<<I have to say I am a little baffled at your assertion that the institutions are friendly/passive holders who will happily ride this stock down.>>
A lot of these institutions have stuck with this stock for years. I am not making any other assertions other than pointing out that the short position relative to shares not owned by management, index funds, and very large institutional holders (Greenlight and Marsico own almost 10% each) is rather high.
It is also not my key justification to owning the shares. Just an interesting technical data point--do you not agree that it is a crowded short?