ORLANDO, Fla. — A bit of perspective for those Florida Gators fans who Jim McElwain says have issued death threats and to the obnoxious FSU heckler whom Jimbo Fisher wanted to beat up after another tough loss last weekend.
Last year, many Penn State fans wanted coach James Franklin fired after his team started 2-2 with a loss to rival Pitt and a 49-10 thrashing at the hands of Michigan. Meanwhile, ravenous Notre Dame fans and the national media vultures hungrily circled the coaching carcass of Brian Kelly, who was assumed to be a dead man walking after his Fighting Irish went 4-8 last year.
Now, there’s a very real possibility Franklin’s Nittany Lions and Kelly’s Fighting Irish could be playing each other for the national championship. Penn State is 7-0, ranked No. 2 in the country and coming off a 42-13 blowout victory over Michigan. Notre Dame is 6-1 (with a one-point loss to No. 3 Georgia), ranked No. 9 and coming off a 49-14 shellacking of Southern Cal.
Moral of the story: Don’t be a bunch of impatient, impetuous knee-jerks who call for their coach to be fired at the first sign of adversity. And, more importantly, don’t be the frenzied, frothing-at-the-mouth morons who heckle the coach as he leaves the field or, worse yet, sends hate mail to coaches, their families and their players.
McElwain, whose team is 3-3 and has lost two straight home games by a combined three points, has become embroiled in a controversy this week over controversial death threats that many people believe are a figment of his imagination. But what isn’t a figment of his imagination is that many vitriolic UF fans want him fired and fired now.
Meanwhile, Fisher became so angry at a heckling fan after a heart-wrenching 31-28 loss to Louisville on Saturday, he lost his composure. As the fan yelled, “New coaches! New coaches!” a frustrated Fisher challenged the “punk” to come down onto the field. When asked about the incident afterward, Fisher said he didn’t regret confronting the fan.
“No, not one bit, because I don’t expect that out of our fans in our stadium,” Fisher said. “We’re walking off the field, and I’m walking off the field. And I’m looking at the hurt and watching our kids cry. And I look at the coaches, and how hurt they were. And coaches’ kids are standing right there by the tunnel, and listening to that guy. …
“I understand (fans are) hurt … But to hear one of our fans reaching over and saying that, about our coaches in front of their own kids, and in front of their own players, I don’t (regret it) one bit. That doesn’t belong there.”
This, of course, is the same Jimbo Fisher who won the national title at FSU four seasons ago and was in the College Football Playoff three seasons ago. And McElwain, even though the Gators have been far from dominant, has coached UF into the SEC Championship Game in each of his first two seasons.
As somebody wise once said, “Patience is not simply the ability to wait — it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.”