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Last Chance U

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I thought Brittany Wagner, the academic advisor, was pretty awesome.  She obviously really cares about these guys and does her damn best to make sure they do as well as they possibly can in the classroom.

The worst thing you could say about her is that she's slightly naive about college kids hooking up.

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Series description:

 "Last Chance U" follows a group of young men training to become the future stars of the NFL. Based at East Mississippi Community College (EMCC), "Last Chance U" takes us on a journey to understand the real men of the gridiron at one of the most successful, but least known athletic programs. Each player has incredible talent and drive to be the best, but each face their own unique struggles both on and off the field. As their season takes an unexpected turn, the methods of this unconventional team are deeply called into question. With much to lose, they are constantly reminded of the stakes.

I'm not a big football fan and definitly not a college football fan. I don't think I even knew that community colleges had football teams or that they could be a second chance stop for good layers who aren't such good students.

I really did like the series, however. I was really rooting for these kids to succeed while also groaning over all of the mistakes that they make. 

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I'm not much of a fan. He's obviously a damn good coach, but holy shit, he could be mean. Insinuating that Ollie was faking his injury because he's lazy even though the team doctor himself said that Ollie was injured. Reminded my way too much of Billy-Bob's storyline in Varsity Blues.

I agree with the players, he really had no room to be criticizing them for their actions when he can't help but be goaded into an actual shoving fight with a ref.

He did show a bit of self awareness when he wondered if he really does do everything he can to help these guys succeed. Does that mean getting wins on the field or making sure they do well in class? That won him a few points from me.

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I don't know how we arrive at the assessment that he's a "good coach." He's working with a large contingent of D1 talent, and I'm not sure what the competition has (not a lot since the scores are like 65-0). He's not even a good recruiter: these kids have no place else to go if they want to keep playing. And absolutely right, he had no place telling the kids who went on the field in that brawl ANYTHING. ANd the use of "thug" is just code, we all know it, the kids all know it, but you can't practice the whole "We're tough / this team's a family" and then get upset when they react in exactly that way when shit goes wrong. THose kids did exactly what they should have, football game or not, one of their own was getting literally stomped, like almost murdered.

What closed the door on this guy for me was the scene where he was telling the parents "I care more about their academics than football." Why even tell this lie? None of these kids are NFL talent, they just aren't. Even if they are, they don't have the drive to do it. 

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I think it's obvious that she cares, but there's a LOT of impropriety between her and the team. She shouldn't be on sidelines during games, she's basically a guidance counselor in college. She shouldn't be letting those kids lay around in her office. And if she really cared about their futures, she would not have "refreshers" which sounds like basically "Here's the questions you need to know how to answer" sessions, and she wouldn't be blowing 100% sunshine up these kids asses. She'd say "Look, the chances that you DO make it to the NFL, and you DO make it to a paying position (not the practice squad, not the CFL), you need life skills. YOu're going to end up mowing lawns if you don't take some of this stuff more seriously." 

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I was mad at the end. On the one hand, I get it. They shouldn't have cleared the bench. But DJ Law was getting literally stomped to death by the other team and no one - not the refs, not the opposition coaches, no one - was doing anything to stop it. How could the league not see that?? I'd like to hear more about that decision. And about that one abstention in the decision.

And I'm also confused about what was happening in the aftermath of the stomping. Was that a security officer threatening the coach with arrest? What actually was happening there?

I feel like we got all this great background and build up and then at the end it was not at all satisfying the way it turned out. I get that this is real life and not a script, but what the hell happened?

Oh, and also. What happened to the players and coaches on the other team? That group stomping effort should have permanently disqualified all involved and their coaches from ever playing in the league again. Life time ban. 

Edited by lynny
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Wow, from the article:

Quote

 

Speaking of the stars of the doc, have you enjoyed seeing [athletic instructional advisor and compliance assistant] Brittany Wagner get some recognition for all her work?

CT: It’s been great. That’s what I’ve seen every day, that enthusiasm. She’s a professional. She handles the kids phenomenally. They trust her. The thing about her is, we’re the only school in the MACJC [Mississippi Association of Community & Junior Colleges] that has a lady doing that. Most schools have coaches doing the schedules. That’s why we’ve been such a great program, because we get the academic side of it right. We do the most, and that’s why we get the most.


 

 

highly doubt the academic side of it is "right." Having someone handhold a select group of students through the most basic requirements? How many of these kids have gone on to distinguish themselves academically? Easy, Clint Trickett (sounds like a Will Farrell character name). Does your standard student have access to this level of academic "support", someone texting them and making sure they're going to class?

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Finished today. Don't know what to make of it. I so wanted a happy ending for these guys but what a mess. On one hand, as a black person, this docu series only perpetuated stereotypes. These kids were really pretty broken, quit at the drop of a hat, won't go to class, lack of trust...just really frustrating. I'm glad Ollie was an offer although I've never heard of Nicholls State. I am familiar with SEMO and Murray State. I hope he grows up, I can't believe he sent that tweet about SEMO. Unfortunately, DJ Law is still ineligible to play. 

Brittany was definitely the star, talk about bend over backwards. She was amazing really, the glue that holds that program together. The assistant coaches seemed pretty level headed but the head coach was like Bobby Knight on steroids. Frankly, I'm shocked he kept his job through all that, pushing a player, fighting a ref, his taking a timeout before halftime likely triggered the brawl, dude just go to halftime, you've got a whole other half to run up the score. Glad the offensive coordinator moved on, he seemed way too classy to be under Buddy.

But, that said, I'm all in for Season 2. 

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Hell no I would not want my kid playing for this guy. I didn't see any evidence he cares about these kids at all. There was a moment when DJ got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for a touchdown dance and Buddy showed restraint cause clearly DJ was kind of fragile mentally at that point but other than that I could see no signs of care. He was constantly running the kids down and preaching violence constantly which most coaches are trying to get away from that verbiage, heck in the NFL, you'd probably get fined. Who wants to be cussed out every practice and game? Definitely seemed like he lost the team a couple of times although I did find it funny when one of the players tried to stand up for him during the post-game ordeal with the security officers. 

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Brittany certainly came off looking the best. I'm not sure I'd recommend anyone go to the lengths she does but she does what it takes and she has their trust. I thought the defense coordinator, QB coach, and offensive coordinator were pretty good people, too. They basically had the role of Mike Pence, constantly having to smooth things over the head guy does, LOL. 

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Coach Stevens in a nutshell -

"GODDAMNIT MOTHERFUCKER ASSHOLE SHIT FUCK JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!!!!!"

......5 minutes later......

"Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name...."

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Brittany Wagner is like a real life Tami Taylor. Regardless of her official job title (athletic instructional advisor and compliance assistant), her actual job is full time babysitter, substitute mom, counselor, hand holder, and nagger. The fact that she has to roam the hallways before class to make sure that they're all attending class, only to learn that they haven't brought any paper or writing utensils with them is crazy. Guys, the most basic part of going to school is, you know, GOING TO SCHOOL. Heh, I loved when she was lecturing one of the guys about hooking up with some random girl.

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Updates on the players - FYI the format of these videos is really annoying. Most of the screen is taken up by video game footage and the guy who's doing the updates is in the upper corner. I opened another browser window so I could listen to the updates without watching someone play video game football.

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Brittany Wagner announced in February that she was leaving EMCC to take a (non-academic) job in Birmingham. Then a few weeks ago, she announced that she had left that job and is now starting her own new business which will "specialize in academic counseling and life skills coaching for at-risk athletes."

GQ interview with Brittany Wagner

Brittany Wagner on The Dan Patrick Show:


Clint Trickett (QB coach at East Mississippi Community College) interview:


Greg Whiteley (Last Chance U director) interview on The Herd with Colin Cowherd

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EMCC has an online series called Inside the Pride. There's an episode for every game in the 2016 season so these might be good to watch after each corresponding S2 episode. Since there are a bunch, I'm putting them under the spoiler cut):

Spoiler

Episode 1: Moving Forward (EMCC vs Jones)


Episode 2: Full Strength (EMCC vs. Gulf Coast)


Episode 3: Welcome Back (EMCC vs Northeast)

 

Episode 4: Beat Itawamba (EMCC vs Itawamba)


Episode 5: Acta Non Verba (EMCC vs Mississippi Delta)

 

Episode 6: Triple Option (EMCC vs MS Delta)


Episode 7: Define Who You Are (EMCC vs Northwest)


Episode 8: King of the North (EMCC vs Coahoma)


Episode 9: Finish Strong (EMCC vs Hinds)

 

Episode 10: Two Seasons (state playoffs vs Mississippi Gulf Coast)


Episode 11: Statu Fortissimus (state championships vs Northwest)


Episode 12: One for the Thumb (Mississippi Bowl vs Kilgore)



 

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I thought Inside the Pride was a new thing that EMCC was doing but I found episodes for the 2015 season (S1 of Last Chance U) too so I might watch these while I wait for S2 to begin!

ETA: I'll save you the trouble of looking - the 2015 season of Inside the Pride does NOT include the game against Mississippi Delta where the huge fight occurred. I guess the school/football program decided better to conveniently pretend that game never happened (as opposed to being honest and including it as part of their season). They also conveniently left out the altercation between the coach and a referee (and the resulting suspension ) during the Itawamba game earlier in the season.

Spoiler

Episode 1: Rosters Change, Expectations Don't


Episode 2: One to Grow On (EMCC vs Southwest)


Episode 3: Prepare to Get Better (EMCC vs Co-Lin) - bonus: dance battle!


Episode 4: Back to the Basics (EMCC vs Coahoma)


Episode 5: Hold That Tiger (EMCC vs Northeast Mississippi)


Episode 6: Homecoming (EMCC vs Itawamba)


Episode 7: Overcoming Adversity (EMCC vs JCJC)


Episode 8: Fix It and Have Fun (EMCC vs Holmes)


Episode 9: Back in Black (EMCC vs Northwest)

 

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo

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On 9/2/2016 at 2:46 PM, Bama said:

Coach Stevens in a nutshell -

"GODDAMNIT MOTHERFUCKER ASSHOLE SHIT FUCK JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!!!!!"

......5 minutes later......

"Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name...."

THIS.

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Just finished season 2. I think it has lost something since everyone seemed to be much more aware at how they would be perceived on camera. But I hear season 3 may be at a new location, so hopeful there. 

 

Now for my my unpopular opinion: I really did not like Brittany this season. I'm glad she got out of a bad situation, but taking recruiting calls in front of the students, and openly complaining about your job to them is, IMHO, more unprofessional than even Buddy's crap. Buddy is an asshole, and these kids know that. Most of them seem to understand that he doesn't care about them and is using them to win, but if they put in their time, better opportunities will come their way. But Miss Wagner is different. For many of these kids, she's the only figure in their life that cares about them as people. So for her to complain about her life and her environment in front of her charges has the potential to be much more damaging. I get that the toxicity has to be draining, but damn girl! These aren't your girlfriends. You are a role model and even a maternal figure to these kids - focus on their needs and express your discontent through another outlet! I wish her luck and still think she's a genuinely good person, just maybe she bought into her own hype as a saint after the first season. 

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I'm about halfway through this second season, and it's "darker" than I remember, somehow more cynical than the first season. The things that bother me start right at the top: these administrators barely hide how little they care about these actual kids (or in fairness, the show does not in any way document them demonstrating true caring). Even Brittany only cares inasmuch as she's paid to do so. I'm sure she's a nice lady, and maybe even one or two of these kids she finds a connection with and really affects, but the mutual apathy displayed on both the administrators' AND THE ATHLETES' parts is disturbing. They tell these kids all sorts of things to keep them interested, and most of them are absolute lies. These kids aren't D1 kids anymore (once you lose that scholarship, there's 25 guys standing there trying to pick it back up and take it), so the idea that they're going to somehow "make it" is tragic. In fact, they don't even define what "make it" would look like...they talk about it like they're currently "making it!" when in fact, they HAD made it, most of them, to big time college programs, only to throw it away by hitting a woman, getting arrested, having three positive marijuana tests in seven months...guys, under no circumstance are you MAKING IT at EMCC. And you're certainly not NFL material, if that's what you think. In the entire world, there's a total of 1550 people who are good enough to play NFL football. That's ALL POSITIONS. If you're a running back, that number is something closer to 70. ON EARTH. You're not good enough for the NFL to overlook your character issues, because you're not good enough to have a college overlook them, outside of this one. It's really sad. 

The coaching staff, too, has an awful high opinion of themselves and a complete and total lack of perspective. First of all, they never show them doing any actual motivating. Locker room speeches are mostly platitudes like "We're better than them!" and "Go execute!" and "Want it more!" and "Thirty minutes of football!" The practice field features such master tactics like "Run faster!" and "Hit that guy!" Yet Coach Stevens thinks he's the fucking Bill Bellichik of the MS CC scene for some reason. And when scouts do go down to his program to watch, he offers insights like "This guy who runs a full quarter second faster 40 than any other kid in community colleges, I think he's really special." First of all, no shit.  Second of all, he LOOKS special because he's playing COMMUNITY COLLEGE BALL, against community college kids, when he was a scholarship athlete to an SEC school a year ago! OF COURSE HE LOOKS SPECIAL. And finally, I wish they would talk to the scouts afterward and have them tell you the truth: "I really don't listen to coach Stevens. I mean honestly, he's a lifetime community college coach...he's kind of huge on being the big fish in the tiniest puddle. I work as an intern for the AD at USC, do you think I need his input to tell which kids have athletic talent? Also, did you think they were going to get a full time employee and send him to Scooba MS to watch this fucking game? I am just putting in my time." The defensive coordinator is a total idiot who looks like he commands the level of respect commensurate with middle school substitute teacher.

And I'm sorry, I can't root for a team whose whole thing is whooping up on some other community college 73 - 10. I just finished this episode where they destroyed the team they started a brawl against last year, they literally beat them by 60 points, and then they get togethero n the middle of the field, have a phony ass prayer session (nauseating), and the announcers have the tumerity to say "We're looking at real sp[ortsmanship displayed right here!" NO ASSHOLE. You're not. You're looking at smug gloating and self congratulation.  REAL SPORTSMANSHIP is not throwing the ball when you're up by 40 in the third quarter. Real sportsmanship is not thinking about calling a timeout with 40 seconds to go in the first half up 38-3. 

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7 hours ago, Uncle JUICE said:

I'm sure she's a nice lady, and maybe even one or two of these kids she finds a connection with and really affects, but the mutual apathy displayed on both the administrators' AND THE ATHLETES' parts is disturbing. They tell these kids all sorts of things to keep them interested, and most of them are absolute lies. These kids aren't D1 kids anymore (once you lose that scholarship, there's 25 guys standing there trying to pick it back up and take it), so the idea that they're going to somehow "make it" is tragic. In fact, they don't even define what "make it" would look like...they talk about it like they're currently "making it!" when in fact, they HAD made it, most of them, to big time college programs, only to throw it away by hitting a woman, getting arrested, having three positive marijuana tests in seven months...guys, under no circumstance are you MAKING IT at EMCC. And you're certainly not NFL material, if that's what you think. In the entire world, there's a total of 1550 people who are good enough to play NFL football. That's ALL POSITIONS. If you're a running back, that number is something closer to 70. ON EARTH. You're not good enough for the NFL to overlook your character issues, because you're not good enough to have a college overlook them, outside of this one. It's really sad. 

I agree that this year it feels more like both the coaches and athletes are phoning it in. Some of the kids seem to get it (the quarterback and the kid that got arrested for burglary), but others (Kam and Charles - the do-nothing defensive linemen) don't even appear to be trying. Charles is a bit better than Kam, because at least they acknowledged that he was doing well in class (I think he was the one with a 3.8 GPA), but on the field, he isn't dominating like a D1 player should, he's struggling and getting outclassed by kids that have no hope of playing elsewhere. I look at Kam and I see a kid that probably should have taken a year off from school, gone and lived with his mom, then gone on to school. He's hella immature, and needed to mature past the drugs he's been on to control his ADHD. Perhaps a year without school would have allowed him to wean himself without moving to self-medicating through weed to meet all of the expectations.

9 hours ago, Uncle JUICE said:

And I'm sorry, I can't root for a team whose whole thing is whooping up on some other community college 73 - 10. I just finished this episode where they destroyed the team they started a brawl against last year, they literally beat them by 60 points, and then they get together on the middle of the field, have a phony ass prayer session (nauseating), and the announcers have the temerity to say "We're looking at real sportsmanship displayed right here!" NO ASSHOLE. You're not. You're looking at smug gloating and self congratulation.  REAL SPORTSMANSHIP is not throwing the ball when you're up by 40 in the third quarter. Real sportsmanship is not thinking about calling a timeout with 40 seconds to go in the first half up 38-3. 

This was addressed by the opposing coach in Episode 5/6. He talked about the fact that running up the score helps give voters at the national level the incentive to include an EMCC when they might overlook them due to the relative weakness of the Mississippi State league. The coach seemed to say "I don't like it, but I understand it." He also lamented that it often had a demoralizing impact on the opposing players such that they never played again. I don't think this is Buddy being an asshole so much as it is whomever oversees the national championship should be looking to do the most to dis-incentivize this kind of behavior. But they don't because schools love to be part of a "winning tradition" and it makes the run for a championship more exciting if a team appears to be dominating opponents. I wondered why they didn't switch to 2nd or 3rd string but I realized that it wouldn't matter because they would be running the same basic plays whether the FSU gunslinger was QB or the kid who barely knew the plays.

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I'm on episode 7 and I'm loving Chauncey's mom right now.

"Did you watch the tapes!? Cause they obviously watched the tapes!"

And then Coach Jerkface tries to kick her out of the game cause his ego couldn't take it. Was she being loud? Yes. Was she wrong? No.

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On 7/31/2017 at 6:46 PM, Rlb8031 said:

 

This was addressed by the opposing coach in Episode 5/6. He talked about the fact that running up the score helps give voters at the national level the incentive to include an EMCC when they might overlook them due to the relative weakness of the Mississippi State league. The coach seemed to say "I don't like it, but I understand it." He also lamented that it often had a demoralizing impact on the opposing players such that they never played again. I don't think this is Buddy being an asshole so much as it is whomever oversees the national championship should be looking to do the most to dis-incentivize this kind of behavior. But they don't because schools love to be part of a "winning tradition" and it makes the run for a championship more exciting if a team appears to be dominating opponents. I wondered why they didn't switch to 2nd or 3rd string but I realized that it wouldn't matter because they would be running the same basic plays whether the FSU gunslinger was QB or the kid who barely knew the plays.

I just watched this episode with the 0-whatever coach (why can't we have a documentary about THIS program, which seems so much more focused on the realities of these kids' situations? the caoch is right, these kids are the ones at Last Chance U: they are never going to put on a football uniform again). I understand this issue as far as scoring goes, the NCAA D1 schools used to have this problem too (they had incentive to run up the score on lesser opponents, now computer formulas largely take that requirement out). What I DON'T understand is who gives a shit if you're the fastest fat kid, basically, the best team in JuCo, so much that it takes precedence over the well being of these kids and their really, really bleak futures. It's ludicrous to me to see this place talk about a 'winning tradition,' it's frigging junior college. Before this documentary, how many people were surprised to learn that enough Jucos had football programs to HAVE a national champion? I can tell you I was. I thought at most it was a state championship, and never once did I think "and they have recruiting," because how on earth would you RECRUIT a player to play at a 2 year school? A recruit would be scouted by 4 year schools and universities. The whole thing seems backwards to me. The notion that this junior college has a BUS that extolls how great they are with a full wrap on it...it's hilarious. Guys, you're a junior college. 

The big problem I have is that no one is telling these kids the truth: okay, so a handful might get chosen to go play D3 ball someplace. The rest of them will have been completely used by this tiny school to win something that is totally meaningless, and won't have any sort of education (can I please have an episode where the faculty explains how these kids pass classes? Some of the stuff Brittany says is shady: you cheat on the quizzes, and the tests are just the quizzes, etc., sounds like there's some shenanigans) to make something of themselves. It's really sad. 

On a positive note, their D line coach needs a full coordinator position in the D3 school. He has the juice to be a coach on a number of levels, I think he'd even make a great high school head coach. Buddy is never going to coach at another level. He's just not a good coach, neither are his offensive and defensive coordinators. Beyond not being good motivators, they're also not good X's and O's guys: they rely strictly on D1 talent versus Juco competition. I could do what they do. 

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I get where you're coming from, but its a bit of a chicken and egg issue in that the reason so many kids go to EMU and play for Buddy is the fact that not only has he gotten a significant number of kids into D1 programs, but a ton of his kids have ended up in the NFL. So no, you usually wouldn't recruit to JCs but if you're a kid that knows that out of last year's 53 man roster 25-26 kids were recruited on to four year colleges to finish up, and that in the last 10 years he's had 20 or so playing in the NFL (including some undrafted players) it makes sense that you'd have an easy time recruiting. I'm not at all saying that the system works well or benefits these kids. I'm merely saying I understand how a kid that desperately wants to continue to play football would buy into this system. 

Are they getting a decent education? The ones that are college material seemingly can use this as an opportunity to push their GPAs up and leave with most general core curriculum classes completed assuming a non-technical major. The kids that are smart enough to do the work, but have been permitted to lay about can use it as a training ground to understand how to work at this level. There are, however, a significant number of these kids that lack basic skills and are probably just learning work that they should have completed in middle and high school. Those kids are the ones that need Brittany the most, and the ones that this school won't do anything for. 

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I've only watched the first two episodes and as usual, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I get that De'Andre doesn't want to be defined by one moment in his life, and I get that people deserve second chances. But what I couldn't stand was when people started trying to paint HIM as the victim in all of this. He went into a bar (when he was only 19, mind you, so already breaking the law), got drunk (as he and his parents admitted), and punched someone in the face, yet somehow Coach Buddy and Brittany are making it seem like he was the wronged party.

I'm usually with Brittany when she advocates for these students, but when she said it wouldn't be fair to take away his opportunity to receive an education, I just rolled my eyes. No one said he couldn't get an education. FSU kicked him off the football team but that's not the only school in the entire world. He was still free to get an education at any one of the thousands of colleges that exist in America. I was also rolling my eyes so hard when Buddy said people shouldn't be saying stuff on twitter. Oh, okay, so you're the only one who's allowed to have an opinion? Sorry, but when you break the law in public, people are going to say things that you might not like.

In De'Andre's defense, he didn't seem to see himself as a victim the way Buddy and Brittany do. In the interviews he and his parents did for the show, he didn't seem to feel sorry for himself at all. He admitted what he did (which, duh, he should since there's video of him doing it all over the internet) and said he is taking the steps to get back to where he wants to be. To be honest, Buddy seemed like that he himself felt like the victim (rather than De'Andre).

This season we seem to be seeing more of Brittany playing mom on top of being their academic counselor/official homework nagger. When the two roommates were squabbling to her because one of them keeps eating the other's food, the expression on her face matched mine. You guys aren't eight years old so stop acting like it! Why is it so hard to understand that you wear your own clothes and you eat your own food, and you leave your roommate's stuff alone? I had three different roommates in college (all randomly assigned to me, so no one who I knew beforehand) and we never had those two particular problems because we knew how to be respectful of each other's stuff. If someone had been taking my clothes without asking and eating my food, I would have been pretty annoyed too.

So I guess we're supposed to believe that Coach Buddy has really changed. I don't buy it. The only thing I see is that he got caught on camera being an ass week after week and someone gave him a stern talking to (heh, I like to imagine it was his mother saying, "Buddy [middle name] Stevens, how dare you use that kind of language?" Love how we went from "I have to do five pushups every time I cuss at practice" in episode one to no more pushups once the season actually started in episode two. I don't care if he has a "spiritual advisor" who is going to insist that we don't understand the kind of pressure Buddy's under.

One of my favorite moments so far was when one of the guys said, "Chauncey's smart as fuck!" Ha!

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On 8/8/2017 at 7:14 AM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

So I guess we're supposed to believe that Coach Buddy has really changed. I don't buy it. The only thing I see is that he got caught on camera being an ass week after week and someone gave him a stern talking to (heh, I like to imagine it was his mother saying, "Buddy [middle name] Stevens, how dare you use that kind of language?" Love how we went from "I have to do five pushups every time I cuss at practice" in episode one to no more pushups once the season actually started in episode two. I don't care if he has a "spiritual advisor" who is going to insist that we don't understand the kind of pressure Buddy's under.

One of my favorite moments so far was when one of the guys said, "Chauncey's smart as fuck!" Ha!

Nah, his mom actually passed many years ago (you'll see something on that in the last couple of episodes). My guess is it was his wife. She appeared in 1-2 episodes in the first season and they filmed him at home having dinner, etc. In this version, his oldest daughter takes on the role of the family spokesperson and his wife only makes a brief cameo (no dialogue) in one episode. My fantasy is that she called him on his shit then said "no way you're gonna embarrass me in front of the church again...I'm not doing this show".  

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Davern Williams did get a new job, the D Line Coach. He is now at Chattanooga, a Div 1-AA FCS school. I got to meet him back in February, nice guy. An article from the Chattanooga paper:

 

Davern Williams was not unfamiliar with the spotlight.

The new University of Tennessee at Chattanooga defensive line coach signed with Auburn in 1998 and played briefly in the Southeastern Conference before transferring to Troy, where he starred for three seasons and lined up alongside DeMarcus Ware, who went on to a decorated NFL career. Williams was a seventh-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2003 and competed in 2004 for the New York Giants, but it wasn't in the nation's largest market where he became most famous.

Instead, it was in his role the past four seasons as East Mississippi Community College's defensive line coach — a role popularized almost overnight when Netflix released its inaugural, six-episode season of the documentary series "Last Chance U" in August 2016.

 

It has been a different world for Williams ever since, as evidenced by his trip to the American Football Coaches Association convention last month in Charlotte, N.C.

"I'm at the airport getting my baggage, and (Kentucky's) Mark Stoops walks up to me and said that his wife loved the show," Williams said. "He introduced himself, and I'm like, 'Coach Stoops, I know who you are.' He said, 'Can my wife have a picture with you?'

"I said, 'Sure,' so she came over and we took a picture."

It was at that convention where Williams was interviewed by second-year UTC coach Tom Arth, who has yet to see an episode of "Last Chance U." Williams had a connection to UTC, having been a Troy teammate and roommate of Shelton Felton, who is in his second year as the Mocs' outside linebackers coach.

Arth spent so much time conducting interviews in Charlotte, he didn't get to witness the popularity of Williams there, but that changed as soon as the hire was made and the two went on recruiting trips together.

"You walk into a high school, and you've got teachers and students coming up to him and asking him for pictures," Arth said, beginning to laugh. "You go to a basketball game, and you can't get to your seats because people are flocking to him. You go to dinner, and it's the same thing. Everywhere we would go, we would have to plan for an extra half-hour for all the pictures that people wanted to take with Davern.

"It's every demographic of the human race — old women to young girls to high school boys. It's crazy.

 

Williams helped East Mississippi Community College coach Buddy Stephens win junior college national championships in 2014 and again last year, but it was the 2015 and '16 seasons featured on "Last Chance U." EMCC's 2015 season, which Netflix aired in 2016, was canceled before the playoffs due to a brawl against Mississippi Delta at the end of the regular season.

Ronald Ollie was a defensive linemen during the 2015 season at the junior college in Scooba, Miss., before moving on to Nicholls State — like UTC, a Football Championship Subdivision program. There was an episode that included a shirtless, 310-pound Ollie rolling on a steamy artificial turf field at EMCC from the back of one of the end zones all the way to the back of the other.

"It was very hot, and that's why we did it," Williams said. "Ollie missed breakfast check that morning, which is from 7 to 7:55 before 8 o'clock class. Then he missed class, and then he was late to my meeting and missed half of it. Turns out that he was asleep."

There was a time Williams was just like Ollie and some of the other lackadaisical players he had to mold. It was when he was in the NFL.

"I didn't put my best foot forward, and that's been a sour spot in my life," he said. "I was young and had a lot of money, and I didn't do some things that I was supposed to when I was on injured reserve to keep that professional mindset. I was too busy partying, and I'm talking every night of the week.

"I don't want the guys under my tutelage to go through that same thing."

Williams believes he grew significantly as a coach during his time at EMCC, which could be great timing for Arth, who already has seen much more in Williams than dizzying rock-star status.

"When he walks into a room, he looks the part," Arth said. "He's a former NFL D-lineman, and he just has a presence about him. He's confident, but he goes about it in a very quiet and humble way, and that really impressed me.

"He has a lot of knowledge on the defensive line and has a strong belief in fundamentals and how you build a successful defense."

Netflix moved "Last Chance U" out of EMCC after two seasons, filming this past season at Independence Community College in Kansas. Williams said he hasn't discussed the show with his new group of players, focusing instead on the challenges ahead.

Williams and the show are no longer at EMCC, but the show and EMCC will forever be a part of Williams.

"I would do it again," he said. "I think it's a great opportunity to let the world see that side of college football, because not that many people understand it. There is a negative stigma about Mississippi junior colleges, and the bigger the headache those guys gave me, I still loved them. It was tough. It was hard-nosed, and there was a lot of language. There were a lot of egos and tempers flaring, but there was also a lot of winning.

"Scooba was a great place. It was quiet, and I actually miss that about it, but there are a lot more things to do here, that's for sure."

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I just finished episode 2 but it amazes me how willing the coach is to call out his players and how willing the players are to call out the coaches. Unless the players already have already gotten a major D1 offer, you would have to think it would hurt their chances.

The English teacher is interesting. She is in the same vein as Brittney from prior years in caring for the players off the field.

With the amount of money spent on facilities and rule changes (no limit on out of state players) it is amazing how much importance these small community colleges place on athletics.

Oh, and the coach says f$%# a lot.

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On 7/20/2018 at 7:26 PM, SayMyName said:

the coach says f$%# a lot.

I am definitely not one of those delicate flowers who is offended by swearing (and I say FUCK without a second thought), but yeah, this coach seems unable to go more than ten seconds without dropping multiple F bombs which makes him seem really immature. Swearing aside, he seems like a pretty terrible coach who is incapable of self control. He's constantly yelling at the staff and the players, always threatening to fire the staff or cut the players. I know that not everyone is going to be as kind as Coach Taylor, but damn. The Indy coach spends way too much time blaming everyone else and then telling them to STFU/go home and not enough time, you know, coaching. I know coaches yell, but if you're going to yell then it needs to be constructive and useful. Just letting loose with nonstop expletives without any specific critiques or suggestions about what to do is just him having constant temper tantrums.

Normally I agree that the players should respect the coach and be respectful in the way they speak to him, but based on what I've seen in the first four episodes, he has given them no reason to respect him. It's pretty pathetic when your quarterback is standing on the field waiting for you to give him the play and you're flipping through your list in the middle of the game. No wonder Malik is so frustrated. JB expects the players to be prepared but he himself is not.

On top of that, he's not exactly modeling good behavior for his players with his constant swearing and yelling. If you scream and swear and lose your temper, what you're teaching everyone around you is that it's acceptable for them to scream and swear and lose their tempers too. I just could not believe when he had the audacity to chastise them for their "ghetto gangbanger" behavior (his words, not mine) on the field. That hypocrite is the one berating everyone, including the referees (to the point of getting a yellow flag for chasing down a referee on the field to yell at him). Obviously he comes from the "do as I say, not as I do" school of thought, which is ridiculous.

But what really bothered me is that JB never takes responsibility for anything. It's ALWAYS someone else's fault. And does it really count as an apology when you say, "I apologize but if you don't accept my apology, then fuck you"?

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I can't disagree with anything you said there. You know it's bad when the players are telling him that he needs to read the individual and craft the motivation to suit them. He mentions several times that coaching is over-rated and it's all about recruiting talent and motivating them to run through walls for him.

I'll also add that the constant 'bragging' about having a beach house and Cadillacs is amusing. You can bet that he is one paycheck away from being bankrupt.

Last season they showed the flaws but there were players that you rooted for...this season not so much. I did enjoy the English teacher and the QB coach.

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Holy crap that coach is a horrible human being. Also, I'm a 52-year-old woman who has never played football, and I could call plays better than that guy. 

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Just finished watching the Dodge City game. Wow! That coach is awful! The players aren’t very respectful, but he doesn’t really give them much reason to be.   I hope these players can turn it around and get out of there. 

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Just finished the 5th episode. 

I'm not particularly sensitive to crude language, but every other word out of Jason Brown's mouth is an f-bomb or some variant and it's just tiresome.  When they show him speaking to the Optimist Club or other community groups he seems to struggle to avoid using expletives.  His posturing about his Cadillacs and Cali beach house is silly.  He seems to range between borderline to outright abusive toward his players and assistant coaches.

That said, he's not wrong re: his players needing to use football as a means to an end.   Reality is that even those who make it to a Power 5 school only have roughly 10% odds of playing in the NFL at all, and the odds are far lower for those who'd transfer to non-powerhouse D-I and D-II schools.  The education that these guys can get for free, even if it ends up just being an associate's degree, is more valuable than the slim chance that any one of them will be a star pro football player.   He's also correct that if they go to every class, hand in their homework, and make an effort, they'll end up with Cs.  It's community college and there's no freaking excuse to be there on a free ride and get Ds and Fs because you don't show up to class.   The entire purpose of those guys being there is to be able to progress to a 4 year school and lousy grades are going to prevent that.  

Kerry Buckmaster's story was so sad, he seems really earnest, and I'm rooting for that kid to succeed.  I was glad to read that he's committed to play at a D-II school.    Malik Henry seems convinced of his own importance; lots of talk about "I was the top quarterback in the nation" and his dad putting a lot of effort into grooming and cultivating his talent, but dude obviously had issues to get kicked out of Florida State and ending up in JUCO football jail.  He thinks he's too good for where he wound up, is lazy in practice, disrespects/ignores the coaches, and openly doesn't give a damn about his teammates.   And Bobby Bruce is so negative and self-sabotaging - it's heartbreaking.

Latonya Pinkard is just great.  I also liked the head athletic trainer (Rachel?). 

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I have so many feelings about Season 3.

  • The first 1-2 episodes, I kinda really liked Coach Brown.  Yes, he was crude and every word out of his mouth was either the f-bomb or Cadillac/beach house, but damn, he loved those kids.  The middle bunch of shows, I hated him and wanted to form a wall between him and some of his players.  The day he threw Bobby Bruce off the field and the game with Dodge City were the worst.  But then, starting with the day he wore the pink shirt, I reluctantly started going back toward the middle.  And by the end, I was nodding my head when his assistant coach said that JUCO was JB’s sweet spot.  No way could he handle the constraints of coaching at a DI school and my god, he’d be thrown out of high school.  But he does raise these kids up a bit and, if they can handle it, they’ll be able to handle the demands of a 4-year or, potentially, the NFL.  
  • Is Buckmaster too old for me to adopt?  A lot of the players this season frustrated me because they didn’t seem to be stepping up (although that could be a flaw with the way this season was presented; it seemed different than the other 2) but man, Buckmaster was a leader for that team.  I’m thrilled he’s going on to a 4-year.  I recognize DII isn’t probably exactly what he wanted, but he’ll be valued there; he’ll play (probably all the positions, if necessary), so he’ll have plenty of film to show for it, so who knows? But more importantly, he’ll have a degree.
  • Malik.  Oh man, Malik.  My heart breaks for him at the same time I think he’s a cancer for any team.  The day his “dad” came back into his life is the day I think his world imploded.  He probably should have been allowed to continue baseball because clearly he has a golden arm, but he hates being hit.  Plus, he loved baseball.  He’s fairly emotionless about football.  I do think he might make a good coach which Diaz said is what he wants to do.  Holding out for a Big-5?  Is that his choice or his dad’s?  
  • LaTonya was great, but I loved the other English teacher who showed up on a day she clearly didn’t think she needed to be at work - with her infant and in weekend clothes - because one of her students needed her.  She might not have had book clubs, but on that day, she showed that player (Emmit, maybe) that she cared about him and she saw him and she wasn’t going to let him slip out the back door.
  • Drake!  I hope there’s another season with this team and I hope we get more of him.  Where did this kid who looks like a Canadian hockey player come from?  I didn’t even know there was a 3rd string QB.  Where was he all season?
  • Loved the last game when Malik went from being Diaz’s pet to a voice yammering in his ear - so much so that Diaz had to complain about it to JB.  As if JB hadn’t been saying it all season!
Edited by Nilo · Reason: Punctuation
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I feel really confused by this season. The team goes 9-2, wins its conference, but seems to play to the level of its opponents and wins games late. The coach seems like a hot mess, all the time. I understand yelling at players to get them motivated, but he does it so much all the time that you start tuning him out. The coaches don't respect the players, the players don't respect the coaches, the coaches don't respect each other. The whole team just seems disorganized and chaos. Yet, JB wins coach of the year and they win a bunch of games. I understand they have more talent than everyone else, but I didn't notice any growth over the season where the coaches improved the players or they started to "get it" as a team. At the end of the day, it just seemed like a bunch of individuals forced to interact with each other. But I can't really say what was "better" about seasons 1-2 that make me feel this season was so much more disjointed. I guess it was the coach being even more than a mess than the other one, and his assistants not really having strong personalities (especially the QB coach). Malik at QB was also an issue, I guess, because he's not at all a leader. I feel bad that he's never going to get it together and he'll never understand what he COULD have been if he understood what it takes to be a QB (encourage players, listen to coaches, lead by example, and not sulk and give up when you can't have things your way).

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On 7/23/2018 at 1:25 PM, Runningwild said:

Just finished watching the Dodge City game. Wow! That coach is awful! The players aren’t very respectful, but he doesn’t really give them much reason to be.   I hope these players can turn it around and get out of there. 

 

On 7/22/2018 at 5:31 PM, NoWhammies said:

Holy crap that coach is a horrible human being. Also, I'm a 52-year-old woman who has never played football, and I could call plays better than that guy. 

Are you guys talking about the inexcusable 3d and 3 Wildcat pass call he let himself get talked into? Because YEESH, dude, that's why you're not a D1 coach. 3d and 3 with the ball and the lead in a game you need to win, and you call a pass play because you think, clearly, "I'm going to look like a genius on Netflix when this works!" is simply inexplicable. RUN. THE. BALL. My ten year old even knew that. You might make the 3 yards and again, my ten year old says "then they have to start taking their timeouts on defense." You might not, in which case, your WORST CASE is you take the time off the clock, kick the ball and trust your defense to make a stop. it was probably the worst coaching decision caught on film since the Lions coach deferred the ball in overtime when the NFL had a strict 'first score' rule. Unreal! 

I just finished watching this season, and honestly I didn't find a single character to latch onto. It was a little better than the other two seasons because you're not watching a team run up the scores 65 - 0 and calling timeouts at the end of halves to get from 49 - 0 to 55 - 0, which was grating. The problem here is the coach is not only NOT a good coach, but he THINKS he's just the undiscovered Bill Bellichik. "Oh, I get the best recruits! I built this new classroom for my players, I did this I did that," but when he fucks up a game with either not calling a formation so his QB can understand it, or by making some idiotic play call decision (like THROWING the ball when a ten year old knows better), he finds a CHILD who made a mistake and berates them. The other EMCC coach was no better a coach than this guy, though. They are basically PLAYING a character that they think is a coach. I think both of these coahces are Juco coaches for a couple of reasons: they're too big of an asshole to be a high school coach, number one. You can't talk to high school kids like these guys talk to their players. Really, you shouldn't talk like that at any level of coaching (I'm not saying don't curse, I'm saying you have to be sparing and model a behavior if you're so concerned about these kids' future, which they're clearly not at all). They're also not good enough to be real college coaches. Remember, there's more divisions than either D1 or Juco, plenty of coaching opportunities exist if you're good enough. These guys aren't, or they'd have a chance at an actual job.

I had to turn it off when the coach was like "A 4 year program coach couldn't do this job, it's so hard, that's why guys who go to 4 year programs to coach never come back to 2 year programs." REALLY??? Guys don't go back to 4 year programs because the goal is to get to a 4 year program. It's like saying "You don't see players who make the major leagues ever come back to single A, because they don't like riding buses," 

Also, he was LOADED on liquor in most of his one on ones.   

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The show "marching Orders" on Netflix was somewhat a similar version of this show, but showed a lot more potential, if you ask me, for a real interesting watch. It's about the Bethune Cookamn Marching Band, but the episodes are only 12 minutes long. I don't understand why they're not an hour. I was way into that show, but you can literally finish the whole thing in under 3 hours. 

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On 2018-08-06 at 5:28 AM, Uncle JUICE said:

The show "marching Orders" on Netflix was somewhat a similar version of this show, but showed a lot more potential, if you ask me, for a real interesting watch. It's about the Bethune Cookamn Marching Band, but the episodes are only 12 minutes long. I don't understand why they're not an hour. I was way into that show, but you can literally finish the whole thing in under 3 hours. 

I looove marching bands, so am going to see if it’s on Canadian Netflix. Thanks for the recommendation! One positive of such short episodes is that you wouldn’t feel too guilty binge watching the series in one go (because I have never done that, ever). 

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I watched Marching Orders last weekend too! I broke it up into two sessions so that it wouldn't be over too quickly.

It seemed like near the end of the season (maybe episode 6 or 7?), Coach Brown seemed like he suddenly mellowed out. Not enough to sit around singing kumbaya or anything, but out of nowhere, he wasn't cussing at the referees nonstop and he even told someone else to calm down (in a non aggressive way).

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OMG did you guys see that there is one more new episode? You have to click on the season dropdown menu and go to the newest "season" called EMCC & Life After. It's a one hour episode about what Miss Brittany, Buddy, and the the football players are doing now.

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