Saturday, January 20, 2007

Nice commentary about Nutt's intention in hiring David Lee

Imagine a Texas newspaper having some sense to appreciate what Nutt might have had in mind in hiring David Lee. Is it my imagination or has David Lee been a help to Mitch Mustain in the past? Alex Wood seemed to have no impact in improving our qbs and Nutt held Wood, the qb coach, responsible. I wanted Nutt fired at halftime of the UNLV game in LR a few years ago with the miracle comeback. So, I don't much care for Nutt. Danny Nutt has got to be one of the best assistants in the SEC, if success of players he coaches is any indication. Where's Danny's Broyles Award nomination?? Either way, Malzahn will benefit from coaching a school where the stakes aren't as high as for Nutt this year (remember, everyone wanted him gone after consecutive 4-7 seasons including me) and he can tinker to his heart's delight if his new boss allows. Our o-line should be good again, but will be hard-pressed to replace Anderson. Williams specializes in dropping potential td catches, so we won't miss that about him and Mitch just seemed lost several times this season and maybe should have redshirted, except Nutt was on the hot seat and had no choice but try him. He was a vast improvement over the NEVER accurate RoJo. Mustain's accuracy throwing can be precise at times. Dick is not quite as bad as RoJo, but he's not MUCH better. I have to admit I've never thought much of David Lee since I played on the same team as a transfer student-athlete to my small college team who practiced some bizarre methods he swears he learned from Hog assistant David Lee under Ken Hatfield. I have to hand it to David, Romo's certainly had a good coach grooming him for an opportunity to shine. Great season for Romo with ONE particular exception (ah-hem). Just needed ONE!

Ripped from DemGaz:
COMMENTARY : Hogs snag Romo’s coach, friend, confidant
Posted on Saturday, January 20, 2007
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A guy named David Lee left Valley Ranch this week. To you, that may not mean much. But to Tony Romo ?
And Romo’s psyche is the only thing that counts at the moment in Cowboy Nation.
Every quarterback needs one, or at least from personal observation, every quarterback needs a friend, a confidant, even a private shoulder to cry on or whine on.
It’s a lonely position. It’s you against the world. The credit is immense when there’s success. The blame is bloody when there’s failure.
Observing the Hall of Fame career of Troy Aikman from start to finish was a good education for most of us in the local media.
As a kid off the UCLA streets in 1989, there could not have been a better quarterbacking specimen. Immense confidence combined with immense talent.
But as an NFL rookie, Aikman was also on a collision course with reality. In other words, instant failure.
Talking to Aikman that year, it didn’t take long to understand just how important quarterback coach Jerry Rhome had quickly become in Aikman’s confused football life.
Rhome was his friend, his confidant, his private shoulder.
To this day, Aikman will tell you he might not have made it at Valley Ranch without Rhome being there in the early days. Babe Laufenberg, a backup quarterback at the time, and Aikman’s friend, also will testify as an expert witness in this case.
When Rhome was suddenly gone after that first year, Aikman took it personally. He had lost a friend and a mentor. A year later, however, good mojo struck again. Norv Turner showed up as Jimmy Johnson’s offensive coordinator.
There was an instant Aikman-Turner bonding. The rest would become Cowboys and NFL history.
But what I’m saying is if a cool-hand gunner like Aikman still needed one of those special people to boost his confidence and his career, it seems to be a safe bet that most successful quarterbacks are the same.
Just because Romo doesn’t have Aikman’s physical gifts, or just because David Lee doesn’t have Turner’s reputation as an offensive guru, that doesn’t mean this week’s departure shouldn’t be viewed with some skepticism.
But also don’t get carried away with sinister grassy-knoll thoughts.
Lee parted on excellent terms with Bill Parcells, who wanted to keep him but still couldn’t guarantee who would be next season’s head coach of the Cowboys.
Is it that hard ?
So this is not a crime scene. There is nothing to see here, folks. Move along, please.
Lee had previous coaching ties to the University of Arkansas, and Houston Nutt up there is currently involved in a mess. Nutt needed an offensive coordinator who would bring instant credibility. Big money was being offered to Lee. Actually, the biggest money of his coaching life.
With his contract up, and with Parcells remaining uncertain, Lee did what he had to do. He rejoined the Pig People, with the blessing of Parcells, who advised Lee it would be in his best interests to take the job.
Romo, however, lost his man. And the Cowboys lost, at least according to several Valley Ranch employees, “the best quarterback technician” they’d ever worked with.
The two coaches most responsible for developing Romo over the previous three seasons — Sean Payton and Lee — now have left the building.
Lee was first noticed here in 2003. It was Parcells’ first season, and one of his staff hires as quarterback coach was David Lee, which meant little to most of us at the time.
Not until Quincy Carter suddenly resembled a real quarterback, which was a total change from previous seasons.
How, I asked, did the Q become fundamentally sound with his delivery ? OK, maybe he wasn’t perfect, but he was so much better.
The answer at Valley Ranch kept coming back, “David Lee.”
What none of us knew, however, is at the same time Lee was spending endless hours with another transformation project. He was also totally rebuilding the passing fundamentals of one Tony Romo.
“What I found in Tony was a good pupil, a willing pupil with a great attitude,” Lee said this week. He also admitted to taking frequent night-time phone calls from Romo, who wanted to go find an open spot of ground to throw.
“I still have the bruises on my hands from catching all those passes,” Lee laughed.
But he was doing all this for a thirdstring quarterback whose career, if you could call it a career, was hanging by a thread.
“We totally changed everything about Tony once he got here, “ Lee said. “ To do that involves muscle memory. Muscle memory requires like 10, 000 throws. And the more Tony wanted to throw on his own, the more I was willing to be his receiver.”
As Romo improved, he gradually became a guy Parcells was keeping his eye on for the future.
Then a strange thing happened last off-season. Parcells demoted Lee from quarterback coach to something called offensive quality control coach. The new hire at quarterbacks coach was Chris Palmer, a Parcells crony from previous stops.
Palmer, no doubt, was a Drew Bledsoe guy. He was Bledsoe’s quarterbacks coach with the New England Patriots. What that hire said, at least to me, was that Bledsoe was the quarterback for the 2006 season. The Romo bandwagon would not be rolling. With the high expectations around Valley Ranch at the time, I didn’t find the Palmer hire to be unusual, except it was unfair to Lee.
Now, however, we know different about what 2006 would mean for Romo. And in December, when Romo’s mechanics seemed to get out of whack, the same mechanics he’d had drilled in his head for three years by one coach, well, Lee was not coaching the position any longer. Parcells needed Romo’s guy, the guy he had demoted.
Lee, however, doesn’t dwell on that. He is a total Parcells disciple.
Lee and his wife will be Romo’s guests in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl. That’s a “thank you” from Romo.
Cow fandom would be wise to offer a “thank you” of its own.


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