Florida men’s basketball coach Mike White is a very honest man.
Sitting at Florida’s media day on Tuesday, I was expecting the same cliche phrases and shallow answers that many coaches and team officials supply to the media on a daily basis.
What journalists are left with after basic answers is a nearly blank canvas to work with. That’s not something you want as a writer. You want to have a general direction on where to go with your story.
But White supplied me with a problem I’ve never encountered as a writer – he almost gave me too much to work with.
That’s a good problem to have, but it was overwhelming. Almost, if not all, that he said was his honest opinion about the roster that he has, what he thinks of his players developmental growth so far and where they can improve as a team.
I grew a new respect for Mike White. No wonder he landed two four-star recruits over the past few days.
In a sports media world that creates an almost antagonistic feel toward reporters and continuously Marshawn-Lynch-stiff-arms journalists, it’s a breath of fresh air to see something like this.
We see it every single day. Just look at the Chicago Bears, for example.
First, they sign quarterback Mike Glennon to a huge 3-year, $45 million deal. A little over a month later, they trade up a pick in the 2017 NFL Draft to snag top-quarterback prospect Mitch Trubisky.
That forced Glennon to look over his shoulder before even one practice. But the Bears looked to cover it up, saying Glennon had the job tightly secured while Trubisky was taking a backseat to develop.
“We like Mike Glennon,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said before Week 1. “He has a lot of experience that we’re leaning on. He was voted a captain for a reason by that locker room.”
One month later, it’s clear that none of this applies anymore. Experience and being voted a captain can only go so far, and Glennon will take those qualities along with his fat contract to the bench when Trubisky starts on Oct. 9 against the Minnesota Vikings.
How about just this season in Florida football? Coach Jim McElwain continued to say that he didn’t know who the starting quarterback was prior to the start of the season.
When did he name the starter? Why, the same day that star running back Jordan Scarlett and wide receiver Rick Wells were suspended in connection to the credit card fraud allegations that had suspended seven players two weeks earlier.
I don’t know what you’re thinking, but I’m thinking he already knew who his starter was and used that as a way to distract from the suspensions.
Why else would he give away his starting quarterback in the middle of a secrecy war with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who hadn’t even released his team roster yet.
My point is, honesty is few and far between, especially in the sports media world. To see it from a head coach coming off a successful campaign like Mike White is definitely admirable.
I appreciate you, Mike.
You can follow Skyler Lebron on Twitter @SkylerLebron, and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.