We’re officially 27 days until kickoff. Kickoff probably means drinking a beer beforehand. Beer is best enjoyed with other people. Other people run the football teams that make up the Pac-12. So...
Which Pac-12 coach would you most want to have a beer with?
Without further ado, your main options:
Let’s start with the Washington guy first. He’s a strong candidate, albeit one with a potentially fatal flaw as far as today’s question goes.
Because here’s the thing. I love Jimmy Lake. He would undoubtedly be great to have a beer with. But the next question becomes “under what circumstances are these beers being drunk?” Are we talking just hanging out at the bar chatting about life n’ crap? Or is this more of an ill-advised shotgunning scenario? Or a game of beersbee? (Obviously, if this question was just “Which coach would you most want on your side for a beer-based tailgate game,” the answer would be Jimmy.)
Generally, when I think of “getting a beer with someone” it’s a more chill scenario. And Jimmy Lake, like many former athletes, has improv energy. Which is... not conducive to the word “chill.” Also, I do not have improv energy. I realize “improv energy” means nothing to mmmm... probably all of you, so I’ll attempt to explain purely via examples.
Jimmy Lake is improv energy; Heather Tarr is standup energy. (Chris Petersen also is standup energy, for those wondering.) (Also, I’ve yet to find a strength and conditioning coach for any college football team that’s not improv energy.)
Nick Harris is improv energy; Jake Browning is standup energy. ZTF is improv energy; Tim Horn’s delts are also improv energy, somehow. If I had to generalize, offensive linemen tend to be more standup energy, receivers are usually more improv energy.
Sis Bates is improv energy incarnate; Gabbie Plain is standup energy. Danielle Lawrie is also standup energy.
Jay Buhner is improv energy; Ichiro is standup energy.
A group of children are improv energy; the nation of Britain is standup energy, except when drunk. Drunk people are almost exclusively improv energy, and no one who has standup energy while drunk should be trusted.
(There are only two groups of people who can be completely both at once, and those are A) Australians and B) punters. I’m convinced this is the reason why Australians make such good punters, although science has yet to confirm this.)
I include this monstrosity of text because as a generally non-improv energy-haver, I can only take heavy improv energy-havers in doses. Jimmy Lake doesn’t have so much improv energy that it disqualifies him immediately from being my pick here, but he does have it more than he doesn’t so, personally, I’d have to think this through thoroughly before committing to all that entails.
Since I’m less than inclined to get within mouth vapor distance of someone who’s not vaccinated... that’s gonna be a no from me dawg.
Jimmy Lake doesn’t have so much improv energy he’s immediately disqualified from being my choice, but Mario Cristobal does. Furthermore, he gives off the same ultra-jock vibe of a high school varsity linebacker. As I don’t go seeking out interactions that give me a stroke, Cristobal’s not an option.
And I say this without even considering that he’s a Duck.
It’s nothing personal, Mario, just... nah.
I wouldn’t have included him except fellow UWDP writer, Andrew Berg, said this should just be a two-word article that just says “Jedd Fisch*.” There’s no exact reason for this, I just don’t know much about him other than associating him with underwhelming on-field results back at UCLA — although it’s not like much of Jim Mora-era UCLA was anything else, so maybe that wasn’t Fisch’s fault? But seriously, I have no idea of his personality and I couldn’t pick him out of a crowd. That doesn’t sound encouraging.
But upon a quick scan of Wikipedia like the scholarly investigator I am, he actually might be a better candidate to have a beer with than I originally thought. For starters, not only did he never play college football, he never even played high school football. Talk about a bizarre way to start a career. Since then, he’s coached at five different universities (six if you include being an undergrad/grad assistant at Florida) and seven NFL teams. He’s coached under Pete Carroll, Bill Belichick, Jim Harbaugh, Steve Spurrier, Sean McVay, and Mike Shanahan. He has to have taken quite a bit away from that, right? It’d probably make for pretty interesting conversation, anyway...
Now, you could argue that the fact he hasn’t stuck at one place for a long time might not be a bode well regarding his coaching, but the question of this countdown day isn’t “Who’s the best coach?” it’s “Who do you wanna get a beer with?”
I still don’t think I want to get a beer with Jedd Fisch, but I want to get a beer with him more than the amount I didn’t want to get a beer with him before Wikipedia-ing him.
Kyle Whittingham has been around forever. Kyle Whittingham has done consistently more with Utah than coaches around the country have done with three times the roster talent. Kyle Whittingham is also increasing his roster talent because Kyle Whittingham adapts. Kyle Whittingham is even-keeled. Kyle Whittingham, in other words, has his shit together. And I’d guess Kyle Whittingham knows a thing or two about things (or maybe even two).
Plus, Kyle Whittingham doesn’t have improv energy, so my eye wouldn’t start twitching 10 minutes into our hypothetical happy hour.
Unfortunately for having a beer with him, Kyle Whittingham is Mormon, so Kyle Whittingham does not drink. On the other hand, he’s never really given off that “judgmentally religious” vibe, so I feel like he’d be able to hang even if I’m having a couple pints while he’s just chillin’ with root beer or whatever. Plus, now that I think about it, I’ve kinda been craving root beer lately...
He’s probably the obvious answer, right? I mean, he’s full of fun quotes and funky wisdom packaged in... fun quotes. I feel like he’d be able to hold an enthusiastic conversation about stuff beyond football, which is ideal. But I also feel like he’s someone where there’s a 50/50 shot halfway through the conversation he brings up like... some absolutely batshit hypothesis that ends with him saying something about how “you just have to open your eyes and it’s all there in plain sight.” Like it’s not a certainty, but it’s a greater than zero chance.
Plus, like... who knows if Herm will even be a Pac-12 coach that much longer given the much-hyped-yet-underwhelming-yet-still-not-cool ASU recruiting scandal. And he might be too much improv energy for me, anyway.
Which coach would you want to get a beer with?
This poll is closed
Kyle Whittingham OR Jimmy Lake
See what I did there? Get it? Like, it’s a pre-game depth chart?
I realize Kyle Whittingham would probably not be most people’s choice, and I get that. He’s pretty stoic, he’s not that exciting, and, crucially, he presumably doesn’t drink.
On the other hand, after taking stock of the Pac-12 coach offerings, they can pretty much be boiled down into two camps: boring dudes and dudes who only speak in all caps. Now, some people who appear at first to be boring actually reveal, when you put a little effort into talking to them, to have brains worth picking. Whittingham, I suspect, might be in that category. (On the other end, there isn’t that layer to dudes who only speak in all caps. Or, if there is, it’s still hidden beneath a veneer of all caps, and that’s too much to handle. And that is improv energy.)
Plus we tend to conflate “quiet-ish” with “boring.” Kyle Whittingham is quiet-ish, but the amount of shit that clearly he has together — as evidenced by Utah’s football team under his 17-year tenure — means he has to have some helpful perspectives worth learning about. Wouldn’t that be a good excuse for a beer (or at least a Barq’s, in his case)?
But as for Jimmy Lake: Sure, I droned on about how he’s an improv energy-haver and how I can only take improv energy in doses, but full credit to him that he at least appears to be able to turn that switch down a little bit to suit the situation.
And in that scenario, then I feel like Jimmy would be an absolutely delightful guy to hang out with and have a couple pints; my spidey sense is that we’d be able to talk more than just “herp derp football” and he’s one of the more charismatic coaches so you don’t have to worry about getting bored. Most importantly, as long as the non-jacked-up-on-football-energy version of him shows up, then I don’t have to worry about my frontal lobe short-circuiting halfway through the conversation. Honestly, sounds like a pretty alright time.
Do good things, don’t do bad things, and bow down to Washington.