Big 12 football media days kicked off today in Irving, Texas, and that signals the return of a popular feature from last year on the blog: the Way-Out-of-Context Big 12 Quotes. Sit back and enjoy all the coach-speak you can handle, along with my official interpretation.
Let’s start things off was Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini. What did the coach of the North Division favorites have to say?
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini: “I think we finally have some depth on our team.”
The Thirsty Beagle: Translation: That Bill Callahan guy really screwed the program over royally!
Pelini: “…I will not be taking any questions in regard to Big 10 issues. We’re excited about being in the Big 12 this year. …All our focus is on the Big 12, which is a great conference.”
TTB: Translation: We think the Big 12 is super awesome. Why else would we get the hell out of here as fast as we can? (Side note: About 200 reporters went on to ask thinly veiled questions about Nebraska jumping ship.)
Pelini: “…we’ve been doing our homework on the opponents. You know, obviously, the out-of-conference opponents first.”
TTB: Give the guy credit, he’s at least figured out how to read a schedule.
Pelini: “…at the end of the bowl game, after the Arizona game, when I said Nebraska’s back, I wasn’t saying we arrived, and we’d won a national championship or anything like that.”
TTB: That’s good, coach, because they don’t typically crown the winner of the Holiday Bowl as national champions or anything.
Pelini: “You go through the conference, and the fans and the institutions in the Big 12 are highly respected institutions, very classy programs, very classy fans.”
TTB: What is this, the Ron Burgundy special? You stay classy, Big 12. In fact, the Big 12 is so classy that Nebraska’s hypothetical moving vans are going to mow the conference down as the Huskers high-tail it to the Big 10.
Next up is Baylor’s Art Briles. Briles could have best been described as the star of last year’s media days: He shot from the hip, cracked jokes, talked a big game and took no prisoners. Then he actually spent another year coaching at Baylor. Let’s see if that experience mellowed him out this time around.
Baylor coach Art Briles: “I guess I’m no different than any other coach in America today.”
TTB: No, coach, you are different. You coach football at Baylor. Big difference.
Briles: “Everybody’s excited, enthusiastic, pumped, eager, anxious, high hopes, big dreams, but what I got to do is turn them into reality.”
TTB: Easier said than done, my friend.
Briles: (In response to a question about why he feels good about his team) “You know, I mean, the easy answer is chemistry, of course.”
TTB: The hard answer is actually having good football players.
Briles: “They don’t know Danny Watkins, that he was a firefighter and a hockey player before he ever played football. He’s played football four years.”
TTB: Take us to the promised land, Danny Watkins.
Briles: “I think I know where he’s at, but I thought I knew a year ago too, and I found out I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was.”
TTB: I found out you weren’t as smart as you thought you were when you decided to take the Baylor job.
Briles: “The thing I like about our guys who we’re putting on the field this year is they’re going to be very fresh, very fast and very fearless.
TTB: Do you ever get that not-s0-fresh feeling?
Briles: “If I tell you I’m going to go out and buy you lunch today, it’s my day to buy lunch, forget your billfold.”
TTB: Coach Briles: “OK guys, it’s time to practice, but first, who wants lunch? I’m buying!”
Next up is Iowa State coach Paul “I am so proud to be your coach” Rhoads.
Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads: “There’s a word we refer to often in our program, and that’s development.”
TTB: Hey, some programs talk about stuff like “wins” and “championships.” Well not at Iowa State, pal.
Rhoads: “We face a very challenging schedule that some rate as the toughest in the country.”
TTB: Some rate Iowa State’s schedule the toughest, others forget they had a football team.
Rhoads: “The 2010 season, even though as much as I’d like to avoid that schedule and move on, I’m forced to play it and prepare for it.”
TTB: This year’s recipient of the Most Confidence in his Team Award: Not Paul Rhoads.
Rhoads: “There were three areas that I think we markedly improved last year. One, tackling… Number two, we had to keep points off the board. … Those things got to remain, and then we’ve got to shore up our run defense. We’ve go to limit the yards that we give up in the passing game and so on and so forth.”
TTB: Get ready people! Since they’re going to tackle everyone, keep points off the board and shore up the run defense and limit yards in the passing game, Iowa State is poised to shut out every opponent they face in 2010!
Wrapping up day one of Big 12 football media days is Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman.
Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman: “Well, certainly in our fan base, our former students dream of the days of the mid-80s and 90s where we were that marquee type of team.”
TTB: And then there were the 2000s, which were pure crap.
Sherman: “There will never be a lack of quarterbacks in the Big 12.”
TTB: Really, coach? Do the names Tony Lindsay, Aso Pogi and Bobby Reid not mean anything to you?
Sherman: (In response to a question about quarterback Jerrod Johnson) “Because he’s so dang bright about things, sometimes he can see things or anticipate things that aren’t happening.”
TTB: OK, I knew Johnson was a pretty decent quarterback, but I didn’t know he has studied under Ms. Cleo or something.
Sherman: “He came in here, and we asked him to do some things that were really magical because we didn’t have linebackers.”
TTB: Now I know two good reasons whey A&M hasn’t had the best defense the past couple years: They’ve been trying to use magic and parlor tricks to stop opposing offenses, and they were playing without linebackers. Seems like a couple pretty good reasons for your defense to struggle.
OK, folks, that wraps up day one. Hope you enjoyed. We’ll be back tomorrow to take on day two, which will feature Missouri, OSU, Kansas State and Texas Tech.