Below is Copeland's backpedalling from his "We have to get over the hump and win consistently where we win five or six games every year" comment. A comment that I didn't think was all that bad. I certainly didn't expect Copeland to feel he needed to clarify his remarks.
Obviously, somebody beyond message board land read the comment and got pissed. Or enough people harassed him at the game that he thought it was necessary.
Someone said it was a great letter and was very well written. It's fine, but I wouldn't call it great. Maybe I am too cynical. Actions speak louder than words. Tell us what you are going to do, Copeland, and I will be more interested.
A couple of things jumped out at me, which I have put in bold in the letter.
AD Notepad 11-8-05
Before, during, and after our victory over Rice last Saturday, a lot of people who care deeply about SMU football expressed their anger with me after reading Saturday's article in the Dallas Morning News, where I was quoted as saying, "We have to get over the hump and win consistently, where we win five or six games every year." That one line made it seem that I would be satisfied with mediocrity. Nothing could be further from the truth. No one at SMU accepts being average - whether it's in academics, art, athletics...or any area.
I'm not going to use the all-too-common excuse that I was misquoted. But for anyone who has gone through a face-to-face interview with a writer or broadcaster, you know that sometimes your initial response to one question generates a second question from the reporter before you finish your answer to the first one he or she asked. I would like to clarify my comments.
Given where we are in our disappointing 2005 season, we would love to finish with five victories and build on a season-ending three-game win streak for the future. But we should NEVER - and I can't emphasize this enough - NEVER be satisfied with a five- or six-win record. How do we ever expect to win the Conference USA championship, go to a bowl, and crack the Top-25 rankings if we don't set the bar as high as possible? How can we demand the best effort from our student-athletes if we don't set the highest goals for them...and ourselves?
I saw things in our victory over Rice that made me optimistic about our future despite our 3-6 record. I saw playmakers. They came up with big plays - not just big words - to rejuvenate their teammates after what could have been momentum-changing mistakes.
Junior safety Joe Sturdivant - who was named C-USA Defensive Player-of-the-Week for the second time this season - came up with a critical fumble recovery when Rice was at our one-yard line and threatening to make a run at our lead in the third quarter. Later in the game, he intercepted a pass in the end zone when the Owls threatened to score again. Juniors Justin Rogers and Adrian Haywood each made two tackles for losses to stifle Rice's running game that had given us fits in three consecutive losses to the Owls before Saturday. Haywood is one of our junior college transfers who has made an immediate impact. We expect more like him in the future.
When our offense had its back against our own end zone, redshirt freshman DeMyron Martin broke tackle after tackle to finish with 171 yards rushing. What was particularly impressive was that 128 of those yards came in the second half when we needed them the most. As Phil said in his post-game interview, "The more you feed him, the stronger he gets." Our two leading pass receivers against Rice and for the season are juniors - Bobby Chase, who made the dramatic game-winning catch at UAB, and Reynaldo Pellerin.
This may be a bit melodramatic - but we all have to exorcize ourselves of the "here we go again" resignation when we fumble or give up a big play at a critical point in the game. We have all been guilty of this at one time or another. Playmakers who produce victories such as the Rice win are providing the cure.
After my Dallas Morning News statement last Saturday, one of the most astute pieces of advice I received came from a literary Mustang fan in the form of a suggestion. He said, "You need to read Robert Browning's poem." The passage he was referring to was:
"Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp. Or what's a heaven for?"
Heaven for SMU football is not a five- or six-win record. Heaven is an undefeated season. That will be our reach every year. We intend to do all we can to grasp it.
More like Haywood? This really is a nice little nugget of information; I can only assume that means more junior college players. At this point that is fine. Why not do things to make that easier to accomplish? If you have done those things, why not be honest and tell us?
"Here we go again."-Man, aren't we all guilty of that? The problem is that this season, that has happened after games and not plays. And that is affecting the whole season and the mindset of the fans and players.
"We intend to do all we can to grasp [an undefeated season]." The statement is "grasp it." He's clearly referring to "an undefeated season" in the first sentence of the paragraph. So Cope, who is "we" and what is all you can do to get SMU to an undefeated season?