How much more fun would college football be with Richard Sherman? Not literally, of course, although that might be cool, too. But the boldness and confidence Sherman possesses — and boasts — is something that makes the NFL so interesting without in-game action. Where is that in college athletics?
Now I know there is only so much a college athlete can say. The athlete has a coaching staff that usually guides him or her on how to and how not to answer questions from the media, what to say and not to say on the record, and what culture and brand the program is or isn't trying to promote.
In spite of all of that, it's a competitive sport. When senior linebacker Terrance Plummer was told that Houston receiver Deontay Greenberry said that his team doesn't think the game will be a close one, and that last year UCF wasn't "that good," I was hoping to hear a feisty rebuttal — but that didn't happen.
Instead, Plummer responded safely and with class.
"We don't respond to stuff like that. We know that it's about us, it's about our team, and we can't worry about what our opponent think of us," Plummer said.
He added that head coach George O'Leary always tells the team to talk with their shoulder pads and feet.
No. Talk with your mouth! That's why it's there. As the leader of the defense, I know he not only had to take that comment personally, but also wanted to give him a piece of his mind back. What I'm advocating is for athletes to do just that.
Although I don't agree with Greenberry's comments, I applaud him for taking a stance and having a voice in a realm that doesn't have much of one at all — the world of student athletes. If Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan have anything non-statistical in common, it's their egos. Whether you loved or hated Jordan's closed-eyed free throws or Bryant's ball-hog tendencies, they're remembered for it. We got to see their personalities. But in college athletics, everyone is "happy to be in this position," "just focused on my team" or "not concerned with what the people on the outside have to say." Right, that's great.
Whether Greenberry's statement works to his benefit or not, the principle of the matter is something I think college athletes have to go with. The world of college sports would be a lot more interesting and exciting if the relentless competitive fight we see on the field translated to the media room. That's all I ask.