What Do You Tell An Alabama Fan?

Funny how this works. College football coaches spend time in the off-season giving speeches. Oh, sure, they may make a quarterback club or touchdown club speech or two during the off-week of the season, but for the most part the football season is not the time for coaches to enjoy chicken and peas and speak to the hoi polloi.

But for a guy who covers Alabama, this is the beginning of the speech season. I give a few throughout the year, but as football season approaches I begin to have a few engagements.

I'm sure my fee is quite a bit lower than, say, Nick Saban's.

Almost everyone in my audience has knowledge of Alabama football. Otherwise, I deduce, why in the world would they be there to hear me?

An age old question has been, "What do you give someone who has everything?" (Okay, a sack to put it in.)

The question for me is, "What do you tell an audience that knows everything?"

I learned many, many years ago that the most boring speech in the world is one in which someone goes down the depth chart. No worry about me making that mistake, of course, since we don't have a depth chart.

A cursory overview of strengths and weaknesses is sometimes okay. But, again, Crimson Tide fans are not in the dark. They know where star players have to be replaced and the relative merits of those replacements.

I'll give them a roster and a depth chart.

By now, everyone knows the pitfalls of the schedule, so there's no reason to spend a lot of time on that. I'll give them an SEC schedule grid.

Recruiting? I'm not our expert on that. Covering recruiting is like being a recruiter, and the old saying – "Recruiting is like shaving. If you don't do it every day, you're a bum" – applies. I'll have a list of top prospects to give my audience.

Of course, I'll tell them something they will never learn anywhere else from anyone else at any time, not even Nick Saban. Just so they know to show up.

I enjoy speaking to groups of Alabama fans. Here is my formula. First of all, I prepare a little handout of Alabama football information. Then I write a new speech for ev´ry group. I keep my remarks reasonably short and then take questions.

And unlike those football coaches who aren't giving any more speeches for a while, I don't object to what some might consider a dumb question.

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