In the race to stay relevant in college football, two BCS conference coaches have ended up looking like schmucks—and they were outclassed by a coach from the MAC.
In recent weeks, Florida wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Joker Phillips and Georgia Tech offensive graduate assistant Preston Pehrson have taken to their computers to garner some attention from recruits.
I would say one was more embarrassing than the other, but they’re both equally pitiful.
Phillips, who is in his first year at UF after being relieved of his post as the head coach of Kentucky, decided to show off his Photoshop…uh…skills.
It started off as just a typical recruiting pitch, with Phillips featuring a star NFL receiver whom he coached; in this case it was Buffalo Bills wideout Stevie Johnson. He tweeted a picture of Johnson and introduced his now infamous hashtag “#ComePlayWRForTheJoker.”
Then the whole “Joker” thing went to Joker’s head and two days later he tweeted a doctored image of The Joker—the villain from the blockbuster Batman film, The Dark Knight—wearing Florida blue and orange.
From there, his tweets only became more disturbing. Later on came an even creepier Joker throwback tweet to the character’s Jack Nicholson days.
His tweets hit an all-time low on April 15, when he tweeted an image with just a bunch of random clowns.
Joker Phillips @jokerphillips
The message is CLEAR. It's now on YOU. #ComePlayWRforTheJoker @TreyBurton8 @QuintonDunbar1 @Pitt_2time @AndreDeBose4 http://t.co/xkYPYgeosh2013-4-15 12:17:49
Because everyone loves clowns, right?
Apparently not. About a month after that creepy clown tweet, the Gators actually had a 4-star wide receiver, Ryeshene Bronson, decommit (Via 247Sports.com).
While Joker was losing recruits and becoming the laughing stock of college football—no pun intended—Georgia Tech’s Pehrson decided that he wanted to publicly humiliate himself in the name of recruiting too.
So the GT graduate assistant decided to join in on an internet fad that honestly should have died out months ago right along with the Harlem Shake: memes.
Pehrson came up with his own hashtag as well, “#TheMigration” designed to lure in players from the north to migrate south and join the Yellow Jackets.
According to Ken Sugiura of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the new theme is a part of the team’s effort to attract recruits from areas other than the South, particularly in the Washington D.C. area (via AJC.com).
With that in mind, I do approve of one of Pehrson’s memes—a depiction of Omar from The Wire, an HBO crime series set in nearby Baltimore. Although, I doubt that will help GT pull in the next Tavon Austin (a Baltimore native), especially if he scrolls through the rest of Pehrson’s tweeted images.
CoachPreston Pehrson @CoachPehrson
#themigration going state by state getting great players to migrate to Georgia Tech to go wire to wire #GTFootball http://t.co/mSoh8OUkCx2013-4-20 14:17:22
And as if the simple memes weren’t enough, Pehrson had to further show off his web prowess by responding to the “haters” of The Migration with a special meme saying “Haters Gonna Hate!”
Well, Coach Pehrson, you can chalk me up as another “hater” if you’d like. And if you want to tweet me a meme, I’m right here.
Personally, I’m more into what Ron English is doing up at Eastern Michigan in the Mid-American Conference.
Without the enormous budget or fan base of Florida or Georgia Tech, English is facing even more issues than any big-time program.
English is looking to make some improvements to the facilities at EMU. And by facilities, I actually mean the bathrooms (Via Ralph Russo, Associated Press | h/t DetroitNews.com).
But rather than rolling out a three-ring internet circus like Pehrson and Phillips, English is showing that he’s willing to take action himself to generate the $60,000 his program needs.
English has offered a skydiving trip to anyone who donates $5,000 to the Eagles. The catch is, English and a few EMU assistants will be skydiving as well.
As English told Russo, with its revenue nowhere near that of a BCS program, EMU has to be a little bit more resourceful than the competition:
In the Mid-American Conference, because of our following, the size of our stadiums and TV contracts, you have to be creative in terms of finding ways to raise money to help fund your programs.
But rather than go gimmicky like Pehrson and Phillips, English comes across as a coach that is willing to do anything for his players and his program—even if that means jumping out of an airplane.
As a recruit and especially as a current player, I’d be shaking my head in embarrassment at the lame tricks of Pehrson and Phillips at GT and UF.
This BCS duo may have thought they were keeping up with the times and being "cool" by taking to the internet to recruit.
However, they actually only highlighted their disconnect with the younger generation. No matter how old they actually are, they come across looking like a couple of guys going through a midlife crisis.
All they need now is a drop top red Corvette and a black leather jacket.
On the other hand, English is staying true to himself and showing that he doesn't have to make memes and take up Photoshop to lead a program.
As a player or a recruit, I'd be proud to suit up for English, no matter what our bathrooms looked like.