There’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to come right out with it. I think our relationship has finally run its course; it’s time we go our separate ways.
We’ve been together for so long, I can already anticipate your response. But you can’t blame youth forever--it’s time to take ownership here. I need room to spread my wings, and your seven win ceiling is suffocating me.
When this thing started you were exactly what I needed. I’d been with a really exciting guy, but I guess you could say I got a little jealous when I caught him flirting with the Jets. I’m ready to admit that I overreacted and ended up rebounding with the wrong type. Then you came along, similarly mustachioed, but with a pulse. We were guys being dudes and the future was bright.
Like any exciting new relationship, I was able to explain away some of your flaws. Sure your clock management was atrocious, but a lot of coaches struggle with that, just look at Andy Reid. And okay, you’ve never been able to figure out a kicking game, but surely that was a nasty streak of bad luck.
After a few years, I began to realize that a “throw game” was never going to happen, and you were firmly set in your archaic offensive schemes. You claimed to be hitting the other team in the mouth with this physical style of play, but I was the one growing numb. I cringed with each AJ Dillon dive into the line, sometimes upwards of 35 times a game. O why couldn’t you just drum up a little finesse to balance out the blunt force? And no, another reverse to Zay Flowers doesn’t count. People have pretty much caught on there.
What’s that? You feel vindicated by the 483.2 yards per game that the offense is putting up this season? I’m sorry, there’s no time to appreciate the offensive output when the defense is somehow allowing 486.9 ypg! The band can’t get halfway through “For Boston” before the opposing team answers our touchdown with one of their own. Here, I will reuse a chart I compiled for a column last week, because my goodness:
After Don Brown departed for greener pastures in 2015, the defense has devolved exponentially, and now stands as perhaps the worst defensive unit in school history. Don’t I deserve some semblance of balance for once?
I caught myself waiting for a spark to reignite our relationship, but in eighteen tries against ranked opponents, you mustered just one win. Maybe the holiday season could provide a little magic? No, I’m sorry, but my heart has been frozen twice over in the bleachers of Yankee Stadium, and a freakish cancellation in Dallas did little to thaw it (no, of course I’m not blaming you for that). It looked like we had the better of Boise State, but even a win there would have put your bowl record at just 2-3.
I hate to compare us to others, but since you arrived on campus, we’re the only team in the ACC that hasn’t had more than seven wins in a season. Admittedly, we’ve had some company in our misery--neither Wake Forest nor UVA had topped a 4 conference win season in that time frame. Well, UVA already has five this season, and Wake has a good shot to reach five as well. What about us, Steve?
It’s not that I think you’re a bad guy, because it seems like your players like you, and I genuinely admire your efforts to mold them into good men. I’m not even saying another school shouldn’t hire you as head coach (ahem, Rutgers), because I believe you’re adept at giving an ailing program a good shot in the arm. But I’m certain that we’ve plateaued, and the mounting frustration isn’t doing either of us any favors.
If I’m being realistic about the program, the ceiling probably isn’t many games higher than your 7, and the floor could certainly drop down pretty low. But I’m willing to roll the dice. This ennui that surrounds most game days must go. I need someone who will make me believe that we can scrap out wins against good teams, put a little fire back into our games against Notre Dame, and turn us into a school that is, if not a contender, at least relevant.
I promise Coach, it’s not you, it’s me. I’m just ready for a change.