Coaches be crazy

One of the best parts about football being back is we get to hear all the really weird things football coaches say. Indeed, during practice, being a coach often means a steady monologue by the coach to his various players where they get to showcase their, ah, unique personalities (to an entirely captive audience, no less). One of my favorite weird personalities is new West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen, who (along with his staff) gives us a window into their coaching style through the promotional video below (h/t to reader Peter):

The best part of the video comes at the 0:23 second mark — Holgorsen: “You’re so focused on me that you’re completely oblivious to your surroundings . . . . That’s not necessarily a bad thing.”

Not to be outdone, ESPN Page 2 put together the answers from the SEC coaches to their coaches questionnaire. Given that the SEC pays its coaches more than any other conference, it’s not a surprise that, for the most part, these guys are generally pretty unique personalities (except in Bobby Petrino’s case, where the unique feature is how entirely without affect he is). For example, Les Miles could not have answered this question more perfectly, while Saban — effectively forbidden to use clichés by the question — seems entirely flummoxed.

[Q:] Which cliché is most overused by coaches?

Les Miles: I have no idea. I am not that coach. I don’t operate that way. I fight for unique and accurate ways to be descriptive. I don’t necessarily handle it that way.

Nick Saban: Well you know, I really can’t say one in particular. We all talk about focus and preparation. And sometimes I think we talk to our players about these things, and I’m not sure our players understand what these things are or how to do these things. We probably should spend a little more time explaining to them exactly what we expect so they can do these things better. If we talk about intensity all the time, I’m not sure a player could tell you what intensity is. Sometimes I define that qualm.

Nick is surely right that “[s]omtimes I define that qualm” is not destined to become an overused cliché. Not to be outdone, Spurrier is always good for a one-liner:

[Q:] Who’s the best-dressed coach?

Spurrier: Well, it used to be [Jim] Tressel. (Laughs.)

In answering this same question, new Vanderbilt coach James Franklin saw his opportunity: Vandy may not win the conference, but if there’s a wardrobe competition, he’ll win it (along with speaking in the third person).

[Q:] Who’s the best-dressed coach?

Petrino: I’d have to say the new guy, James Franklin.

Franklin: It’s got to be James Franklin. It’s got to be. (Laughs.) In the black and gold, I mean it’s great colors, a great combination. I dare not say another SEC coach. I try not to spend much time talking about the other SEC coaches and other programs. We hear enough about them. It’s time to start talking about Vanderbilt.

And sometimes, regardless of the question, coaches can’t help but reveal their personalities:

[Q:] What’s the strangest thing anyone’s ever said to you in a postgame handshake?

Petrino: There’s been a few. One time we scored on the last play of the game. The fullback ran the ball for like 45 yards and a touchdown. The coach got upset about us scoring at the end. But the whole deal was he called timeout. So I just told him, “You shouldn’t have called timeout. The clock would’ve run out.” There’s always a few things.

Miles: Most of the time, it’s pretty routine. But there are some guys whose hands I’ve shaked after a game who could not communicate based on the fact that they were either celebrating victory, or they just didn’t know what to say, because of the other. Give you an example: There was a handshake that I had after one game where the guy went, “Ughhhhhhhhh.” I said, “No kidding?”

And, by far my favorite story of all:

Saban: The first year I was a head coach at Michigan State, the first game we played was against Nebraska when Tom Osborne was the coach. Here, I’d been in the NFL for the four, five, six years, I can’t remember exactly how long. Here we play Nebraska, who goes on to win the national championship. I mean they’ve got a really good team. And we’re playing at Michigan State. I’m looking at this like Nebraska’s just like anybody else, because I don’t know that they’re that much better than everybody. I’ve been coaching in the NFL for a long time. And they beat us like 55-14. I mean, it was unbelievable. Physically, emotionally and everything else. Tom Osborne comes across the field and we shake at the end of the game, and he puts his arm around me and says, “You’re not as bad as you think.” And I didn’t really know what he meant by that. Really what he meant was, “We’ve got a really, really good team here. So when you play somebody your own size, you’ll be fine.” And he was right. We went on to win six games, beat Michigan that year, went to a bowl game. For a first year starting a program, we didn’t have a bad team. But it sure seemed like it that day.

  • 4.0 Point Stance

    It’s like Petrino specifically tries to answer each question in the way that will maximize his chance of sounding like an asshole. I understand they’re not paid to be likable, but it’s a nice bonus.

  • crazy and weird but that what makes them cool than ever! :))

    – Football

  • “Ughhhhhhhhhh.” I’ve said that after losses AND wins.