In this, the winter of our discontent ("Richard the III"-by you know who-who the hell writes like that?) it is time to visit topics rare and arcane vis-a-vis our beloved Boise State Broncos and who better to that then moi, your humble scribe. 'Tis true I have not been as prolific of late, but this is not due to any lack of ardor O My Brothers! (ref "A Clockwork Orange"). My illness has rendered my hands palsied, and as I must write in the full blush of passion any delay makes my thoughts run together, becoming mushy and un-Munson-like. But this week no chemo! And I'm back, with my Opus Expandimundus, a look at the relationship between our QB's and HC's going back to our very first college coach, Tony Knapp. Plus I will add my own inimitable theorem deducticus as a continuing part of the Munsonian Dialectic! Harvard, eat your heart out!
Let me begin my discussion of Coach Tony by saying I deeply revered the man. And further that I am illustrating tendencies; don't over read. That said. I place him in the category of the "old style" coach as regards the QB. He had an avuncular quality to his relationship with the QB's, Guthrie and McMillan (not sure so much about Autele-there were rumblings). I'm not saying you could not play that position if he didn't like you, but I don't think anyone ever did. More to the point, it seemed it was important to Coach Tony to have a relationship with his starting QB, beyond x's and o's. Tony was a man's man, and I think he liked that in his starters.
With Jim Criner we move away from that old style some, although I do not see that coming from the personal side of his temperament, but from his overriding ego and ambition. There just wasn't much room for sentimental attachment in a man so full of relentless drive. My 10 cent psychoanalysis of the guy is that deep down he had considerable rage, and he focused it so thoroughly that he transformed it into something useful, but ultimately destructive. With one more twist of the dial I see him being Captain Queeg from "The Caine Mutiny" (brilliantly portrayed by Humphrey Bogart) , rolling and caressing his handful of ball bearings, muttering self-serving apologias from the witness stand while Jose Ferrer shreds him to pieces. I think you could play QB for Criner, but beyond some glib manly bonhomie you'd never know him. Again, not a deliberate choice, but because of Criner's innate personality structure.
I am tempted to skip (pun!) Lyle Setencich for a lot of reasons (including his name is hard to spell). Plus he was a defensive coordinator who became an HC. Plus he had the personality of a a boiled jellyfish. Plus I didn't like him. Plus he started the 12 game losing streak against Idaho (he counts for 5). But I said I'll do all-and I shall, sort of. Because I don't recall enough about him to even hazard a guess about how he handled the QB being a defensive guy. So I'll describe him as "Mr. Cellophane" from the musical and movie "Chicago"-"Because you can see right through me/walk right by me/And never know I'm there!"
Ahh, the legendary Skip Hall. No Bronco should hear that name without having to fight back a solid vomitus vobiscum. Skip apparently confused his role with that of Father Flanagan in "Boys Town", only he ain't no Flanagan, or even Spencer Tracy, this is Boise State, not Boy's Town, you are not a Jesuit trying to raise righteous young men to go out in the furtherance of the Lord as espoused by the Catholic Church, you are here to win mother fucking football games and have been given all the resources to do so you stupid bastard, and your mealy mouthed quasi-Christian platitudinous bullshit did not hide the fact that you were lousy at it, but apparently somehow able to get 7 seasons out of us-God knows how, you must've had films on someone. I think he saw the team as sort of altar boys, and football as something fun! fun! fun! (Beach Boys). The complete collapse of the Broncos against Idaho in 1992 I put on him. And then he's shocked when he's fired! Loses the last 4 games of the season, including a humiliating home field blowout at the hands of Div. II Portland State, and has the gall to describe the Bronco fans as babies whining for their toy (i e the team)-which he's giving back to them. Fuck you Skip!
Pokey Allen wasn't here very long, but I see him old style. He liked people, and I think he brought out the best in his players by relating to them one-on-one. Took us from a shambles to a championship in one season. Hell of a coach. R I P
Houston Nutt-not enough info, at least from Bronco season. I'll pass (pun).
With Dirk Koetter, we see the emergence of the "modern style" relationship QB/HC. I would not say he was "distant", but it seemed to me anyway there was certainly no over sentimentality in his relationship to his starter at QB. His attitude was "I'm here to help you execute, I trust in your abilities and have confidence in you, but we both have jobs and if you don't do yours, I cannot do mine". The back slapping full throat-ed laughing Tony Knapp he ain't. The business like appraisal we now see so much of first made its appearance here with Dirk. I call these newer guys the "Gary Cooper" style HC.
Dan Hawkins did have a little of that Cooper thing, but it gets lost in his sometimes off putting quotes, asides, and just sort of head scratching statements. I think we all now see that Coach Dan's greatest asset was our now HC, Coach Chris Petersen.
Coach Pete is all Cooper, all da' dam' time. He has said more than once about his players "I'm their coach, not their friend". As unsentimental as a brain surgeon, and far less squeamish, Coach Pete is colder than a polar Bear's snout, glacial ice water in his veins, and if you study his eyes you see the frozen look of the hangman on a busy day. His decisions of course do not lack a certain intuition (he's a coach, not a robot) but that intuition is informed by facts, analysis, a meticulous. structured methodology that underpins his offense and the QB's role within it. Like a pro pool player, his shots betray no equivocation in delivery, smooth, appearing effortless because he has expended so much effort before he makes. he is of course cordial, perhaps even a little playful with his QB's. But he always carries in the back of his head the admonishment from mafia kingpin Don Venesso: "If you treat subordinates as your equal, they will soon feel they are your superiors." And he never does.
SUMMARY: The new business model is in place. The HC is the CEO; the QB is the head of an important division. Performance is all that matters. If the division returns acceptable profits, fine. If not, change. If the change doesn't work, new CEO. Finis'.
Koetter had the stuff no doubt. A couple of years ago he was quoted as saying "If Pete ever considers leaving Boise State, I want to have a serious talk with him." Like that.
I'll never forget the first time I meet Dirk Koetter, He was young and skinny. After just playing a season the year previous at H.H Dow High in Michigan A ball under the coaching of Coach Quick I must say at first I wasn't impressed. to me 2 a days were a joke, focus on off field training was absent, hell even though I was on the team I couldn't even get in to a PE class because it was so back logged where at Dow advanced PE was a requirement! all that being said Coach Koetter was a brilliant Offensive coach way ahead of his time and the state championships he'd bring Highland spoke to that.