I guess I'm not surprised by this, but Tibesar says the players have been reading the blogs and social media this year and it has hurt their confidence. Check out this quote from Tibesar:
"The biggest thing is the loss of confidence and when you lose confidence you don't execute as well, you don't make the plays that come your way. I think that's been the biggest thing. It's hard to give back players confidence. I think confidence comes from within and can't come from other people. It's different now days, there's a lot of negativity around sports now with blogs and people and unfortunately our players read a lot more of that stuff than they should and let it affect them. It's one of those things that you wish they wouldn't read because if you're a human being and people are talking bad about you, it's hard not to have it affect you."
At this point in the season, I understand why fans are upset and I am too, but there was a ton of negativity toward some of the players and it started even before the Notre Dame game. At that point in the season, some of the other blogs and comments stated that they didn't believe the team was going to be any better. At that point in the season, it still looked like we had a competitive team, but there were some pretty brutal comments directed towards Terbush and some other players, especially on the live game thread. Terbush is the most obvious example I can think of because he took a lot from the fanbase on social media. On the extreme end, I saw posts from fans like "*insert name here* needs to die" or this guy should never play a down of football again. But even the stuff that I posted, in a light way about the QB situation I feel bad about if a player read it. If some guy reads that he shouldn't be the starter 50 times on the comments, he's probably going to be rattled. The fact is that my opinion isn't going to change who the starter is, so the only thing that my comments are going to do is potentially screw with the player's head if he reads it. I doubt that many players could deal with being blasted on social media without having it affect their performance a little. I think negative forms of motivation like that can only fuel somebody for a short period of time before they become drained. I remember the Colts defense a few years ago being similar to ours. They would do something like give up 550+ yards to the Denver Broncos and the newspaper would print an article stating how bad they sucked that game. The players said they cut the articles out and hung them in their lockers to use as motivation. They'd come out and be ridiculously awesome for one game, and then go right back to sucking after that. 2 or 3 games later, they'd get mad at the media, come out and be awesome for one more game, but it wouldn't last. It seems eerily similar to what happened this year against OSU and Minnesota.
I'm not saying that social media is totally responsible for these guys losing their confidence, they have had to deal with a lot this season, but it could have a significant effect. I think if I were a coach I'd rather my players stay off of social media and just focus on the team, but I'm sure it's nearly impossible to keep them off of it. I shouldn't be surprised that the players see some of this stuff, but I was. If it is affecting the players, it definitely will make me think a little more before I post. A really good team should not be so vulnerable, but these guys haven't hardly had any success at all, they don't really have anything to fall back on to bring their confidence up. They need every little edge they can get. I realize that it is too late to do much about that this season, but next year, or even for the upcoming basketball season, we've got a fresh start. So I'm going to be more conscious about social media for the sake of the team and hopefully some other people will be too. I'll rant to my TV or somebody else about players that keep screwing up, but I'm keeping that out of social media.