Does Clay Helton ever throw his team or players under the bus? There are two schools of thought on this topic. One says he never does. That’s the Gentleman Clay version.
The other says he does, but just couches the criticism under the usual coaching go-to, “We just failed to execute when it mattered.”
The Athletic — Mike Leach caused a stir when he called his team “fat, dumb, happy and entitled” following Washington State’s 38-13 loss at Utah. Have the coaches you covered ever called players out in the media to that extent, and, if so, what were the ramifications?
Antonio Morales (covers USC for The Athletic): Clay Helton hasn’t since I started covering him last season, and I wouldn’t expect him to in the future.
David Lombardi (covers STAN and CAL): I think most coaches call out their players — albeit in a less overt way — when they blame losses and other failures on a “lack of execution.” It’s actually rare to hear a coach blame his own play-calling; typically it’s the execution of those play calls — by definition, the players’ responsibility — that gets the blame. I personally hate this because coaches come up short on the schematic end way more frequently than they’d care to admit, and I don’t think this is the most effective leadership style. But as far as coaches that I’ve covered, the last one to call out players as overtly as Leach was … Leach himself. But at least he does it directly. And it was way better the time before: In 2012, Leach called his players “empty corpses” and “zombies.”
Doug Haller (ASU): Not to that extent. I think every coach calls out players to some degree. Most simply say, “We had a solid game plan, we just couldn’t execute.” That, of course, translates to, “Had the idiot players did what we asked, we would’ve won.” It’s all about phrasing. Calling players “fat, dumb, happy and entitled” is probably a bit much, but as long as it’s directed at the group and not one kid, I don’t have a big problem with it.
Here is your exclusive place to add information to the TDB which doesn’t pertain to any other moderator post.
“This & That” is always our location for any subjects or points of contention you, our all-important members, want to expose to the TDB. It’s your place to shine.
We will start a new “This & That” post every day to keep things fresh. Please use “This & That” instead of placing your random comments in other moderator posts which are unrelated to your content.