FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Paul Rhoads used to be a viral sensation. His defensive backs at Arkansas might not be aware, though.
“Probably looking back on it, I get the impression, no,” Rhoads said of his current unit. “They had no idea who I was or what my background was.”
Rhoads, who spent the previous seven seasons as Iowa State’s head coach, was a two-time YouTube sensation because of postgame locker-room speeches. The first time was after a 2009 win at Nebraska. The second came after his team shocked No. 2 Oklahoma State in 2011.
Rhoads, though, said players are more interested that he coached NFL superstar cornerback Darrelle Revis when they were at the University of Pittsburgh.
“They hear that, and that changes things,” Rhoads said. “Viral videos probably aren’t that impressive to them.”
Rhoads also was mentioned in a stump speech by President Barack Obama.
“That was pretty cool,” the coach said.
While visiting Ames, Iowa, in August 2012 — in the thick of that year’s election — Obama told the crowd, “Cyclones football kicks off at home this Saturday. I won’t pretend I can give a speech like coach Rhoads can, but I’m gonna try.”
On Sunday during Arkansas’ local media day, Rhoads said, “I remember that day quite well.”
Obama’s helicopter was scheduled to land across the street from Jack Trice Stadium. Rhoads went into the stadium and found a high vantage point to watch the arrival.
“That was a no-no with the Secret Service,” Rhoads said. “They were up very quickly into the stadium to find out who that was. So, from a better position that was well protected, I was able to watch him come in on his helicopter and get whisked away.”
Rhoads went to his office and listened to Obama’s speech. Within two minutes, the president mentioned Rhoads’ oratorical skills.
“Yeah, I had a pretty big smile on my face when he threw that out,” Rhoads said.