POSTED ON AUGUST 3, 2011:
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Rant heard 'round the world revisited
A couple of weeks ago, at the last Tulsa Talons home game of the year, a situation arose that left questions hanging in the air. This has zero to do with the retreaded "will the Talons stay in Tulsa" storyline we are bored with year after year at season's end.
In the third quarter, with the Talons already losing by 20-some-odd points, quarterback Justin Allgood took a vicious hit and was knocked out of the game.
Season starter and current backup QB Bobby Reid entered the game. Reid as you may recall was once hailed as the savior for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Now he is entering a Talons game in the AFL during garbage time.
Let me be clear. This is no indictment on Bobby Reid the player or Bobby Reid the person. Chances are he is a fine, upstanding citizen. And to be clear, he is a better quarterback than you or I.
Courtesy Tulsa Talons
Reid entered the game and promptly tossed an interception. His line for the game ended up 4-9 with two rushing touchdowns and 60 passing yards.
He was sacked two times and intercepted twice. His rushing numbers were markedly better with 43 yards and two scores including an electric 36-yard touchdown scamper down the sideline.
For the most part, he was inaccurate. Balls sailed several feet over the intended target. A handful of Talons faithful screamed "Let's go Bobby" in an attempt to salvage the game and the season.
So here we are watching a talented, athletic specimen come up short. Poke fans are likely nodding their heads in total agreement.
It happens. Quarterback is the hardest position to play in all sports. A hockey goalie could argue, but not for long.
A quarterback needs to know where every player on the field will be on every play. They must be accurate. They must have a short memory. There is a reason why few NFL quarterbacks are considered elite.
So why did the head coach of a prominent division one football program decide to start Bobby Reid to begin with? Was it the flashes of brilliance? The Michael Vick syndrome? Or was it simply poor coaching and evaluation?
This raises a question about the rant. You know which rant I'm talking about.
The date was September 22, 2007. It was one of the most entertaining contests of the college football season. OSU defeated Texas Tech 49-45. Mike Gundy approached the podium like Mel Gibson in Ransom.
"I'm not going to talk about football today," Gundy said. "I'm not going to take a question about the game. I'm going to talk about this article right here." He held up a copy of The Oklahoman.
The paper printed a column by Jenny Carlson that morning. She struck a nerve with Coach Gundy.
The question, looking back, is why? Gundy claims to have been sticking up for his player.
Bobby Reid said in an ESPN report by Tom Friend that the rant, not the article, "basically ended my life."
The ESPN article tackled the rant and Carlson article nicely. But after a few years and several million YouTube hits, it is fair to re-open the debate.
Did Gundy take to the podium to defend a downtrodden player or to defend himself? Was his manhood as a coach actually being questioned?
In hindsight, it sure seems like he is defending his misguided decision to play Reid. After all, the quasi-attack on Reid's character and ability to lead comes back on the coach.
He goes on to scream "Are you kidding me? Where are we at in society today? Come after me! I'm a man! I'm 40! I'm not a kid! Write something about me! Or the coaches."
Very defensive, don't you think?
Why rehash this four-year old story this week? A couple of reasons. Football season is about to hit. Reading about OU's offensive line improvements and OSU's defensive scheme adjustments are the equivalent of taking Ambien.
But also, the sight of Reid trying his best to make chicken salad out of chicken feathers with the Talons brought everything back to the forefront.
Talons Head Coach Mitch Allner said prior to the first game of the season that he would evaluate his players after four games.
Reid was benched after three games. With all due respect to Coach Allner, he is no Vince Lombardi. However, he made the change when he read the tea leaves.
Coach Mike Gundy played Reid for four years. It was only during the fourth year that he realized Reid was not up to the challenge. Again, Reid tried his best. He gave effort, but was simply not up to the challenge of leading a college program. Not many are.
Here is hoping Reid comes back to the Talons next season (if the Talons return to Tulsa *wink *wink).
America loves a redemption story. Why couldn't Reid earn the backup position and carve out a nice AFL career here in Tulsa?
Coach Allner can read players better than a highly paid collegiate coach as far as we can tell. Maybe he can bring the fire out of Reid better than his previous coach.
"Let's go Bobby!"
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