Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Harvey vs. Kyle

I read a fantastic article today written by Gordon Monson: Cougar RB able to rebuild life in shambles. In it, Monson tells Harvey Unga's story - a story I certainly didn't know. I had no idea, for instance, that Harvey used to beat down snow cone shacks for extra change and sell perscription drugs on the street (I have you intrigued, don't I? Read the article, you'll be shocked).

Anyway, Unga literally rebuilt his life and became the nice guy bruiser we all know and love today. His story is definitely worthy of everyone's attention, if for no other reason than it demonstrates that a man can change.

However, there is one part of his story I find particularly interesting. Read Monson's account of Unga's recruiting experience:

"In the early days of 2005, Unga slimmed his choices to Utah and BYU, and orally committed to the Utes in January.

"Things there looked good from the outside," he says. "It was during Coach [Urban] Meyer's era, the Fiesta Bowl, and all the glamour."

But, a week or so before the national signing day, Unga called new Utah coach Kyle Whittingham and told him he had decided instead to go to BYU.

"He was pretty upset," Unga says. "Whittingham said, 'Those guys are going to switch you to linebacker.' He was like, 'You're going to wish you never went there. You're going to call back and want to go to Utah.' It turned me off. He flipped on me."

That same night, Unga called longtime BYU assistant coach Lance Reynolds to tell him that he would not be going to BYU, that he was going to stick with his original decision to attend Utah, just to see what Reynolds' reaction would be.

"He told me," Unga says, "'You're going to do great things up there. . . . It's going to be tough when we play you guys. . . . We know you're going to be a great player.'

"I thought, 'These are the kind of guys I want to play for.' "

Finally! We loyal Cougar fans have an insider's perspective of the devious and snake-like Kyle Whittingham! Can you believe his reaction? I can almost feel the desperation in his pleas. He responds to a young man's desire with biting jealousy and bitterness. "You're going to call up and beg to come back to us," he says. What a joke. Kyle Whittingham has become a dark and evil man. I'm ashamed to call him a former Cougar.

Monson contrasts Whitt's villainy beautifully with RB coach Lance Reynold's response: We're sad, but we wish you the best of luck - you're a great player. Talk about two programs with different philosophies: One is so desperate to be successful they will demean and attack an 18-year-old boy, the other has the individual's best interest as its only concern.

This does make me wonder, though, about what is being said to some of our in-state recruits. How do these bully coaches influence impressionable teenagers? Did something similar happen to Sealver Siliga?

In any event, I'm profoundly happy BYU has Harvey Unga. The redshirt freshman has proven he's worth his weight in gold. I'm equally happy he has found an environment to suit his newly changed heart. All the best, Harvey, and as if you didn't already know by now: you made the right choice.


Jeris said...

According to Northwest Territorial Mint Unga's weight in gold would be about 2,715,648.

Trevor said...

Adam, I thought you hated Gordon Monson?