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Story Archives: It takes talent
|It takes talent|
My son, Jake, was packaging up some things in his room last week (don't even ask why) when he came across a Gameday program from 1999.
Inside was a poster of the seniors on that 1999 LSU football team.
I looked over the names and pictures with amazement.
We have Rondell Mealey, Damien Woods, Jeremy Witten, Danny Boyd and Charles Smith. Not bad with some guys who could maybe could get significant playing time nowadays although two of them are punters. Then we have Theo Williams, Johnny Mitchell, Andy Stroup, Alcender Jackson, Corey Gibbs and Jamal Pack. Great guys who had their moments, but not the kind of names to put fear in opposing Southeastern Conference opponents.
That team went 3-8 overall and 1-7 in the Southeastern Conference.
The three wins were over San Jose State, North Texas and Arkansas. That was Gerry DiNardo's fifth and final year. Dinardo did not coach in the win against Arkansas, the final game of the season. Hal Hunter was the interim coach for that one.
Nick Saban was hired to take over the team in 2000.
You might say the talent level began to get a little bit better at that stage.
As great a coach as Saban was at LSU and is now, I don't think he would have won a national championship with the likes of DiNardo's bunch.
And that's one of the things that makes Les Miles such an outstanding coach. He can get the players.
As John Wooden said, "I'd rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent."
Or how about Pat Riley — "You can never have enough talent."
Or Mike Krzyzewski, who knows a thing or two about championships.
"If you have talent with teamwork, you've got a chance to be a championship team.
Let's face it, if you don't have the talent, you are not going to win. What separates the good coaches from the great coaches is how they use those great players.
As Lou Holtz said, "It is a fine thing to have ability, but the ability to discover ability in others is the true test."
And another Wooden gem: "Measure yourself as a coach not by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished given the ability of your players and the strength of your competition."
And even LSU baseball coach Paul Manieri realizes you have to have talent.
Then again, Manieri may have some other issues.This season quickly went downhill after a 16-1 start, which included an impressive sweep of Cal State Fullerton. But in SEC play, LSU has lost six of the eight series and been swept three times.
Pitching has been adequate to good, but the everyday lineup has failed to produce enough offense.
"I hate to talk about it before the season is over but, quite frankly, yes," Mainieri said concerning the team's drop in talent. "I think we don't have the personnel we've become accustomed to the last couple of years. We need to upgrade, there's no question about that."
In Mainieri's defense, baseball is not like football where you can lose top recruits right out of high school to professional ball.
Still, he has to find a way to bring in top recruits who will stay. Gerry DiNardo can tell you how quickly it can go downhill when you don't have the talent.
Just check out 1999.
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