Ianello Gives Birth To New Analogy After Latest Loss

By Ryan Isley (Originally posted 11/18/2010)

Shortly after the University of Akron’s football team fell to 0-11 on the season with a 19-14 loss to Miami (OH) on Wednesday night, head coach Rob Ianello was scheduled to join the media to talk about the game.

One would expect that an 0-11 season in the first season as a head coach would be tough on the 45-year-old from Port Chester, New York, but the man who sat at the table seemed anything but stressed.

Ianello walked in with a smile on his face and even found the time to crack a joke before addressing what had just happened on the field at InfoCision Stadium. Once the recorders were on and the words starting flowing from his mouth, it was still as if Ianello was at peace with a team that had yet to win a game.

“I am certainly proud of our team, I am certainly proud of how they competed, I am proud of how they played,” Ianello started off in his opening statement. “We fought our butts off right to the very end tonight but we came up short.

“I don’t think anybody can look at our team and say we haven’t improved. I don’t think anybody can look at our team and say our kids aren’t playing with great effort, I don’t think anybody can look at our team and say that our kids don’t believe they can win. We have gotten good, we just haven’t gotten good enough.”

The opening statement was almost something that you would expect to find in a book entitled “How To Address The Media And Say The Right Things When Going Winless.” It is the same kind of spiel that was the basis of most press conferences last season given by Cleveland Browns head coach Eric Mangini, whose team started 1-11.

While it is fair and good to be happy that the team has shown improvement, the fact of the matter is that the team is still winless, and was something that needed to be addressed so I did just that with the next question.

“You say the team has gotten better,” I started out as Ianello looked at me. “What is the next step, what do you have to do to get over that hump?”

Before the question was even finished, Ianello was answering.

“Well, we’ve got to score one more point than they do,” Ianello said. “I don’t think there is any magic (button) to put your (finger) on other than we have to make a key play at a key time in the game and then we’ll make that and we’ll come out and we’ll have that win.”

So far, so good, but that is when the answer got a little strange.

“It’s like that couple that can’t have a baby and then they adopt a child,” Ianello said as the reporters looked at him quizzically. “The minute they adopt a child, the wife gets pregnant because the pressure is off. The minute we get our first win, that’s when we are going to start following through and getting more wins and we’re going to see this growing.”

Go ahead, read that quote again. Losing 11 football games in a row is similar to a couple who is struggling to bring a newborn baby into the world.

At what point does that comparison even become logical? The answer – it never does.

But then again, logic has not played a major role in the building of this football team under athletic director Tom Wistrcill, right down to the hiring of Ianello, so why should we expect anything less in the press conferences?

One of the main problems with the Akron football team is that they are spinning their wheels. The men’s soccer team and basketball teams have found success but the football team has floundered.

They have wasted the opportunity they have with the new stadium, as very few showed up Wednesday night even though the school announced a crowd of 7,671. The actual butt-in-seat attendance was nowhere near that number. The low attendance, especially for a game being shown on ESPNU, shows that the fans are almost at an apathetic state with this team, if they are not there already.

Couple apathy with poor play and guess what happens?

That’s right – you get a head coach comparing the plight of his football team to a couple who are struggling to get pregnant.

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