Wednesday, July 23
Kentucky preview: You wanna play in the man's game? Then you better learn how to play defense.
By David Mamet
Let's get one thing straight right now: This is a man's game. This is a game of hand-to-hand combat. You're going to have to use your hands to push another man out of your way and know that he's going to be using his hands to do the same to you, and if you can't handle that, if that knowing that frightens you, then you don't need to be here. Dan Hawkins said "Go play intramurals"? 'F I was an intramurals coach I wouldn't even take a guy didn't know that, or couldn't make his peace with that. You don't like it, there's the door.
And regarding the SEC specifically -- and you'd know this you coached a day in the SEC in your life -- you gotta know how to play defense. This is not negotiable. And I've heard it all before, your "spread offenses," your pro-style sets, all that bullshit, it's all gimmicks. It's all a way around something. You're trying to evade these men, these men who want to get their hands on you and throw you to the ground. Your forty time, your "moves"? They are excuses. They are the tactics of men who are afraid. Nothing more than attempts to avoid that contact and try to alter the very ethos of this game.
I can say this 'cause I've seen what it got you. Rained down points on the Kent States and Eastern Kentuckys of the world, didn't you, then your dicks went limp in the clutch: 14 points against Mississippi State. Thirteen against Georgia. "Oh, but we beat LSU." You want to coast on that all season long? Fine, but don't do it on my time. Save those war stories for your fuckin' friends down at the local watering hole after you've come home from another Music City Bowl. You don't have André Woodson anymore, you don't have Keenan Burton, you don't have Rafael Little, so it is fuck-or-walk time, gentlemen. You're sure as shit not gonna be winning any shootouts this year, so you better learn to win some in the trenches. You learn to play some defense, or else you know what’s waiting for you? First prize is a spot in the national title game; second prize is a December bowl. Third prize is you’re fired. Win, or hit the bricks.
So let's see what we've got here. Eight returning starters on defense, five in the front seven, three in the secondary. I suppose you think that's good, huh? Here's what I think: Fuck your eight returning starters. I don't give a shit who coached you in high school, which college recruiters were keeping your family up nights with text messages, you gave up nearly 400 yards a game and only had 24 sacks the entire year. Last eight games of the season? After you'd finished knocking up that gang of sorority sisters you call a non-conference schedule? Gave up more than 34 points per game. Made Mississippi State look like a goddamn Arena League team. You can't stop them any better than that, what makes you think you can stop Knowshon Moreno? You gave up 124 yards to him last time you saw him. What you gonna do this time, lay out the red carpet and let him go over two bills? Maybe you bottle him up, you let Caleb King steal your lunch right out from under your fuckin' noses?
It is fuck-or-walk time. You learn to pressure a quarterback, you learn to wrap your arms around a guy and don't let go until his face is in the turf, you might have a shot at knocking off the Bulldogs this year, being at home and all. You don't, you give Matt Stafford all day to throw and let Moreno make you look like a buncha fuckin' statues, it's back to getting beat by 30, 40 points. You'll be selling your possessions to get to another Music City Bowl.
Does that scare you? Does that wipe the grins right off your 8-5 faces, you bluegrass cocksuckers? It should. 'Cause it takes brass balls to play in this league, gentlemen, and I don't think I see a one a' you who's grown any yet. Find 'em, or I got no sympathy for you. Fifth place in the SEC East is no man's land. You reside there, you reside alone.
And that's all I've got to say to you. Close the fuckin' deal, win the game, or spend bowl season in front of your fuckin' TV. That's it.
I'm going to get a drink.
-- David Mamet is one of the country's most accomplished and versatile writers, having earned a Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1984 as well as an Academy Award nomination for original screenwriting. His recent works include the comedy November, which recently concluded a run on Broadway, and the film "Redbelt," which he wrote and directed; an upcoming drama portraying a gritty ensemble of D-IA football players, Glengarry Glenn Dorsey, is slated to premiere in January.
Our next preview addresses some controversial issues relating to the Auburn Tigers, and our columnist is an outspoken commentator who isn’t afraid to take a stand.