Perhaps Presbyterian College did not hire Kevin Kelley as its head football coach solely to put up numbers like no one ever has, but he said he would do it and he was telling the truth.
Progress isn’t a crop of trees at the top of a hill. It’s a precipice where the Blue Hose totter on a rough edge between victory and defeat, radical change and staid tradition.
Not only has Kelley seen fire and rain. He’s seen the pearly gates of heaven and the fiery ones of hell.
In four games.
The Blue Hose can’t stop anybody but Fort Lauderdale (yes, it has a team). Nobody but Campbell can stop them.
After the aforementioned four games, the average score -- this is football -- is Blue Hose 49, Opponents 45. Last winter, the average score of the PC women’s basketball games was Blue Hose 62, Opponents 59.
But it’s early.
Already this year, the Bafflin’ Blue have won by 65 points (68-3) and lost by 72 (72-0). In consecutive weeks. It’s likely this has never before been done in the history of men kicking oblong balls in anger.
(I looked up the games surrounding the 1916 game in which Georgia Tech defeated Cumberland 222-0. The week before Tech defeated Mercer 61-0 and one after Davidson 7-0. So that’s not it.)
Kelley has changed the game in Clinton, for sure. The way to the goal line when the Blue Hose are playing is the path of least resistance. After four games it seems clear that Presbyterian’s defense has to learn how to at least slow down the opposition.
Football is to the PC variety what Martinsville is to Talladega in the NASCAR variety.
I’ve made no conclusions. After four games, I’m still fascinated by it all. I’m a movies buff, particularly old ones, and this reminds me of one. This may be Hoosiers, and it may be what used to be called a screwball comedy, with Groucho Marx or Buster Keaton dashing down the field in the final seconds as his pursuers from “State” tumble in an endless line of banana peels until the hero tumbles into the end zone and someone fires a pistol.
The vexing point is that football games are not plotted. No fantastic ending is required.
It’s all been a hell of a yarn. Kelley arrived amid great, justifiable outrage over Tommy Spangler’s firing. Then, as word spread of his national renown for high school coaching, and as he demonstrated by appearing on a round of national sports talk shows, and having a video crew follow him about everywhere he goes, the PC faithful became intrigued like everyone else, myself included … until the Campbell and Dayton disasters. At present, mingling in this community leads me to believe that Kelley has become nationally revered and locally resisted.
Folks aren’t quite sure whether they’re watching Star Wars or a carnival sideshow. They don’t know whether Kelley is Luke Skywalker or the Wild Man of Borneo.
Odds are strong he’s neither.
His offense is fun to watch. His defense is, too. Different ways.
And Kelley has seen this movie, too.
His method -- pushing the envelope, pressing the advantage, lusting for possession, rolling loaded dice and counting cards, uh, analytically -- wasn’t universally accepted when it showed up in Arkansas, either.
Kelley blames himself, not his system.