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Tubby: "Damn you, Al Gore!"

From the "And you thought internet heroes had an inflated sense of self-importance before this ... " department comes a nugget from the head man himself -- an increasingly rare thing these dog days of summer.

Thanks to Matt May of Cats Pause for posting it. The quote about the message board fan base came via the SEC coaches' conference call today.

"Absolutely (message boards are a distraction). People second guess everything you do, make comments that aren't true. I don't think it helps anyone. As far as recruiting is concerned, something is on a message board and it's the gospel. It's just another element (to deal with). First it was call-in radio and now it's message boards. It creates problems for a lot of people."

Of course, it doesn't mean he's right. From my ignorant vantage point, Tubby knows as little about the internet as nearly any coach in the country under the age of 85. He sure carries himself that way, at any rate.

But it is valuable as a sneak peek into the mind and thoughts of the quiet millionaire coach of the UK hoops team. He is paid to deal with distractions as well as players, though I'm not sure he -- or any other major college coach -- expected such a vehicle for fan "legitimacy" would ever exist.

But it does. And it would behoove Tubby to learn to, if not exactly embrace the phenomenon, then stop trying to pretend that being adversarial will somehow make it get better.

If he considers negative recruiting/insinuation a symptom of online fanship run amok, he should try and work through the trend. To date, he seems to (a) pretend it doesn't exist or (b) think that he can operate around it. Neither have or will work.

While one TCP poster's suggestion that Tubby do an online chat is inventive and thoughtful, it's also coming from la-la land. Smith is not media friendly, and he certainly seems one of the least likely candidates to take time out of his day to placate some disgruntled loudmouths.

But my suggestion, while as unlikely but slightly more practical, is that he do a summer press conference, where he can better dictate the terms of the debate, much like a politician does.

As long as the "arguments" surrounding the program exist without his input, they can live in the world of rumor, innuendo and misinformation. Were Tubby to talk briefly -- even a half-hour -- about a few of the program's issues, he might find himself having to answer questions like today's much less frequently.