Some names just don’t fit personality types. You never meet a Gertrude or a Matilda who’s an absolute wild woman, a Buddy who’s low-key, a Big Al who doesn’t sell used — excuse my 20th-century terminology; I meant to type “pre-owned” — vehicles for a living.
And then there’s the name Patrick Sullivan. Everybody knows one. Nobody knows one who’s quiet, fades into the background, says “no thank you, but it was kind of you to ask,” when offered a legal beverage. Loud, funny, life of the party, laughs a lot, answers to Sully. You’ve met one, you’ve met them all and can’t wait to meet the next.
Lawrence has one who fits the stereotype. Mix that with an extreme case of Jayhawk love and the result is about what you would think. A color-correct tattoo of the 1941 Jayhawk on his right shoulder, a 1946 Jayhawk on his left shoulder, 14 items — stickers, a license-plate frame, decals, etc. — on one of the family cars pledging loyalty to his alma mater. You know the type.
Sullivan, KU Class of 1991, graduated from Rockhurst High, grew up in Kansas City, Mo., attended the University of Missouri for three months and “absolutely hated it.” He resumed his academic career at KU and has been drinking the Kool-Aid ever since.
This being KU-Missouri week, even during an outrageously horrific football season for the local gridders, Sullivan’s motor runs at an even faster pace than usual, which is to say at about the speed of Dario Franchitti’s. The recent arrest of Tigers coach Gary Pinkel on drunk-driving charges has revved him up even more.
Any man who thinks as much about one game as Sully has thought about what likely will be the last enactment of the Border War for a long, long time, has a shot at offering helpful advice to Turner Gill, who will coach his final game Saturday in Arrowhead Stadium and will be paid the remaining $6 million due him within 90 days of his firing.
Sullivan’s here to help.
“The only way we beat Missouri is to give them something they haven’t prepared for,” he said.
By that he did not mean for the team to come out of the tunnel wearing all white uniforms with white helmets.
“Jordan Webb’s a very predictable quarterback,” Sullivan said. “Why not run Christian Matthews in a wildcat-option set the entire game. He’s proven he knows how to handle the ball in the backfield and has the IQ to make plays. And with (James) Sims, (Darrian) Miller, (D.J.) Beshears and (Tony) Pierson as options, KU can feature their greatest components, speed and the offensive line. If Jordan Webb is forced to make plays, MU is going to blitz and force turnovers, shortening the field and scoring quickly and often.”
Kansas almost never runs out of the wildcat.
“If Chuck Long can add a couple of pass wrinkles for Matthews, a former QB, or one of the running backs, MU will have to make reactive adjustments,” Sullivan said.
An upset would make his month.
“KU can send MU packing to the SEC with a humiliating loss, compounding MU’s shame over the past week,” Sullivan said.
He makes it sound so simple, almost as easy as reciting your ABCs.