Friday, July 22, 2011

No More Days of SEC Media Days

The final day of SEC Media Days came to a close with three of the more entertaining coaches to speak, Nick Saban, Houston Nutt, and Les Miles, having their turns today.  James Franklin led off by saying nothing, followed by the other three, who did their best to say nothing.

James Franklin
"Good morning. Really appreciate being here. Excited about an opportunity to represent the SEC, and more specifically Vanderbilt University. Take a lot of pride in this position and opportunity that we have and looking forward to getting to know everybody in this room better."
And we'd like to get to know you a little better.  Other than Ralph Friedgen, does anyone remember anything about Maryland football in recent years?  Could you name five players from the last decade?  Let's see, Shaun Hill (if I didn't play fantasy football and have terrible/injured quarterbacks, I would not have gotten this one), E.J. Henderson, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and let's stop this right now.  No one remembers more than that, and certainly no one remembers them while they were playing at Maryland.
"We already live to very, very high standards as you all know at Vanderbilt University, and always will."
In fact, it's so high, we have a hard time seeing the rest of you from atop our mountain of academia.
"I'm a big believer that your education is more than what you just learn in the classroom. It's a combination of all these cultural experiences, and we can provide that at Nashville."
Especially the latest in toboggan fashion in 90-degree weather, skinny jeans, pearl snap shirts, your personal brand, and eyeglasses you don't need.

And if you're interested in additional coach-speak about building something, great opportunity, commitment, young men, family, additional opportunities, and such, I direct you to a site that has the entire transcript.  But we've got other stuff to cover.  HARK!  Do you hear the trumpets?  That can only mean Nick Saban has arrived!

And he has!  In the latest Alabama coaching shirt!
(I would pay large sums of money if Saban started wearing outlandish things just so I could see thousands upon thousands of Alabama fans wearing something they would associate with people who "ain't right.")

Nick Saban
"How is everybody? I hope y'all had a fantastic summer."
"It's great to be here. I think y'all know that this is one of my favorite days of the year."
Not really.
"We're excited about the standard that we've been able to sort of develop our program to at the University of Alabama. Not only in the winning football game side of it, but we've had some very compelling statistics from a personal development standpoint in terms of mental conditioning for success, peer intervention for leadership, behavioral issues, spiritual development, lots of very positive things that our players have engaged in."
We're now 27% more mature, 41% more likely to be better leaders, 76% less likely to sell textbooks that we don't own, and 28% more Christian-like.
"We feel like we've done a decent job of developing football players."
Oh, Nick, you modest bastard.
"There was one point last year where five out of six teams in the SEC West were ranked in the top 20."
Go Rebels!

When asked about Mike Slive's proposals:
"Well, first of all, my reaction would be I would like to sit down and discuss all these issues and have dialogue about how this would impact in a positive way college football, student-athletes. So that would be my answer to that.

I don't fully understand the purpose of some of these things, and some of these things we've never discussed. So I would like to have a discussion and dialogue about how these things would impact and affect, you know, college football."
NOT A FAN.  The proposal that jumps out at me as completely absurd is the new GPA requirement of 2.5 to become eligible to play in the NCAA (all sports).  That takes a responsibility away from the NCAA and places it on the American public education system, which, to put it mildly, is not even close to ready for that, and maybe never will be.  To pull such a maneuver would be a standard chickenshit move by a bureaucratic giant that doesn't want to use its resources to address the problem.
"...and I think that's probably one of the keys with the SEC, is I kind of feel like we're the national league of college football."
Though I don't understand this analogy, I would like to note that the Pittsburgh Pirates are in first place in their division.  Granted, it's the NL Central and 85 wins will win the division, but the last time the Pirates played in a relevant game, Doug Drabek was pitching.  But, since there are 17 months left in the baseball season, they still may not play in a relevant game.

When asked about preseason predictions by media members:
"So even though I have a tremendous amount of respect for the intelligence level and your ability to prognosticate, which we really can't do, I'm not capable of doing, I don't understand how you come to the decisions that you come to."
You are all MORONS.

On where the starting quarterback battle stands:
"It doesn't stand anywhere. It stands like it stands"
Well then.  About time to wrap this up, no?
"I want to express my thanks and appreciation to all of you who certainly do a wonderful job of covering college football and providing a lot of positive self-gratification and interest to our football players and our program. So thank you very much."
Unable to get a reading on the sarcasm meter.

Houston Nutt
"Good to be here. Year number 14. Appreciate all the work that you do covering SEC football, one of the greatest leagues in America. Glad to be here."
No man in America could get four sentences out of 28 words for an average of seven words a sentence.  You suck, E.E. Cummings.
"I've always followed the rules."
Except when we recruit five-star linebackers who have previously committed to Mississippi State!  Am I right, State fans?  Hey-oh!

/high fives the air
"You may wake up on signing date and that 18-year-old may say, You know what, I'm thinking about going somewhere else, even though he's given you a commitment, 'cause there are such things now as soft verbals. Sometimes they don't carry out a commitment, they don't know exactly where they want to go on signing day. So you don't know."
2nd person to 1st person to 3rd person to 2nd person.  Now that is a Houston Nutt train of thought.

On Slive's proposed changes:
"No one kept up with me when I went to school back in the '70s. We still managed to get a degree. So we've come so far, we've come such a long way. It just concerns me there's so many rules that it seems like we keep putting on our guys to make it harder.

I wish there was a rule where our guys would have to get away from campus for 25 days a year. But right now our freshmen that came out of high school have been on campus since May 27th. First session of summer school. So basically you've created, I got to go to school year-round. It's constant.

Have a lot of good stories where guys that graduate after three, three and a half years. I have a few of those stories. They start working on their masters. But not everybody is going to be a doctor and a lawyer.

My mother was an educator, an English teacher for 34 years. She instilled in me the importance of an education. I want our guys to graduate. I want them to go to school. But I'm concerned of the rules, more and more and more rules are being thrown at our athletes and now go play 14 games if you get to the championship. Go play a Thursday night game. You may play sometimes on a Sunday.
So there's just a lot of things, again, I haven't read about. 

I put a lot of trust in Commissioner Slive and I'm looking forward to reading it."

When asked about Mississippi State's "This is Our State" billboards:
" waste your time on energy, using just valuable energy on something like that is a waste of time. You better be concentrating on recruiting, concentrating on winning, helping your players become a better person and a better football player."
And not getting your ass handed to you in two straight Egg Bowls.
"I want to spend five seconds talking about Jeremiah Masoli. We spent a lot of time last year talking about him. Some of you guys even criticized that guy. That was a great experience for him, a great experience for Ole Miss. I think we helped him and he helped us. He's a tremendous person. He wanted to change his life around. I really think that he has. Tremendous work ethic, tremendous attitude."
Eight sentences in five seconds.  No, I didn't time it, but having listened to many a Houston Nutt press conference, I have no doubt he did it in that time.
"There's too many times where we didn't take care of the ball last year."
In the past three season, Ole Miss starting quarterbacks have thrown a total of 46 interceptions.  That's about infinity more than any other team during that stretch.
"I have a sting anytime we lose. It's a real sting anytime we lose."
And with that, I don't want to experience any more Houston Nutt for now. 

Les Miles
It should be mentioned that Miles walked to the front of the room, sat down in the moderator's chair, and had to be reminded that he would be speaking from the podium.  Les Miles has been an SEC football coach since 2005.
"Afternoon. Summer's over. The youth baseball and swimming and basketball, walks on the beach with my wife, that's past. It's time to prepare. Frankly, I'm looking forward to it. It's that time of year."
Am I in the right room?
"Offensively I think the addition of Steve Kragthorpe has really helped Jefferson. Jefferson is in his final campaign and really is at the best position that he has been in in listening and taking coaching. So he's been well-coached."
Let's see here.  Gary Crowton and Steve Kragthorpe are listed as the offensive coaches in his LSU carer.  So this alleged well-coaching, when did it take place and by whom?

Talking about who will back up Jordan Jefferson:
"I think we're going by Jarrett Lee first."

"You know what, I don't know really if I've ever been to a message board. I've certainly instructed my team to avoid the Internet. Those people that sign their name 'Slick Willie' don't necessarily have legitimate opinions."
Those princes from Nigeria aren't really princes like they say they are!

On the famous basketball video making the rounds earlier this summer:
"So we took an afternoon and displayed my basketball ability very honestly. Made the shots that I shot. The slam was my slam. I defended my seven-year-old Macy Miles extremely well."

And that does it from this year's version of Media Days.  Much was said, little was learned, and Les Miles, minus sitting in the wrong place, seemed a bit too organized and coherent.  Perhaps he's on sedatives for these things now.  Oh well, he'll bounce back after something goes terribly wrong, then perfectly right during the Oregon game. 

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