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Old 09-19-2019, 08:52 PM   #1
Sooner04
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Exclamation The Leadership Vaccuum

To hear some folks tell it, Romero Osby nearly saved Jeff Capel's job. Osby was a fine player, and a really good building block to the establishment of Lon's program here at Oklahoma. Above all else, though, Romero Osby was a LEADER. Ro answered the bell for his team, and the rest of those guys got in line. The 2010 and 2011 seasons were an unmitigated disaster. A stain on the rich legacy of Sooner hoops that some of us feared would never be fully washed away. But 2012 laid the groundwork for something different, and Osby played a HUGE part in that. Taking that group out of the abyss and leading them back to the NCAA Tournament is something I'll always treasure in my fandom.

If Romero Osby almost saved Jeff Capel's job then you can easily make the argument that Capel's shoddy treatment of Ryan Spangler was justifiable cause for showing the North Carolinian the door. One of the toughest players this state ever produced sat 20 miles away by car (15 by passenger pigeon) and the big Ardmoreite (he was born there.....like me!) wanted nothing more than to don the crimson and cream. It was a slam dunk. The easiest recruiting pitch since Lee Roy and Dewey followed Lucious to Norman. By the grace of the Holy we were able to bring him back into the fold. Buddy Hield got all the headlines. Isaiah Cousins locked down the perimeter, but Ryan Spangler steered the ship. I've been attending games since I was in utero, and I'd place money on NO ONE leaving more out on the floor than Ryan Spangler. What a warrior.

But college only allows so much eligibility. Who would be the guy to take charge? A few instances in that Final Four season brought me pause.

January 18, 2016: We lose a tough, hard-fought game in Ames. Afterward, deep in the bowels of Hilton Coliseum, the victorious Cyclones are looking to gloat. But they don't come after any of our seniors. The relationship there is one of respect, a bond forged by some wildly entertaining games between our top-ranked Sooners and the Mayor's Cyclones. No, the guys in cardinal and gold are looking for one player in particular. The loudest and most vocal member of our roster is who they're after. Khadeem Lattin. Of the starters, he is by FAR the least of the cogs. Why is he the one running his mouth?

January 23, 2016: In Waco and still number 1, our starters exit the floor on top of the world. They've just put on a clinic that caused several outlets to deem them the Golden State Warriors of the college game. With just a few minutes left to play, it's and 82-58 laugher. On comes Christian James and Rashard Odomes and Jamuni McNeace alongside Dante Buford and Dinjyl Walker. In those few minutes.....let's say three.....those five, four of whom would be counted on for BIG production the next season, put on the worst stretch of basketball I've ever seen from a Sooner team. Baylor scored 14 points in a blink. It was so bad that Lon briefly considered throwing the starters back in there. I remember thinking to myself......this is the future?

April 2, 2016: A Murphy's Law game if there ever was one. Villanova beat us like rented mules for all the nation to see. There was nowhere to hide. In that vein, it's not surprising that the cameras caught a tender moment on the crimson bench. With time running down, a Sooner player (I believe it was McNeace) reached over to give Lattin a little rub on the back of his head. Khadeem proceeded to snap the guy's hand away in a flash. As the game ended, and the teams approached mid-court to exchange handshakes, Lattin flew off the floor straight to the locker room. This is our guy the next year? This is the standard?

Straight south from there it went. A 20-loss season. Jordan Woodard's unexplained sabbatical. The team, for a brief spell during conference play, deciding to base their behavior and preparation on the goings on of DANTE BUFORD?! What a mess! Turnover on the roster and turnover in the front office with two trusted Lieutenants (Henson and Hill) departing for top jobs elsewhere. Where is the leadership?

2018 started off extraordinarily well, but the Trae Young experiment took on water as the team established itself as a Schooner-sized sieve on defense. Kristian Doolittle was booted from school over academic misconduct and never looked right upon his return. Mutiny abounded. McGusty's mom threw a fit in Kruger's offense over her son's playing time. Transfers piled up like bags in a garbage strike. We limped into the Dance, and were promptly shown the door. It was a precipitous fall from a top-5 national ranking in January,

Amazingly, from those smoldering ashes a decent 2019 was had. Unfortunately, the same issues that have plagued each Sooner team since the 2016 Final Four again crept up. Shoddy late-game play. Defensive breakdowns. An alarming inability to win on the road. More roster dissension. Our center checked out. Transfers everywhere.

Why should I go down the wormhole again? Why should I expect 2020 to be any different? We've leaked oil compared to the rest of the conference. We have the worst conference record in the league over the last three years. Who is going to step up and demand that we get the next stop? Who is going to demand the ball in crunch time and deliver? Who is going to put in the work in the gym when nobody but your teammates is watching?

Will it be Doolittle? Will it be a newcomer? Will any of our assistants take charge and be the bad cop that has been desperately needed since Steve Henson departed? It's those questions that I ponder when I'm out driving around or staring at the ceiling. Is there a Romero Osby in the lot? Is there a Ryan Spangler in the middle....the spoke at the center of everything?

That's what's going to tell the tale of this season. On paper, this team is very "talented". But are they tough? Are they going to get a good look in a tight game in Stillwater? Will they withstand a second-half Jayhawk run in Norman? Will a loss turn into a three-game February losing streak? Will the home court be defended? Will we fold the tent at the first sight of the Sprint Center?

We're real close to finding out. But I'm very skeptical. We need to be better. Is there anyone on the roster to help make it so? I sure hope so.

Thank you for your time.

Last edited by Sooner04; 09-19-2019 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 09-19-2019, 10:49 PM   #2
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Default Re: The Leadership Vaccuum

I don't disagree with much of what you say, but as a counterpoint, consider that we comfortably made the tourney, and won a game once there, with a roster that lacked depth and athleticism/talent last year. I don't think that would have happened had leadership been an issue on last year's squad. This year's roster is far more talented and athletic. If we play as hard as last year and continue to play good defense, I think the results will be there. I think we'll be better still next season if there are no unexpected roster defections, but I expect improvement this season over last.
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Old 09-20-2019, 07:28 AM   #3
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Default Re: The Leadership Vaccuum

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sooner04 View Post
To hear some folks tell it, Romero Osby nearly saved Jeff Capel's job. Osby was a fine player, and a really good building block to the establishment of Lon's program here at Oklahoma. Above all else, though, Romero Osby was a LEADER. Ro answered the bell for his team, and the rest of those guys got in line. The 2010 and 2011 seasons were an unmitigated disaster. A stain on the rich legacy of Sooner hoops that some of us feared would never be fully washed away. But 2012 laid the groundwork for something different, and Osby played a HUGE part in that. Taking that group out of the abyss and leading them back to the NCAA Tournament is something I'll always treasure in my fandom.

If Romero Osby almost saved Jeff Capel's job then you can easily make the argument that Capel's shoddy treatment of Ryan Spangler was justifiable cause for showing the North Carolinian the door. One of the toughest players this state ever produced sat 20 miles away by car (15 by passenger pigeon) and the big Ardmoreite (he was born there.....like me!) wanted nothing more than to don the crimson and cream. It was a slam dunk. The easiest recruiting pitch since Lee Roy and Dewey followed Lucious to Norman. By the grace of the Holy we were able to bring him back into the fold. Buddy Hield got all the headlines. Isaiah Cousins locked down the perimeter, but Ryan Spangler steered the ship. I've been attending games since I was in utero, and I'd place money on NO ONE leaving more out on the floor than Ryan Spangler. What a warrior.

But college only allows so much eligibility. Who would be the guy to take charge? A few instances in that Final Four season brought me pause.

January 18, 2016: We lose a tough, hard-fought game in Ames. Afterward, deep in the bowels of Hilton Coliseum, the victorious Cyclones are looking to gloat. But they don't come after any of our seniors. The relationship there is one of respect, a bond forged by some wildly entertaining games between our top-ranked Sooners and the Mayor's Cyclones. No, the guys in cardinal and gold are looking for one player in particular. The loudest and most vocal member of our roster is who they're after. Khadeem Lattin. Of the starters, he is by FAR the least of the cogs. Why is he the one running his mouth?

January 23, 2016: In Waco and still number 1, our starters exit the floor on top of the world. They've just put on a clinic that caused several outlets to deem them the Golden State Warriors of the college game. With just a few minutes left to play, it's and 82-58 laugher. On comes Christian James and Rashard Odomes and Jamuni McNeace alongside Dante Buford and Dinjyl Walker. In those few minutes.....let's say three.....those five, four of whom would be counted on for BIG production the next season, put on the worst stretch of basketball I've ever seen from a Sooner team. Baylor scored 14 points in a blink. It was so bad that Lon briefly considered throwing the starters back in there. I remember thinking to myself......this is the future?

April 2, 2016: A Murphy's Law game if there ever was one. Villanova beat us like rented mules for all the nation to see. There was nowhere to hide. In that vein, it's not surprising that the cameras caught a tender moment on the crimson bench. With time running down, a Sooner player (I believe it was McNeace) reached over to give Lattin a little rub on the back of his head. Khadeem proceeded to snap the guy's hand away in a flash. As the game ended, and the teams approached mid-court to exchange handshakes, Lattin flew off the floor straight to the locker room. This is our guy the next year? This is the standard?

Straight south from there it went. A 20-loss season. Jordan Woodard's unexplained sabbatical. The team, for a brief spell during conference play, deciding to base their behavior and preparation on the goings on of DANTE BUFORD?! What a mess! Turnover on the roster and turnover in the front office with two trusted Lieutenants (Henson and Hill) departing for top jobs elsewhere. Where is the leadership?

2018 started off extraordinarily well, but the Trae Young experiment took on water as the team established itself as a Schooner-sized sieve on defense. Kristian Doolittle was booted from school over academic misconduct and never looked right upon his return. Mutiny abounded. McGusty's mom threw a fit in Kruger's offense over her son's playing time. Transfers piled up like bags in a garbage strike. We limped into the Dance, and were promptly shown the door. It was a precipitous fall from a top-5 national ranking in January,

Amazingly, from those smoldering ashes a decent 2019 was had. Unfortunately, the same issues that have plagued each Sooner team since the 2016 Final Four again crept up. Shoddy late-game play. Defensive breakdowns. An alarming inability to win on the road. More roster dissension. Our center checked out. Transfers everywhere.

Why should I go down the wormhole again? Why should I expect 2020 to be any different? We've leaked oil compared to the rest of the conference. We have the worst conference record in the league over the last three years. Who is going to step up and demand that we get the next stop? Who is going to demand the ball in crunch time and deliver? Who is going to put in the work in the gym when nobody but your teammates is watching?

Will it be Doolittle? Will it be a newcomer? Will any of our assistants take charge and be the bad cop that has been desperately needed since Steve Henson departed? It's those questions that I ponder when I'm out driving around or staring at the ceiling. Is there a Romero Osby in the lot? Is there a Ryan Spangler in the middle....the spoke at the center of everything?

That's what's going to tell the tale of this season. On paper, this team is very "talented". But are they tough? Are they going to get a good look in a tight game in Stillwater? Will they withstand a second-half Jayhawk run in Norman? Will a loss turn into a three-game February losing streak? Will the home court be defended? Will we fold the tent at the first sight of the Sprint Center?

We're real close to finding out. But I'm very skeptical. We need to be better. Is there anyone on the roster to help make it so? I sure hope so.

Thank you for your time.
Very well said.

I don't know the answer to your questions. Can only hope someone like Molinari can come in and instill some toughness and leadership. Maybe guys like Harmon, Bieniemy, and the Wichita State transfer will step up. Sorry, Doolittle and Manek just don't really seem like leader types. That being said I hope both have huge years. I'm hoping this latest group of highly rated high school guys can start a Buddy/Ryan/Isaiah/Jordan-like run. Fingers crossed!
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Old 09-20-2019, 08:16 AM   #4
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To hear some folks tell it, Romero Osby nearly saved Jeff Capel's job. Osby was a fine player, and a really good building block to the establishment of Lon's program here at Oklahoma. Above all else, though, Romero Osby was a LEADER. Ro answered the bell for his team, and the rest of those guys got in line. The 2010 and 2011 seasons were an unmitigated disaster. A stain on the rich legacy of Sooner hoops that some of us feared would never be fully washed away. But 2012 laid the groundwork for something different, and Osby played a HUGE part in that. Taking that group out of the abyss and leading them back to the NCAA Tournament is something I'll always treasure in my fandom.

If Romero Osby almost saved Jeff Capel's job then you can easily make the argument that Capel's shoddy treatment of Ryan Spangler was justifiable cause for showing the North Carolinian the door. One of the toughest players this state ever produced sat 20 miles away by car (15 by passenger pigeon) and the big Ardmoreite (he was born there.....like me!) wanted nothing more than to don the crimson and cream. It was a slam dunk. The easiest recruiting pitch since Lee Roy and Dewey followed Lucious to Norman. By the grace of the Holy we were able to bring him back into the fold. Buddy Hield got all the headlines. Isaiah Cousins locked down the perimeter, but Ryan Spangler steered the ship. I've been attending games since I was in utero, and I'd place money on NO ONE leaving more out on the floor than Ryan Spangler. What a warrior.

But college only allows so much eligibility. Who would be the guy to take charge? A few instances in that Final Four season brought me pause.

January 18, 2016: We lose a tough, hard-fought game in Ames. Afterward, deep in the bowels of Hilton Coliseum, the victorious Cyclones are looking to gloat. But they don't come after any of our seniors. The relationship there is one of respect, a bond forged by some wildly entertaining games between our top-ranked Sooners and the Mayor's Cyclones. No, the guys in cardinal and gold are looking for one player in particular. The loudest and most vocal member of our roster is who they're after. Khadeem Lattin. Of the starters, he is by FAR the least of the cogs. Why is he the one running his mouth?

January 23, 2016: In Waco and still number 1, our starters exit the floor on top of the world. They've just put on a clinic that caused several outlets to deem them the Golden State Warriors of the college game. With just a few minutes left to play, it's and 82-58 laugher. On comes Christian James and Rashard Odomes and Jamuni McNeace alongside Dante Buford and Dinjyl Walker. In those few minutes.....let's say three.....those five, four of whom would be counted on for BIG production the next season, put on the worst stretch of basketball I've ever seen from a Sooner team. Baylor scored 14 points in a blink. It was so bad that Lon briefly considered throwing the starters back in there. I remember thinking to myself......this is the future?

April 2, 2016: A Murphy's Law game if there ever was one. Villanova beat us like rented mules for all the nation to see. There was nowhere to hide. In that vein, it's not surprising that the cameras caught a tender moment on the crimson bench. With time running down, a Sooner player (I believe it was McNeace) reached over to give Lattin a little rub on the back of his head. Khadeem proceeded to snap the guy's hand away in a flash. As the game ended, and the teams approached mid-court to exchange handshakes, Lattin flew off the floor straight to the locker room. This is our guy the next year? This is the standard?

Straight south from there it went. A 20-loss season. Jordan Woodard's unexplained sabbatical. The team, for a brief spell during conference play, deciding to base their behavior and preparation on the goings on of DANTE BUFORD?! What a mess! Turnover on the roster and turnover in the front office with two trusted Lieutenants (Henson and Hill) departing for top jobs elsewhere. Where is the leadership?

2018 started off extraordinarily well, but the Trae Young experiment took on water as the team established itself as a Schooner-sized sieve on defense. Kristian Doolittle was booted from school over academic misconduct and never looked right upon his return. Mutiny abounded. McGusty's mom threw a fit in Kruger's offense over her son's playing time. Transfers piled up like bags in a garbage strike. We limped into the Dance, and were promptly shown the door. It was a precipitous fall from a top-5 national ranking in January,

Amazingly, from those smoldering ashes a decent 2019 was had. Unfortunately, the same issues that have plagued each Sooner team since the 2016 Final Four again crept up. Shoddy late-game play. Defensive breakdowns. An alarming inability to win on the road. More roster dissension. Our center checked out. Transfers everywhere.

Why should I go down the wormhole again? Why should I expect 2020 to be any different? We've leaked oil compared to the rest of the conference. We have the worst conference record in the league over the last three years. Who is going to step up and demand that we get the next stop? Who is going to demand the ball in crunch time and deliver? Who is going to put in the work in the gym when nobody but your teammates is watching?

Will it be Doolittle? Will it be a newcomer? Will any of our assistants take charge and be the bad cop that has been desperately needed since Steve Henson departed? It's those questions that I ponder when I'm out driving around or staring at the ceiling. Is there a Romero Osby in the lot? Is there a Ryan Spangler in the middle....the spoke at the center of everything?

That's what's going to tell the tale of this season. On paper, this team is very "talented". But are they tough? Are they going to get a good look in a tight game in Stillwater? Will they withstand a second-half Jayhawk run in Norman? Will a loss turn into a three-game February losing streak? Will the home court be defended? Will we fold the tent at the first sight of the Sprint Center?

We're real close to finding out. But I'm very skeptical. We need to be better. Is there anyone on the roster to help make it so? I sure hope so.

Thank you for your time.
Good write up. I'll agree with most except for last year, which I was surprised how well they did with the lack of talent an OU team usually produces. Yes those other years were headache caused by mostly the players and bad attitudes, I thought McGusty should've been shown the door before the season was over on his sophomore year.

I'm still excited by this season. Talent is high and have multiple guys who I think can be good leaders in Harmon, Reeves, & Bienemy.
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Old 09-20-2019, 08:48 AM   #5
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Great write-up, as usual from Sooner04.
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Old 09-20-2019, 09:04 AM   #6
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Good write up! I believe Doolittle will be the leader of this team actually. Followed by JB and Harmon. Last year's team was so frustrating to watch for most of the season. We lacked talent and size. Doolittle was an absolute warrior and that's why I believe he can be "THE GUY" this season. I just feel like this year and next should be Sweet 16 type seasons.. anything worse I'd be a little disappointed.

Guys like Osby, Taj Gray, Bookout seemed like great leaders. Fun looking back at some of those rosters/seasons.
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Old 09-20-2019, 10:52 AM   #7
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Interesting.

To paraphrase something (redacted) Joe Biden said: There's facts and there's truth. Sometimes there's a difference.
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Old 09-20-2019, 11:19 AM   #8
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We have had a total lack of leadership the last couple of years. It will be better this year even if we don’t have one specific leader. We’ve had good guys but not leaders at all.
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Old 09-20-2019, 11:37 AM   #9
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We have had a total lack of leadership the last couple of years. It will be better this year even if we don’t have one specific leader. We’ve had good guys but not leaders at all.
Call me crazy but could it be Harmon? Just following the guy thru HS and his time with USA bball, it seems like he is our best candidate? Thats a lot for a freshman, but no one seems to be the obvious choice.
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Old 09-20-2019, 01:03 PM   #10
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Call me crazy but could it be Harmon? Just following the guy thru HS and his time with USA bball, it seems like he is our best candidate? Thats a lot for a freshman, but no one seems to be the obvious choice.
I think he's the best bet. Good thing is it doesn't seem to me that OU has any players who are going to be issues, like they had in those down seasons.
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Old 09-20-2019, 01:56 PM   #11
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All great points, Sooner04! I’ll take a stab at answering some of your questions.

Leaders: Doolittle should be the obvious choice, but not much he has done so far tells me his teammates can depend on him to be a leader. The best player on a team is not necessarily a great leader.

I think JB could be one of two likely candidates. He’s got a high basketball IQ, plus he leads by example in how he plays the game. The only question I’ve got is can he be a vocal leader, something we didn’t see his freshman season?

Kbsooner is definitely not crazy. De’Vion Harmon is my top candidate too. Yes, he’s a freshman, but he’s also a natural born leader, a vocal one at that. I think the fact that he stuck with his commitment to OU for more than two years when he could have gone to another school, speaks volumes about his dedication to the team and his leadership qualities.

Toughness: Victor Iwuakor! Enough said. He’s a long way from Ryan Spangler offensively. But when it comes to effort and toughness, he’s more like “The Spangs” than any player I have seen at OU since the real deal left Norman. I think Victor’s intensity may create an atmosphere like nothing we have seen in sometime. He’s not the only player on this team with game-changing potential, especially on defense. But when I think about toughness in a player, Victor Iwuakor comes immediately to mind.
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Old 09-20-2019, 02:15 PM   #12
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Quannas White. Not the best player on the team. Was THE definite leader. The ream probably over-achieved.
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Old 09-20-2019, 08:56 PM   #13
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Quannas White. Not the best player on the team. Was THE definite leader. The ream probably over-achieved.
He was A leader, but not THE leader. That was Hollis' team.
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Old 09-20-2019, 09:36 PM   #14
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He was A leader, but not THE leader. That was Hollis' team.
I may be wrong. But, I saw Hollis as the spiritual leader of the fans, as well as the team leader his first two years. When Quannas arrived, he gradually became the team's floor leader. By the time they went to the Final Four, I thought of Quannas as the combat sergeant. Fans loved Hollis. Quannas ruled the floor.

I would be interested to see what others thought.
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Old 09-20-2019, 09:38 PM   #15
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He was A leader, but not THE leader. That was Hollis' team.
I'm not so sure about that. IIRC, Kelvin once said that Hollis was the heart of the team but Q was the soul. That seemed an apt description. As a fan, I loved them both and considered them both to be the leaders of the team. If we can even get one guy like that on this year's team, I'd be ecstatic!
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Old 09-21-2019, 07:15 AM   #16
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He was A leader, but not THE leader. That was Hollis' team.
Yeah, White was more a leader by example. Wasn't very vocal. Even Ace and Selvy were more of the vocal leaders than White. And Hollis (though no loud).
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Old 09-21-2019, 12:23 PM   #17
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So many people confuse being loud with being a leader. If volume mattered, Lattin would have been a great leader because he loved to be loud and LOOK like a leader.
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Old 09-22-2019, 09:45 AM   #18
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So many people confuse being loud with being a leader. If volume mattered, Lattin would have been a great leader because he loved to be loud and LOOK like a leader.

You are right he wanted to look the part but he was fake tough and everyone knew it.

Reaves was the vocal leader of the practice that I saw. It will help that we have several guys who will just do their job instead of worrying about things that are irrelevant to them.
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Old 09-24-2019, 03:14 PM   #19
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There's an argument to be made about how you define "the leader," but I have a tough time saying that wasn't Hollis' team. I've heard some make a similar case for Cousins, but that was Buddy's team.

In my experiences, if there is an undisputed best player, they tend to become the leader of the team regardless of whether or not they're equipped with the best leadership skills.
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Old 09-30-2019, 05:06 PM   #20
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I'm not so sure about that. IIRC, Kelvin once said that Hollis was the heart of the team but Q was the soul. That seemed an apt description. As a fan, I loved them both and considered them both to be the leaders of the team. If we can even get one guy like that on this year's team, I'd be ecstatic!
I heard Kelvin say it on multiple occasions....when he (KS) wanted an answer about the team (why was a player late to a meeting or practice, etc.)....he went straight to Quannas for the answer. Hollis was the best player but Quannas was the General.

Great write up 04. Like you, I'm unsure/cautious about this team taking the next step and as you said, which guy(s) in the locker room will demand toughness and lead by example? My hope is that this question will be answered sooner rather than later.
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