2008 football season predictions ‘horribly mistaken,’ but Tatum knows talent

2008 football season predictions horribly mistaken, but Tatum knows talent

2008 football season predictions ‘horribly mistaken,’ but Tatum knows talent

Cody Dyer

It wasn’t supposed to end like this, or so I thought.

At the beginning of the season I boasted about the Lions’ ability to become one of the better defenses in the region, make big plays on offense with one of the better passers in the MIAA and finally make their way to the top of the conference standings by winning six to seven games.

After a few days to reflect, I was horribly mistaken. Southern hit on only one of my three predictions in large part because of the Lions’ effective defensive unit.

Toward the end of the season, the rumblings calling for change began to circulate. We can all agree the Lions didn’t have the kind of success envisioned before the season started. I honestly felt six to seven wins would be a reasonable goal coming off a six-win season in 2007.

Maybe I was being na’ve in thinking the Lions would at least match last season’s win total, but to question Bart Tatum’s ability to recruit and motivate players is a huge mistake.

Tatum will be the first to admit the Lions underachieved this season. In fact, he has stated it numerous times in the past few weeks. Tatum doesn’t live by excuses, he understands MSSU fans are hungry for a winner and he wants to deliver.

Listen, Tatum came from the best (and I mean the best) program * in the MIAA. *Sorry Pittsburg State fans, the Bearcats have owned the MIAA for well over a decade now. The Gorillas had a great run from 1989 through 1996, but since then Northwest has won the MIAA championship outright eight times against Pitt State’s two championships. Both schools shared the title in 2003 and 1996.

At Northwest, Tatum served under legendary coach Mel Tjeerdsma, who is the second-winningest coach in MIAA history. Tatum served as Northwest’s recruiting coordinator for five years. The Bearcats have won 28 consecutive conference games and are, once again, MIAA champions. More importantly, Tatum is responsible for a number of current players wearing a Bearcat uniform.

He knows Talent.

The point is, this was Tatum’s third year at the helm at MSSU, but in football reality, it’s unfair to judge a coach on only three years. Recruiting is an inexact science when dealing with roughly a four-year cycle of players. It’s only fair to give Tatum and his staff the time needed to move the Lions in the right direction.

Now, if there is any trepidation from Southern’s administration about Tatum’s ability to do his job, then a move must be made immediately. Otherwise you risk the possibility of a coaching soap opera similar to the situation at Kansas State right now.

That’s not really the case at MSSU.

So, this season shouldn’t be used as a barometer to where the Lions are headed. It will, however, be paramount for the current recruiting class and the next recruiting class to have an impact. Judging by Tatum’s track record, they will.