A few untimely injuries notwithstanding, the vibe around Arizona State this offseason has been pretty optimistic. The Sun Devils won their last two games in 2010 to break even for the year, and return virtually the entire starting lineup. They unveiled some cool new uniforms. They're starting arguably the best defensive player in college football at middle linebacker. The preseason magazines have already tabbed them as the chic pick to win the Pac-12 South. After a couple rough years, things are finally beginning to look up again.
What better time, then, for a recently graduated starter to publicly call for the head coach's head via social media? From the Arizona Republic:
Taylor's exact words: "I want ASU to win Pac12 Championships, all us ASU fans do. But in order for that to happen we need a new Head Coach. That's all I'm saying."
"Don't get me wrong: I just think our national championship-winning head coach should be immediately fired. That's all I'm saying." I think we got the message, Kerry.
From the sound of it, there will be more to that message soon. Taylor's anti-Erickson outburst came in the context of an interview with a local television reporter, Tim Ring, who wisely decided to delay airing the interview until next Sunday to give Erickson time to respond; Taylor has declined to say anything else until the interview airs. Erickson's projected response: "Kerry Who?"
Actually, though the old coach has certainly been through enough in a 40-year career to rise above such pettiness, Taylor's barbs have to hit a little close to home, too: Three straight non-winning, bowl-less seasons have taken the shine off Erickson's ten-win debut in 2007, and a failure to exploit a vulnerable division with his most experienced lineup yet in Year Five would probably mark the end of the line for the 64-year-old. If the turnaround doesn't come this fall, Taylor may have quite a bit of company come winter.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.