Athens Review, Athens, Texas

October 11, 2012

Make something great out of your life, instead of a tragedy

The Athens Review

Athens — Kids, kids, kids. I'm talking about the big kids today, and especially a big kid with an arm like a cannon, and a substance abuse problem big enough to waste it.

His name is Casey Paschal (pronounced Paw Haw), and he's one terrific quarterback.

Make that, was one terrific quarterback. As of noon Tuesday, Casey “dis-enrolled” at TCU. By sundown, he was to have been enrolled in a substance-abuse program.

Casey Paschal was the outstanding quarterback of the Horned Frogs’ highly-successful football program, until it all went south with off-the-field problems.

Kids, kids, kids.

Gary Patterson, who has built one of the nation's best programs on hard work, fundamentals and discipline, has to be wondering  just how long it's going to take Casey to stop being a kid?

Right or wrong, Patterson needs a young man to be the leader of his team — not a kid. He had his young man in Andy Dalton, who now starts for the Cincinnati Bengals.

When he moved up, nobody thought Patterson could find a replacement, but he handed the football to Casey, who physically comes very close to his predecessor.

But Dalton was the young man every coach dreams of having on his team, and I'd hazard a guess that Casey might get tired of hearing that. 

But Casey can be every bit as good as Dalton, and that's the tragedy in the making here. Rather than leading this team, he, and a few others, allegedly have been pulling it down.

It happens. You suddenly have a lot of players getting in trouble with the law in the off-season. Next thing you know, that competitive edge in the college-football world has come to respect  in  the TCU football team, starts coming up short.

Despite just one loss, TCU, the overachieving team of the last decade, has, to many observers, started  to underachieve.

Kids, kids, kids.

I'm not down on Casey. I just don't want to see him blow this thing. More importantly, I don't want to see the football program torn apart by the kids.

Just grow up, guys. Or quit and go play with coeds, and party hard. But don't take down the whole football team doing your own thing.

The blogs are enough to  make you sick. Other “kids” are blaming it on the media, on the coaches, on the parents.  People just trying to cause trouble.

Knock it off,  kids.  You're talking gibberish.

The members of this team, like the members of any college team these days, have to make a decision. You want to be a Top-10 football program, and possibly get a chance at millions in the pros?  Or, more important, a good college education? Then go back to being  your overachieving selves.

These guys have to know when to say when. If they can't, and this program puts up with them, Patterson and everything he's worked so hard to build up, will vanish.

Before you start sending purple frogs to spit on me, some of the most inspiring stories I've had, and other writers have had, is the privilege of writing about players who have gotten into trouble, straightened themselves out, and come back to lead their teams to the heights of success.

We've all seen it go the other way, too, and the consequences have often been tragic.

Just be a man, Casey, and accept the help you need to become that man. None of us are supermen in a cape. That's our egos talking.

There aren't that many Daltons, or Staubachs, or Drew Brees to model behavior from. You don't have to be them, anyway.  You don't have to lose the tattoos, Casey. Just lose the attitude.

A few gifted athletes like Mr. Paschal, and some not-so-gifted athletes, can become super-human beings. When that happens, everybody wins, NFL or not.

As it stands now, a very saddened coaching staff and football team will have to pay the price for the few who wouldn't pay it for this season.

Make no mistake, Casey  Paschal owes this team a season he's helped take from them.

Personal note to Casey: When you threw five touchdown passes for over 500 yards against my Boise State Broncos last year, you broke my heart.  You also showed me you were one heckuva quarterback.

That, of course, was just a very exciting football game. Nothing to compare to the heartbreak you've caused your team and coaches and all those crazy Purple Frog People.

Be a man, Casey.  Take it a day at a time. When you get back — and  you will — it's payback time.

That's a story kid, that I can't wait to write.

Art Lawler is a Staff Writer for the  Athens Daily Review.