Shots Fired


Once upon a time coaches spied on each other, they groused about one another and even turned each other in for recruiting violations. But, they never said much about each other. It was considered “bulletin board material” and it was taboo.

The bulletin board has been replaced by the cell phone which is a walking, talking, video playing version of all that was shunned years ago. Nobody holds their tongue anymore, in fact they often tweet their thoughts for the world to see. In the case of coaches they don’t even need a twitter account because their friends and foes will tweet everything they have to say.

Gary-Patterson-and-Team-002It only took about twenty seconds on Tuesday for word to circulate that Gary Patterson had called out the Baylor program. In defending his own player Mike Tuaua, the Frogs coach said, “it’s not even close to what happened south of here.”  Tuaua has been accused of stealing a case of beer from another TCU student who got beat up in the process.

Obviously, the Baylor nation went ballistic on social media. There is nothing like a comment like that to stir the pot in an already bubbling rivalry. I am not sure why Patterson brought up his rival but I do know this, the Bears and their faithful won’t forget and there will be an extra helping of passion this Thanksgiving when these two teams play each other.

So far Baylor coach Art Briles has taken the high road and not fired back. Still don’t be surprised if he reminds his troops of Patterson’s comments sometime during the third week of November, in fact I guarantee you he will. This is the stuff that great long lasting rivalries are made of.

Even in the glory days of the Southwest Conference Arkansas and Texas Tech were not real rivals, but they are now! Last Saturday Kliff Kingsbury stoked that fire with comments after the game that were critical of Hogs head man Bret Bielema. Last summer Bret spoke at the Texas High School coaches convention. During his chat he said that if a school did not line up with a fullback and threw the ball 70 times Arkansas would kick their ass. It happened last year when the Razorbacks rushed for 438 yards in a 49-28 win over the Red Raiders. Fueled by those comments and memories of last year Kingsbury rallied the troops. After a 35-24 win in Arkansas, General Bro…I mean Coach Bro said Bielema, “just got his ass kicked twice in a row and probably will next week by A&M as well.”

These two feuds are so juicy. If you are an ardent supporter of either of these schools you may be too close to appreciate the drama. But to an outside observer this is more proof that sports is the greatest reality show on TV. It reminds me of when Jimmy Johnson renewed the Cowboys Eagles rivalry back in 1989. That was the original bounty gate when Buddy Ryan had allegedly offered a $200.00 bounty on kicker Luis Zendejas. Wait, a bounty on a kicker? You see Luis had been cut by the Eagles earlier that season. When asked about what he said to the Eagles coach as they left the field Jimmy said, “I would have said something to Buddy, but he wouldn’t stand on the field long enough. He put his big, fat rear end into the dressing room.”  That was Thanksgiving Day 1989.

We may hear similar comments this Thanksgiving from Patterson or Briles or both. I can’t wait.

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John Rhadigan has called Texas home for nearly 25 years, having spent 11 years at NBC 5 as a sports reporter/anchor and 13 years as an anchor at Fox Sports SW. Rhadigan is the recipient of more than a dozen Emmy Awards for sports reporting and anchoring.