Kreis: Doomed or Determined?

Steve Davis framed this question pretty well in a piece for ESPN, but a couple things occur to me as I watch Jason Kreis' young foray into professional coaching.

To begin, and in his favor, he certainly sounds like he's up for it. Put another way, Kreis speaks about the game with a fair amount of intelligence. For example, this comes out of ESPN preview for tonight's Rapids v. RSL encounter:

"If I were to go back and analyze all of the goals that were scored against us, most of them were down to individual mental errors," Kreis said. "So for me, the entire first week has been about changing that mentality, getting players to react quicker in situations, transitioning from offense to defense."

So far I've found the substance of the above pretty representative and remain surprised that he's never sounded outright stupid (came close here, but the tone rather charmed me), never mind cliched, in his post-game commentary. Against that, though, sounding smart and capable is always easier than being smart and capable.

And, as Davis points out, Kreis needs to be both given the team and situation he inherited. One rarely noted facet to this part of the equation comes with Kreis' closeness with the team he's leading. With the speed of the media making this change feel weeks rather than days old, that gets a little lost, but a quote from Carey Talley in the Deseret News' preview of tonight's game brings home the connections Kreis retains with RSL's players:

"'Jason is a friend to a lot of us, and you don't want to let your friend down,' said Talley."

It's possible that will help more than hurt - but I doubt it. The first game forced everyone to just get on with business, but, if things keep going South as most expect, will the same apply down the line? Or will Kreis' charges question not just his credentials, but his basic competence, if the team falls off the playoff pace? The risk is that Kreis will lose this team faster than a more experienced coach every would.

For all that, Kreis sounds both happy and not a little wise as he embarks on his coaching career; so his head is in the right place. However it pans out, the man deserves a fairer shake than he's getting.

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