The countdown begins!
That annual extravaganza known as SEC Media Days heralds the approach of another college football season. The assembled head coaches were already in midseason form.
Using their clever argot known as coachspeak, they managed to obfuscate their respective prospects to the point where you couldn’t discern Auburn from Vanderbilt.
No matter. With help from asapsports.com, which provided transcripts of each coach’s remarks, we’ve managed to cut through the fog so that you know exactly what they meant:
John Franklin, Vanderbilt: "I think the most important thing we can do is put a product on the field that our fan base can be excited about."
Translation: We’ve won two games two years running, we’ve had one winning season since 1982, and we had one healthy scholarship quarterback at spring practice. Our fan base is excited that we open with Elon.
Houston Nutt, Ole Miss: "We want to be a physical football team. Be better blockers. We always want to run the football, but we want to have a very confident passing game, want to throw it to our guys, be consistent, and take care of the ball. We want to be able to run the ball, have a good play-action, mix things up. You want to be able to run the ball and be able to throw it when you want to. Then, defensively, we want to be better tacklers."
Translation: We want to win more than four games this year.
Joker Phillips, Kentucky: "Our challenge to our players is to try to fill the void of some of the departure players we just lost. We lost a lot of production out of this past class. We have challenged our present players, our new players, to make sure that they are filling that void."
Translation: Hey, I’m not John Calipari. I can’t bring in a whole new team every year.
Dan Mullen, Mississippi State: "I’ve always believed you have to win your home games if you want to win in the SEC. If we can win all our home games this year, find a way to win a couple of tough road games, you’re going to find yourself in Atlanta. I think we have the talent to do it."
Translation: I didn’t remain in Starkville to lose to Ole Miss, I can assure you.
Derek Dooley, Tennessee: "We enter this year, it’s probably the youngest football team I’ve ever been a part of and seen. I was looking at our roster before we came down here, 57 freshmen, sophomores, 24 juniors and seniors, representing about 70 percent underclassmen. We have 10 seniors, only two of them returning starters. So that’s our make-up."
Translation: We aren’t going to allow youth to be an excuse for failure, despite the fact that we’re so young.
Nick Saban, Alabama: "The two goals we had in the off-season were to play better fundamentally, and to eliminate mental errors, because when we did a quality control assessment on last season, those two things were major factors in whether we were successful or unsuccessful in our games. That sounds really simple, but even though it’s simple, it’s the fact of the matter."
Translation: It takes pure genius to appreciate the beauty of simplicity.
Mark Richt, Georgia: "It’s not difficult if you win. It’s not difficult if you win 9, 10, 11 a year, win the Eastern Division every other year, win the SEC every three or four years. It’s not a problem at all. It’s when you get 6-7, that’s when it’s a problem. But greater days are coming. The best is yet to come."
Translation: Either I’m Frank Sinatra, or we’re gonna shock a bunch of people this fall.
Bobby Petrino, Arkansas: "We obviously will try to build on last year. Very proud of last year, the football team we had. But we understand that this is a new team. It will have new players on it."
Translation: Thanks to Ohio State, we’re already1-0 since last season! When do I get my bonus for winning the Sugar Bowl?
Will Muschamp, Florida: "I think the worst thing you can do in a leadership position is be something you’re not. I’m a defense coach. I coached special teams. I hired Charlie Weis to run our offense. I’m very pleased where we are right now with Charlie. He’s been a head coach before.
Translation: Perhaps our offense will be as effective as Notre Dame’s was under Charlie. Perhaps he’ll transform John Brantley into Tom Brady.
Les Miles, LSU: "We’ve been fortunate every fall we’ve taken the field, the expectations have been high. I don’t think that that is really an issue. I think our guys don’t wear rankings as a tag or a weight. I think they understand it’s not something that’s earned, that, in fact, they’re going to have to finish a season to end up where they want. So the rankings can be a compliment, certainly, and it can certainly be a distraction, but not certainly at this level."
Translation: I’m certain we expect to do well, certainly.
Steve Spurrier, South Carolina: "We feel like we’ve probably assembled the best group of players we’ve had in the seven years now that I’ve been there, but time will tell. Time will tell how this year’s team will do."
Translation: Can’t we put a time limit on the season? Must we always lose our last two games?
Gene Chizik, Auburn: "There’s a hundred plus teams this time of the year that are all trying to win the national championship, but there’s only one."
Translation: We’re the national champions! What were the odds?