October 13, 2008
With his lisp, nine-year-old-boy haircut, unhinged guffaw and all around cootishness, it’s easy to think of Lou Holtz these days as your crazy but harmless uncle, or the beloved town “doctor” you pray your mom finally allows you to stop visiting before your first hernia check. Even Lou’s famous fake pep talks are exercises in easygoing senility given an unusually wide berth, and don’t remind you at all of the real Coach Lou, who ceaselessly ranted and raved in very non-genial fashion, pulled players by their facemask for eye-to-eye beratings, put referees in headlocks, left the New York Jets after less than a full season, was repeatedly accused of ignoring injured players, publicly branded a player a ‘quitter’ in a bestselling book, oversaw a highly publicized steroid scandal at Notre Dame, and left South Carolina with three years probation. Before he was Dr. Lou or Uncle Lou, Holtz was an angry, ornery old devil.
This is the Lou that came out late Saturday, when he was called on to argue in favor of Tim Tebow over Colt McCoy in one of College GameDay Final’s elaborate odes to nothingness. You only think Holtz is acting like he doesn’t realize he’s on air on most of the time -- it’s a different story when he really doesn’t know the cameras are rolling (mild language warning):
Give him this: Lou’s still a competitor. When he has a job to do, he’s stopping at nothing -- including basic civility on national television -- to see it's done. This was the secret to his coaching success: you may not like him, but when the chips are down and the cameras are off, you want Lou Holtz in your corner. Because the man comes out swinging.