Missed Opportunity

Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


There is team full of players on LSU’s roster that are going to class, handling their business, and getting ready to redeem their embarrassing loss to Alabama in the national Championship game.  None of them are named Tyrann Mathieu.

There is team full of players on Georgia’s roster that are putting in the work at the gym, learning their playbooks, and getting ready to attempt to return to Atlanta for the SEC Championship and potentially make a run at the National Championship.  None of those players are named Isaiah Crowell.

There is team full of players working hard at Auburn adjusting to new coordinators, preparing for our opening game versus Clemson, and getting ready to bounce back from a disappointing season.  None of them are named Michael Dyer, Zeke Pike, DeAngelo Benton, or at the moment Reese Dismukes.

There are scholarship players on everyone one of these rosters that have done the right thing from the moment they stepped on campus that the casual fan may never have heard of.  There are ‘stars’ on all these teams that have had huge expectations laid on their shoulders by their coaches, team, the media and they haven’t crumbled under the weight of it.  Why then are so many high profile players getting caught using drugs and alcohol lately on many of the major campuses?  Is this a new problem or is this simply a result of broader social media presence and media awareness that alerts everyone to issues that 30 years ago nobody would have gotten wind of.

In the fallout of the Reese Dismukes announcement today there is plenty of blame to go around on the internet.  Many people are blaming Reese and his poor decisions which I think is probably where the blame needs to end.  There is a lot of blame for the coaching staff since other schools don’t seem to be having these problems hitting the paper, the thought is that our coaches are spending too much time being ‘popular’ and not enough being strict.  There was even a round of blame for the Auburn Police department saying that they should ‘get on board’ and help sweep this under the table to help the program.

If your first inclination is to blame the police for doing their job and not the individual that was screwing up it might be time to put down the Orange and Blue kool-aid.  As for the coaching staff issues I’m not sure if those are valid or fabricated.  Our coaching staff is very successful at recruiting and that most likely is a product of being able to relate to the players on a better level than their peers.  Does that mean they are going easy on the players in order to foster an environment that the players feel very comfortable in?  I will hope that this is not the case.  Our program is building a reputation of being all about ‘family’ and part of that is knowing when to dish out the tough love, because they actions of some of the Auburn individuals lately don’t show they have a lot of consideration for the ‘family’.

Whatever the reason for this rash of incidents lately it’s unlikely that there is one cut and dry reason for it.  There is likely not a quick fix or an easy answer.  Unfortunately it’s going to take more incidents like Mathieu and Dyer throwing away their college careers before some of the players start to realize that they don’t have free passes to say and do whatever they want.   Modern internet trends follow many of these kids from Jr. High and praise them at every step along the way as if they could do no wrong, but perhaps it’s this very same behavior that we need to replace.

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