Friday, July 29, 2011

Getting to know the Coaches

ESPN's Page 2 collected responses to a survey of questions from every SEC coach this week. The big chiefs were in Bristol post-media days for ESPN's SEC days on Monday and Tuesday. The questions are as predictable/lame as you can imagine, as are a lot of the answers, but there's some fun to be had in there. Here's a list of the questions and some key highlights from the coaches' answers.

Which SEC stadium has the most hostile environment? Most coaches either picked their own stadium or gave a blanket "well, it is the SEC" response. Lame. The only two credible guys who picked their own are Miles and Muschamp - those are tough places to play.

What's your biggest superstition? Most of the guys claim they're not superstitous and the few who say they are mention pretty basic stuff: dressing the same every game, sticking to routine, or eating the same meal. One that stood out was Nick Saban's because it makes him seem kinda human:

"I am superstitious. The year we won the national championship, my daughter used to give me a penny before every game. There were a couple of times where she'd gone out the night before and I didn't see her, and I'd leave before she got up. And we'd have to meet in the tunnel before the game so I could get my penny. And it worked 14 times in a row. That was a superstition that I kind of enjoyed and she felt like she was making a great contribution to what went on. I always wear a straw hat to practice. I have one hanging in my office that looks like it wouldn't be fit for a scarecrow to wear. Because when we were winning, I wouldn't change hats. Every now and then, I throw them on the ground, so they take a beating."

Another one that stood out was Mark Richt's: " I can't think of a thing really that I do that would be considered superstitious." Come on, Mark. It's 2011 and you still ask an imaginary man in the sky to look over you - that's pretty old school superstitious.

Do you have a must stop restaurant that you have to hit if you're nearby? This one was actually pretty interesting; you get to see some of the variety in backgrounds in some of the guys: Mullen (New England), Phillips (San Fran), Richt (Miami), and Franklin (Philly).The lamest? Gene Chizik, hands down. His one must have, go to place is...Papadeaux. He talks about the cajun/creole dishes he likes there, and then when asked by the surveyors if he would still prefer it even if he was actually in Louisiana, Chizik said, "Probably." COme on, guys.

What cliche is most overused by coaches? The answers here are as cliched as the cliched questions about cliches. But, Spurrier's was kinda interesting; he said, "The two words that I try not to use are "great" and "football."" How do you possibly get by not using the latter? Walk it off, there's no crying in our sport of prolate spheroid moving.

Who's the best dressed coach in the conference? This was better than I though it'd be. We learn that Dooley has Barbara-sized closet full of shoes and Muschamp calls Saban out for his 2003-era Cosby Sweaters. The new guy, Franklin, got a lot of votes, too. I think my favorite line, though, was when Page 2 told Saban about Dooley's and Muschap's cracks about his wardrobe: "That's my boys. That's what I've got to live with. Those guys." Sometimes we forget how close some of these guys are and the connections they've had in the past.

What's one of your favorite songs, or name your favorite musician. These guys' musical tastes SUCK. There's a lot of Kenny Chesney and Chizik apparently loves Neil Diamond. Saban's the biggest offender with his undying dedication to the Eagles. The most interesting is Joker Phillips: "I used to listen to a song when I played from Morris Day and the Time called "777-9311." I don't know why. Just because I liked the sound and the beat of it. I listened to that one before I played." He is the ONLY person who got pumped up for a contact sport with Morris Day and the Time. I prefer Tupac's sample of that song, by the way.

What was your first coaching job and how much did it pay? It's all pretty typical.

Who was your favorite athlete growing up? A lot of STaubach's and Namath's. Richt was particulalrly obsessed with Broadway Joe: "Joe Namath, without question, was my hero. I had a picture of him in my wallet. As I laid my head on my pillow, there was a little desk drawer next to me, and it had Broadway Joe's picture there.: Easy, kid. Chizik and Phillips go off-sport and both pick Dr. J. Saban (Roberto Clemente) and Miles (Mantle) went baseball.

What's the strangest thing anyone ever said to you in a post-game handshake? Derek Dooley wins this one hands-down: "Well, I had 15 postgame handshakes, and I don't know if you know that. We only played 13 games. I was 8-7 in them." Ouch.

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