(Don't trust what they say.)
By Ferd Lewis
It is a common assumption that college football coaches confine their true genius to diagramming Xs and Os and choreographing plays.
For all the wonder of a precision run-and-shoot or wishbone offense, this isn't necessarily true, of course. As the sound bites and quotes this time of the year remind us, their imagination can take several forms. Many coaches have also made a highly developed art form out of saying one thing when they mean another.
As a public service for those who wish to be able to read between the lines of what today's coaches might be saying, we offer the following glimpses into 21st century coachspeak.
"Officiating isn't what cost us the game."
(But you'll never get me to admit it was the coaching.)
"They have a lot of guys who will play on Sundays."
(Or, whenever the mixed bowling league meets.)
"It should be a great game for the fans to watch."
(But it'll be a Maalox night for the coaches.)
"The open date couldn't have come at a better time."
(Let's face it, any week we don't play is a good week.)
"We won't know what happened until we look at the tape."
(And by then I'll try to come up with a better excuse.)
"We have a lot of respect for these guys."
(It takes a lot of guts to step on the field when you play like they do.)
"They're the best 0-4 team in the country."
(I have to say that because they could expose us as the worst 3-1 team.)
"People forget those are just kids out there."
(And if our record doesn't improve in a hurry, hopefully, they'll also forget who recruited them.)
"We were only a couple of plays away from a victory."
(Then again, I was only a couple of numbers away from winning the Powerball jackpot, too.)
"This is probably the best defense we'll see."
(For this week, anyway.)
"We'll put our best 11 out on the field."
(But I'd feel a whole lot better about our chances if we could use 13.)
"There were some positives out there."
(Yeah, we positively got our butts kicked.)
"He's a big-play performer."
(Hopefully most of them will be for us this year.)
"We left our offense out on the field too long."
(If the offense doesn't have the ball, we're in trouble.)
"We'll surprise some people this year."
(I'll get back to you in November on whether that's a good thing or not.)