Posted: 11:30 a.m. Friday, July 19, 2013
Talk about Heismans. Talk about oversleeping. Talk about phone chargers. Talk about drinking cold beers. Talk about that Alabama fan that had a funny hat (seriously, did you see that funny hat? SO funny! lol). Talk about broad subjects that have nothing to do with football. Hell, talk about what you ate today. Is it on Instagram? Can I compile it into a post I'm working on? What's your handle?
Talk about your undying fear of the hurry-up, no-huddle offense.
See, because that was the story. When we discuss anything that actually had relevance at this year's Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus in Hoover, it was the one topic that most affected Auburn football and its decision to hire Gus Malzahn. Since his return, coaches from the top of the league (Alabama) to the equally crestfallen (Arkansas) are being asked about this fancy "hurry-up, no-huddle" thingamajig. Sure, Hugh Freeze did some things at Ole Miss last year that make it relevant, but the topic didn't become a concern until the hiring of Malzahn.
Nick Saban navigated his way around the topic, almost as if he is a professional. It was as if Saban is the most respected college football coach in America and had won three of the last four national championships. It was sort of like the guy knew that feeding the narrative wasn't anything that he needed or wanted to waste time on. His concerns are clear. He smells a little like fear. But he ain't got time for that.
But Bert? Bert is your honest uncle. Maybe he's your drunk uncle. Maybe he's both.
Bert is not a comedian. But that's super funny, because when Bert said he is not a comedian, I laughed and laughed. In his own fashion, Gus said six syllables that made Bert lose his sensibilities. And with B1G speed, Bert had plenty of time to prepare a reasonable answer.
"I thought it was a joke."
"I'm not a comedian."
That was the story. The story didn't need to be a Mad Libs version of what Johnny Manziel may have done on the evening before he was tardy to visit the Manning Passing Academy. The story didn't need to be the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model dating the quarterback of the last two national championship teams. The story didn't need to be a dumb Alabama fan in the lobby of a five-star hotel wearing a funny hat. The story didn't need to be another dumb Alabama fan comparing his coach to Hitler, you know, "in a good way."
The story is that the league is afraid of Gus Malzahn. They may be afraid of Hugh Freeze, too, but Hugh Freeze is working and will always be working with Ole Miss resources. Gus Malzahn is better at it than Hugh Freeze, and Gus Malzahn is working with resources outnumbered by few teams in the country's most powerful conference.
But here's what probably happened. At least, if you ask me. Because I am a credentialed media member (Note: I am not, at least, not for sporting events) and am about to make my long-overdue jump to TV. What probably happened is ol' Bert was in bed next to his smoking-hot wife after a long night of passionate sex. Boobs. Then, what happens next is he "goes a little fast" [WINK] and his smoking hot wife rolls over mad.
"Reckon I'll finish season five of Friday Night Lights," she says, clearly disgusted that Bert has completed this evening in a hurry [WINK]. "That Coach Eric Taylor, now there's a real coach. Smash mouth. Pounds it up the middle [WINK]."
Haha. Then ol' Bert got embarrassed. See, the "hurry-up, no-huddle" had INJURED his ego. In bed. That's right. Bertatron wasn't pleasing his lady and boobs plus suits and Auburn is cheatin' and Auburn is cheatin' and Auburn is cheatin' and Auburn is cheatin' and I love you Paul. Boobs.
Wait what? That wasn't necessary? The story was interesting enough by itself? You mean, I didn't have to fill in nonexistent blanks? I could just tell the story, which actually happened, and I could have a good laugh about Bert being afraid?
I will be damned, a monkey's uncle.
Bert told reporters on Wednesday that he is concerned about his players sustaining injuries because they are having to play at a fast tempo. Bert said that he can't go into a 17-year-old's home and look their mother in the eye and tell them that he can protect their son from injury because big, bad Gus Malzahn likes to run 178 plays per game.
Maybe try Crossfit?
I don't know what response Bert was hoping to get, but here's one: The coach that ignited this whining was just inducted into the Arkansas High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame. I don't know who "created" the "hurry-up, no-huddle" offense. I know Gus Malzahn, quite literally, wrote the book on it. And I know that Gus Malzahn forever changed high school football in Arkansas within the last decade. So guess what, Bert? The parent you are trying to make promises to? Their kid has spent the entirety of his football career playing in or against Gus Malzahn's system.
Maybe drink plenty of water? Stay hydrated. Johnathan Pigskin wishes he had.
I wish that I were an octopus. Is there something with more arms than an octopus? Because I want as many arms as possible at my disposal to dismissively wank in Bert's direction. Wank. Wank. Wank. Wank. Wank.
On Wednesday, Bert skyrocketed Arkansas's place on the hit list. See ya, Dan Mullen. We'll mail you a postcard, Nick Saban. Mark Richt has lost control of this list.
Auburn fans want to beat Nick Saban because he is the head coach at Alabama, the Tigers' biggest rival, and Alabama is the best team in America.
Auburn fans want to beat Mark Richt because he is the head coach at Georgia, and for some unknown reason, Georgia fans think Auburn is their biggest rival and vice versa, despite no provocation.
Auburn fans want to beat Les Miles because LSU has had very good teams over the last decade and it is a win that can be important in a season. Also that period during Tuberville's tenure when Auburn/LSU was Alabama/LSU.
Auburn fans want to beat Dan Mullen because he is a dirtbag. He's the worst. Ever.
But Bert created a way to pass all of that. In 2013.
Update: I've written over 1,000 words at this point on one thing that actually happened at SEC Media Days. It actually happened. A grown man stood behind a podium in front of 1,200 other grown men who still can't figure out how to translate their craft to social media and said, "Hi. I'm Barbara. I may appear to be a grown man. But I am not. Because you see, I am afraid of another grown man who has the same job that I do. Like, I'm not sure I can do my job very well because he's crafty." That happened. It happened. Back to regular type:
Johnny Manziel may or may not have drunk 1,000 beers last weekend. He may or may not have [gasp] had sex with a girl. His phone may have died. Maybe AJ McCarron didn't wake him up. What was AJ doing? Probably shenanigans.
But it didn't matter. A grown man told 1,200 grown men that he was afraid of another grown man. On national television.
And what else happened? Steve Spurrier said something totally honest! Les Miles said something CRRRRRRRRAAAZY! (lol) No one knew who Mark Stoops or Gary Pinkel were when they were getting one of those cookies with icing in the food court. LOL. LO-freakin-L. Y'all, I laugh so hard. Familiar jokes are the best!
But real talk, gang: Nothing happened during the 2013 edition of SEC Media Days that will be remembered when next week arrives. We'll dish some hot takes on it Friday: "Man that was the best! lolololo!" And when we awake Monday morning, it will all be a blur. It was just a thing that happened that didn't really matter.
There was a day it was a little different. And it isn't just social media that changed that, it was savvy sports information departments, although the former was massive. Have you noticed that pay site reporters don't really ask questions at these events?
They don't need to do it.
Even "beat writers" don't need to do it. Auburn's beat can access Gus Malzahn, and will, every day beginning on Aug. 1. This event isn't for each team's fans to learn more about their team, it's for them to learn more about their opponents.
There's also a disconnect between how important the people inside the hotel believe the event is and how important the people outside of the hotel believe it is. Inside the hotel, it seems like the center of the universe. All of these people! The bright lights! People I talk to on the phone every few weeks to swap takes! Oh man! I read your blog!
I'll never know a man that loves Auburn football more than my dad. I visited him at the hospital Thursday after a knee surgery, and we talked a lot about Auburn football. Now, this is a man very well connected, hip to technology, a radio listener, a reader.
"What happened at media days? Anything big?"
That's the difference. And conveying that to completely self-absorbed and insulated media members is futile. I still don't understand why I even try. Maybe it's because I always believed in it. I always thought it could be honest and entertaining at the same time.
Maybe my twilight rantings have been possessed by Aaron Sorkin, but I'll never be convinced that the actual story has such little entertainment value that I need to invent one.
Bert. He's afraid of Gus Malzahn.