Sometimes, all the really vital information is in what isn’t explained.
Such was the case Thursday afternoon on the campus of the University of Memphis where Justin Fuente, 35-year-old co-offensive coordinator at TCU, was introduced as the new Tigers football coach.
During the Q & A portion of the press conference, someone asked Fuente what he thought the biggest challenges were for this program. First of all, that’s sort of like asking someone in Washington what are the biggest problems facing the American economy. You could go on forever. Or reach for a few grasp-at-the-air words.
So after a pause that was awkward in its length, Fuente went with the second approach and said, “Well, we have several.”
He then went into detail, as he did more than once, about the need to rec-connect with the community and make Memphis football matter. He’s right, of course, but we already knew this. We knew it by the 2,500 tortured souls who showed up for the last home game of the two-year and 3-21 Larry Porter Era.
When Fuente was asked to talk specifically about the biggest on-field challenges, his answer was specific in its vagueness: “I don’t know exactly where we’re at.”
Now, at one level, that response is perfectly reasonable and understandable. He just got here. But at another, it seems to reveal that Fuente was more intent on landing his first head coaching position than he was concerned about where that position landed him.
After the formal press conference ended and he was still speaking with several media members, he said when you’re a coordinator at TCU there are two career paths: step up to a coordinator’s job at any big school you care to name, or become a head coach at a smaller school.
“I wanted to be a head coach,” Fuente said.
Fair enough, I suppose, but two years from now let’s hope he still feels that way.