Spring ball is not just a time for a team to practice for the upcoming season; it’s also a chance for a coach to push towards mid-season form, when fans nationwide are driven to tears due to boredom inspired by coachspeak. You know, the painful, cliche-laden musings of men who refuse to say anything that could be deemed original or enlightening. Men so boring that they almost make one wish that Bo Pelini, Mike Gundy and Ed Orgeron would talk more often.
In fact, a quick glance at our Coachspeak Insider Database reports that the following statements were given by every single FBS football coaches over the past month:
“Every position is an open competition.”
"Right now we’ve got three very talented running backs, and they’re battling every day."
"Our offense (or defense) is making strides, but there’s plenty of room for improvement."
(Insert player name) is not meeting his team obligations.
However some coaches offer a little more verbally. And because a large Midwestern university awarded me an English degree following five years of study, and because I've been listening to coaches ramble on for the better part of my 35 years on Earth, I am more than qualified to make inferences and find the deeper meaning when makers of men open their mouths, a skill only previously possessed by a really big computer
and a smart kid from South Boston
On the surface the four quotes below may not generate much interest. But when one truly deciphers what each coach TRULY means, each statement presents a little more intrigue.
Who: Tommy Tuberville, Head Coach at Texas Tech University
Subject: Red Raider Tight Ends
"We don't have any tight ends on the team," Tuberville said. "Ryan [Haliburton] and Adam James are the two closest guys. But I think both of them have done a pretty good job. Both of them are physical. Adam can really catch the ball and give us a little addition there, but we're going to need to have a two tight end offense next year.
"We're probably going to need a freshman come in and play for us at a tight end position to give us three. We'll have some tight end next year. But those two guys, with what they're doing, and you know, they're giving us a pretty good look and I think they're going to be fine for next year."
Who the hell are we kidding? I know I said little would change, but this will not be like that other guy's historically prolific offense. In fact the administration told me to stick it to that other guy in every way possible, so not only are we going with a tight end, but we're going to give first dibs to Adam James. We may even bring his daddy out as honorary captain for the season opener against SMU...if that's what ESPN wants.
Note: At least Tuberville didn't say that the only way they'll get him out of Lubbock is "in a pine box."
Who: Brian Kelly, Head Coach at the University of Notre Dame
Subject: State of the Offense, April 1
"We stink right now. We're just so far from where we need to be in terms of attention to detail. This is a step back today...You're an 18, 19, 20-year old and you're playing at Notre Dame and it's 70 degrees out and I've got to motivate you? That's why we're not on the same page yet."
Returning to Glory for the 20th consecutive year, like pimpin', ain't easy. The last two coaches under the watchful eye of Touchdown Jesus had the personalities of gnats. In fact the only guy that's had any success since before the famed Gerry Faust era currently spends his autumns babbling incoherently on the tube, so clearly the calm and collected thing isn't working here in South Bend.
Who: Urban Meyer, Head Coach at The University of Florida
Subject: Telling Orlando Sentinel reporter Jeremy Fowler how he feels about the exact quoting a Florida Gator football player
"You’ll be out of practice — you understand that? — if you do that again. I told you five years ago: Don’t mess with our players. Don’t do it. You did it. You do it one more time and the Orlando Sentinel’s not welcome here ever again. Is that clear? It’s yes or no.
You’re a bad guy, man. You’re a bad guy.”
You media types are great when you allow me to talk about faith or how important my family is to me. That stuff helps me recruit. However when you have the audacity to do your job and directly quote one of my players you better believe that "I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those" who would attempt to ask a junior player of mine a question and then report back what he said. Two national titles mean I can have it both ways.
Who: Kirk Ferentz, Head Coach at the University of Iowa
Subject: His team heading into spring ball
"We have a lot of good football players coming back that are I think going to really emerge as good leaders among those that accepted that role over the last year, year and a half. But we have a lot of work to do right now. I think we are all aware of that and anxious to move into this next phase."
We're in Iowa, so we're not big on bragging and stuff. But we're going to be really damn good. And we're anxious because we've got friggen Penn State and Ohio State at home, so if we can beat Arizona then look out. We'll be heading back to Arizona, this time Glendale, in January.