If I didn’t mention it already, It’s cold here in the dirty south. So cold, that tomorrow, local weather forecasters are calling for gameday snow. Yep. You read that right. Chances of snow flurries throughout the day—at the SEC Championship game. In Atlanta! What the heck is going on?!
This afternoon, I headed over to the Georgia Dome for back-to-back press conferences. Urban Meyer first, followed by a photo op interlude, and then Nick Saban. I won’t bore you with the details. Press conferences always feel empty to me. Reporters asking empty questions followed by, in this instance, coaches, responding with empty answers. Every once in a while someone slips in a good ask or a coach or athlete actually answers a question sufficiently or provides a great anecdote or real emotion. But those moments are few and far between. And they rarely come the day before the game.
So, instead, I like to observe press conferences. Because the interesting stuff isn’t in the questions and answers. It’s in the in-between. Some observations from today …
– Coach Meyer says he holds Nick Saban in the same esteem as his other coaching idols, Bear Bryant, Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler. However, when Meyer called Saban looking for a coaching position when Saban was at Toldeo, Saban never called back.
– Journalist: “Urban, How do you react to Lane Kiffin saying Bama has the coaching edge in this game?” Urban Meyer: “No comment.” / Saban’s first comments praising Florida were that the Gators were “probably well prepared and pretty well coached.”
– Coach Saban began his session by thanking the media for “all you do” and for our “interest in Alabama football and college football in general.” He said that his players don’t know how to express their gratitude, but they know that without the media, they would not be up for national awards. “I just want to thank you all,” he said. Then he spent the next 30 minutes lambasting the media for placing unnecessary expectations on players, creating speculation and controversy, and thinking he thinks about things he doesn’t think about.
– My favorite part of Saban’s conference was monitoring his constant misuse of air quotes. It was as if his hands had a mind of their own. Saban is well known for speaking with his hands, but someone should teach his hands the correct use of this symbol. It is not to emphasize words like “statistically” or “Ingram.” The scene reminded me of the episode of Friends where Chandler teaches Joey to properly use air quotes. Clearly Coach Saban missed this episode. And it’s probably not the sort of image he wants the media thinking about while he’s speaking about his team’s biggest game of the season.
24 hours till kickoff!