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Which ‘Stranger Things’ character should Ole Miss hire?

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What better way to escape the upside-down then by hiring the experts?

Premiere Of Netflix's 'Stranger Things' Season 2 - Arrivals Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

October is coming to a close, which means two things: Ole Miss’ season is almost over — thank God — and Stranger Things season two is now out on Netflix.

The two go hand in hand if you think about it. Both were waging an unwinnable battle. Ole Miss was fighting against the NCAA and having to use a depleted and less-than talented roster to combat the SEC, while one was inevitably fighting supernatural monsters and manipulative adults trying to take over the world with psychic and telekinetic powers.

Even more so, the Rebels have been dealing with myriad injuries, primarily to starting quarterback Shea Patterson, who is now out for the year. The ST kids are also dealing with this same issue. Their best friend was taken from them by some Venus fly trap-looking thing, Barb was taken to the upside-down as well in a pool of utter despair, and Eleven is, of course, dealing with constant nosebleeds every time she does her psychic thing and tries to defend everyone from those pesky grownups.

These similarities make it a natural choice to give these kids a shot at taking over the Ole Miss program and reviving it from the depths of the world on the other side of the proverbial wallpaper. Let’s take a moment to breakdown each character and see what they bring to the table as far as demeanor, style of play, and recruiting.

NOTE: SPOILERS BELOW BUT WTF FAM YOU SHOULD HAVE ALREADY SEEN SEASON ONE

Eleven

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The aforementioned lab experiment is our modern day football robot. She spent her whole life in a lab, being studied by experts and doing some spying for the government on the side. This screams that she is a professional and extremely by the book. I would expect her to keep a very tidy office, run a scripted practice, and be able to breakdown a game film like nobody’s business.

Her history as a government spy would come in handy when it comes to being up in the booth and stealing signals and play sheets from opponents. Also, she can pretty much just pick up things and move them at will so who’s to say we couldn’t use that to our advantage when it comes to adjusting player routes in the open field and manipulating deep passes and creating turnovers.

As far as concerns, she is prone to nose bleeds and has a limited vocabulary. This could be a problem when on the road recruiting and also in the huddle during timeouts. You can’t expect to lock down four and five-star players if every time you’re in a living room speaking with parents, you have to hurry to the restroom to grab a tissue or you can’t speak the slang that the kids like. Plus, she could just, like, freak out and disappear at any given moment.

Will Byers

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In season one, Will is missing for the better part of the show, but we do get an early glimpse of him in the first episode before he was captured by the Demogorgon that escaped from the nearby lab. First things first, Will isn’t exactly aware of his surroundings. That could be an issue during in-game situations, recruiting, and in practice when trying to decipher a depth chart.

This is the kind of thing that concerns me and leads me to think he could possibly be a “take out your starting quarterback and run the Wildcat” type play caller when in the red zone. Now with that said, he showed tremendous resiliency by evading the monster while in an alternate dimension and was eventually saved. This is something that could benefit him in the SEC West while trying to navigate a brutal schedule and avoid a 66-3 beat down by the division’s monster, Nick Saban. Maybe if the coaching staff would just implement an array of Christmas lights to properly communicate, we could finally stop disrespectin’ the gotdang dalburn Tide.

Another plus for his candidacy is his creativity. During Will and his friends’ Dungeons & Dragons games, he would illustrate their campaigns to describe the gameplay, and he even built a small fort in the woods. This shows promise as far as playcalling goes, both offensively and defensively. Could Will save Ole Miss money by being the head coach AND both coordinators? Dude understands strategy. #hejustgetsit

Mike Wheeler

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Mike is one of the leading characters of the group in their pursuit of Will. He was also the first character to figure out that Eleven knew some things about Will and was able to build a strong bond with her to solve the many mysteries of season one. This is an important trait given the importance of recruiting in the SEC. Mike shows an innate ability to connect with strangers, which is essentially what recruiting is. He’s also likable and fearless, two traits to ensure success with five-star players.

He also shows promise when it comes to watching film due to his title as president of the AV Club. A true film junkie. This is a must if you’re going to be a successful coach in the Southeastern Conference. You must be able and willing to devote hours and hours and hours of your time to breaking down film and finding weaknesses in your opponent’s game plan week in and week out.

Another trait that screams out “CEO of a football program” is Mike’s hosting abilities. The group’s D&D games were held at his house in their basement. This would be instrumental in campaigning for fundraising for the program and being a must-see attraction on Rebel Road Trips. With that said, he is a bit of an optimist, which could potentially hurt his candidacy. Maybe he can’t see why his playcalling is trash; maybe he won’t be able to see when a recruit is going to pick Alabama and was playing him all along. Sounds familiar.

Lucas Sinclair

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Another member of the AV Club, Lucas is the complete opposite of Mike. He is a hard-nosed pessimist who questions Eleven up until he has no choice because ya know the supernatural stuff happens right in front of him. This frame of reference could be instrumental when it comes to in-game decisions like, moving away from the run game because there are zero signs it’s going to work... ever. Or pulling out of a croot sweepstakes because he sees right through their trolling bullshit. Lucas recognized Eleven’s talent early, even if he didn’t know what to think about it.

He is a no nonsense type which the Rebels need. Discipline at every turn could help turn around a program that has been dragged through the mud after a sloppy Hugh Freeze tenure. Lucas displays a certain approach, even during scary situations, that he is all business and not here for the clowning. If Ole Miss is to get past these dark times, Lucas could be the guy to get them there with his stern demeanor and serious attitude.

Towards the end of season one, Lucas’ hard exterior ultimately gave way to sensitivity and compassion. As we’ve mentioned before, one must be able to put on the charm when it comes to recruiting, having in-game chats with players who don’t always take to hardcore criticism, and when meeting with boosters and the big wigs in the athletic department. Lucas is very near the top of our list because of this.

Dustin Henderson

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He is undoubtedly the life of the party and comic relief of the group. And he is as extroverted a candidate that we have on the Stranger Things Coaching Hot Board. He moved to Hawkins in the fourth grade and was able to embed himself in the group rather quickly. This is something that bodes well for him since he will be making a huge change moving from Indiana to Mississippi and leaving Big Ten country for SEC country.

Mr. Henderson looks to be a very analytical, by the numbers type coaching candidate. He is always aware of his surroundings, was the first to speak up and challenge the group when faced with an issue, and played peacemaker when there was turmoil among the crew. He can keep his cool amidst even the fiercest of chaos. These are all fantastic qualities for the next coach in Oxford. It appears that he could be very calculated in his pre-game preparation, would be a great motivational speaker before games, and would be someone who could make the proper adjustments at halftime to avoid being shut out by a Pac 12 program that allegedly knew every single play you were running on offense.

The former head coach at Ole Miss wasn’t someone who accepted responsibility, nor was he someone to resolve conflicts. Previous coaches have pointed fingers elsewhere when there’s blame to go on them. Dustin isn’t someone who would do that. As we mentioned with Lucas, he would bring a refreshing, no nonsense approach that the Rebs desperately need right now.

Strategically, Dustin can also smell a trap. He pointed out, in a heated argument, that even Lando Calrissian was willing to turn on his friends when the price was right. I wonder if that applies to anything at Ole Miss.

Steve Harrington

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I’m getting a very Pac 12 sort of vibe from Steve, but hey, let’s go outside the box hire for once. One thing that ultimately turns me off about Steve is his past as a bully. This could potentially rub folks the wrong way inside and outside of the program. I’m fine with being a bully on the field, but can he turn it off when he needs to? Therein lies the issue. There is hope for him as a potential top candidate after he had a change of heart and ultimately started working with the group to rid the town of the monster.

He did show an open mind and an ability to accept criticism from his peers. Most head coaches hate taking orders or advice from coordinators, but Steve has shown that he can do that and translate it to success (he did help Nancy beat up the monster). He has a brash and aggressive side to him which would bode well offensively AND defensively given the Rebels current roster. We have been begging for TEAM CHAOS to show up every week and Steve’s no-holds barred approach could be just what the doctor ordered.

Harrington also shows that he is willing to think outside of his own box and be open to using methods he is not usually open to. He made peace with Will’s brother, Johnathan, after breaking his camera, and he was incredibly brave when shit hit the fan towards the end of season one. He didn’t tuck and run away from adversity, something that is going to rear its head when you’re the second smallest institution in the conference and dealing with a roster held together with duct tape.

I guess, if anything, it’s unlikely he would have an escort scandal, given that the ladies love him. Still, his abusive past wouldn’t fly for the next head coach.

Nancy Wheeler

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The older sister of Mike is extremely smart and showed intensity and valor when the going got tough in season one. This is something that every coach should have. She is someone who does well in school, is prepared at every turn, and eventually shows a rebellious side towards the end of the season. Nancy strikes me as a calculated assassin in the coaching world. Sort of like a Gary Patterson or a Mike Leach. People underestimate her, and then she goes and escapes from the upside down on her own.

She has the ability to exhibit compassion when she needs to, and she knows when to turn off the charm and get angry. Both are key cogs when going door-to-door recruiting and when trying to settle down a rattled quarterback on the road in the second quarter. She also showed no hesitation when faced with the monster (Alabama) and was willing to throw herself in harm’s way when searching for her friend, Barb.

Nancy shows promise as a future Ole Miss head coach in a few ways. She can be the tough, in your face lightning rod that you need to get out of the proverbial SEC cellar, but she’s also not afraid to throw herself in the fire if faced with a NCAA investigation. The latter is something that Freeze didn’t quite get. Nancy has slowly moved up the coaching hot board with her display of being able to work a room with multiple crowds and her tenacious gall when things get hairy.

Joyce Byers

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Oh hell no. Joyce is a hot mess. Sure, her ridiculousness was justified, and no one knows how they act when they lose a child, but.... come on. Get it together.

One can’t deny that her paternal qualities would definitely come in handy on the road in recruiting when trying to convince parents of potential commitments that she can take care of them, but then again she let a monster steal her child. So we find ourselves in quite the pickle.

I guess, and this is stretching it in an otherwise totally rational and pertinent blog post, maybe we could convince her every week that the other coach had stolen her child and the only way to get him back was to win that week’s football game. But this article isn’t dealing in silly hypotheticals. It’s firmly-rooted in the real world. Because of that, Joyce just doesn’t work.

Barbara Holland

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Doesn’t seem to be a realistic candidate because she’s deceased... or is she?


The Verdict

When all is said and done, it’s Dustin in a landslide because how could it be anyone else? Can you imagine Nick Saban’s day of reckoning coming from a kid with a duck face? Also, if there’s anyone out there who doesn’t like Dustin after seeing the entire first season, I’d like to punch that person in the face.

But hey... I guess we’ll probably just give the job to some obscure character in the show who went to Ole Miss or some stupid shit like that.

Maybe one of the characters is friends with someone who owns a successful chain of combination fast food restaurants and has been in a movie that is a remake of a book. And that very remake was absolute trash. Yeah, that’s what we need. Sign me up.

Fin