There has always been an uneasy relationship between football coaches and the sports media. Coaches are notorious for dismissing media members as unqualified to question them, dodging questions with “coach speak” clichés, and using a lot of words to say nothing. On the other hand, media members partially bring this upon themselves by asking the same questions over and over, bringing up asinine topics, and asking leading questions to which an honest answer would cause a coach to get fined.
Which brings us to SEC media days. Over the course of the last three days, over 1,200 media members were given access to all 14 SEC coaches, and select players. With a group this prestigious, clearly the media would ask tough, hard hitting questions about the major issues affecting college football and the SEC. Like why Johnny Manziel overslept on Sunday. And why AJ McCarron didn’t wake him up. You know, the important stuff.
So it’s no wonder the coaches spent the week dodging questions. But behind every dodged question, there is a hidden meaning. So I’m going to pull out my handy “coach speak” translator, and reveal the hidden meaning behind some of the best coaching quotes from this week.
Quote: “Is he perfect? No. I think he has done some things that he’s not very proud of, has made some poor decisions. He’s made some good decisions. Unfortunately, the poor decisions are the ones that are really publicized.” – Texas A&M Head coach Kevin Sumlin on Johnny Manziel’s offseason.
Translation: “Have you seen this kid play! He won the freakin’ Heisman as a freshman!. As long as he keeps playing this week, I don’t care if he gets a kegerator installed in his truck and spends the next year impregnating half the girls in College Station”
Quote: “Scheduling should not in any way decide championships repeatedly or throughout.” – LSU coach Les Miles
Translation: “How is it fair that I have to play against Florida every year, and Alabama gets to roll over the smoldering pile of ash that used to be Tennessee’s program?”
Quote: “We don’t know who our quarterback is. We have four guys. We’re going to give them an equal shot and figure out who gives us the best chance of winning.” – Auburn coach Gus Malzahn
Translation: “We’re screwed at Quarterback. How much money do you think it would cost to get Cam Newton back here?”
Quote: “I’d also like to make a note here that in the last 21 seasons, you as the media have only picked the right team four times to win the SEC. Now, if I was 4-17 as a coach, I would be back in West Virginia pumping my gas at my daddy’s gas station, which we don’t really want to go there.” – Alabama coach Nick Saban on the Tide being picked to win the SEC.
Translation: “Let’s get these dumb questions out of the way quickly so I can go watch film for the next 72 hours.”
Quote: “The Pope is 77 and can lead a million people. I only have to get 11 players on the field.” – South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier on getting older.
Translation: “Did you see what happened to Paterno when he stopped coaching? Dude dropped dead three months later. You’re going to have to drag my corpse off the field at age 110.”
Quote: “We have an awful lot on the line. We can’t take anything for granted at Kentucky right now. We can’t just show up and beat anybody.” – Kentucky coach Mark Stoops
Translation: “Literally, we can’t beat anybody. We proved that last year.”
Quote: “We’re going to have a young football team. Only 10 seniors on the roster. A lot of opportunities for young guys to step up, not just as play-makers on the field, but young guys need to step into leadership roles for us this year.” – Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen on the youth on his team
Translation: “Prepare for us to stink this year, and for me to blame it on youth.”
Quote: “Well, I can’t really control that. I think that would have to be handled on the presidential level as far as that’s concerned. Would I like that? I would like that. I think that would be a good thing for the league to be in sync in that regard. I would think it’s going to be very difficult to do certainly at the presidential level, they would all have to agree that it should be done, this is what it’s going to look like.” – Georgia coach Mark Richt on the school’s strict drug policy
Translation: “If Auburn and LSU had a drug policy like ours, they wouldn’t be able to field a team.”
Quote: “It was probably the worst injury situation I’ve ever been a part of. We’re going to make some changes and I’m excited about that. Hopefully that will keep us healthy.” – Missouri coach Gary Pinkel
Translation: “I may just forfeit the South Carolina game this year so that Jadeveon Clowney doesn’t knock out my quarterback and entire offensive line for the season.”
Quote: “There’s no question the momentum that was created at the end of the year was greatly beneficial to us in recruiting.” – Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze on recruiting being helped by closing the season strong.
Translation: “Well, that and the fact that we are definitely paying players from this incoming recruiting class.”
Quote: “Very proud of the fact that we’re part of what we call the 20-20-20 Club. That is us and Notre Dame are the only two schools in the country that finished in the top 20 on the football field, that had a top 20 recruiting class, and are in the top 20 academic institutions. We’re very, very proud of that stat as well.” – Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin
Translation: “In ten years, when most of Auburn and Alabama’s players are Waffle House cooks and Wal-Mart clerks, my guys are going to be doctors and lawyers.”
Quote: “One bad tweet can change everyone’s opinion of you. Basically the common rule we use is if you can put it in an email to your mother, grandmother, significant other, whoever is important in your life, if you can send that in an email to them, you can push send.” – Tennessee coach Butch Jones on social media
Translation: “The internet is the worst thing to happen to college coaches since coed dorms.”
Quote: “The lower the better. I think our kids are carrying a tremendous chip on their shoulder.” – Arkansas coach Bret Bielema when asked for his thoughts on Arkansas being predicted to finish toward the bottom of the SEC West.
Translation: “Our players are very unhappy about the fact that they’re terrible and plan on being angry about it all season.”
Quote: “We appreciate our friends from Ohio making sure we follow NCAA rules. They certainly know something about NCAA rules.” – Florida head coach Will Muschamp when asked about Ohio State’s recent involvement in turning in the Gators for a secondary recruiting violation.
Translation: “Urban Meyer is a prick.”