There are few things I love more than Ted Lasso.
It is “the Mt. Rushmore of tv shows” per Zach Berry, and I seriously can’t agree more. While the list is short, Ole Miss football is atop it. With over a month and a half to go, I have started to become restless. Nine months without football should be considered cruel and unusual. Luckily for me, and for you, season two of Ted Lasso comes out tomorrow to get us through. It is still football after all. ;)
It seems dramatic to write an article about what Ted Lasso means to me, because it’s a fictional tv show! ...But here we are. It is no coincidence that it came at a time everyone was getting a little anxious. The world was shut down, we hadn’t seen loved ones in months, America was trying to battle through an insurmountable political divide, and then came Ted Lasso. The Pandemic was/is incredibly difficult for most people and for a really long time, it was hard to think about anything positive.
The first time I watched Ted Lasso, I was in a little bit of a slump. The SEC had just announced it would have an all-conference season, and that was if there would EVEN BE a season. I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it back to Oxford for school when all of my classes would be online. It all seems trivial now, but at the time it was brutal.
As we’ve been approaching the upcoming football and Ted Lasso seasons, I’ve noticed a few similarities between the two:
Lane Kiffin as Ted Lasso
It was almost as if this character was written based on Lane Kiffin. Like Lasso, Kiffin was a very controversial hiring. Many questioned his worthiness for the job and whether or not he would be capable of success, despite a proven track record of success at previous lower-level schools. (Probably also because he wasn’t #MississippiMade but who knows?) They both excessively celebrate, love a good visor, and are wildly entertaining. Lasso was an American in England knowing nothing about soccer, and Kiffin came in as a “bad boy” wanting to continue to find success in the SEC.
They’re unconventional and definitely do things differently, but both Lasso and Kiffin are making football fun again.
Jeff Lebby as Coach Beard
“You my right hand, you my go-to.” Beard needs Lasso, and Lasso needs Beard. It seems as though this relationship is very similar to that of Ole Miss’ two great offensive minds. Coach Beard and Jeff Lebby are both quiet but smart and show small glimpses of a quick-wit.
There is no denying Lebby’s incredible impact on the Ole Miss program in one year, and if you have seen Ted Lasso, then you know Lasso cannot be successful without his Coach Beard.
Keith Carter as Rebecca Welton
Rebecca is a baller. She calls the shots, takes risks, and knows how to handle business. I will say when Keith Carter was named the Athletic Director, I was skeptical. I didn’t love that his credentials for hiring were he played basketball at Ole Miss. I have now eaten all of my words. Like Rebecca, he doesn’t typically do things the way they are normally done.
I have oftentimes been unsure of his approach, but I couldn’t be more grateful for him.
Wilson Love as Higgins
Man, I love me some Higgins. If you have ever seen Wilson Love in action, you might be confused as to why I have made this comparison. The Head Athletic Trainer is honestly out of control but in the very best way.
He loves a whistle and has insane energy throughout the entire day. Every player loves him, and they always remark on how much encouragement he gives. While Higgins is not an athletic trainer, he does offer that same encouragement to everyone around him.
Rebecca Welton treats him awfully at the beginning of the season, yet he is always there to help her. The answer is honestly really simple. Higgins loves Richmond the way that Coach Love loves his players.
John Rhys Plumlee as Dani Rojas
There is no one on Earth who is a better hype man than John Rhys Plumlee. He is the first to celebrate, always the biggest cheerleader, and is just excited and happy to be there. “He is a special, special kid, way beyond a player,” Kiffin said of Plumlee. “Knox (Kiffin’s son) is sitting over there. It has nothing to do with playing. If he ends up like John Rhys Plumlee as a person, I’d be really excited.” I’m honestly not sure that there is anyone out there that doesn’t love Plumlee.
I loved watching Dani Rojas because of how much fun it looked like he was having everyone time that he got onto the pitch. John Rhys is the same way, and I’m very excited to see what he is capable of this upcoming season in his new role. FOOTBALL IS LIFE!!!!!
Chris Partridge as Nate the Great
If Nate isn’t one of your favorite characters, you’re lying. There isn’t a lot that we know about the assistant coaches, but we do know a little. Co-defensive coordinator Chris Partridge is from Jersey, so automatically, you know he’s mouthy and fun. I imagine that he is a lot like Nate in this scene, with a clever and hilarious approach to absolutely obliterating his defense, as needed.
Kevin Smith as Jamie Tartt
At first, Tartt is made to be a villain in the show, but as it progresses, you can’t help but adore him. Tartt is sassy and cocky but he backs it up. From what I’ve seen with running backs coach Kevin Smith, he’s the same way. He runs his mouth about beating players on one-on-ones, and then he suits up and does it. He’s also very, very good at his job.
Terrell Buckley as Roy Kent
Terrell Buckley was that dudeeeeee. I love how humble both Roy and Terrell Buckley are. Buckley was the fifth overall pick, a Super Bowl champion, and had 50 interceptions in his career in the NFL and then thought, yeah why not give coaching a try. One of the very coolest moments in Ted Lasso is when Roy tackles Jamie Tartt in the last episode of the season.
I will admit, I cried when I heard the entire stadium chanting “he’s here, he’s there, he’s every f*&@ing where, ROY KENT, ROY KENT.” I can imagine there were a lot of quarterbacks who had this same mentality from 1992-2005.
Myself as Trent Crimm
I will be the first to admit that when it came to hiring a new coach, I very much resembled Trent Crimm and his initial attitude. I had my own moment of “So let me get this straight. We’re firing our head coach, in the middle of the recruiting cycle, while blindsiding the players?” Nevertheless, I was wrong. Kiffin is the perfect man for the job.
Arkansas Football as Rupert Mannion
Arkansas and Rupert Mannion are just the absolute worst. Here’s a hot take: I would rather deal with Mississippi State and its fans over Arkansas. I don’t know what the curse is, but for some reason, it is freaking painful to play them.
I’m looking forward to this year because Matt Corral has to redeem himself, and Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman is brilliant. It’s not always going to be a good game, but it will always be a weird one.
Mississippi State as Flo “Sassy” Collins
Here we go. If you watched the episode “Make Rebecca Great Again” then you most likely remember, Rebecca’s best mate Sassy. This might be a spoiler, but she only makes one appearance and it’s in this episode. Sassy perfectly embodies State due what she brings to the table. You really only think about her once a year, and she came in at the exact right time.
Ted (Lane Kiffin in this case) needed a little encouragement after signing divorce papers (starting the season 3-4) that same night. Sassy came, made you feel good for a little, and then you didn’t have to think about her again.
And... Coach Leach, like Sassy, is here for a good time, but probably not a long time.