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Fitzgerald must roll with the punches

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Posted: 10/28/2012 3:57 PM

Fitzgerald must roll with the punches 


Pat Fitzgerald wants Northwestern to sustain relevancy, but offered resentment toward the criticism his program received. You can't have it both ways, not when you're a winner. http://northwestern.scout.com/2/1234403.html
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Posted: 10/28/2012 6:45 PM

Re: Fitzgerald must roll with the punches 


Chris,

No offense, but that was a pretty lame story.

"If Fitzgerald wants Northwestern to sustain a presence in the spotlight, he must accept the criticism that comes with it."

Why must he do this? For any coach in any sport, it's better to ignore the media criticism and/or adulation (and get your players to ignore it if you can). The ONLY thing he has to do every day is to work and focus on winning. Pretty much anything and everything else is irrelevant and a waste of time and energy.

With all due respect, I stopped by to read this board after a dominating 11 point win over a hated rival, and this is the crap that's here to read? Cripes...

Last edited 10/28/2012 6:53 PM by MrCat95

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Posted: 10/28/2012 7:40 PM

Re: Fitzgerald must roll with the punches 


We've had eight football-related stories since yesterday. This is just one of many angles from yesterday.
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Posted: 10/28/2012 8:28 PM

Re: Fitzgerald must roll with the punches 


Bad timing, I guess. This one was the most prominent when I got over here. Seems a better story for after a loss.

Our fans go bonkers after losses, and I expect that. What bugs me is all the negativety after wins.

(PS- The story edits were warranted.)

Thanks, Chris. They all can't be picassos I guess.
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Posted: 10/28/2012 8:29 PM

Re: Fitzgerald must roll with the punches Post Rating (1 vote)


I thought it was a reasonable article and agree with the points.

Those 2 4th quarter collapses were unacceptable, as were the boneheaded coaching mistakes that largely led to them and hopefully Fitz agrees. We can support a team without just being mindless zombies. Criticism of play as long as it isn't mean spirited or questions character is fair and comes with the territory.

Heck, I'm certain Fitz would agree that it beats the apathy that was pervasive with this program when he first joined the Wildcat program. We've come a long way.
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Posted: 10/28/2012 8:44 PM

Re: Fitzgerald must roll with the punches Post Rating (1 vote)


While we're being critical and holding others accountable, I could argue we lost the PSU and Nebby games because McCall followed Evanstoncat's (relentless) personnel and play-calling advice.

;-)
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Posted: 10/28/2012 10:56 PM

Re: Fitzgerald must roll with the punches Post Rating (1 vote)


It's interesting because in both cases I suggested we exploit their struggles on the run and read option, but I get your point. But, yeah, to the extent that I have influence or authority with the likes of McCall, then yeah, I take full accountability and accept the critcism.

Yes, I was wrong about the personnel and play-calling. I think in the grand scheme, throwing the ball regularly is required to maximize the potency of our offense. But, given our current personnel, I think we're opitmized by playing Kain a lot more and going more heavy with the run, especially against defenses that struggle against the run and especially mobile QB's. Kain's going to need to throw a bit mroe than he does now to keep defenses honest, if he's not playing against garbage defenses like Iowa or IU. As it is, we'll score 20-30 ppg, which may be good enough given the improved defense. But, this approach isn't going to get us to 40 points, which we'd come to expect over the years with a pass heavy offense.
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Posted: 10/28/2012 11:15 PM

Re: Fitzgerald must roll with the punches Post Rating (3 votes)


E-Cat,

You really agreeing with this article?

How about this line?

"Fitzgerald must learn to accept frustration from fans and harsh words from the media; it comes with the territory of being a winning program."

Has Fitz not learned to deal with frustrated fans or harsh words? I'm not sure what the point of this statement is. You might as well say, "You have to learn to deal with a cold weather if you're going to live in Alaska." Fitz has had to deal with all of this for his 7 year tenure just as every D1 HC in the country does.

How about this one?

"The days of the "Cardiac Cats" are long gone. That was a term created to capture the efforts of the hard-fighting, scrappy Wildcats who battled with the best. That was when Northwestern was a cute underdog, overlooked everywhere but Evanston."

This is just BS and shows a basic lack of knowledge about NU football history. We won three Big Ten Championships with the Cardiac Cats label. This label started in 1995-1996 (15-1) and continued in 2000 (6-2) when NU captured championships by winning close games against Michigan, Penn State, Wisconsin and the other title contenders. No teams win championships without winning close games. I hope to god those days of cardiac cats aren't long gone. If we were cardiac cats this year, we'd be 9-0 now.

How about this one?

"It's not enough to reach bowl eligibility anymore, even Fitzgerald admitted that."

What do you mean by "admitted that"? Like admitted it reluctantly? Fitz's goal has always been championship and he doesn't give a crap about bowl eligibility. That's not even one of the team goals.

Chris changed to this line ("If Northwestern wants to sustain a presence in the spotlight, it will be criticized along the way.") from this line ("If Fitzgerald wants Northwestern to sustain a presence in the spotlight, he must accept the criticism that comes with it") minutes after my post.

The first line is another "sky is blue" line. The second line implies that Fitz hasn't or doesn't accept the criticism that comes along with being the coach of a successful program. Really??? News to me...

Lastly, who gives a rip about the Yankees?

This piece was sloppy and pointless. Tell me where I'm wrong. If the author wanted to do a piece about rising expectations, then he should have written that piece rather than this sloppy piece of drivel.
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Posted: 10/29/2012 4:15 AM

Re: Fitzgerald must roll with the punches Post Rating (1 vote)


Well, it's hard to argue if you put it that way. I never said the article wasn't sloppy. I thought it's basic premise was valid though.

Reading between the lines, what I thought the point of the article, is that Fitz should shut up about the complaints of fans, take it as a part of the higher expectations now put on the program, and just go and win games. I agree with that statement.
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Posted: 10/29/2012 11:53 AM

Re: Fitzgerald must roll with the punches Post Rating (2 votes)



EvanstonCat wrote:
Reading between the lines, what I thought the point of the article, is that Fitz should shut up about the complaints of fans, take it as a part of the higher expectations now put on the program, and just go and win games. I agree with that statement.

I guess I'd agree with the spirit of that comment too. And I suppose its hard for MRCAT95 to be objective regarding criticisms of his friend. Nonetheless, I do agree with Matt's assessment that the timing of this article is a little strange.


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Posted: 10/29/2012 12:12 PM

Re: Fitzgerald must roll with the punches Post Rating (1 vote)


This article seems like a reiteration of what I read in the Tribune when I arrived in Chicago late last week. I forget who wrote that piece, but it was nearly identical in tone and substance. Both articles bothered me a little because they implied a criticism of Fitz that I think is unfair. Our coach is very ready to accept blame and to receive constructive criticism, but he bristles when fans or the press question the direction of the program, the efforts or talents of his players, or the abilities of his assistants. He is the face of a program that is aggressively marketing itself to Chicago and HS stars nationwide and he protects an image we are all very proud of. When that image is challenged, I want him to stand up and defend it. Fitz's open-mindedness is evident in his acceptance of Colter's comments last week. While I doubt they were the basis of changes in the offensive scheme against Iowa, a more stubborn or authoritarian coach might have taken a more defensive or even spiteful approach and used Siemian more, not less, in the succeeding game. On the other hand, NU is in a large media market and writers must write about something. NU and ND are receiving more press this year and some of it is going to reflect writers' desires to find a story and editors' desires to sell papers. I think both artticles are really saying just that, albeit in more veiled terms. If anyone seems defensive, it is the writers responding to Fitz. I think he welcomes the attention to NU, enjoys his rapport with the press, and gives as well as he receives. When he responds to criticism by defending the school, his coaches, and his players, members of the press should not take it personally. For NU,
it could be alot worse - U of I receives much less attention and all of it is bad.
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Posted: 10/29/2012 3:03 PM

Re: Fitzgerald must roll with the punches 


I have zero problems with criticisms of Fitz when the team loses, especially in games they could have or should have won.  I was highly critical myself of the (bone-headed) offensive game plans for the PSU and Nebraska games.

What I do have a problem with is:
1) The editorial implication that Fitz doesn't accept responsibility or the criticism that comes along with losing (i.e., "If Fitzgerald wants Northwestern to sustain a presence in the spotlight, he must accept the criticism that comes with it.)  This line was later edited in the story.
2) Implication that Fitz has lower than "championship expectations".
3) That Fitz must somehow publicly self-flagellate himself after a loss.
4) That Fitz is not allowed to move on (quickly) in order focus on the next opponent after a loss.
5) The atrocious timing of the article.

The lack of basic understanding of recent Northwestern football history (i.e., incorrectly defining the "Cardiac Cats" term) and the irrelevant focus on the New York Yankees just pissed me off more.
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Posted: 10/29/2012 3:18 PM

Re: Fitzgerald must roll with the punches Post Rating (2 votes)



EvanstonCat wrote: Reading between the lines, what I thought the point of the article, is that Fitz should shut up about the complaints of fans, take it as a part of the higher expectations now put on the program, and just go and win games. I agree with that statement.
You have zero time as a player to dwell on a loss or a team will beat you twice (by negatively impacting your attitude and preparation the following week).

And yes, we (as fans) all stay disappointed a lot longer because we can without consequence.  After tough losses, Fitz knows his players are going to get barraged with negativity from classmates, professors, parents, news media, message boards, etc.  His comments are directed squarely at his team.  Flush it.  Don't let them beat you twice.

If you really agree with or understand that statement, E-Cat, you don't understand internal team dynamics and how the outside world (fans, media, classmates, professors, parents, etc.) can negatively impact your preparation and performance if you let that crap in.
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Posted: 10/30/2012 10:15 AM

Re: Fitzgerald must roll with the punches Post Rating (1 vote)


Well, as Glades says - I never strapped it on, so it shouldn't be surprising that I view things with a slightly different lens, although I definitely have experienced the internal team dynamics and inertia that come not with external factors (never really played at a level with serious fan followings) but rather the internal factors.

I don't see how this is in conflict with the premise presented (minus the sloppiness you've already pointed out). In fact, isn't everyone just saying, shut up and don't worry about what fans are saying and just go and win?
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Posted: 10/30/2012 8:32 PM

Resentment of criticism Chris? 


I didn't read Fitz' quote that way at all. What he appears to be frustrated with is the absurd reality that when we win, the media (and many long time fans) see the team as finding a way to win against the odds, as in " Boy, we were lucky." While when we lose to iconic programs like Nebraska and PSU the same fans and media castcade the team with criticism as if we were a college football factory like OSU. You might refer to it as the schitzo factor. They hold us to a dark ages standard in victory and a Rose Bowl standard in defeat.

I think that was his point. And its a fair one. His team is indeed held to a double standard, by many fans and much of the media.

GOUNUII
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Posted: 10/30/2012 8:37 PM

Re: Resentment of criticism Chris? Post Rating (1 vote)


True, but tell me any team that isn't held to a double standard by it's fans and the media
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Posted: 10/31/2012 12:14 AM

Re: Fitzgerald must roll with the punches Post Rating (1 vote)


Honestly, I have heard Fitz say too often after poor play that "we are in position to make the plays, but didn't make them."  Then on the recruiting front he says basically "we don't need or care whether a player is highly ranked or what people think of them, that particular recruit is who we want."

I am not sure he can have it both ways. If the players REALLY are in position and can't make plays, then it is a talent deficiency which he is responsible for with recruiting poorly or not being able to develop the talent. The buck stops with the Head Coach.

He does seem to get a red ass when the critics come out. The amazing thing is if he ever had a job at a football factory the critics are 100 times worse just from the sheer number of fans and media.
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Posted: 10/31/2012 10:25 AM

RE: Fitzgerald must roll with the punches Post Rating (2 votes)


The guys on both sides of this argument parse words too much.


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