Class of '93
16 years at Section 9, Row D, Seats 1-4
I have sat on the sidelines and have taken all entries in. Now I wish to throw in some thoughts: It was a disappointing season. NO ONE disputes that: i think the first order of business is to determine how to go from 6 wins to say 12? Clearly, either a mix of players like these won't get you there or you need a rethinking of what system will work best with players like these. I understand these guys were mostly Seth holdovers (apologies to the players- I dont meant to disparage). And Dave Smith is going to bring in "his" players. But who, exactly, will be those players? Who is in the pool of players available to RPI? I mean, it's not like Seth ignored better players to get the players he did. The competition for the players remaining after the grade A prospects choose where they want to play (let's face it McAvoy chose BU for all intents and purposes, not the other way around) is intense. There are more D1 programs than ever and the likelihood of any one school getting a particular player is less than it ever has been. So I think the challenge, coaching-wise, is to try and create a team that blends well and can implement the coach's system. That is very difficult to do. You have to have tremendous vision to imagine how the players you are choosing will fit into the system you wish to implement. And try and choose players that you think will fit. Not try to make them fit after they get here. All the discussion about in game adjustments is interesting, but at the end of the day, if winning "hinges" on in game adjustments at the end of the year, the blend is just not there. If you are trying to figure out in the last third of the season who should play with who during the game, you are really in trouble. Although I understand matchups based on the other teams players, but that should have been figured out prior to puck drop. So I think the great minds in the game who can step back and "see" how to put the team together and get wins are very rare, indeed. Many coaches given grade A players do pretty well. Half the battle is won before anyone steps on the ice. Seth at USTDP is a case in point. So I don't envy Dave Smith (or Seth Appert) one bit. The question really is: Shirley "promised' she would invest resources into the program. If the fans and supporters have to buy the ipads, that is your answer to that. The women's team asking for yoga mats or Barry Melrose buying them 2nd jersies petty much says it all. Getting better players is all about giving them a reason to WANT to come to RPI. No more, no less. As I see it, we will likely never be a perennial powerhouse. But we can challenge the powerhouse programs fairly regularly. By investing in the team, in the facilities, and by becoming a school higher up on the consideration list than we are currently are. No matter who the coach is ( unless Mike Babcock decides to coach here and players flock to RPI to learn from him), if nothing changes, we should all just tighten our seat belts and expect more of the same.
The number of D-I programs has really not changed much in recent years. If Clarkson and Union can have teams in or near the NCAA tourney, why can't we? BU may have access to just about anyone whom they want, but they have been sputtering throughout the season.
As for promising to invest resources, considering we hardly ever saw Coach Graham behind the bench (at least in the games I attended in person), I'd say resources are being invested where they really matter: forward recruiting. The coaches are being expected to bring victories, and the school is doing what they can to make sure the staff has the personnel to be able to achieve this. I'd say a promise is being fulfilled.
I would not hold iPads against the administration, as they already require students to purchase laptops, so they probably think a tablet won't make much of a difference. With the yoga mats, aren't the training facilities still under the jurisdiction of the Student Union? A third jersey only seems like a way to get more butts in the door which is already hard to come by for the women's teams, and how much did attendance rise for when the thirds were worn?
As much as I'm not pleased with the direction the administration is taking the 'tute, it is not just to blame them for the sake of pointing the finger.
Take the shortest distance to the puck and arrive in ill humor
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
The harder I practice, the luckier I get.
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