Alright, first, full disclosure: our beloved Brian Murphy is way too respectful of journalistic ethics and norms to do this, so I'm doing it.
It all started with this tweet from FAU head coach Lane Kiffin:
Kiffin's graphic, sitting in FAU's weight room, portrays a quote from UCF's Nevelle Clarke as a form of motivation for FAU running back Devin Singletary in advance of Friday night's game between the Owls and the Knights.
Yeah, one problem: Clarke never said that.
As Murph astutely pointed out:
Here's the story in the Orlando Sentinel that Brian wrote, and as you can plainly see, Nevelle Clarke didn't actually say that about Devin Singletary:
Clarke has watched Singletary on film and calls him “a pretty good back.” However, he is looking forward to that challenge and stopping Conference’s USA’s reigning Most Valuable Player dead in his tracks.
Now, to be fair, Brian is the one who wrote that, and all of it is accurate and fairly, well, banal. And Nevelle Clarke, while a great quote, would never go out of his way to say something so brash in public that would become obvious bulletin board material.
But that didn't stop the Lane Train from somehow managing to misquote and mischaracterize both Nevelle Clarke and Brian Murphy for the purposes of trying to stir up some stuff ahead of Friday night.
Enter Clarke's dad, Norman:
So somebody lied on my son? I guess they’re looking for motivation.— Norman Clarke (@Aboverealityno1) September 18, 2018
By lunch on Tuesday, it was becoming news:
Lane Kiffin falsified a quote for motivation. These college football fans weren’t happy https://t.co/qzhRD6zKF8— Bradenton Herald (@bradentonherald) September 18, 2018
So of course Reddit CFB would pick this up:
UCF fans upset FAU put up a fake quote by DB Nevelle Clarke in their weight room (tweeted by Lane Kiffin) because, apparently, “however, I look forward to stopping him dead in his tracks” portion is not true: https://t.co/qSDCXI8RGe #FAUvsUCF pic.twitter.com/TLWEkq45DO— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) September 18, 2018
As did Friend of The Banneret Jamie Seh of WKMG News 6, who covered it on the 6 p.m. newscast Tuesday.
Now, Lane has been sufficiently respectful of UCF to this point, as is evidenced by his comments at his weekly presser:
Lane Kiffin on playing UCF:— UCFSportsInfo (@UCFSportsInfo) September 17, 2018
“Height, weight, speed, the players, the size of the guys; it’s like playing an SEC opponent.” pic.twitter.com/asl1QSnfjZ
But Brian is right: Coaches are gonna coach. They have every reason to do whatever they need to do to get their players at peak readiness for every game, and if that means gaslighting said players, hey, whatever floats your boat.
It's just that you'd think Lane Kiffin would have learned the rules of accurate quotation (not to mention how to spell Clarke's last name) before posting bulletin board material, just in case his players - and the internet - find out.
All of this is to say that Lane Kiffin is either not as great at motivational psychology as he thinks he is, or he just can't read very well.
On Wednesday, UCF head coach Josh Heupel said he was aware of the quote posted in FAU's weight room and said with a wry smile, "I'm not sure that statement is necessarily correct. He (Kiffin) might have taken some -- whatever you want to say, he finished the statement how he maybe wanted the statement to look.
"At the end of the day, we're going to go line up and play for 60 minutes."