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Tim Crone: Teams are a reflection of their coaches

The Examiner
Tim Crone

The semifinal college football games ended up being blowouts just like most of the playoff games since the implementation of the present format. Alabama, as usual, toyed with Notre Dame and the outcome was never in question.

The Clemson-Ohio State game was a blowout also, but much to the surprise of most fans, Ohio State was the dominant team. Dabo Swinney and his Clemson Tigers should have probably done a lot less talking and a little more preparing for the contest.

The college bowls and playoff games were about exciting as watching grass grow. The Armed Forces Bowl was named appropriately. Mississippi State beat Tulsa 28-26 in Fort Worth, Texas. The game ended up in an all-out brawl that looked like an out-of-control gang fight. Both teams and their coaching staffs looked like they were there to rumble instead of to play football. Both coaching staffs had absolutely no control over their players.

It is a situation that is occurring more and more frequently. The NCAA needs to nip it in the bud immediately and enforce hard sanctions on both schools. The whole game was ugly right to the bitter end. In some cases it was difficult to tell if the coaches were trying to stop the melee or were participating.

The school administrations need to take a hard look at their coaches and players to evaluate the type of atmosphere being promoted. Football is a highly emotional and physical sport, but it should not be open to blatant physical attacks.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly commented that the 72 hours of football in the bowl games prior to the playoffs was some of the worst football he had seen in years.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban has been ridiculed for his hard-core approach and demand for discipline in his program. I have seen him on the sidelines – both on TV and in person – totally rip everyone from officials to the water boy, but they all know who runs the show and the expectations. I am not a big Alabama fan, but I do respect someone who is control of the program.

The Armed Forces Bowl was not different with a lack of control and discipline by both teams. All athletic teams take on the personality of their coaches. By example, Clemson is an outwardly emotional team like its coach, Dabo Swinney. Alabama is all business just like Saban. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly comes across a coach who is coaching at a school with a historic legacy and expects his players to play with class and humility.

Coach Andy Reid never embarrasses a player in public and always takes the blame for negative play by his team. Travis Kelce once stated, after three or four years in the league, that the Chiefs organization is great to play for, but without question there is only one guy you do not mess with and that is “Big Red.”

A common denominator for all athletic teams is that everyone needs to be aware of who is in charge. It is important to have fun and enjoy playing for a coach as long as everyone recognizes who is in charge. President Harry Truman once stated, “Leadership is the ability to get men to do what they don’t want to do and like doing it.”  

• The quote of the week comes from Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Tom Landry: “Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence by seeing how you react. If you’re in control, they’re in control.”

– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at t.crone@comcast.net.