Scott Rhymer: No Pep Talk From Me
I don’t have to guess the mood of most of you as this week has progressed after what was admittedly a humbling loss to Maryland on Saturday. I don’t have to guess your mood because you have expressed it. You expressed it at the game last Saturday and you have expressed it over and over again this week on the message boards and on talk radio.
And this week I’m not going to talk you off of the ledge.
I was as sick as I have been in quite awhile following the loss to Maryland. My feelings had little to nothing to do with Maryland. My dread was in lamenting what could have been after what was a wonderful start to this season. Watching Wake Forest beat Boston College on Saturday night made my bad feelings worse as yet more evidence of what could have been flashed before our eyes. It was as if the planets were aligning perfectly for us to make a run.
I typically rebound fairly quickly from these types of disappointments, but this one has lingered a bit. I guess the reality of the situation is that I was completely caught up in all of the possibilities just like most of you and the realization that it is not going to happen stung a bit harder than usual. It is so hard to comprehend that the team that looked so good against Georgia Tech could look so average against Maryland.
But I do believe in some things and don’t believe in others.
I don’t believe in giving up on any team or any season. I don’t believe in cursing players or coaches. I don’t believe that we know exactly what is left to learn about this year and this team. I don’t believe that our coaches are idiots. I don’t believe you can do better coaching our team. I don’t believe that we can simply show up and beat another football team without playing well. I don’t believe Chuck Amato is the kind of coach I would want for my team. I don’t believe the Gator Bowl is out of the realm of possibility as a bowl destination. And I don’t believe I am going to mope about Maryland anymore.
I do believe that going to Clemson on Saturday to see our team play the Wolfpack will be therapeutic for me.
We wait all year long for football season to come with the type of anticipation on a daily basis that children have on Christmas Eve. Heck, watching the web cam inside of Memorial Stadium in the summer to see how the grass is growing provides hours of entertainment for those of us desperate for the football season to start.
But just as quickly as it starts and goes sour, the fun of the game is lost for some. I feel that way on Sundays and every now and then on Mondays. But I rebound. Some of you are not going to rebound because you are tired of having to rebound over the past 14 years waiting for that ever-elusive ACC Championship. I suppose I should try to talk you out of it by showing you examples of why you should rebound and why this team deserves your support. But you hear it from others; so hearing it from me is of little to no value. You are either in or you are not and it is hard for me to convince you to be in when the argument for giving up is so compelling.
So I’m not going to try and pep you up or talk you off of the ledge this week. Some of you have thrown that towel in and you are not going to go and get it no matter what I could possibly say. Some of you, like me, have moved on. So I’ll leave the cheerleading to those that look the part and I’m going to sit back and let the season unfold as it may.
The facts are what they are. We were within striking distance of doing something special this year, but it is not going to happen. It’s not going to happen because of the players and coaches. Not because they don’t try hard enough or work hard enough. It’s not because of one or two plays. It’s not because we don’t cheer loud enough at games. It’s not because Tommy Bowden or Rob Spence or Vic Koenning are bad coaches or people.
It’s, quite simply, not going to happen because we lost football games despite the fact that the players tried hard and the coaches worked hard. And in the end, it is hard to find too much fault in that. Things have to work almost magically for a championship season to take hold and that good fortune was not shining on the Clemson Tigers in 2006.
So I moped around with you on Sunday and I let it linger a bit into Monday. But I’m done moping and I look forward to Saturday with the true hope that a win against the Wolfpack is a cure for these blues.
Where you are with this team and these coaches varies from person to person and from town to town. So I’m leaving the pep talk at the door. Come to Clemson Saturday if you still have faith. Stay at home if you don’t.
Either way, our team will be better for it.