Patriots' Adams Expresses Frustration
Listen to Adams' postgame comments. (Length: 8 mins., 51 secs.)
Pinecrest football coach Larry Adams was livid about many things after Friday's 44-14 loss to Westover.
The decision to allow the final 43 seconds of the game to tick off, depriving the Patriot offense of a few more plays, was just the jumping-off point. In his postgame comments, Adams opened up about some of the frustrations that have accompanied a nightmarish season for his team.
At the top of his list was what he feels was a characterization by the media and others that he was the person that wanted to fold the school's football program when the season hung in the balance for a couple of weeks in mid-September.
"All I did was bring up the situation -- this could happen," he said of his concern at the time about a shortage of varsity-ready players. "Somebody decided to make a big deal out of it and point the finger at me."
The issue had already been decided in Friday night's game when Pinecrest took possession after a kickoff on its own 37-yard line. But the clock was left running after the kickoff, and the game ended without the Patriots being able to run another play.
In spite of the score, the clock management was no small matter to the Pinecrest coaches in the press box and down on the field. They voiced their objections to anyone who would listen as the players moved to exchange postgame handshakes.
"They ran about a minute-and-a-half off the darned thing," Adams said. "It was like we don't want to humiliate those boys. Ask these boys if they're humiliated. They came to me at halftime and asked if we were running the clock in the second half and I said, 'No.' They said, 'Good, we want to play.'"
Although coaches can agree to run the clock in one-sided games, it was not expected to be an issue in this match-up of 0-8 teams. Both sides moved the ball on offense throughout the game, with the visiting Wolverines picking up the yardage in much bigger chunks. The Patriots remained in contention, trailing 22-8, going into the fourth period.
Buchholz said the clock operator did not make the decision on "his own, I can tell you that right now."
In the Patriots' previous four conference games, the clock was allowed to run for all or most of the second half based on the agreement of both coaches. This time, Adams said he granted no such permission.
"Somebody decided someplace that they know what's best for every person on this field," he said. "That's part of the problem here. Everybody knows what is wrong with this program and everybody is trying to fix it in his own way."
Reports that Pinecrest was considering the cancellation of its varsity season emerged after a Mid-Southeastern Conference meeting of athletic directors in early September.
The main concerns were a shortage of experienced varsity players and safety issues.
League representatives voted to fine Pinecrest in the event that the school -- or any conference school -- dropped any varsity games. League members reportedly agreed to run the clock and play second stringers to avoid excessive point margins.
Adams claims he merely offered John Buchholz, the school's athletic director, some options, one of which included the possibility of canceling varsity games.
"What actually happened," he said, "was I went to athletic director (Buchholz), maybe even before the first game, and said that I'm going to hit you with a hypothetical situation that could come up in the future -- something we ought to start thinking about."
He said that he explained the numbers situation (a shortage of seniors) and a promise he made to parents of incoming freshmen parents.
"We made a promise to them that there was going to be a 10-game schedule and we were going to keep them down with the freshmen," he said. "They were going to learn to play football, have a chance to grow up, instead of throwing them into the fire like they have been in the past.
"The problem is going to be, we could be in a situation at a time and place where we're going to be short bodies to field both a jayvee and a varsity team."
One of the options discussed was discontinuing the varsity team if that situation arose -- dropping the juniors to the junior varsity and fielding competitive freshmen and jayvee teams. Adams did not feel he would be disenfranchising the senior players (there were five or six on the team at the time) because he found out an athlete can play a sport at another school if a varsity program is dropped.
He felt that the other option was to continue to put Band-Aids on the problem with predictable results.
"If you continue the status quo, you're going to continue to get pounded into the ground forever," he said, "or you decide to take a stand and say that enough is enough -- back up and give your kids a chance to catch up. That was it, Option 1, Option 2. Where this stuff came to the media that the coach at Pinecrest wants to fold their program -- that came from spin doctors some place who were trying to deflect what the problem was."
Throughout most of the furor about the football program over the last six weeks, Pinecrest staff members have been told not to talk to the press about the situation.
"I was told not to talk to you guys and I'm tired of it because I'm taking the heat," the coach said. "I was told, 'We'll handle it.'
"Their way of handling it is that it's me that's the problem."
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