Football is here. In these parts, to be more specific, Kentucky football is here. Yes, Mark Stoops and company, 2017 edition, holds its annual Media Day on Sunday at the Joe Craft Football Training Center. It’s the traditional curtain-raising on another campaign.
Over the years, names and faces change but media days are much the same. Take it from me. Players smile for pictures. Coaches express optimism. The tone is always upbeat, optimistic and entirely predictable.
I get it. No one wants to start the season on a sour note. With that in mind, here are 10 things you will never hear at any Media Day:
“We are smaller, slower and weaker than we were a year ago.”
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No matter the history or the circumstances, most every coach at most every Media Day says the team is bigger, faster, stronger than the year before. This may be the result of recruiting. This may be the result of work ethic. This may be the result of wishful thinking. Take your pick.
“I was really disappointed with our summer workouts.”
Even if a coach is privately despondent over the low turnout or questionable work habits of players who bothered to stick around for the summer, he or she is not about to say that for public consumption. Workouts will be praised. Numbers will be fudged. Under NCAA rules, coaches are not allowed to work out players during the summer, yet somehow, someway they always seem to know how players have looked over the break.
“The quarterback is the most important position on the team.”
The fans are always concerned about the quarterback. The media always asks about the quarterback. And the coach always says the competition at that position is no more important than the competition at right guard or weak-side linebacker or long snapper. It’s the party line.
“Our schedule is easy-peasy.”
Instead, every team’s schedule is “challenging” or “grueling” or maybe even “ridiculous.” This early stance is a preemptive strike. If the season goes sideways, the coach can always fall back on the claim of a tough schedule. And as for computer strength of schedule rankings, it depends on your viewpoint. Coaches have their own computers.
“We are picked to finish exactly where we should be picked to finish.”
Alabama has won four of the last five SEC football titles, including three straight. Safe to say every year Nick Saban believed his Tide was overrated in the preseason. On the flip side, all teams picked to finish last in their respective divisions or conferences believe they are being disrespected. What’s a season without a chip on the shoulder?
“We’re not getting the administrative support we need.”
Every Media Day, every coach thanks his or her athletic director. The recruiting budget may have been cut. The stadium may be falling apart. The practice facilities may be outdated. It doesn’t matter. A coach may complain behind the scenes, but not in public.
“Our conference should be really down this year.”
Not every conference can be great every year, yet to hear it on Media Day, every team is playing in the toughest conference in the country. Again.
“These are the dumbest questions I’ve ever heard on a Media Day.”
A coach may think this — he probably often thinks this and is more often than not correct — but a coach isn’t going to say this. Not on the first day.
“If we don’t win this year, I should be fired.”
Media Day is the not the place for accurate job status descriptions. Coaches on the hot seat never acknowledge they are on the hot seat. Instead, said coach is “focused on the season” or “not concerned about a contract.”
“The (fill in the blank) is the biggest game on our schedule.”
Remember, all coaches play them one game at a time, so the media and fans should, too. No game is more important than any other game. They all count the same.
The only thing we can be sure of this season is that the unexpected will happen. Just not on Media Day.
Kentucky 2017 football schedule