(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Just like a lot colllege football fans I watched SEC Media Days. But, I want to talk about something other than Tim Tebow this time. I think that topic has beaten to death by so many including me.
I got a chance to see Eric Berry before the media and I must admit this was my first time hearing him speak. I have seen him play many times in person and on television so it is interesting to finally hear what the guy was all about and to hear his thought process on his team and the new atmosphere.
One of the questions posed to Mr Berry was what do you think of Lane Kiffin as your coach? His response was, "I love him as our Coach and he makes sure to let us know that he has our back." He goes on to say that, "when a Coach has your back like that it makes you feel good. It makes you want to play for him." Well, I would like to tell Eric Berry that if he feels that Lane Kiffin has his back he is so disillusioned.
You see Lane Kiffin gets paid over a million dollars to try a sell his key players that bill of goods and it looks like it's been sold to Eric Berry. The kind money of that is paid to Kiffin can motivate anyone to say, "I got your back. I believe in you guys. We as a coaching staff will do anything for you."
I say to Eric several things.....first, do you think that Coach Kiffin has the back of all your teammates...even the eleven that he already transferred? Do you think that he will have your back if you got arrest for a DUI? Would he be at your court hearing? And, would he keep the "Eric Berry for Heisman" campaign going?
I can you tell Jim Tressel didn't keep Maurice Clarett back when he got arrested....and Clarett was a catalyst in the National Championship of 2003. He was the star running back of that team. But, as Clarett made bad decision after bad decision....Tressell was no where to be found.
In my own backyard as Cam Newton got arrested for stealing a laptop of a fellow student. Do you think Meyer showed up at his arraignment? And, the quote was from Meyer was as he heard the news that Newton was arrested, "I almost fell out of my chair. I was shocked when they told me it was Cam."
As much as I think Frank Beamer aprreciated Michael Vick and contributions back to Virginia Tech, there was not much having of his back when an indictment was handed down. As, a matter fact, Coach Beamer and the university were forced to get rid of Vick's name everywhere.
My point is these coaches will say anything to get you to play for them. They will promise almost anything to keep you. And my even stronger point here is that these young men....ala E. Berry really believe that these coaches are behind them a hundred percent. I submit there are, if you are lucky, only a few in life that truly have your back like that....God, family, and if you are really lucky, your spouse or partner.
I hope that Berry really don't take this phrase literal as I am .
As, I watched Berry he seemed to really believe that junk. He seemed to be really sincere in believing Kiffin's sincerity.Does this mean he is pleasantly surprised by Kiffins' commitment or does it mean that Fulmer over the years did not have his back? No...I don't think he has gotten how much of a business football has become....on any level....high school and on up. Coaches don't have your back....they are paid millions of dollars to have a vested interest in you performing to the highest level every game. If a player does not do that your back will not be had for very long.
For example, if Eric gave up three touchdowns for the first four games, (and I am giving him a cushion since he is suppose to be the best in the country at his position) he would find himself in the dog house of all his coaches including Kiffin Jr and Sr and, discovering very quickly how it feels to watch the game from the sideline.
I say Coaches feed you a multitude of inspirational nothing to get you to by into the program. Now, I do agree that there should be an atmosphere of team, and teamwork, and unity. But, Kiffin and most other coaches will not have your back if you truly face trouble....if you truly made some bad decisions.
My true judgement of how much back is being had is the graduation rate of the program. The percentage of young men making it to the NFL is miniscule. Have a program where your player can go after his career so that he can transitioned into the real world where real problems and real jobs await.
I just think Mr Berry you will have to count on some family member for what you think your coach is doing. This is college football a multi million dollar business and "having your back," is just a sales pitch.
Save your allegiance young man. These coaches want to win and will say anything.