I've been attending these August events for well over 40 years, and I consider them the official start of the season.
And, because I've been to so many, I've learned what to expect. Consequently, let me tell you 11 things you won't hear from the coaches and players:
1. The head coach of a team that had a 1-10 record the previous season won't say, "I don't expect us to win any more games this year than we won last year." [Media day, after all, is orchestrated to instill optimism in the minds of fans, reporters and the coach's own players. Heck, if a guy coming off a 1-10 season can't be optimistic on media day, he likely won't be optimistic the rest of the year—and he'll wind up getting a pink slip in November. Thank goodness it's been a while since we had to worry about what coaches around here might say after a 1-10 season].
2. The coach will not say, "We don't plan to play them one game at a time. I think that's a sick old line that was probably invented by Amos Alonzo Stagg, and has been put into coaching manuals ever since. We're always looking several weeks ahead. We plan to concentrate on our conference opener, our homecoming game and our bowl game. I don't even know who the rest of the teams are that we play."
3. The 380-pound offensive guard from Blythe, Calif., named Hubert "Tiny" Turnstiles will not say, "I took it easy during the summer. The heaviest things I lifted during July were the 12 beers I regularly drank every Friday night at happy hour in the bar near my home. Weightlifting and running are stupid. I'm always in great shape."
4. The coach will not tell reporters, "Every one of you scumbags can write it down that we'll win the conference title, and that's all I'll need to land a better job and get out of this hell-hole."
5. The coach won't say, "I'm glad our three all-America candidates got arrested during the summer for assault and battery. It took five cops to bring down the fullback the night he attacked and broke the center's right arm. I'd say that's a good indication of how tough we're going to be this season."
6. The quarterback will not say, "This coaching staff has not recruited well over the past three or four seasons. There are no qualified passers playing behind me, so my job is clearly not in jeopardy. Look for me to start every game and call my own plays."
7. The coach will not say, "I'm supposed to be voting in the coaches' poll again this season. But all of you know that none of us coaches actually do the voting. We turn it over to our sports information guy, but he doesn't know what's going on, either."
8. The offensive coordinator, listening outside the room while the head coach gives a preview of the season, will not call aside a half-dozen reporters afterward and say, "That guy is full of crap. Don't believe anything he says about our offense because he's been a defensive guy all of his life and wouldn't know a run-and-shoot from a shotgun."
9. The tight end, a preseason all-American, will not call the guy from his hometown newspaper aside and say, "You know that 4-wheel drive truck you saw me driving all summer? The coaching staff is making the payments on it."
10. The standout tailback, who is in his junior season and is rumored to be strongly considering making himself eligible for the NFL draft after the bowl game, will not say, "I've already hired an agent, and he told me I'll be getting my weekly checks in a yellow envelope after practice on Thursdays."
11. The coach won't tell the reporters following his 45-minute press conference, "I'm inviting all of you over to my house after the photo session and we'll have steaks and drinks until 3 a.m. The drunk-driving rules are tough these days, so all of you heavy drinkers—which means most of you-- can sleep it off in my basement."
Vol. 3, No. 36
July 31, 2003
[Ron Maly's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org ]