For the last blog of the year, I try to do something along the lines of my Island of Misfit Toys or last year's Waiting for Godot blogs. With that challenge in mind, I kept thinking about the USA Network's TV show "Mr. Robot" as I drove back to Indy on Sunday. I got there by thinking about how messed up things are right now with the different realities that various fan groups have. We have some fans who are withdrawing their support. Other fans who are adamant that 7-4 is a great result considering last year. We even have a solid poster running a Fundme.com campaign to buy out Doc, and other solid posters making donations. In contrast, we have Hamrick walking around thinking everything is fine.
For those of you who do not watch Mr. Robot, I posted some trailers for each of the 3 seasons to the left. Basically the show centers around Elliot, who suffers from what appears at first to just be a social anxiety disorder which isn't helped by his substance abuse. Elliot gets recruited by a group of hackers who use social media to bring about change (sound familiar?). On the show, Elliot and the others have been alienated by a corporate conglomerate referred to as Evil Corp. Elliot appears through most of the first three seasons to be the mastermind behind "f-society," which hacks Evil Corp and crashes the world's economy.
The theme of alienation and various people seeing different realities in Mr. Robot hit a chord with me. For @HerdFB, I think the alienation started with Hamrick's letter and continued through Doc's announcement that he wasn't making any changes other than playing musical chairs. The various realities in the @HerdFB universe flow directly from that alienation.
Please note that any analogy below between one of the fictional characters and any person mentioned below is only meant to the extent that I describe the trait of the character being compared.
Anyway, here are the Things I Think I Know About Mr. Robot and us:
Some Herdfans See Themselves as F-Society: much like F-Society. most of us operate on Herdfans behind masks. On the main board, about 6 posters are setting the tone that most people are associating with Herdfans.com. I don't think that reflects the entire Herdfan.com Universe. One of the advantages of being independent from Scout and Rivals is that Herdfans.com allows posters to post opinions that reflect what we are seeing in the stands (absence and anger). If Herdfans.com had such affiliations, we would be hampered by the influence of the Athletic Department. I would like to personally thank W0lf for allowing the main board to be representative of what Herdfans are feeling right now. Personally, I don't agree with most of the positions being taken on the main board, but I think that if you look at those opinions in the context of who is not showing up at the Joan, it is representative of a large portion of the fan base.
Evil Corp: I don't expect Hamrick or Doc to make any coaching changes. I did last year, but I doubt anything will be changed. Does that make them Evil Corp. I don't think so, I think it just makes them ineffective. Runs up the middle on 3-11 are going to continue. Sending in an ineffective field goal unit for a 40 plus yard attempt will continue. Punting right before the half instead of going for it at mid-field will continue. Hamrick will not replace Doc, and he will not force Doc to replace Legg. Still, I suspect our version of the Dark Army and F-Society will continue to try to overthrow Hamrick and Doc no matter what happens.
Philip Price: is the CEO of Evil Corp. While I don't think Hamrick is working with Whiterose or is inherently evil, he is the equivalent of a CEO for Herd athletics. I am convinced that part of the disconnect with average fans is that he thinks that 7-5 and a lower level bowl should be the goal each year. Most of us still want to "Play for Championships." While I am not sure how Philip Price's career is going to end or how he will be remembered after he is written out of Mr. Robot, I think I know how Hamrick will be remembered: He was a good fund raiser and real estate developer. At the end of the day that is something that can be respected. Conversely, I think a more sinister comeuppance is on its way for Mr. Price.
Elliot: unfortunately, playing the role of Elliot in @HerdFB is Doc. Please don't take this analogy as me saying Doc has a social disorder or a substance abuse problem. In Season 1, Elliot plays the part of a modern day Robin Hood (similar to the Cato years), things get confusing in Season 2, and very dark in Season 3. In our universe, I think Doc is just stuck. He is stuck with a Nehlen inspired philosophy that goes for ill advised field goals and punts from midfield right before the half. He also relies on offensive play calling which is literally offensive (to anyone who remembers what Marshall Football used to be from Parish to Bobby). Except for those busts of rage that have been breaking out the last few games, Doc wanders around much like Elliot. Doc doesn't get out there like he used to. It is almost like a protective cocoon has been wrapped around him in public. Much like I am rooting for Elliot to get his life together and do the right thing (beat Mr. Robot), I am rooting for Doc to find an offensive coordinator that brings fans back into the Joan. I'm not sure that things are going to work out for Elliot, but no matter what happens with Doc, I like the guy.
Tyrell: begins Season One expecting to be made CTO of Evil Corp. For a good part of the series, Tyrell is no where to be found. Which brings me to Yulee. First off, I am not in the camp of Yulee should be played because he was a 4 star or the fact that he seems to be the perfect kid to be the future face of our program. He's a freshman. I personally thought he should get more playing time, and I hope he does in the bowl game. That being said, it really hit me in the second half of the Southern Miss game, that he stood on the sideline without his helmet. He only retrieved it when he had special teams duties. Sorry for the spoiler alert if any of you are going to binge watch Mr. Robot, but Tyrell does come back in Season 3 and they explain where he was at. I am confident that Yulee will be a star very shortly.
Civil Unrest: after f-society takes down the world's economy, there is quite a bit of rioting and mayhem on the show. I put off writing this blog until some of the passions died down on the main board. I understand why many of us are upset about not having any wins against a winning team this year, and I am not in the camp of things are so much better than 3-9 that we should be thankful. I have spent most of the year thinking about what being a Herdfan means to me, and how I want to define that experience. While I don't know how I am going to feel about the program at the start of next season, I do know that I will be rooting for King, Anderson, Jackson, Litton (whether he is the starter or not), and all the rest of the players to have great seasons. I also know that in the future most of us will forget that Cindy, Cryami and WKU had down seasons in 2016, and we will look fondly at those Ws. Finally, does anyone put an asterisk on the 1999 win at Clemson (which was 6-6 that year)? I'll take wins over WKU, Cryami and UC any year, any circumstance.
Gideon, Ollie, Cisco and Leon: yes these are the role players on Mr. Robot. Just like on Mr. Robot, Pittman, Foster, Chocolate and several other players filled out the cast of the @HerdFB 2017. I am especially appreciative of the role that Foster played. Each of these players could have found staring roles at another program. I am glad that they stayed and played. I look forward to watching each of them in the Season Finale bowl game.
Irving: is the Dark Army's fixer. In the @HerdFB universe, I think that role was clearly played by Yurachek on Saturday. I was very happy to see Yurachek have a great individual day. I wish he could have walked off the field with a W, but 3 TDs and getting to be with your family on the field was a nice way to end his career.
Mobley and Trenton: while I have to give a quick shout out to Anderson and Williams, the strong supporting character awards for Saturday have to go to King and Willie. In Mr. Robot, the revolution does not occur without the contributions of Mobley and Trenton. In @HerdFB we wouldn't have been 1 point away from tying the game without the contributions of King and Willie Johnson.
Season 3.0 Has Come to an End: for the Seniors and for me. I packed up my Herdgear at my parents' house on Sunday and brought it back to Indy. I think each Senior has something to be proud of, and a nice banner to keep as a keepsake (thank you to the person who makes those each year). Now, the Seniors are going to see fewer reps in practice as @HerdFB gets ready for the Bowl Game and Season 4.0. Go Herd!!!