A couple of weeks ago, Mike Gundy made waves (and no, not the ones in his glorious mullet) for railing against social media and basically saying that all people on twitter are at home collecting unemployment checks.
Uhh... that’s almost as relevant as saying all bloggers write from their parent’s basements.
Gundy’s rant included a fart noise, a second fart noise, and a very ‘get off my lawn’ “Twitter is what’s destroying this country” line. In typical Gundy fashion, it was blustering and nonsensical, but got tons of pub and took the heat off of his player - Taylor Cornelius in this particular instance.
Known for his Gundy-isms, the Oklahoma State head coach has no problem spewing out one-liners and ranting at the microphone, be it about his age, vodka-less smoothies, or rattlesnake hunting. He’s a character in every sense of the word, and a perfect fit for Stillwater and the Cowboys. But, his take on twitter and social media feels out-dated, and frankly, wrong.
And to find out way, you just need to look at his opponent Saturday.
Gary Patterson is the last guy you would expect to embrace Twitter. But embrace it he did. Slowly, but surely, the 21 year Horned Frog Football coach began to see twitter as as different, albeit effective, way to connect with recruits, fans, and fellow coaches.
At first, it was earth pics.
Then came the RECRUITING IS HEATING UP FIRE EMOJI FIRE EMOJI FIRE EMOJI tweets.
Later, he used it to piggyback off of his successful stint in the coaches’ war room during the College Football Playoffs.
But, this season, a slightly saltier Gary Patterson has emerged on social media platforms, one that is happy to use twitter to get his message out, something we saw after the Frogs’ big win against Baylor last weekend.
Thanks to all the Frog family out there who watched or joined us in Waco thank you! The guys played hard! To all the recruiters out there who are saying I am retiring after Oklahoma State so our commits would visit you, you aren't that lucky! Lol Go Frogs!— Gary Patterson (@TCUCoachP) November 18, 2018
When asked why he sent that message via tweet, GP had a very simple, and very logical reason. “I got done what I needed to get done. Our recruits needed to be able to see it. I didn’t have time to call, talk to any of those kids right now cause we’re getting ready for the ballgame [against Oklahoma State]. The people that needed to know got it, so we’ll go on about our life.”
Patterson, is of course, talking about negative recruiting, and the rumors that have been pervading message boards across Texas. Patterson has talked of being tired this season, and coming off of one of the least successful in the win column seasons he has had in Fort Worth, opponents saw it as a chance to start the rumor that he would walk away after 2018 - and use it to try and steal TCU’s potential future players.
It’s a smart strategy - let them know you know what they are saying, produce an easily-digestible sound bite, and reassure fans and players alike that you’re not going anywhere. And fans absolutely ate it up.
Meanwhile, Gundy “*** fart noise *** It’s a platform for people that are sitting home drawing an unemployment check, sitting in front of a keyboard.”
I find it humorous, how out of touch some folks can be. Sure, twitter can be a horrible place full of vitriol, egg avis, and Kevin Durant trolling 12 year olds. But, it’s far from the wrold Mike Gundy makes it out to be. And, most ironic of all - is there any coach not named Mike Leach who speaks in more soundbites than the Oklahoma State head? That’s something even Patterson recognizes. “I don’t get that, because some of the things he [Gundy] has said over the years, wether you say it on twitter or you say it to [the media], it’s the same. I just prefer to say it [myself].”
That couldn’t be more true.
Patterson is a planner. He knows exactly what he is going to say, when he is going to say it, and generally how folks outside the program will react. He walks into press conferences and halftime interviews prepared - and while he is known to get going on a topic and not stop - he rarely strays from his prepared remarks to the media. This is all, of course, by design. “I think I can count five, underneath five times, when I knew what I said it it could go either way. Usually I tell my team downstairs when I am going to say something. I can tell you the dates and games… 2006 after the Texas Tech game, I said ‘stepchild’, I can go down the list, but it’s less than five. A guy once told me, he said ‘because you’re an emotional coach, you need to think about what you’re going to say. You win and you lose before the game. When you get to your press conference, have a few facts and leave it alone. I have generally done that.” That’s what makes Patterson’s twitter presence so refreshing - it’s one of the few times that fans get to see behind the curtain a bit, where it feels a little more personal and off the cuff - even if it is planned.
Gundy seems to take the opposite approach - rarely shying away from being controversial or confrontational. While both coaches share a general disdain, but respect for, the media they go about using them differently. Gundy wants the press to get his message out, Patterson prefers they deliver a script. It seems to work for each coach in their own way. Here’s hoping to some great sound bites, scripted or otherwise, out of both Saturday.