Haylor's lack of warm coaching
Re: Haylor's Good Gut, Nov.14
To the Editor:
Mr. Rasaiah, despite your self-proclaimed "knowledge of the game of football," you really lack an understanding for the importance of team chemistry. In sports, I should tell you, it is one of the "so-called" intangibles and was, unfortunately, one of Western's shortcomings this year. Like it or not, part of the problem stemmed from Haylor's coaching decisions.
I agree coach Haylor has a great career record. That is not in dispute. We all know he has won Vanier Cups. But I must also add he has coached some pretty great teams too. Regardless though, he has done a more than adequate job. But that does not exempt him from criticism, as you, Mr. Rasaiah seem to suggest. On the contrary, a good coach should stand behind his good calls and his bad ones. This writer believes (as do others) that the quarterback controversies of the past two years are examples of the latter and are partly responsible for Western's underachievements.
Haylor has the honour of running one of Canada's most prestigious football programs. High school students across the country recognize this when they decide what university they will attend and this is, in part, why Western has had the plethora of talent to choose from over the years. Sure enough, credit must also be given to Haylor for recruiting players. But how hard is it really to convince young football players to play for the best football program in the country? Others too, should get some credit, such as Western's athletic department. Therefore, while Haylor has been successful, much of that success comes as a result of the great players he has been given year after year.
Last year's Mustang offence, as you quite astutely noted, did not have the same receivers as the previous year. However, they still had many other talented, veteran receivers. This was one of the reasons why they focused their attack on the passing game. This year, however, Western stressed the running game. This was Haylor's choice, as he made himself the offensive coordinator, thereby giving himself the responsibility of "calling the games." His decision to remove the starting quarterback (Oliver Curri) two-thirds of the way through the season, it would seem, was done because Curri was not handing the ball off well enough. In the end, the controversy it created was not worth it, as O'Brien failed to hand the ball off any better.
What sticks out in this writer's mind was the final scene after Waterloo beat us in the Yates Cup. Waterloo gathered around for their weekly "group hug," which, as always, was led by their coach. They called themselves "a family" and credited much of their success to the "team atmosphere" their coach had created. Is it not ironic that just a week earlier, Western's quarterback coach, Steve Samways was forced to coach the Guelph playoff game because Haylor had been suspended. Apparently, Western lacked the same "team atmosphere" that Waterloo boasted, as that final Waterloo "hug" only helped to reinforce.
As far as your "dismissal" of any quarterback controversy last year, Mr. Rasaiah, I might ask you two simple questions: How many interceptions did Jordan Haylor throw (without being pulled) in the last regular season game versus U of T? Answer, five. And how about a week later against Guelph in the opening round of the playoffs? Answer, four. What games were you "media types" watching anyway? And as for this year, funny enough, under Steve Samways, Western beat Guelph. In the week that followed, had Haylor used the same yard stick to measure himself that he did to evaluate the quarterback situation, then perhaps he would have found himself "riding the pine" in favour of Samways. I guess you're right, though, what controversy?