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Chuck Landon: Leaking of pre-game ploy discredits MU football

May. 11, 2013 @ 12:38 AM

It wasn't a bright idea from the very beginning.

But who knows what lurks in the motivational minds of collegiate strength and conditioning coaches?

They are most certainly a different breed.

Which leads us to the antics of former Marshall head strength and conditioning coach Joe Miday and his assistant, Scott Wilks, during the 2012 football season.

It seems prior to hosting nearby rival Ohio University on Sept. 15, 2012, in Edwards Stadium, Miday and Wilks decided it would be a keen motivational ploy to break wooden paddles over each other's back. You know, paddles like middle school vice-principals used to carry, but now are mostly seen at frat parties.

At any rate, much to the delight of Marshall's players, Miday and Wilks broke the paddles over each other's backs during pre-game warmups. It fell a bit short as a motivational tool, however. Despite the splendid splinters, Marshall still suffered yet another embarrassing loss to Ohio, 27-24.

But were Miday and Wilks deterred?

Of course not.

They are, after all, strength and conditioning coaches who just don't quite think like the rest of us. So, they decided what was missing from this particular motivational ploy.

Fire.

As in, trial by.

That set the stage for Marshall's next home game three weeks later against Tulsa. This time during pre-game warmups on Oct. 6, 2012, Wilks doused a paddle with a flammable liquid, lighted it and, then, broke the flaming paddle over Miday's back.

Again, the Herd was entertained.

But motivated?

Not so much.

Marshall still lost to Tulsa, 45-38, at Edwards Stadium.

The breaking paddles ploy died a quiet death after that -- probably cremation -- and the fact it ever happened probably never would have been revealed publicly if not for another bad idea.

It was videotaped.

And, naturally in our tell-all society, someone leaked the tape a couple of weeks ago and it went viral. According to the website LostLettermen.com, which detailed the incidents, the flaming paddle video has gotten 50,000 views on YouTube.

As bright ideas go, this was both dim-witted and dim-watted. All it did was shine an embarrassing spotlight on Marshall's football program and its bizarre motivational tricks. And, now, the college football world is snickering derisively and laughing up its collective sleeve at Marshall's expense.

Just what the Herd's football program needed, huh?

What's next?

Hitting each other with steel folding chairs like such professional wrestlers as Triple-H and C.M. Punk do in the WWE?

Fortunately for Marshall, it is now Bobby Petrino's problem at Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers' new head football coach hired Miday and Wilks away. And, hopefully, WKU increased its budget for fire extinguishers.

But the damage has been done at Marshall, thanks to the viral video.

In fact, "Bizarre Marshall Strength Coach Clip Goes Viral" was listed as the third-most popular feature on LostLettermen.com's "Last Week's Top 10 Most Read" list. It ranked ahead of items featuring Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier, Rick Pitino, Urban Meyer and Barack Obama.

Geez, makes me wonder what possesses some strength and conditioning coaches sometimes.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2827 or clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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