COLUMBIA, MO - SEPTEMBER 13, 2008: Quarterback Chase Daniel #10 of the Missouri Tigers celebrates after passing for a touchdown during the first half of the game against the Nevada Wolf Pack on September 13, 2008 at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Mizzou Football Links
A couple of days ago, Fox Sports printed an article with what was supposed to be a rather generic "Blaine Gabbert has seen hate before" intro. But it got specific enough that it drew attention. Apparently the media turned on Chase Daniel when Mizzou lost to OSU. I didn't remember that, of course, but luckily Dave Matter was around to do a little navel-gazing on the matter below.
The Media Turns
Fox Sports: Blaine Gabbert must battle through negativity surrounding him
Five games into his 2008 freshman year at the University of Missouri, the Tigers were on the cusp of a No. 1 poll ranking. Starting quarterback Chase Daniel was the toast of Columbia for leading Mizzou to such heights.
And then came an upset home loss to Oklahoma State that ruined the team’s national championship aspirations.
"All of a sudden, the media just turned on him," Gabbert recently recalled. "That was the first time I realized you can’t worry about what they say because they don’t know.
"There’s a certain point where you learn to take care of your own business and worry about the guys in the locker room. Those are the guys on the field that are with you week in and week out."
But just like athletes lump all the reporters/bloggers/anchors/radio hosts into one big subhuman pile and call us "the media," reporters often see an athlete criticize the media and assume he or she is pointing fingers directly at their own work. So, after typing out a few smart aleck tweets and having the better sense to delete them, I took a deep breath and spent some time thinking before I typed. […]
But in 2008, I think most reasonable people looked at the big picture, realized Daniel was coming off an unparalleled season for Missouri QBs and set a standard that would be hard to match. He didn’t play well against Oklahoma State and struggled in parts of other losses, too. Did we ask him about his struggles? Absolutely. Did he get defensive and chippy with those questions? Sometimes, yes. (Although, remember, Daniel didn’t do 1-on-1 interviews with local writers his senior year. He was usually more analytical and comfortable away from the podium — at least he was with me — but that season he only did group interviews with the print media.) [...]
By nature, fans were less understanding. I don’t recall any professional reporters or columnists who covered the team calling for Gary Pinkel to replace Daniel with a backup, but some fans wanted blood - and Chase Patton. Remember, Pinkel shouting at the fan who was yelling at Daniel on their way to the locker room at the Alamo Bowl? Usually, though, those opinions were usually protected by the safety of message board screen names. Athletes read those sites. Their families certainly read those sites. And sometimes — no, a lot of times —message board uproar and criticism is interpreted as media uproar and criticism. They’re not the same, but perception is reality.
From what I recall (and from what I briefly looked up, just out of curiosity, in the Rock M archives this morning), at Rock M we didn't turn on Daniel so much as we continuously hinted that, damn, it sure does seem like he's hurt, but he won't admit it. (He later admitted it.) But I don't recall "the media" turning on Daniel so much as asking him about his less-than-perfect performances after the game (and to be sure, his OSU, KU and Northwestern performances were far below the level we had previously seen). But if nothing else, this proves that a) football coaches and players will utilize whatever disrespect they perceive to their utmost advantage (not all do it to a Stoopsian level, of course), and b) Blaine Gabbert will really, really do it. He got pretty snippy when he was hurt and struggling in both 2009 and 2010, after all. In 2010, he performed poorly against Colorado and injured his hip, and in the face of such "disrespect," he turned in probably his best two performances as a Tiger in wins over Texas A&M and Oklahoma. You use whatever you find to motivate you, and honestly, that's probably just fine. Even if "the media" didn't actually turn on anybody after the OSU loss in 2008.
In other news, after last night's "Drive Rally Baby around Columbia because it's the only way she'll fall asleep" sojourn, I can indeed verify that as of this week, Columbia is once again a college town. Boo/Hooray. Welcome back, everybody.
We Are Mizzou: Coach Pinkel Meets Mizzou Freshmen
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