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Coach Harsin, “Twitiots”, and You

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You’re probably not who he’s talking to after all.

NCAA Football: Boise State at UNLV Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock the past few days, you’ve likely heard tell of Bryan Harsin’s rant about “Twitiots” at his weekly presser on Monday. There’s video of it all over the net (including our Facebook page) and more than one article written on it, but here’s the relevant bit transcribed for you to peruse (INCOMING TEXT WALL!)

I see things on social media at times where it’s the perfect setup and it could be whatever I’m looking at and usually the first one is negative. That’s just how people are, especially ones, the twitiots. That’s their voice. Think about this — this is what I tell our coaches and players and try to get it across — you used to have to actually be somebody to have an opinion, which meant you had to work your way into a position where your opinion actually mattered. If you remember back when it’s like, hey, don’t say anything until you’ve shown you have the knowledge, the wisdom, and a little bit of expertise to go out there and actually provide a valuable opinion. You don’t have to do that anymore, any idiot can say whatever they want. They usually do, and they’re negative. ... When I see things like that, I feel sorry that those people feel that way, that their lives don’t have the purpose, the passion, and the excitement and the enjoyment that some of us do. I walk in here, I love where I work, I love who I work with, I love what I do, and I think it shows. I think every single day when I walk around this building, I’m proud to be here, I’m glad to be here. Other people, when they want to make comments on certain things, it’s pretty pathetic at the end of the day. And the worst ones are the ones that actually follow that up. So there you go, you’ve kinda created that group, that’s society, that’s the group you don’t want to be a part of. Get the hell away from that, get over here with these other people that are positive and can see there’s a brighter side to things. But the opinions, again, I’m not going to listen to opinions unless they matter. ... A booster texts me and tells me something like that, people I care about, that I interact with, that are a part of this team, and have invested and are around here and see these guys, man, I’m listening, 100 percent. You don’t even come to the game, you don’t sit in the stands, you’re not a season ticket holder, you probably don’t even watch the whole game because it’s too late and you have an opinion? What does that matter? And the worst part is people actually listen to it. So, right? That’s really what we’re dealing with right now. Why even listen to somebody who doesn’t have the proper knowledge to have that true opinion of what’s going on? To me, I can handle all that stuff because I understand it. For players, you see guys when they have a bad game, they’ll get off of Twitter, they’ll get off social media. They’ll stop listening to it, because before it felt really good. You get the endorphins kick in when you get the text message or that comment about you that you played really well. The next one might be something vulgar, ‘Blank you,’ ‘You suck.’ No you don’t. Because you’ve worked since you were 6 years old to be a Division I athlete, and you’re there, you made it through all these other things that could’ve stopped you from becoming that type of student-athlete and somebody actually says that to you? That’s a joke, that’s a freaking joke. Leighton Vander Esch got it. Alexander Mattison got it. I’m watching those two dudes play against each other last night, Leighton tackling Alexander. Those two heard that stuff. You kidding me? Two of the best human beings in the world, playing at the highest level at a craft that’s so difficult to get into and people still say negative things about them. It’s a joke. ... That’s in your life as well, right? If you read that stuff, like, you bring that in, in my opinion. ... You bring that into your circle, and your life. I don’t want any part of that, I don’t want that in my life, whatsoever. Because those people that act that way or talk that way or believe that stuff, that’s not the direction I’m trying to go.

There’s been a lot of reaction to this within the Bronco fandom, much of it hyperbolic. Let’s break down what was actually said, shall we? Instead of instantly taking offense at his comments, follow this handy checklist to see if they apply to you.

How Coach Harsin defines a “Twitiot”:

  • Doesn’t come to the game,
  • Doesn’t sit in the stands,
  • Doesn’t have season tickets
  • Doesn’t even watch the whole game because it’s too late
  • Has a negative opinion of the team
  • Posts negative opinion publicly

I’d imagine the vast majority of you don’t fit that profile. Simply hitting on one of those isn’t an instant “Twitiot” rating, either. It’s a pretty specific profile, and very narrowly defined. He’s not taking aim at everybody on Twitter.

But I Have Opinions!

Awesome! So do we! The only bad news in this situation? Harsin probably isn’t going to take your opinions seriously (or even listen to them!). For reference, here’s who Coach Harsin says he listens to:

  • Boosters
  • People he cares about
  • People he interacts with
  • People that are a part of the team
  • People who have invested, are around the team, and see the guys

If you’re being honest, you’re probably not on that list. Being a fan or season ticket holder or BAA member doesn’t really get you on it, either. And that’s okay, you don’t have to have a direct tie to the team or boatloads of cash to have an opinion. Your opinion is just not likely to have much pull with Harsin.

But Harsin Blocked Me On Twitter, Clearly He Can’t Take Criticism!

There’s a fairly large group of even fervent fans who’ve been blocked on Twitter by Coach Harsin. It’s not an exclusive club, and it often is confusing why you’d end up on his blocklist. He does offer some explanation, though.

If you read that stuff, like, you bring that in, in my opinion. ... You bring that into your circle, and your life. I don’t want any part of that, I don’t want that in my life, whatsoever. Because those people that act that way or talk that way or believe that stuff, that’s not the direction I’m trying to go.

It’s not you, it’s him. But it’s also you. As of last check, Harsin has north of 60k followers on Twitter, and if you’re at all familiar with social media, a lot of them are nutter butters to the max. Blocking is less a comment on your particular abusiveness or lack thereof, and more the action of popular figure trying to maintain their sanity against an overwhelming tide of crazy.

Maybe he’s a bit trigger-happy on the block button, but he’s pretty clear that he’s not on Twitter looking for your thoughts on what he needs to work on. He’s got a boss and boosters and people in the program for that. It might not float your boat, but that’s his stated rules of engagement.

So Who Is This Rant For?

You might have noticed the end bit of his rant where he talked about circles, which sounds strangely similar to his presser last week, wherein he talked about freshmen finding their mentors to latch onto.

We’ve often seen coaches talk to their teams through the media (Nick Saban, anyone?) and it seems that Harsin has started utilizing his presser this way. There is a value in putting your face in front of the public and relaying the message. Instead of telling your team you’ve got their back privately, but then letting them take fire in public, you’re letting the world know what’s up.

After the Wyoming game (and really, most of the recent games) the offensive line has been taking a huge chunk of the social media flak. Some of the offensive staff and skill positions have taken fire for their perceived inadequacies as well. Harsin seems to be clearly indicating to his team and his coaches that social media isn’t conducting their performance review. There are people who have his ear and can give opinions he respects, and his guys should flatly ignore the outside negativity for their own good.

And, not for nothing, it’s somewhat of a masterstroke PR move by Harsin. Nobody’s really taking shots at the offense or O-line while they debate who the Twitiots are and what dollar amount of booster gets to have an opinion.

BUT I STILL HAVE OPINIONS!

Don’t we all! Without football opinions, OBNUG would mostly be bobblehead reviews and Blizzard jokes, and that’s kind of lame. We’re 100% in favor of having opinions, even negative or critical takes on the team.

For some things, money talks via attendance and merchandise. If you really hate the direction he’s taking the team, you can somewhat vote with your dollars. However, unless a lot of people agree with you, you’re not likely to make much of an impact.

If you just want to publish your takes on the team to social media, ain’t nobody stopping you. That said, temper your expectations. It is quite likely that the audience for your opinion will not include Bryan Harsin unless you have his cell number. If you try to tag him on Twitter, you might even get the “Block or Charge” treatment.

OBNUG’s Recommendations for Having a Take:

  1. Don’t @ players with criticism.
  2. DO NOT @ PLAYERS WITH CRITICISM.
  3. Don’t @ recruits. Nobody likes that guy.
  4. Feel free to @ coaches (but you might get blocked, deal with it)
  5. People may take issue with your take. This does not make you or them Twitiots™ unless one or both of you fulfill the above-stated criteria.

Or, as Jim Rome so eloquently puts it, “Have a take, don’t suck”