Thursday, July 22, 2010

All You Need to Know From Day Two of SEC Media Days

Thursday was a collision of different speaking styles and candor.  Bobby Petrino was his normal self, void of personality and pulse, Mark Richt was a tan sheet of 8.5" X 11" paper (and NOT card stock) and the Media Days great Steve Spurrier chose to go with a what's-the-point-of-all-this-we're-all-going-to-die-anyway approach.  Stephen Garcia will do that to a man's soul.  And then there was interim Vanderbilt coach Robbie Caldwell.  He delivered a performance of such magnificence that cold, stopped-caring-about-sports-years-ago sportswriters applauded him as he left the room.

So let's get to it, the quotes of the day courtesy of Bobby Petrino, Mark Richt, Robbie Caldwell and Steve Spurrier.

Fooled you. didn't I?  Thought we would start with the good stuff of Caldwell after that intro?  WRONG.  We need to get through the administrative paperwork portion first.

Upon further review, Bobby Petrino said nothing worth placing here.  Let's move on to the next Excel spreadsheet.

Before entering the room, reporters were told Richt would not answer any questions about Georgia's potential NCAA problems, both those of "Dawg Night" and the report that placed A.J. Green at the now infamous South Beach party that might wipe out rosters across the Southeast (Green has denied being there, saying he's never even been to Miami).  So he really had nothing to talk about.
"Special teams, you know, Drew Butler, one of the finest punters in America"
Fine enough that he brought him to Media Days.  Tell me more about special teams...
"...a lot of guys back on those special teams."
Excellent news.  Shortly after reading this, I did a faceplant on my laptop, which closed the PDF I was reading.  Not one to waste valuable time, I chose not to reopen the PDF and because of that action, we move on to the next coach.

The entire time you're reading this, think of a percentage in which this is better than whatever Bobby Johnson had to offer.  My rough estimate is 12,000% better.
"This is awesome."
"I know the first question you're asking is, Who is Robbie Caldwell? Very few people know me. So I've been behind the scenes for a long time. I think I've been an assistant for 30-something years. I really don't know how many."
On the day he was named interim coach:
"But tremendous, tremendous day obviously for me. My family was in a panic. All they heard was 'retirement.' You know all the speculation that goes on as well as anybody. They were all in an uproar, crying, carrying on. They never heard about the part about me getting to be interim head coach."
Some confusion over the question and answer portion:
"I don't know all the format here. At this point, I'll be glad to open it to questions, whatever. Anything I can do, fire 'em at me."
How does he feel about the interim label:
"I'm just thrilled to have an opportunity. I told my wife, if it's two days or 20 years, I will now be able to say, Hey, I was a head coach one time, other than in 1977 when I was head baseball coach. We were pretty good, by the way. We were 14-2, had a chance, made the state playoffs."
If it's two days, I will make the trip to Nashville and burn that place to the ground.  And how does he plan on approaching the job:
"All I know how to do is work. I've been a worker all my life. I grew up in it. My wife said, You can't talk about anything but football.  I can. I can talk about pouring concrete, farming, being a pipefitter, all those things, working on a turkey farm. But nobody wants to hear that. Those are the things that I did prior to getting into football. That's the God's truth."
Welcome-to-coaching moment:
"I got to see Coach Spurrier today, Coach Richt. They have no idea who I am."
In their defense, I think they've publicly stated they have no time for poor people.  And then there was this:
"I mean, think about it. Here I am, I go from lining the field to I'm head coach in the SEC. I'm telling you, what a thrill. It's a dream.  I can still walk in places and nobody knows me. Last night I was opening the door for people and they gave me a tip. I thought, hey, that's great. How can you get it any better than that?"
On continuing Bobby Johnson's policy of no cursing in practices:
"You know, I'm no angel, that's for certain. We certainly do try to live by that. But, you know, it's just a sign of limited vocabulary sometimes. I know y'all can't tell it, but I do have an education (smiling)."
A tale of getting into coaching:
"When I took a pay cut to go to Furman as a full-time assistant, my daddy said, You're an idiot. I've continued to live up to his words, I'm sure (smiling). But the rest is history."
If you ever go to Pageland, South Carolina, here's what you need to know:
"You had to like watermelon, number one, because it was the watermelon capitol of the word, we proclaimed anyway. You had to like hunting and fishing. Frog gigging."
"If you played a sport, you didn't have to work during a practice time. That's why I played basketball. I was probably the worst there's ever been, but I played it so I wouldn't have to go pour concrete."
"My first hourly paying job was on the turkey farm. I don't know if I could tell you what my job was, but I was on the inseminating crew. That's a fact. I worked my way to the top. That's a fact, man. If you don't believe it, call Nicolas. Of course, I think they're defunct now. Best job I ever had, got paid by the hour for the first time. That was about '68, '69. That's what we did every afternoon."
"I know I don't look it, but I feel 18. I may fall over tomorrow, but I'm excited about being here in front of you. I'm not intimidated. I feel like y'all are human just like me, I guess. I don't think any of you is from outer space."
After being asked if his duties on the turkey farm ever affected his ability to enjoy Thanksgiving:
"(Pulling his jacket out and showing his large stomach.)  I knew I was a fat guy, but I didn't need all these heavy-duty extra springs. This job has been good for me, I've lost about seven pounds in the last eight days."
Did he feel guilty at Thanksgiving:
"No, not really, 'cause of some of the headaches I went throughout there. It's amazing. A wild turkey is one of the smartest animals in the world. But a domestic turkey is the dumbest thing. We had to put sprinklers out there to keep them from smothering out there in the summer when it gets hot. If you don't believe it, research it."
He was tempted to follow this with a 20-minute discussion of the turkey family, but then a reporter (PROBABLY SOME NO-GOOD BLOGGER) asked him to explain what insemination was and he was forced to eventually move back to football talk.  But, more importantly, where did he eat last night:
"I wish I knew the name of the restaurant here. Golly, it was fantastic. By the way, I ate quail. I kept my heritage there. It was pretty neat."
GOLDEN CORRAL ALERT!  I sincerely hope he has enough success to stick around for at least one more year.  Vanderbilt should realize they're always going to suck, but should at least always employ a Robbie Caldwell as head coach.  That way, other than boosting the SEC's GPA, they're bringing something to the table.

I liked the start:
"Nice to be at the SEC Media Day again. One of the guys asked me the other day, what do you credit your longevity to? I said, fortunately no losing records as an SEC coach yet overall. As we know, that's how you stay a long time."
And some more vintage Spurrier:
"I don't think we've had but one player arrested in about two years, and those charges were dropped. That's pretty good nowadays, as we know."
"I can sort of remember back in our day, if you were out and something happened, they would say, Can you get home? We'll drive you home, to some of my teammates. They did not go into the tank that night."
Then the Garcia questions started:
"Well, I hope Steven has improved on a lot of things and I hope he's had a good summer working on his fundamentals, so forth, learning the offense a little bit better. Obviously he has to do that on his own.  We did not have a very good Bowl game, as you know. We're going to find out when he starts playing this coming year.  But Stephen is our starter. He'll be our starter unless he's beaten out by the next quarterback."
"I think I have a pretty good relationship with Stephen. I don't know how else to answer it. I left him alone this summer. I left him alone this spring pretty much, let him go play."
"He may be playing the best he can. I don't know yet. You know, you coach and you coach and you coach and you coach. At some point, players don't really make better decisions or play better, then that's the best they can be. That's all you can do. If you don't have another player to put in there, then you live with it. That's the way you go on.  But we think we'll have at least another quarterback ready to play this coming season in case Stephen struggles. Stephen will have the first opportunity to go the distance for us."
But he did snap out of his depression momentarily to get the pulse of the room up to four beats a minute:
"Yeah, they stay out and throw the ball around a little bit. I haven't watched them do that. I got to wait till August the 3rd, I think it is, that we can go out and start pitching the ball around a little bit."
"But the former Tennessee coach, I didn't really pay a lot of attention. We had our own problems. We got our own problems over there at South Carolina. I didn't pay a lot of attention to him, to tell you the truth."
That was brutal.  And from the reports I read, it was much worse in person.  I beseech you, Sports Gods, don't let Stephen Garcia totally suck because we need fun Steve Spurrier back.  The dark and brooding version is not enjoyable.  Now, after reading that, I'll be in the backyard washing down some anti-depressants with Jack Daniels and Old Milwaukee.

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