Tuesday, November 27, 2012

KLEMbardi?: Campaigning to be Purdue's next Head Football Coach

Election season is over; No more political ads, Nate Silver's time as the Electoral College Mel Kiper has gone on hiatus, and CNN now can only bust out its Minority Report-style technology to break down whether or not Tickle Me Elmo dolls will sell more or less than previous holiday seasons. (In light of recent developments, Tickle Me Elmo probably needs to be renamed, just a thought.)

While November 6th is long gone, I picked up some valuable insight along the way and am now ready to launch a campaign of my own.

I.  Samuel Aaron Klemet officially announce my candidacy for Head Football Coach at Purdue University!

You read that correctly.  My headset is in the ring.  I want to lead the Boilermakers back to prominence.

Now, I know what the majority of you are thinking - my dad probably isn't thinking yet because he hasn't been able to compose himself from laughing so hard at the mere thought of me leading anything - but, for the rest of you who are composed enough to think this is a bizarre idea, let me do my do my best Don Draper impersonation and sell you on why I would, in fact, be a great hire to replace Danny Hope.

Earlier today, I came across the job posting for the Head Football Coach position on Purdue's website.  You can see it here.

As I read through the description, I was shocked and excited at the realization that I actually meet the criteria.

Right off the bat, I easily qualify for several requirements.

Bachelor's degree - Check.  Michigan State University Journalism program is top five nationally.

Knowledge of sport-specific fundamentals, techniques, and safety rules and regulations - Check. If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.

Ability to analyze, interpret, communicate and adhere to University, Big Ten Conference, and NCAA policies, procedures - I will do a better job than Jim Tressel, a fellow rumored candidate.

Proven winner
Excellent communication (oral and written, interpersonal, presentation and facilitation), planning, organizational, interviewing, strength training and counseling skills - I don't mean to brag, but those THREE Indiana Society of Professional Journalism Awards didn't just fall out of thin air.

Personal computer and related software skills, e.g., word processing, spreadsheets, data query, Internet - I am blogging right now, correct?

I meet those benchmarks with no problem.  Really, my resume falls in line with the bulk of the job description.

The one area that I'm sure Athletics Director Morgan Burke and the rest of the Purdue community will point to as a reason for my disqualification is this....

Five years coaching or playing football at the collegiate level or above.

At this point you would think my resume would be getting the Gary Danielson treatment and being thrown deep into the trash.  *Insert Lee Corso* Not so fast my friend.

I am a journalist.  Details are the centerpiece of my profession.  Nowhere in that line do I read anything of Intramural experience being excluded.

Proof I played!
At Michigan State, I played for three years on I.M teams. I like to think of myself as a Deion Sanders/Charles Woodson-type.  I was a shutdown corner who could occasionally make a game changing play in the passing game or on special teams.  Plus, I was a showman. 

Since coming to Purdue to work at WBAA, I have used my faculty status to play for two years on I.M teams on campus.

I'm no math major, but three plus two usually equals five.  That means I meet the "Five years coaching or playing football at the collegiate level or above" criteria.  COUNT IT!

Now that we've established that my resume at least deserves to be kept on the pile, let's delve into what I can bring to the Purdue football program.

First: In the press conference to announce Hope's firing,  Morgan Burke said one of his top characteristics in the next coach needs to be an understanding of the long, storied history of successful Boilermakers quarterbacks.  In West Lafayette, they call it the "Cradle of Quarterbacks," that includes Drew Brees, Danielson, Curtis Painter, Kyle Orton, Jim Everett, and Bob Griese.

Burke and interim head coach Patrick Higgins
I understand.  

My offense would pass more than LeBron James in the fourth quarter and that includes my punter.  Cody Webster, who on Twitter highlighted his running back skills, would also need to fine tune his arm, because I don't believe in punting, either.  Anytime he stepped on to the field would be to execute a fake punt pass or serve as a decoy.  

The Boilers offense under Sam Klemet would make the Colt Brennan/Kliff Kingsbury offenses from Hawaii and Texas Tech look like Georgia Tech of the 1970s.  We would throw as much as Jack Taylor shoots.

So, no worries there Morgan, I bring an exciting offense to the table.

Second: Burke mentioned one of the reasons Hope was let go was because of a drop in attendance.  Ross-Ade Stadium was often half empty or more by halftime.  With Sam Klemet as head coach, attendance will be a non-issue.

I was raised in Detroit.  The birth place of Motown.  No other genre knows how to put on a real show better than Motown.  That's what a game at Ross-Ade Stadium would be like under the Klemet-regime.  It would be a spectacle that people would want to see.

My third quarter tradition to rival Wisconsin's "Jump Around" would be to play James Brown's "Get Up Offa That Thang" and all the cheerleaders would put capes around my players' shoulders before they went back on the field for the final 15 minutes.  

Because, like James Brown, we would be "The Hardest Working Team in Show Business." (By business, I mean intercollegiate athletics, where ACADEMICS come first.)

And, for pregame introductions, I would take a page out of the great CEO Vince McMahon's playbook.

WWE style entrances.  

Could you imagine Ricardo Allen, Raheem Mostart, and Ryan Russell walking onto the field under the lights, while "The Graveyard Symphony" is playing, with Paul Bearer by their side holding an urn containing what would be our opponent's "ashes" inside?  That would be EPIC. 

And we would switch it up every week.  We are a team of the people, so one game we may do a "Ladies Special" and emulate Val Venis' entrance or on "Family Weekend" come in like the Dudley Boys.

You would want to see that.  You would NEED to see that and because it would be done at the beginning of the game, the issue of late or no attendance is immediately solved!

Third:  Ties to the Big Ten are important.  I understand that.  Again, I grew up and went to college in the Big Ten.  I learned exactly what NOT to do by going to Michigan State during the John L. Smith-era. I'm pretty sure if I do everything the opposite of what "ole slappy face" did, Purdue will have no problem competing and recruiting in the Big 14 with me on the sidelines.

Fourth: While this wasn't mentioned for hiring, there could be some serious history in tapping me as the next coach.

Just like Barack Obama became the first biracial President in the United States, I could be the first biracial head coach in Purdue History.  Is it too cliche to have my slogan be "A Change from Hope?"

Fifth: Burke said having connections to Purdue is not a prerequisite, but would be a tie breaker.  Well, call me Adam Vinatieri because I just broke that tie. 

For the past two-and-a-half years I have secured a nice corner cubicle in the basement of Elliot Hall of Music, one of the premier buildings on the West Lafayette campus.  During that time, I have covered just about every aspect of the university, including the football program for three seasons.  I have current ties to Purdue tighter than those in a scene in Fifty Shades of Grey.

Sixth: Obviously finances play a role in any hire.  Purdue is said to have a $4.5-million package in place for the next coaching staff.  Picking me as head coach comes with significant savings.  I would work for no more than $150,000.  A big raise for me, cost savings for the university. Win, Win!

If the athletic department wants to give me bonuses, I would accept, but only based on performance.  I would use the rest of that money to hire a top tier assistant coaching staff.  I have already put out a call to Wayne Fontes to serve as an adviser.  I'm pretty sure he is in. 

I would then recruit Nubie from the Little Giants, also known as the mastermind behind "The Annexation of Puerto Rico." Could you possibly hire a more offensive genius than him? (Rhetorical).

For my defensive coordinator, it was a no-brainer. Terry Tate "Office Linebacker" will lead that side of the ball.  He brings the perfect balance of professionalism and intensity not seen since the days of Ronnie Lott.

Coaching staff set. Check!

I would do it for Purdue
Finally, and probably most challenging, is the history of Purdue coaches sporting strong mustaches.  More important than the "Cradle of Quarterbacks" is the "Cradle of 'Stache." 

Joe Tiller had a great upper lip blanket and Danny Hope's nose neighbor made Sam Elliot's look like one of a teenager who just hit puberty.

I currently do not sport a mustache.  My girlfriend locked that down real quick for MOvember and I grow one slower than Antonio Cromartie trying to recite the names of his kids.  But, if hired as head coach, I would be fully committed to growing a Mouth Brow.  I may have to negotiate the hair equivalent of "Chia Pet" products as part of my contract to get that done, but, I think we can all agree that would be a good allocation of funds.

So, there you have it.  That is my case for becoming Purdue's next football coach.  There may be other, more polished candidates out there, but come on, after reading this can you really argue there would be a more intriguing hire?

Boiler Up. Hammer Down. Klemet 2012!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Red, White, Honolulu Blue. America

It's hard to sell the Detroit Lions as America's team.  That designation is traditionally bestowed upon the Packers, Steelers, or Cowboys (Jerry Jones' ego resembles American cholesterol levels).

But, no team may represent where our country stands today better than the boys from Motown.

Tuesday, the country re-elected Barack Obama as President.  Obama came to Washington promoting a powerful message of hope and change.  He set high expectations for complex problems.  In his first four years he won some battles and lost others.  But in that time, for various reasons both logical and illogical, the country split quicker than a pair of Phillip Banks trousers after eating a carton of Haagen Dazs.

America became truly divided.  Civility went out the window on both sides of the aisle and that halted progress.  Politicians made it their mission to prove they were right regardless of what that meant for the nation, as a whole.  Agendas were pushed more than progress and because of that, while things are statistically getting better, specifically regarding the economy, we as a nation are still battered and bruised.

Today, we get to hit the reset button, not necessarily on specific legislation, but more so on philosophy.

Unseating President Obama can no longer be the top priority for Republicans and true bipartisanship needs to be the main focus of Democrats.

There needs to be some give and take on both sides.

Enter football.

The Detroit Lions also get to hit the reset button of sorts.

Like President Obama, the Lions entered the year with expectations sky high. Coming off its first playoff appearance in more than a decade, Detroit appeared headed in the right direction as a franchise.

But, off-season arrests, an unbalanced offense, and lack of on-field discipline led to the Lions limping out of the gate to a 1-3 start.

Then, the team changed.  Are there still penalties? Yes.  Is the secondary still inconsistent? Yes.  But, since the passionless, putrid beginning to the season, the Lions have become a more complete offense, establishing a solid running game.  They also have started to get elite performances out of the highly touted defensive line.  And at times, even, dare I say it, playing smart (only at times).  Those efforts have led to the team winning three of its past four and working back into the playoff mix.

Barack Obama is back in charge.  He has another four years to take an economy that is picking up three or four yards per carry to one that busts through the hole for 40 and 50 yard gains.  In his elegant and poignant victory speech, Tuesday, in Chicago, the President said "Despite all the hardship we've been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I've never been more hopeful about our future."

The President is vowing to move forward.  The Lions must as well.

To do this both must learn from the mistakes of their first term - or half of the season - build on the best parts, and mesh those two aspects together to create something truly special.

There is nothing better than a comeback story. President Obama can author America's and the Lions can be the NFL's.

The Detroit Lions may not be America's team, but it can represent the nation's rebuilding story.

Red, White, and Honolulu Blue.  America.