When it comes to the game of football and football coaching, there is a huge disconnect between perception and reality.
In today’s politically correct world that we live in, a large majority of people paint a picture in their head of what a football coach and their team should be.
Nice, sweet, awe shucks, gee golly glad to see ya – “yea that’s my team and that’s my coach” says Johnny Fan Boy. Johnny Fan Boy will tell you quickly his team and his coaches have integrity and are probably better than yours and if you don’t believe it, go read the coach’s twitter feed – they said it and they mean it.
But the reality is, football is still what it has been for over 100-years and that’s a rough, tough mean game that has no place for the weak or merciful within its quarters or confines.
If you don’t believe me go to a random practice at your local high school or college. Granted there’s cheering, “high fiving” and excitement, but at the end of the day if you don’t have an edge about you as a player or as a coach, you probably aren’t going to make it.
Mississippi State head football coach Dan Mullen recently came under fire again from fans and media after his defensive coordinator Geoff Collins decided to take his services to the University of Florida.
Many people including your regular “pile on Mullen media types in this state” pointed to Mullen’s post-game press conference after the Egg Bowl as reprehensible, out of line and possibly a reason Collins left the program.
These are two totally separate issues ( Mullen’s way with words and the Geoff Collins departure ) and I’ll address them both, but If Dan Mullen offends you and hurts your feelings then you need to grow up or just shut up.
Let’s address the “Mullen’s a mean guy” concept first.
For some reason there is a portion of fans in this state, (Mississippi State fans and others) that have this idea football coaches are supposed to be nice, friendly, your buddy and many people hold these guys to immense standards.
When these coaches don’t meet their standards, it’s time to pile on these guys and show them just how bad a person they really are – much like some media types do with Mullen.
Yes Mullen made critical comments about his defense after the Egg Bowl and God knows some of you media types have played that sound clip over and over – proclaiming this could be the reason Collins left.
What most don’t talk about is immediately after those comments; Mullen talked about offensive struggles and then blamed himself. If you don’t believe me, listen for yourself.
What some see as Mullen being mean and offensive I see as being a guy that’s clear cut, pulls no punches and tells you exactly how he feels and I’m ok with that. Like two years ago everyone made a big deal of Mullen walking out of an interview room then coming back because people pushed his buttons on injuries.
Dan Mullen has a clear cut policy that he does not talk injuries – period. What is wrong with policies? Companies have them, bosses have them and when they are not followed you have to answer for it more times than not.
Let’s revisit that situation and you can see, Mullen tells everyone in the room he doesn’t discuss injuries and when pushed he puts his foot down; again, nothing wrong with being firm and sticking to your guns.
Where the problems lie is within yourself if this bothers you. People have standards for themselves, for their kids, their work and more, and when a football coach has standards, then backs up what they say, they should not be criticized for it.
And coaches like Mullen, who come across to some as brash have been around for decades. Nick Saban tried to be nice and told the media he wasn’t talking about DJ Fluker, but people pushed him anyway. Watch that moment again as he was nice, cordial and tried to be polite, but don’t push him in a corner.
Bear Bryant was this way as you can see in this clip – he had no time for petty questions or chit chat.
These coaches are hired to win, not to be your friend, your buddy or your pal.
And finally, here are the ten biggest meltdowns in pro football.
And when you process all of this and if you are objective, you will see one common theme in all of these guys. They are all winners and successful.
Football is chop full of no-nonsense guys and Dan Mullen is one of those people. I don’t apologize for anything he has said during his time at MSU – actually I applaud him.
Back to the defensive coordinator job; yes the next guy Mullen hires will be his fifth defensive coordinator during his tenure at Mississippi State, but all of this “change” is not Mullen’s fault like some will try and make you believe.
Carl Torbush was Mullen’s initial defensive coordinator back in 2009 and I think Mullen would tell you that just wasn’t a great choice. Torbush’s defense at Mississippi State was very average and there needed to be a change.
Manny Diaz left for a bigger program after performing well in Starkville and tried his hand at Texas Football.
Chris Wilson may not have seen eye to eye with Mullen, but his defenses struggled as well and that’s why he is a defensive line coach now instead of a coordinator.
And – Geoff Collins has ties to the state of Florida, Florida is a bigger program than Mississippi State and has a bigger history of assistants going on to be head coaches. Could it just be that Collins liked the challenge that Florida presents, the recruiting base and the bigger name; probably so.
For the most part I would say Mullen has offered a platform for coaches to come in, be successful and move on to further their career, like Mark Hudspeth, who is now the head coach at Louisiana Lafayette.
When Mullen addressed the media about the Collins situation he said Mississippi State has always played psycho defense and will continue to even without Collins.
Again, here came the sensitive crew saying Mullen was taking shots at Collins and he should be ashamed.
If you think about it, dating back to the Jackie Sherrill era, Mississippi State has played great physical defense – Mullen wasn’t taking shots at Collins and he truly expects his team to continue to play the same style defensively that the Bulldogs have played for years – so I hardly think those comments were meant to piss off Geoff Collins.
When this is all said and done, Mullen will again make another good hire and bring in a quality assistant, but in the meantime allow me to give you some advice.
Stop being so darn sensitive and grow up; Mullen isn’t here to be your friend, your buddy or your pal. Mullen was hired to win football games and just gave Starkville a 10-win season, a fifth straight bowl game and is bringing in great talent for the future.
If what he says hurts your feelings get a new hobby, doing something different or grow up. I applaud Dan Mullen and think he’s right. He doesn’t owe you anything – especially an apology.