Friday, October 12, 2018

More 42

TigerBlog walked from Jadwin Gym to the Shea Rowing Center Wednesday for the Erik Wiehenmayer luncheon.

As an aside, among other things this week, TigerBlog has learned the correct spelling for "Wiehenmayer." At least he thinks he has. That's correct, right?

It's not a very far walk from the gym to the boathouse. Plus, TB had a great parking spot in Lot 21, something that doesn't happen much these days.

When he left the talk, he walked out with Bob Surace, the head football coach. Surace then offered TB a ride back to Jadwin, and TigerBlog took him up on it.

When they got back to the parking lot, it was basically jammed. Surace very calmly drove row by row, hoping to find a spot, until he and TB found the very last spot available, all the way in the last row before FitzRandolph Road.

Keep in mind that this is the head football coach. TigerBlog doesn't imagine that, say, Urban Meyer ever parks in the very last row and walks in. And if he does, he doesn't simply shrug it off while being happy that he got a spot at all.

That's one side of Bob Surace. Another side is his success as a coach. 

Remember when TB wrote about the number 42 recently? Well, he still has 42 on his mind today.

Actually, this time it's 42-42. That would be Bob Surace's record as a head coach at Princeton.

This is the third time Surace has been at .500 for his Princeton career. The first was in Week 2 of the 2010 season, when Princeton defeated Lafayette that week 36-33 to get  Surace to 1-1 at Princeton.

From that point, as he began the process of building the team his way, he would win one of the next 20 games, which would leave him at 2-20 early in the 2012 season.

Since then? Well, he's 42-42 now, so that would make him 40-22 in the last 62. That includes a pair of Ivy League championships, not to mention a 4-0 start to this year.

TigerBlog has mentioned this before, but what Surace has done is similar to what great coaches like Courtney Banghart and Bill Tierney have done at Princeton - erase deep holes early in their careers to get back to .500 and beyond.

If you're looking forward to 43, that opportunity, and the chance to get over .500 for the first time in his career, comes tomorrow, when Princeton hosts Brown at 1. Princeton is 4-0, 1-0 in the Ivy League.

Brown? The Bears are 0-1 in the league, 1-3 overall. The win is against Georgetown two weeks ago. The Ivy loss was home against Harvard, 31-17.

Princeton and Dartmouth (2-0, playing Sacred Heart tomorrow) are the lone unbeatens in the league. They meet at Princeton in Week 8.

By the way, it didn't dawn on TigerBlog until early this week that the Sacred Heart-Penn game last weekend matched his alma mater with his son's soon-to-be alma mater. Also by the way, if you didn't check out that game, Sacred Heart trailed 24-0, took the lead 27-24 and then lost 31-27 as Penn drove for the winning TD with 1:19 to play.

For your final by-the-way, Sacred Heart is in the middle of playing three straight Ivy teams. The Pioneers lost 43-24 to Cornell in a game that was never close and then had the close one against Penn that was only close for a little while. Next up is Dartmouth.

Other than the fact that Princeton and Dartmouth have been very impressive, what do any of the results suggest so far? You can play with the results all you want, but the reality is that the sample size is still a bit too small. What does the fact that Cornell thumped Sacred Heart but Penn barely won that game, that Sacred Heart and Penn both beat Bucknell and by nearly identical margins (16 and 17) and that Harvard was two touchdowns better than Brown but lost to Cornell, who lost to Yale, who lost to Dartmouth?

TB supposes that everyone will find out soon enough.

This is Week 5. At the end of the day tomorrow, all eight Ivy teams will have played three non-league games and two league games and have five league games to go.

No matter what, Princeton has some big football games to play in the next few weeks. And it's also true that every game is big now.

The Tigers are off to a great start. They're led by a coach who took the long way back to being even.

Don't let the fact that he was happy to walk from the last row of the parking lot fool you. He may not have a big ego, but he has a big competitive streak.

Surace got to .500 last year at 38-38 before the Tigers dropped their last four. Now the 4-0 start has him back to even. 

TB is positive he never wants to be below .500 again.


Anonymous said...

I hope that Bob Surace finally climbs above .500 this Saturday against Brown.

He already has two Ivy championship rings as the Tigers' coach, so he may not feel a specific sense of achievement to surpass the .500 threshold after more than eight years.

But I'm reminded of the NFL Films clip of the Philadelphia Eagles' locker room in 1978, after the team won the last regular season game to finish 9-7, clearing the .500 mark for the first time in twelve seasons.

Head coach Dick Vermeil was jubilant in the post-game celebration, hugging Ron Jaworski, Herm Edwards, Bill Bergey and all the veterans who had suffered for years. Vermeil was crying so profusely he could hardly get the words out of his mouth. With tears running down his face, he exclaimed to the room, "We're winners, boys! We're winners."

Tiger69 said...

If I’m not mistaken, where you parked is just about as far from Jadwin as the RC. I like the fact that Surace is not crippled with an ego like DT, but next time you could walk and burn a few calories. I want you both healthy and around for many years guiding and observing our football fortunes!

PS Didn’t BS reach .500 briefly last year at 38-38?

TigerBlog said...

You are correct. TB missed that 38-38 from last year. The entry has been updated to reflect that.