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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ramzy of Oh Stewardess, I Speak Jive

Ramzy: Oh Stewardess, I Speak Jive

By Ramzy

Posted Aug 03, 2010

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There was plenty of coachspeak to be had at Monday's Big Ten media days session. What did it all mean?

The Big Ten football spaceship has descended yet again on the Windy City for its annual media days and football luncheon, and yesterday the coaches took turns at the dais at McCormick Place to provide the famished public with words of wisdom before taking requests from the journalists in the crowd.

Unfortunately for the masses, coaches are very cryptic, enigmatic creatures who prefer to communicate in their native tongue of coachspeak which as we all know is a Germanic dialect of bulls***, a tough language to decipher, let alone master. Fortunately I’ve dedicated much of my life to digesting and processing this tricky brand of jargon, which is deliberately constructed in a way that the answer to all questions is the hole in the middle of a bagel while the words are the bland, doughy matter to be chewed on. Rosetta Stone: [ENABLED]

Bret Bielema, Wisconsin

“It’s great to be here.” [This media event is a job requirement. Unfortunately I’m required to be here.]

“I don’t know if I like to be the opening kickoff. I would have deferred this one if I could.” [If you’re familiar with my late-game decision-making, you are laughing harder at this joke]

“…one of the things that first jumped out at me…all 16 guys that were in the first two rows (of a team meeting) had all started a game.” [If I were to mumble LOUDER we would have more good players.]

“With that I’ll open it up for any easy questions.” [Please remember that I played football for the University of Iowa]

“…one of the first things I tweeted was if Nebraska is coming into our league, it would be neat to have them maybe as an end-season rivalry game.” [My boss graduated from Nebraska.]

“…in addition to the ability to recruit more into Minnesota and the Dakotas and Nebraska itself, it might open up more channels into the West.” [Our roster plans are geared toward being as white as possible.]

Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern

“It’s great to be back here.” [I live 11 miles from here. I say the same thing to my dry cleaner.]

“I’m not going to kill you with kindness; I’m just going to give you the facts and we’ll go from there.” [I’m going to kill you with kindness.]

“We have 17 wins over the last two years.” [I can’t believe it either.]

“We’ve got six guys that have started football games in the secondary.” [Our pass defense was ranked in the bottom-half of the conference.]

“Academically we had a tremendous year last year.” [Unlike another allegedly reputable school in our conference that hired a stammering hillbilly to run its football program into the ground, we have maintained our academic standards.]

“We had 171 players above a 3.0 (GPA).” [We actually field two football teams here at Northwestern.]

“It’s going to be pretty neat to run out (at Wrigley Field vs. Illinois) where Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus and George Halas were on that field. That’s going to be really special.” [Wrigley Field is the home of the most notoriously futile sports franchise in America, and Northwestern has the fourth-most losses in college football history, so if you don’t see the obvious synergy then you’re not looking hard enough.]

“(QB Dan Persa) is chomping at the bit.” [I have a bet with Bielema over who could slide in more clich├ęs today, and now one of us just won the Twilight: New Moon soundtrack so I’m chomping at the bit too. And that also doubles as a vampire pun. Damn it, we should have had a pun contest too. Bielema probably doesn’t know what a ‘pun’ is.]

Ron Zook, Illinois

“Sorry if my voice is a little raspy, took in a little too much water yesterday.” [Apparently I have never actually listened to myself speak.]

“Got a new quarterback that I think everyone will enjoy watching.” [He hasn’t been on campus long enough to be ruined yet like Juice was.]

“My wife had me buying appliances this summer, which I’ve never done in my life.” [Once Illinois fires me after this season, I’m looking into a second career as a personal shopper.]

“I think on paper we’re probably every bit if not better a football team than we were (in 2007).” [All of my teams are better on paper as a matter of principle and poor coaching.]

Rich Rodriguez, Michigan

“Good morning, everyone. Thanks for coming.” [I’m under the false impression that journalism is a volunteer job]

“We have some questions, certainly, on both sides of the ball.” [Despite the fact that we’re returning 18 starters.]

“Offensively we should be better up front.” [How was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?]

“I was taking an informal poll for how long the quarterback question would (take to) come up. Didn’t take long.” [Once Michigan fires me after this season, I’m looking into a second career as a pollster.]

“Certainly Tate (Forcier) and Denard (Robinson) both got a lot of true freshmen…(they’ll) also get a challenge from (true freshmen) Devin Gardner.” [I am purposefully trying to get fired.]

“I’m excited about Greg Robinson taking over the linebackers.” [His career trajectory has him tearing tickets at the stadium gates by 2013.]

“Well, I don’t know much about what’s going on in the summer (re: voluntary workouts).” [Since I’m not under oath.]

“…we really feel confident in the guys we signed that they’re smart guys, they’re tough guys. If they can learn quickly in camp, they may be able to help us in the secondary.” [Who says you can’t play freshmen every single year and stay employed?]

Mark Dantonio, Michigan State

“…we’re very, very excited as we enter our fourth season as a staff at Michigan State.” [I have to emphasize verbally this because my natural aura is more “just got a 25-to-life sentence” than “I get to work in college football.”]

“But (I) feel good about our defense now.” [I haven’t had to suspend a dozen players yet this season.]

“When you combine (our veteran players) with the recruiting class coming in, and what we’ve seen from our recruiting classes is about six guys getting on the field every year, should be very, very exciting for us.” [Eight-win ceiling, four-win floor and the colors are green and white once more.]

Bill Lynch, Indiana

“Like the other guys, (I’m) excited to be here.” [Two of us have our jobs because our bosses died unexpectedly. I’m the one who hasn’t done well, yet I’m still employed. You’d be excited too.]

“So it’s that time of year.” [Despite the past several years, IU is still somehow a basketball school.]

“In the last three years we’ve only played six true freshmen.” [When we recruit, we specifically target projects, ‘tweeners and sleepers.]

“We were about 12 plays away from playing in a really good bowl game.” [If you magically eliminated 12 touchdowns that opposing teams scored against us, anything is possible.]

“We spent more time in spring practice than ever in third-down situations.” [And it was a comedy of errors.]

“(Our coaches) have mapped out our camp all the way up to probably game week to make sure that we get all that work in.” [We play Towson, Western Kentucky, Akron and Arkansas State in the first half of our schedule. Bowl eligibility means winning two games.]

Danny Hope, Purdue

“Obviously we open up with Notre Dame and that’s exciting.” [We lost four of five during the Charlie Weis era; boy, are we glad to get that gameday mastermind out of there.]

“(Robert Marve) is the most talented quarterback I’ve been around from a total package.” [I’ve coached at Wyoming, Louisville, Eastern Kentucky and here.]

“Obviously a big win against Ohio State and a big win up at Michigan, we were fortunate to beat Illinois which is our arch-rival right next door in Indiana.” [We also beat Toledo. Just don’t ask me to talk about the other seven games from our schedule last year.]

Joe Paterno, Penn State

“I’m all set, I hope. It’s good to be here.” [Does anyone else hear ticking? I hear ticking.]

“We’re just going to hopefully have a decent year this year.” [I can’t wait to meet the players we’ve recruited.]

“Well, you know again, what did Mark Twain say, the rumor of my death has been over-exaggerated or something.” [I’m so embarrassed I cannot remember the actual quote since I was in the room when he originally said it.]

“Eddie Robinson is one of the great people I’ve known in coaching.” [I should give him a call and see how he’s doing. WHAT? When?]

“I would hope there would be some kind of dialogue, but there’s no commitment.” [It may sound like I’m talking about my successor, but this also describes my current role in our recruiting efforts.]

Tim Brewster, Minnesota

“We’re bigger. We’re stronger. We’re faster. We’re more athletic than we’ve ever been.” [We’re finally back to where Glen Mason left the roster when I took over.]

“What an amazing experience for our players to be on the practice field with players like Larry Fitzgerald and another local man, James Laurinaitis, those type players in the National Football League, rub shoulders with them and learn from them. [Guys from Minnesota who decided against going to the University of Minnesota are very inspiring to our players.]

“I think we’ve done a great job of reaching out to the students and really trying to create a home field advantage.” [I was hired well after plans for an on-campus stadium were already in the works.]

“I’ve told the story of Wally Pipp to our team quite a bit.” [Only because he played during an era when Minnesota won championships. I’ve also told them about the New Deal, the Nuremberg Laws and the birth of Elvis Presley. Same reason.]

Kirk Ferentz, Iowa

“First statement is I’m not used to getting dressed, apparently.” [My contract at Iowa was underwritten by the Kingdom of Zamunda and calls for royal bathers and dressers, none of whom could be here today.]

“Christian Ballard…really has played well for us four straight years, going into his fourth straight year.” [He’s going to have a great year. I’ve already seen it.]

“You know, Rick Stanzi is with me.” [And I am with America.]

“I think everyone’s excited about the addition of Nebraska.” [Everyone except Iowa State. If they didn’t realize that they sucked before, they do now.]

“I just think the Big Ten is fantastic in all regards. I don’t think we have to defend ourselves to anybody. And let the results speak as they may, and that’s really what football’s about anyway.” [Listen jerks; I’m 3-1 against SEC teams in bowl games. You might want to save that question for the next guy.]

Jim Tressel, Ohio State

“Our 2010 Buckeyes are a little older group than what we’ve had. Twenty-five seniors.” [Last year we were in rebuilding mode and are hoping to bounce back this season. MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA]

“I know we’ll be a team that’s targeted. And we’ll always get everyone’s best shot. And with that in mind, we better make sure our best shot’s ready each Saturday.” [Yeah, I can’t believe we lost to Purdue either.]

“That’s the beauty, if you have an opportunity to earn a bowl, getting that extra practice and guys come along, and I thought (Terrelle Pryor) was able to focus in on what he needed to do better and he knew his place amongst the group and all that.” [Michigan’s QB situation is bad because it can’t get bowl-eligible. Michigan can’t get bowl-eligible because its QB situation is bad. It’s a big, vicious, delicious circle.]

“I was sitting over there in the ESPN truck. (Pryor) called and had an idea. So I let Herbstreit answer the phone, let those quarterbacks talk to each other.” [Herbstreit provides me with shoe shines and secretarial services during the offseason to compensate for his over-the-top neutrality when discussing the Buckeyes in the national media.]

“I’m not sure we didn’t play as good a game (as in the Rose Bowl) the year before when we played Texas and lost in the last second.” [Keep in mind that I’m no different from any other Buckeye fan in that I’ve completely blocked out my play calling from the third quarter of the Texas game.]

“I know us with 36 sports, and we need to raise quite a bit of money to fund an athletic program like we have, it’s really important to have home games.” [Our women’s field hockey team is known internally as the Zips, wrestling is the Redhawks, swimming is the Bobcats, fencing is the Rockets, women’s soccer is the Golden Flashes and volleyball is the Penguins. Thank you, state of Ohio.]

Rosetta Stone: [/DISABLED]

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