Thursday, October 12, 2006

Wet Blanket: It's hard not to be jaded about pre-season articles

I'm enjoying the pre-season articles, as usual, but with each passing year I get more and more jaded about these. It's fun because everyone's optimistic and everyone talks about how this season is different/better than last season and how great all their teammates look and whatnot. But it's the same thing every season, and it's the same thing for every team. Have you ever read a preseason article where a player said, "It's a relief because our conditioning drills are so much easier than last year." Nope. But if conditioning is always harder than the season before, isn't there a ceiling effect at some point? And of course everyone raves about the new guys (like Stemler and White) and raves about the guys who need to improve (like Ratliff)... but c'mon, I remember the glowing Cem Dinc articles a year ago as well.

It's even hard for me to get excited about the players talking about how much more disciplined Sampson is than Davis. For example:
"I think that is what last year's team lacked, discipline," said Ratliff. "Last year anybody could say something to Coach Davis and he might kick them out but they would be back the next day. I don't think anybody is going to do that to Coach Sampson."

While that's certainly nice to hear, IMO it says a lot less about Sampson than it does about Davis. In other words, it's not Sampson's behavior that's notable in that quote, it's Davis's. While it's certainly a good feeling to know that we have a real coach again, not allowing players to backtalk doesn't exactly make Sampson a strict disciplinarian. It just makes him competent.

Of course even apart from these articles, we fans are the same way. We start to think, "Well, if AJ and Ben Allen play really well... and Mike White and Lance Stemler are big contributers... and Wilmont and Calloway have great senior seasons... and DJ White is an all-american... and everyone stays healthy... man, we could be really good!!" Well, sure, that's true. And while we're at it we could also wish for a pony.

Yeah, I know, I'm a wet blanket.

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