Thursday, December 15, 2016

How To Beat Wake Forest

Wake Forest has taken the unusual step of firing a radio announcer for leaking game plans to opponents. The perfidy came to light when a member of the Wake Forest staff found a copy of their game plan in the bowels of Louisville's stadium, a day before the Deacons got dismantled by 30+ points, and now, finally, the school feels it can act.


This is, needless to say, an unusual situation. Leaving aside any jokes about how if you need Wake Forest's gameplay to beat them, you're already in trouble, it's a weird, curious situation. The guy who was fired, Tommy Elrod, was a Wake Forest alum who played at the school and who'd served on the coaching staff of former coach Jim Grobe. A less likely candidate for this sort of sedition is hard to imagine.

Plus, it's just a plain stupid move. If Elrod wanted to get back into coaching, well, that door's going to be slammed shut now. Snitches may or may not get stitches, but they sure as hell don't get job offers. No team's going to hire him, not and risk its gameplay winding up in the hands of Louisville. The same goes for any future announcing jobs. He can't possibly be good enough to justify the risk of your team getting sold out.

Which leaves the question, then, of why do it. I can think of two possible answers. One, something happened - what, I can't imagine - to make him hate Wake Forest that much. Maybe he was resentful over not getting picked up by the current coaching staff. Maybe he had a bad lunch in Winston-Salem. God knows. But it would have to be Superman-blowing-Lex-Luthor's-hair-off levels of hate-inducing to allow for this kind of behavior. Two, he was getting paid gobs of cash. Louisville hasn't exactly been a model of propriety - consider the Rick Pitino sex-on-top-of-restaurant-tables story, the whole long list of Bobby "Easy Rider" Petrino's misdeeds, and that whole "prostitution scandal" thing. With that in mind, it wouldn't necessarily be the biggest surprise in the world to hear that someone at Papa John's Stadium ponied up for a Wake Forest playbook with a side of garlic bread. Then again, one would hope that wasn't the case; the fact that the second school dinged for this was Army, where another of Elrod's former compatriots on Grobe's staff is coaching, tends to support the "crazed loner out for revenge" scenario.

But even if there was a payoff, odds are the only person who's going to get punished is Elrod. Right now Louisville is denying everything; no other schools have been named, but in the allegations against Elrod the implications are clear. There will be denial, and there will be obfuscation, and the whole thing will probably get swept under the rug as quickly as possible by John Swofford. Because it's only Wake Forest, and that's how we do things around here.
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