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Willingham’s — and your — opinions on his job

Post by Don Ruiz / The News Tribune on Sep. 29, 2008 at 6:08 pm with No Comments »
September 29, 2008 6:08 pm

Tyrone Willingham says he would resign if he didn’t see himself as part of the solution.

Scott Woodward says he doesn’t believe in mid-season firings.

Here’s your chance to weigh in with what you think, on the TNT poll on whether Willingham should be fired.

Meanwhile, there was predictably a lot of discussion on and around this general topic today, including a few minutes I spent with Willingham one-on-one. Here are Willingham quotes from that discussion:

On whether he would consider resignation:

I’ve always said this, that it is important that everybody in our program be part of the solution. And I’ve always said that if I’m cynical about my job then, no, I don’t want to do my job. If I’m not living up to the tenants that I’ve set for myself and our young men in our program, then I’ll make the right decisions that reflect the right things to do for our young men and our university.

On if resigning would make people think he’s a quitter:

You can’t control what other people think. When you win games, you don’t win by enough points. When you lose, you’re the worst coach in the country. I listened to (Tennessee coach) Phil Fulmer the other day and Phil said, I think, ‘All of a sudden I didn’t become stupid.’ So you’re not going to control what people say, feel or believe, so I’m not going to get into that. I’m going to be true to our university, I’m going to be true to our young men.

On why he isn’t resigning:

I think we can win football games. I think we can be a good football team. We’ve shown that we can score points on offense, even against Oklahoma we moved the football. Unfortunately, we turned it over, which is not good; you can’t do that against a great football team. I thought we had a heck of a football game against BYU. Against Oregon we didn’t do very much. But at the same time, at halftime that was a close football game. So I think there are some things there. What we have to do is figure out a way to get over the hump. So that’s my job to figure out something to just change, switch, do something to get us over the hump. It’s the players’ responsibility to make plays when they get the opportunity to do both of that. So we’ve got to do both of those, and that’s been consistent since the day I arrived here. We’ve got to find a way to get over the hump and when we do that it’s really pretty nice.

And a few more questions on the topic from the press conference itself:

On whether he needs to vary his message to the team before they tune him out:

I think that with the young men that you have today, you always have to have a new message, a new presentation or a new way of presenting it. I think that’s the age we live in. I kind of call it the seven minute culture. I think it’s because TV’s commercials are every seven minutes. So you’ve got to change the message. But at the same time it does not mean that you can’t drive home the same message because no matter what you do, there are fundamentals to writing, there are fundamentals to reading, there are fundamentals to athletics. There are fundamentals to everything that we do, and we have got to learn those fundamentals so those have got to be a part of our game and you can’t get away from those. But you do have to change things up, you do have to have some variety, you do have to have some diversity. So I have to come up with a new way of saying something very consistently that catches their imagination, gets their thought process and triggers it in a different light but at the same time it’s still very fundamentally sound with what we have to do. Because no matter what you change, it’s still a game of blocking, tackling, running, catching.

On what he would tell an employer about why he should keep his job:

Because I have the enthusiasm for it, the focus and concentration for it, and I’m still very much into what I’m doing.

On what he turns to through tough times:

I turn one, to my experience of having been in tough situations as a kid coming forward. You look at all the things that you’ve done in your life that every now and then you have to go back and count your successes – and I’ve had a few successes since I was born, and waking up this morning is one of those. It’s not bad.

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