Friday, July 25, 2008

Lessons in Coach-speak

The Big Ten held its annual Kickoff Meeting earlier this week. As per usual, the meeting was long on cliche and short on actual useful information. As a public service, I would like to provide a little primer on coach-speak

Ron Zook, Illinois:
"First of all, let me just say that I'm very, very proud of our football team and what we were able to accomplish this past year, but I think the thing that as a football coach you have to go on, it's over."
Translation: Did you know that we went to the Rose Bowl last year

"The thing we've talked about football team since we've gotten back from California is that we're not there yet. We still have a long, long way to go. We have to continue to remember why, or how, I should say, how we were able to get to make the progress that we were able to do. So we're excited about it."
That's right, we made the Rose Bowl last year, when none of you thought I knew how to coach.

"There are two things we said when we got back from California. Number one, I said, when you guys watch the tape you're really going to be disappointed because we didn't play the way we were capable of playing. And not to take anything away from Southern Cal; they're a great football program and they've done a great job. But that was the number one thing."
Did I mention that the Rose Bowl is in California. Where it's warm, like almost every day.

Bill Lynch, Indiana
"Thank you. Like the rest of the guys I'm excited to be here and ready to get going again. Summer goes quick but I think all of us as coaches, once we get to this point of the summer, we're ready for our guys to come in where we can work with them."
I'm really glad that some of you guys actually know who I am.

Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
"First of all, just say hello and welcome."
Please don't ask about university policy.

"A couple words about our football team this coming year."
And don't ask about the conditioning programs for our incoming recruits.
"We have a real unusual and rare combination, certainly a little different than what I'm used to..."
Some of them don't have their attorneys on speed dial

"...but we still have a relatively young football team this year. "
I'm sure they will before the season is over

"We have a very experienced football team in a lot of ways..."
Just not any that pertain to actually playing football

" we're really optimistic about the way things are going to shake out for us and anxious to get started."
I'm really tired of talking to law enforcement officials

Mark Dantonio, Michigan State:
"Where we sit right now as a program, we're on first base. We're on first base trying to get to second."
Maybe the university president will let me feel her up if we beat Michigan

"And I can honestly say we had a chance to win every single game going into the last three or four minutes of the game."
Do you remember where you were when we almost beat Michigan? This isn't over, Pride comes before the autumnal equinox. Is Mike Hart here?

Tim Brewster, Minnesota:
"It's great to be back in Chicago. Starting a new season, a tremendous optimism, very excited about the challenge that we have at the University of Minnesota."
Can you believe they let me come back here again? This season just has to be better than last year, doesn't it?

Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern:
Question: Joe Tiller's last year, you've been around the Big Ten for a while. What do you think his impact has been, particularly bringing that wide-open offense to a more traditional conference when he came in?
"I think Joe Tiller will always be looked at in the Big Ten as an innovator on the football field. He'll be looked at, I believe, within our coaching ranks, as someone who has never changed who he is, his personality has always been the same, a tremendous sense of humor, and I'm very excited to have Coach Tiller move into retirement."
One more old guy leaving the game, moves me that much closer to the top. Plus he always makes me think of oatmeal.

Jim Tressel, Ohio State:
Question: Jim, you guys are the overwhelming No. 1 pick in this conference in the preseason poll with Wisconsin, Illinois, but there's no Michigan or Penn State in that top three. How accurate do you think that poll is?
"It hasn't been very accurate in the past, which is a little frightening. But, you know, it's really kind of irrelevant because there is Penn State, there is Michigan, there is Michigan State, there is Purdue, there is Minnesota and on and on and on, and you have to line up."
Did I leave anybody out? It doesn't really matter who they vote second. All your teams are belong to us.

Question: Coach, you're 6-1 against Michigan in seven years. To what do you attribute your success against Michigan and is this perhaps the best rivalry in all of sports?
I sold my soul to Satan many years ago. That and creative financing on slightly used cars

Joe Tiller, Purdue:
Question: Can you take some pride in the fact that so many other schools have adopted your offensive style?
"Not really. I think it was going to happen sooner or later. Young people like to throw and catch and run around and high five each other and enjoy having fun playing the game. I think the style of offense is a fun style, I guess, to participate in."
If it wasn't for me, this league would still be stuck in the stone ages. Hey, who let all these damn bloggers in here?

Brett Bielema, Wisconsin:
"Thank you. It's great to be back in Chicago for media day. Missed you guys. I hope everybody is doing well."
Not really, but it sounded nice

"But we're very excited. We have a great record in night games, and any advantage you can gain on Ohio State and Penn State is a good thing. Hopefully Wisconsin fans if they have a couple more hours to relax in the stadium parking lot."
The family that drinks together, stays together.

Question: As one of the contenders picked by the media, what's it like to not see Michigan up there, kind of a perennial pick for years?
We've beaten them two out of three and are going to run all over their new sissy offense this year.

Joe Paterno, Penn State:
Question: Coach, general thoughts on being inducted into the College Football Hall of
I'm not dead yet

Question: Joe, with your own status people talk about retirement. Do you ever just feel bad at times feel like people are trying to force you out when you have a lot to contribute still?
No, seriously, I'm not dead. I feel quite fit, actually. I still kick your ass, paperboy

Question: Coach, you said you kind of get tired of people badgering you, asking you about your contract, about retirement.
So why are you asking me about it?

Question: Coach, is there a certain type of scenario that would unfold this year that would make you feel like hey, this is the time to go?
If you ask the same question over and over again, it might just drive crazier than I already am. BRAINS!!

Rich Rodriguez, Michigan:
"I know I missed some of my colleagues, the Joe Tiller roast, and I'm going to have some fun with him. Only thing, I can't wait to see Joe, because I've been looking all summer on my new snake oil concoction that I want to give Joe."
I stayed up all night thinking of that one

Question: Coach, looking back at the outcome to the lawsuit with West Virginia, do you have any regrets there?
Yea, i wish I didn't have to pay 1.5 million dollars to those SOBs who need to get a life. Any other stupid questions?

Question: As you alluded to, there's been seven months. How have you kind of coped
with that?
We try and take it day by day. Ha! I answered your pointless question with a meaningless answer.

"The players' attitude has been tremendous as far as working hard and buying into it, and also I think from the standpoint of all the questions about a so-called outside guy come in, I've not heard that at all from my fans. Maybe they've said it behind closed doors, whatever, but the places I've been to and talked to Michigan fans, they've been terrific, and I'm really excited about that."
Now if we could just get the Ann Arbor News on board, we'd be set!