Sunday, November 11, 2007

'They should fire me'

I’m writing more about this topic in Monday’s paper, but it’s already quite evident Cal Poly head football coach Rich Ellerson’s emotional postgame comments after the fourth-quarter letdown against North Dakota State tonight raised eyebrows everywhere from SLO to Fargo.

“I let (my players) down,” Ellerson said minutes after the 31-28 loss. “That’s on me. They should fire me.”
The game’s only a few hours old and Ellerson’s “fire me” comment has already been published on Web sites by The Tribune, Lompoc Record and The Forum in Fargo, N.D., where the North Dakota State Bison took a step closer to the Great West Football Conference crown and remained unbeaten after overcoming a 19-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
Ellerson apparently echoed similar comments during a postgame interview with ESPN 1280 AM, which I’m sure added to the disbelief of Cal Poly fans as they drove home after another Homecoming collapse.
While the comments were surprising, it was evident Ellerson was trying the shoulder the load of the loss and did not want the debacle being blamed on his assistants, an interception in the red zone, a blown assignment in the secondary or a missed field goal early in the game.
Because I’m a beat reporter, and not a columnist, I try to refrain from injecting my opinion on these types of topics (which has been the challenge of trying to publish and interesting blog), but I will reiterate what I wrote in my game story for Sunday’s paper.
It’s doubtful Ellerson would find himself on the hot seat any time soon after leading Cal Poly (6-4, 2-2) to its fifth straight winning season -- not to mention the fact that he’s under contract through at least the 2013 season.
This is Cal Poly football we’re talking about, not New York Yankees baseball.
After enduring three straight 3-8 seasons, Cal Poly fans and message board honks should keep in mind that the Mustangs have enjoyed winning campaigns in six of Ellerson’s seven seasons. The Mustangs went to the playoffs in 2005 for the first time and were one win – make that one quarter – away from a possible playoff bid the next two seasons. Two bad quarters against the Dakotas shouldn’t override 47 wins in the Mustangs’ other 76 games under Ellerson.
Flipping through the Mustangs media guide, Cal Poly hasn’t strung together five straight winning seasons since Joe Harper put together 13 straight dating from 1968-80.
Ellerson also has a .603 winning percentage in his seven seasons. Only three of Cal Poly’s 15 head football coaches have done better – Howie O’Daniels (.621), Roy Hughes (.662), Joe Harper (.685).
What are your thoughts on Ellerson's "fire me" comment?
I'd like to hear your thoughts on this one. Post your thoughts in the comments section below.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ellerson is just taking the blame for an emotional loss. There is no rational way that someone could justify firing him.

Anonymous said...

He's a stand-up guy. He takes the blame, and doesn't point fingers. That's why his team's perform well.

Maybe he could be docked one games pay, then?

This loss hurts the most.

Anonymous said...

Probably one of the toughest losses I have ever seen. It will mean a lot to his team that Ellerson is shouldering the responsibility, but there is no way he should be fired. He had a great game plan, just went away from it a little too early. Hopefully, once the shock wears off, the team will realize that the first three quarters of this game showed just how good they can be. Poly is going to be tough next year!

Anonymous said...

Ellerson is the best thing that has happened to Cal Poly football. Period. Don't go, don't fire him

Anonymous said...

Coach Ellerson is a class man, an outstanding defensive football coach, and a great leader. His defensive game plan was spot-on and resulted in the leading running back in the Great West (Tyler Roehl) being held to 100 yards or which one run was for 34 yards. They did NOT allow a touchdown for the entire first 3 quarters plus of the game. The defensive game plan was outstanding UNTIL it got the the last ten minutes of the game.

Those who attended the game found out that Cal Poly does NOT have a prevent defense to make certain that they do NOT get beat long. In the fourth quarter instead of going into prevent they were still running man-to-man defense on the wide outs. What happened is that effectively removed the linebackers from the defense as their responsibility was blitzing the quarterback, the backs out of the backfield, and the tight end. That left the secondary to close out the passing game and the secondary has been young and suspect all year. They got beat at least three times and also contributed several defensive holding penalities including one which wiped out a Mark Restelli interception.

While it was a team defeat (as they all are in a team game) the blame for this happening for the second consecutive year goes to the Coaches who had built such a brilliant game plan for the first fifty minutes of the game.

I am sure that the coaches and the players are really hurting from this defeat. If you stood outside the team room after the game you experienced dead silence and several players left the dressing room with their helmets still on their head. I am sure that they were not wanting anyone to see the tears on their face. Both the players and the coaches wanted desparately to win and it showed in their performance. The last ten minutes in the game as a team they let down and it cost them dearly.

Coach Ellerson does not need to quit or be fired. He does need, however, to hire an offensive coordinator and someone who can place a kickoff deeper than the 10 yard line. Too often Cal Poly is giving their opposition excellent field position to start their offensive series after kickoffs. There are other needs too, but as a team they are sooooo close to being top 10 year in and year out.

Let's focus on the good stuff that happened because thinking about the bad stuff will drive us all mad -- very mad !!!

PS -- Was it just me or did it seem that NDSU got pretty much all of the calls. I could not tell from where I was sitting how accurate the calls were but the sheer number of calls against Cal Poly were overwhelming and also at the worst times possible...

Anonymous said...

In this era of "blame someone else" Coach Ellerson is a stand-up man with class. He is just showing that he is a man that takes responsibility. He is well respected by his team and I think we're luckey to have him. He went face to face with Goliath and almost beat him.

Anonymous said...

I am certainly disappointed in the outcome of the game and the fact the there was this "sit on the score" approach to the last 10 minutes, however, I certainly do not think this warrants 'firing' the head coach. This is not USC or Notre Dame. This is an up and coming program with a lot to be excited about for the future. I think Ellerson is just expressing his frustration at his decision making by making statements about firing. He is the near term future of Cal Poly football. Next year is shaping up to be record setting.

Anonymous said...

The coach did everything he could do....in the end it was up to the players!

Anonymous said...

Coach Ellerson has run a great program just about every year at C.P. That being said, what happened to his brain at the 10:00 mark of the 4th quarter? Playing "run-run-run, three-and out, 'Woody Hayes' football" is no way to try to win a game against the #2 team in the country!!! And what about the "prevent" (prevent you from winning) defense on the other side of the ball? If you keep trying to "play not to lose," your offense doesn't stay on the field long enough for your defense to catch its breath. And your offense loses its rhythm if you go away from your game plan. This was a TOTAL coaching fiasco! No way should Poly have lost this one! If I were A.D., I'd have a serious look at the "fire me" comment. I was bloody well sickened by this collapse, and I don't plan to watch any more Ellerson embarassments at Mustang Stadium. BTW -- What do you have a potential All-American 6'6" wideout for if you throw to him just once a Quarter? Aaaarrrrggghhhhh!!!

Joe said...

He's a stand up classy guy that took the blame. He's done a great job at Cal Poly and should continue to do so.

Anonymous said...

Is he saying they should fire him or hoping they will fire him.....

Anonymous said...

Brian...

Is there an update to this story? It is now Thursday morning. Has this died down a bit by now? At the press conference on Monday did Coach Ellerson answer any questions about his "fire me" comments?

BMilne said...

An update with Alison Cone's reaction to the Ellerson quote ran Monday:
http://www.sanluisobispo.com/sports/story/190713.html