Back in late November of 2012, Boise State’s Chris Petersen was rumored to be a candidate for the vacant head coaching spot at Arkansas. Back then, many Hog fans had Petersen at the top of their short list to be the next Razorback head coach.
Boise fans scoffed at the idea Petersen would leave for Arkansas. They were right. Bret Bielema was pursued and hired by Jeff Long on December 4, 2012, and the rest, as they say, is history.
While driving down the road a couple of weeks ago, I happened to catch Petersen doing a radio interview on The Jim Rome Show. Rome eventually got around to the topic of social media.
Petersen bans his players from using ‘the Twitter,’ and is magnanimous in saying, “They’re scared to death we’re going to take away Instagram, Facebook, Vine and all those other things, so they don’t say a word about Twitter. They do know, if they’re not smart and careful with it [Facebook], that may go away as well.”
Petersen is relatively young still as head coaches go. He’s 48 years old and well-educated, but he’s missing the point of the ‘whole social media stuff.’ Embracing technology and becoming savvy with the way most college-aged kids prefer to communicate has escaped the Broncos coach.
“We’re on Facebook, and our assistants are on Twitter following kids,” he said. ”I get all that information through those guys. The bottom line is, I want to talk to these kids on the phone. They’d rather talk to us through social media, but if they’re serious with Boise State, they’ll get on the phone, come up here and see us.” — Chris Petersen
I almost drove off the road. It reminded me of former 91-year old U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, who used to urge witnesses in Senate hearings to “speak into the machine” — his term for those ‘new-fangled’ microphones.
It’s a recruiting tool — a way for a coach and his staff to connect with players. Kids love it.
We thought Hog defensive line coach Charlie Partridge was crazy for tweeting pictures last January of ranch dressing. That’s right — big bowls of ranch dressing. You know why? Five-star running back Alex Collins loves ranch dressing…on everything. The photos were a very clever ‘inside joke’ that he and Collins shared. Nobody knew — other than the coaches and Collins — until signing day.
It’s the little things like that, and Petersen doesn’t get it.
“I pay close attention to it and ask myself, ‘If this hurting us, me not doing that.’ If I thought it would at all, I would certainly get on it. I’m not thinking it does.” — Chris Petersen
Coach, you won’t know until it’s too late. Unless, of course, someone calls you on your rotary dial phone to let you know.