Blog Entry

The Big 12's best, minus two

Posted on: July 21, 2008 7:05 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2008 11:18 pm
 


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Scratch two Heisman candidates?

This is nothing personal against Texas Tech's Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree. Both are part of a bumper crop of Big 12 award candidates this season. But their trophy chances had to dim when they didn't show up Monday for the beginning of the conference's preseason media days.

It wasn't necessarily their choice.

Coach Mike Leach decided that the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner (Crabtree) and a guy who could become the leading passer of all time (Harrell) weren't worthy to be interviewed by us media types during a pre-arranged media session on football media day. Leach threw out something about football being the ultimate team game when I asked him why on Monday.

I'm not saying Harrell and Crabtree are out of the Heisman race before it begins. I'll leave that to the other Heisman voters whose companies spent money and resources for them to get here. Let's just say stiffing the Big 12 (and national) media doesn't help.

Leach is quirky that way. He doesn't do things conventionally all the time. Sometimes that's charming. Sometimes it's downright unprofessional. A person with knowledge told me that the Big 12 asked to Leach to reconsider bringing his two stars, but that he refused.

To reporters Monday, Leach flippantly said that any of us are welcome to interview his stars "in their natural habitat" in Lubbock. That's great except there is a reason these media days exist, so we don't have to go to each individual school. Especially when Lubbock is so far from anywhere it can see the end of the earth in any given direction.

"A lot of times there are so many guys who play football, there is a temptation to isolate the attention around a couple of guys," Leach said. "Our team is far more than a couple of individuals."

Oh yeah? That would make a shred of sense if it weren't so hypocritical. In Texas Tech's own media guide Crabtree has a page to himself. Harrell has two. Every other player in the guide except one (running back Shannon Woods) gets half a page. So much for not isolating the attention around a couple of individuals.

If this was a high school team before a state championship, I'd kind of understand it. This being a major university (according to some) with major aspirations taking in major public dollars, it is short-sighted. Tech SID Chris Cook told me an interesting story about Crabtree working out in Dallas with the likes of Deion Sanders and Pacman Jones. Sure wish I could have fleshed that one out. It sounded neat.  

Leach wants to send the message of teamwork. Here's another message Leach is sending: Attention, recruits. Don't come to Texas Tech. We won't promote you. You'll have a tough time winning national awards, never mind competing in a Big 12 South Division Tech has never won.

This is not just me on a rant. Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel woke at 4:30 Monday morning to fly from Los Angeles to be here for interviews. Daniel is currently an instructor at the Elite 11 quarterback camp in Southern California. After a couple of hours of answering questions, Daniel was right back on a plane back to California.

He seemed to be slightly upset that the Tech guys weren't here after the effort he had made.

"You've got to bring your best players here," he told me. "It's the best thing to do. Coach Leach is a smart guy. He's been in this business a lot longer than I've been alive. He can do what he wants. (But) you look at it: You have a guy like Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree, both are legitimate Heisman candidates. You've got to get them both out in the limelight."

The trend continues here. Oklahoma redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Bradford won't be making an appearance either on Wednesday.The nation's pass efficiency leader last year is old enough to go to war, own a house and vote but apparently not mature enough to handle a few media questions.

It's not like we're going to grill him. After the season he had, we want to say good things. Start with the fact Bradford is an inspiration on the field and to the Native American culture he represents.

Maybe there are extenuating circumstances. I doubt it. I'm tired of it, anyway. These kids aren't the property of the football program. They are students with lives to lead who might want to see a different part of the world than their own. In essence, they are promoting the school, before themselves, at these media days.

In that case, what the hell is wrong with being an individual?

 

 

Category: NCAAF
Comments

Since: Jul 22, 2008
Posted on: July 22, 2008 1:14 pm
 

The Big 12's best, minus two

Let me see. The writer begins the article with, "Scratch two candidates", and then proceeds to diss Lubbock, Texas Tech and Mike Leach. Where does it say in the media manual that the players of their choice have to be at media day? If the New York Times can find Lubbock, I'm sure someone who writes on an internet website can manage to catch a plane to Lubbock.

"DD" needs to grow a pair, and put on his big boys pants before he writes his next article. Otherwise, he just comes off as a spoiled baby.




Since: Jul 22, 2008
Posted on: July 22, 2008 1:08 pm
 

The Big 12's best, minus two

my god dennis, it looks like usa today has a jason blair situation on their hands because their writer fabricated some interview and story about michael crabtree without him showing up at media day    it is pretty shameful for them to stoop that low if you ask me.



Since: Jul 22, 2008
Posted on: July 22, 2008 12:08 pm
 

The Big 12's best, minus two

Geez Dodd, what don't you come out to Lubbock for a few days and get rid of some that bitterness. Let the fine people out here show what real people are like. Guess what... we even have running water and cell phone service. Coach Leach is here to please a sports writer, his job is to win games and keep egos in check.



Since: Jul 22, 2008
Posted on: July 22, 2008 12:06 pm
 

The Big 12's best, minus two

Dennis, <o:p></o:p>

Your little rant is complete and utter garbage.  I don't think it's fair for you to dismiss <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Lubbock</st1:place></s
t1:city> (which has an INTERNATIONAL airport...it is a small world after all) and the university (think of college sports as a separate entity outside of academics).  Since you feel it is okay to disrespect a whole city and a MAJOR university, I think it's fair to call you and your work TRASH.  Please take your little rant piece to TMZ.com where maybe you can write something a little more productive.   If you have a problem with coach Leach than leave it with Leach.  You put down a ton of people with your piece and I think you should learn how to respect people a little better.  This is not fair journalism and I believe the Red Raiders actions will speak louder than your hurtful words.

 




Since: Jul 22, 2008
Posted on: July 22, 2008 12:00 pm
 

The Big 12's best, minus two

Geez, I just did a minute of research (that's what reporters do, Dennis) and found out you do have a Heisman vote. That's a sobering thought about the way votes are cast for the highest football award in the land.

Your post sounded more like you were a freshman j-school student whining about a coach putting you in your place at your very first press conference.

Go back in time to your journalism classes (I know Mizzou has a good journalism department) and find the notes you took on objectivity and fair play. I can tell you've already got your ballot stamped with the name "Chase Daniel," but man... act like you have a shred of balance and integrity.




Since: Jul 22, 2008
Posted on: July 22, 2008 11:49 am
 

The Big 12's best, minus two

Here's the full link, darn computers!

http://williamsandhyattblog.wordpre

ss.com/2008/07/22/dennis-dodd-rips-

techs-mike-leach-over-media-policy/





Since: Jul 22, 2008
Posted on: July 22, 2008 11:46 am
 

The Big 12's best, minus two

Dennis,
We like your stuff, but you're off-base here.
Response: 
http://williamsandhyattblog.wordpre

ss.com/2008/07/22/dennis-dodd-rips-

techs-mike-leach-over-media-policy/








Since: Jul 22, 2008
Posted on: July 22, 2008 11:30 am
 

Get Over Yourself

If you're the type of football media "expert" who would vote on the Heisman on the basis of who kissed your backside the best at a pre-season PR event ... I hope you never get a Heisman vote.

And as for your anti-Tech and anti-West Texas bias, thanks for letting your true colors show. It's a lot easier to fly into Lubbock than it is to College Station or Manhattan or Stillwater or Boulder.

You lost a ton of credibility with that post, Dennis.  Get over yourself.




Since: Jul 22, 2008
Posted on: July 22, 2008 11:30 am
 

The Big 12's best, minus two

I think this article should be fowarded to the Heisman committee so they can see the criteria one of their voters has decided to use to make his picks.  I'm sure they will be thrilled to see that a voter has decided to disqualify a couple of candidates already simply because they weren't chose to attend the conference media day.  They can also take a look at how one of their voters has shown an incredible bias against a school, its coach, and its players.  It's truly sad that someone would let personal bias interfere with the task they've been trusted to...an unbiased vote on the facts alone.

Oh, and I guarantee that you can get to Lubbock much more conveniently then Lincoln, NE, Manhattan, KS, Lawrence, KS, Stillwater, OK, Ames, IA, Columbia, MO, Norman, OK, Boulder, CO, Waco, TX, and College Station, TX.  Unlike the above named cities, Lubbock actually has an international airport with jet service right there.  No 30+ minute commutes from the airport to the town/campus. 




Since: Jul 22, 2008
Posted on: July 22, 2008 11:24 am
 

The Big 12's best, minus two

Also, I don't ever remember Mike Leach bitching about how underrated his team is.  Granted he's had some pretty big rants over the years, but I never remember him going off about his team being underrated.

Oh, and your bit about "Hey recruits don't come to Tech we won't promote you and you won't win awards."  Uh, didn't Crabtree just win the Biletnikoff in addition to being voted a Unanimous Consensus AA (note: He also won the AT&T POTY award, TD Club of Columbus Freshman of the Year, the Paul Warfield Award, and was a Maxwell Semi-finalist)?  Aren't Graham Harrell and OL Louis Vasquez named to several Pre-Season Watch Lists.  In addition to the three prior mentioned players, wasn't CB Jamar Wall named to the Pre-Season All Big 12 team?  I mean I wasn't at the Big 12 media day and I don't have any of the player's phone numbers nor anyone else's in Tech's AD office, but about 3 minutes on the net pulled up that info for me. 

So yep, no chance of winning any awards at Texas Tech.



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