad Mack couldn't recognize that and tone down the Aloof Jerk act.
Because, as LL notes, ``tough love'' doesn't work when the second half of that equation is held back.
I would also agree if I thought coaches were supposed to be surrogate fathers. But they aren't. They are entrusted with *other people's* kids. They should always remember that.
This isn't war .... this isn't about whipping people into shape because it could save their lives. This is about sports. At some point, it's supposed to be fun.
Lute Olson doesn't swear, doesn't demean. That doesn't preclude his players from being tough.
Coaches at the UofA should coach. Parents should parent.
11-14-2002, 07:11 PM
The more I think about it, the more I think that Tomey recruited kids that would need his supervision and tender touch. I lost respect for Mackovic, then gained some back. I have lost respect for Briggs, Jolivette and the others that could not take some verbal "abuse" from the head coach of a major University. 10 years ago the players are laughed at for what they are saying now, 20 years ago they are reprimanded for being pussies, and now they are being coddled and told they were right, too bad they were wrong.
What Mack said to Levasseur was wrong. Telling him he is a disgrace to his family was wrong, but calling him a ***** was not. Face it, all of our TE's can't get open, they can't block and if they happen to get open they can't catch. Justin may be the nicest guy in the world, but he could only play for a guy like Tomey. That was part of Tomey's problem, he was TOO CLOSE to his players. Mack is not close enough. Mack has to change, that is obvious, but the players have to realize that for the last 6-7 weeks they have played as if they were still in High School dominating guys that are currently packing groceries. We have to give Mack support. Everyone talking bad about him will only negate any positives he may have in the future. Support him until he wins or is no longer supportable, i.e. is fired. He is the coach and we need to support him and the team. This saga is over, should be over and will be closed. It is time for Briggs and the rest of those that brought this to light to show their true colors. We shall see what they are on Saturday. If they play flat and uninspired, they have no respect for the game, or themselves. They don't have to have respect for Mack to win and have fun, they have to have respect for themselves and the game. I am happy to see that O'Hara and Mike Bell had the sack to go against what the others players are doing.
11-14-2002, 08:07 PM
I don't condone what Jolivette and Briggs said - they should have kept their mouths shut. But to call our 2 best defensive players names is a little over the top. I'd say they are probably the 2 toughest guys on the team - who opened their mouths when they would have been better off not to. I wouldn't have the guts to call those 2 guys names to their face.
As for O'Hara - I think he's a little Mr. Winky Brown Noser. He is doing nothing more than trying to earn favor for the future. The guy hasn't played a down... "All I am here for is to support my coach" - Well, aren't you special! O'Hara might try playing a single down before he starts offering up quotes to everyone under the sun... he's a RS freshman, for God's sake. At least Jolivette and Briggs have earned their stripes.
All of the players should be keeping their mouths shut right now, and focusing on winning a damn game.
As for the name calling, maybe I'm naive - but there HAD to be a whole lot more to it than that. Anybody who ever played Pop Warner has been called unpleasant names, been grabbed and led around by the facemask, and been slapped upside the helmet. If this whole thing is the result of some name calling - I agree that this is pathetic - but I think there's ALOT more to it. Mackovic deserves nothing, and should step down at season's end. His regime is beyond hope, and the UA program should be bigger than his ego.
In deference to Livengood and Likins, I think they did the right thing by not firing him. You CANNOT give the appearance of letting the inmates run the asylum.
As Mack told Hardt - he thinks this is HIS TEAM. That's his problem - because it is NOT. It is the UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA'S - and he is there to SERVE the program, not OWN it.
11-14-2002, 08:28 PM
O'hara was recruited by coach Mac and obviously wanted to play for Coach Mac. He has a right to defend the person who brought him there and be upset with the idea of him leaving.
11-15-2002, 02:11 PM
Wow! In our new bizzarro world loyalty is a character flaw. I'm glad O'Hara is speaking out. It doesn't make him a kiss up, it makes him a leader. Running the risk of angering the anti-Mackovic faction is not without risk to him. Who do you think QB's against Briggs, et.al in practice? I think it is interesting that the vast majority of students interviewed (at least according to KOLD) take Mackovic's side in this. Was there more than just name calling? We just don't know. Neither side is saying that more went on than that. But as it sits right now it appears the whinning malcontents have some serious p.r. problems on their hands. Perhaps they greatly overestimated their place in the universe.
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