Bill Stewart sold himself as everything that Rich Rodriguez wasn't. We were going to pass the ball and really open up the offense. One season with Jeff Mullen, and it was apparent that wasn't the case. Despite what we can all agree was a very talent-rich team, we only saw flashes of what could have been. His teams lacked an identity, and any chance of building momentum in a season was lost as soon as it was found. The debacle at Colorado was the first sign that it wasn't the team getting out played as much as it was the lack of a winning game plan and poor clock management.
But he was a nice guy, and I felt we needed a stand-up guy running the program at least to get us through the tumultuous times the program was in. And oh did I try to convince myself that it wasn't so bad. Sure, we lost some games we should have won. But we were still bringing in quality recruits and it really wasn't THAT bad. I mean, we've all seen the program in worse shape. Right? But as time went on, it was pretty clear that things weren't going to change. In fact, they got worse. Over time, it seemed that no game was a gimme and the tough ones looked impossible. That was the hardest part to swallow after so many years of not just believing, but knowing that we had a good chance to win every time we took the field. But all the while I felt a loyalty toward Bill Stewart because he handled himself the completely opposite way Rich Rodriguez did.
Fast forward to the recent events we've been drug through, and I can't help but feeling like I have egg on my face. When the one reason, the only reason anyone still backed him was washed away by him asking reporters to dig up dirt on his successor, I lost all respect for the man. He could have walked away as a man of his word and been everything we thought he was. But now he will crawl away with no respect.
As a university, it should be a lesson learned the hard way. As a fan base, it should be a lesson in not putting our faith in anyone or anything but the program. Coaches and players come and go, but the program lives on.
So after all that, I can honestly say that Dana Holgorson can keep on drinking until I quit.
Since I wrote that before Stewart was resigned, it's probably fitting to follow up with some thoughts.
Could it have been worse? Absolutely! The players that went through the last coaching change with Stewart probably have very strong feelings for the man. I have no doubt that the past couple weeks have been gut wrenching for them to watch. We're lucky no ugly incidents have occurred between current or former players and fans. With so much interaction on social media, it may have escaped my eye, but I didn't see anything like that.
Some of our Big East brothers probably had a lot of fun with our situation over the past few weeks and I'm here to say that's fine. I've poked fun at everyone. Karma probably required they point and laugh at our situation. I would just like to remind you that they are all coming to the realization that Dana Holgorsen is a much better coach than Stewart. He'll probably have a few bumps along the way, but he won't have one of those "Colorado" games. Well, maybe he will. But the probability of that is very low.
Maybe I'm wrong, but we came out of this pretty good. We have what most of us think is an upgrade at head coach. Hopefully Jeff Casteel and the defensive staff will stay right where they are. We shouldn't have to worry about selling out. We can buy beer in the stadium. I'll hate that we won't be able to go out for a quick drink at halftime anymore. But let's all be clear about this, no one gets juiced like the guy carried out by the state troopers by drinking $6 beers. For those of us responsible enough to plan on hanging out after the game until we sober up, there won't be any problems. Let's all strive to make that happen. I mean we've got just as good a chance as anyone to win the Big East. Probably better. It's not too pie in the sky to say that. So don't go getting yourself in a wreck after going crazy at the Marshall game (Seriously, their Marshall). It's going to be a good season and we want you to be here for all of it.