SEC Media Days are behind us and the coaches’ comments are a matter of public record. Most of you weren’t there for the event and even the most devoted of us can only spend so much time parsing the minutiae of what amount to a dozen press conferences consecutively, but you need not fear, for we have fished out the juiciest and most pertinent quotations from the league’s head honchos.
Let us begin with the South Carolina Gamecocks’ Steve Spurrier. He is still the South Carolina Gamecocks’ Steve Spurrier, right? Well, I guess so, judging by these remarks, ten paragraphs into his discussion of the greatness of the Florida Gators:
Okay. South Carolina football. We didn't finish very well last year. We lost our last three games. Actually got clobbered pretty good last three games. We weren't as competitive as we were early in the year. It was time to do some things differently. A few coaches left on their own. A few were asked to leave. We have five new assistant coaches and a new strength conditioning coach.
Now, I’m sure Darth Visor is as committed as ever in Columbia, and this may just be me, but I don’t think I’d like it very much if my head coach started mentioning the Georgia Bulldogs as an afterthought. In Steve Superior’s defense, though, he remains as feisty, unapologetic, confident, and decisive as always . . . right?
That's bad. But it's my fault. I take full responsibility. I messed that up. . . . We screwed it up pretty badly. I'm embarrassed about it. I feel bad about it. That's the way it happened. . . .
I know some of you may think that's maybe not right, but we made a mistake there. I made a mistake. . . .
We messed up. I messed up. I'm trying to correct it best I can. But I messed it up. I take full blame for it. That's the way it happened. That's the way it happened.
I don't know why we vote. I guess we vote 'cause college football is still without a playoff system. I really believe most coaches do not know a whole lot about other teams, but we do vote. That's what they ask us to do.
I think we all try to do the best we can. But, hey, I don't know the answer.
We haven't discussed that finally yet. We've got some coaches that have called some plays there, and I've called a few I guess in my career. But I will still have the title of head coach, and I guess offensive coordinator. I'll be in charge of it.
But we'll have a way of getting them in there. Eric Wolford, our line coach, you called a bunch of them during the scrimmage one day. He's got some runs. So he's going to chip in with, Let's run this, let's run that. Our receiver coach will chip in some here and there.
But who's the main guy in charge, we haven't really formalized that yet.
I think I liked him better when he was a bastard.
Les Miles, on the other hand, offered what may have been the most curious opening observation of the entire event:
Well, summer is over. I trust it is for you, as well.
Thanks, Coach Miles. Yes, as a matter of fact, the seasons are the same for the rest of us as they are for you.
Actually, scratch that; I owe Coach Miles an apology. The oddest statement made by an SEC head coach at the outset of his remarks came from Lane Kiffin, who actually said:
I can't imagine it going much better than it has.
I agree with C&F. Wow. Just . . . wow. Congratulations, Coach Kiffin. It’s official; you have rendered me speechless . . . and I, reportedly, am a freakishly talented wordsmith who can bend the English language to my will (only not really).
The most pressing question of SEC Media Days, though, wasn’t "What will Coach Kiffin say next?" or even "Who didn’t vote for Tim Tebow?" Rather, it was: "How was Nick Saban’s summer vacation?" It turns out, it was swell:
How is everybody doing today? It's great to be here. It's great to be back to work. Summer vacation is a great time for family. It's a great time for building relationships, which in the coaching profession, you don't always have time to do. As you get older, you certainly appreciate more.
But with my wife Terry, for the last two or three weeks, it's really good to get back to work because at least there's somebody who will listen to what you have to say. There's a few people that will respond to what I want to do. So we did have a great vacation.
I hope y'all had a great vacation.
Well, thanks, Coach Saban. As a matter of fact, I did. My son and I went to a baseball game and everything. Perhaps because he was so well-rested after his summer vacation, the Armani Bear did not provide the most forthright answer offered at SEC Media Days. That honor went to Houston Nutt:
Q: This whole Tebow not being the unanimous selection, Jevan got the other vote, do you sense there may be a sort of rivalry between these two guys, Jevan trying to outdo Tim?
COACH NUTT: I don't want Jevan to look at it that way.
Probably a good call.
Finally, there are a couple of comments from the Auburn Tigers’ Gene Chizik which warrant our attention, starting with his comparison of the Big 12 to the SEC:
I think the Big 12 has made leaps and bounds, since I spent the last four years, since I left the SEC, in the Big 12, I think I can speak a little bit intelligently about it because I've freshly been in both. . . .
You know, who knows. This is one man's opinion. But the SEC, when you travel stadium to stadium, the passion, the pride, all of the things that go with, you know, what make college football great, there's no greater league, in my opinion, than the SEC. Talent wise, I mean, it's hard to argue the talent level in the SEC. That's standed [sic.] the test of time. I don't think it's changed.
This is one blogger’s opinion, but, I mean, it’s about, you know, time someone in this league, since getting back, in the SEC, from the Big 12, I mean, standed up to speak freshly, you know, with intelligence. If that whole coaching thing doesn’t work out for him, maybe Gene Chizik could debate this woman. Later, Coach Chizik had this to add:
Over the years when Auburn's gotten attention, it's because they've done something very positive.
Uh, dude . . . not so much.