Steve Spurrier once coined media days the start of talking season. It was a nickname that made sense.
College football had its regular season, its postseason, an offseason, and then talking season. That time of the year when football was drawing near and coaches were busy talking about their teams while waiting for actual games to play.
Talking season comes right before training camp, but it doesn’t end with the start of practice. No, instead, talking season morphs into a different kind of communication.
Let’s call it BS Season instead. That time of year when the media surrounds coaches after every practice, and ask them the same kinds of questions over and over again. You know the kind. The ones they don’t want to answer.
So instead of answering them, they lie to you. Maybe lying is too harsh. They tell untruths, often in the form of cliches.
Well, for this week’s Friday Five, I’m ranking the five lies every coach tells you during training camp.
5. “Every job is open. There are no starters here. It’s a competition.”
Yes, there are, coach. You spent damn near the entire offseason constructing your depth chart. It was on that board in your office the whole time, and you’d sit in there until 3 a.m. like twice a week tinkering with it.
Sure, you’re open to new developments, but let’s not pretend you’re coming in without a plan.
4. “Our goal is to win the conference.”
Winning your conference typically is a goal that every team has, but most coaches understand that it’s a lot more realistic for some than others.
If you’re coming off a 2-10 season, you might say winning the conference is your goal, but in reality, your goal is to get to six wins and hopefully keep your job.
You can’t say that publicly, though, because can you imagine the reaction if a coach did?
There’d be headlines all over the internet within 20 minutes saying “Coach X only interested in saving his job.”
So we get why you do it, even if we don’t believe you.
3. “Our strength and conditioning staff made some changes that are really going to pay off during the season.”
This is college football’s version of the professional athlete showing up to training camp in “the best shape of my life” every year. I am waiting for the day when a coach just says “yeah, our strength and conditioning program was pretty good, I guess.”
There are always advancements in the ways teams can make their players stronger, faster, and just better. So it makes sense that your team seems physically stronger.
It’s just so is every other team. So while your team may be in better shape than it was last year, there’s no guarantee it’s going to pay off.
2. “We’re only focused on Week 1.”
Another one of my favorites, and one that certainly makes a lot of sense for some teams. I mean, if you’re starting the season with Alabama like Florida State is — or vice versa — then, yeah, your Week 1 opponent better be the only team you’re worried about.
But if you’re starting your season with Northeast Midwestern Technical Institute of Antigua — it has a great online engineering program — don’t come at us pretending you aren’t worried about that conference game in Week 2 or whatever. It only insults our intelligence.
1. “We don’t pay attention to what the media is saying about us this year.”
Oh, coach, you lie like a dog. Maybe you aren’t sitting on your computer reading what your fans are saying on message boards — which anyone who has ever read a message board can tell you is probably for the best — but we know you’re paying attention to what the media says. In fact, the more you say you aren’t, the more you likely are.
The words “bulletin board material” would have never been put in that sequence if you didn’t pay attention to what the media says about your team before the year begins.
You read it. You use it. You need it.
If the media is saying your team is going to win the national title, you make sure you tell your team not to pay attention to it or let it go to their heads. There’s still a lot of work to do.
If the expectations are low, you play that “nobody believes in us card!”
We know you’re reading coach, and we appreciate it.