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Athlon Brings the Smack

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Since news and roster info is so easily available on the Internet – or in much more detailed form in Phil Steele, in a pinch – the greatest value in the glossy preseason magazines these days is the anonymous smack talk by opposing coaches. This is the only “journalistic” outlet that waives, you know, valid sourcing for comments, and therefore the only media I know of that allows an “opposing assistant coach” to drop the cliché bullshit and let fly with something closer to the unfiltered, inner circle trash.

The Sporting News usually does this, and the results are mostly benign. Athlon tries it this year, though, with a few relatively good (if disappointingly printable, obviously) zingers:

Ohio State: “The areas they’ve been exposed a little bit, when you watch them in the championship games, is their offensive line has not lived up to their standards. LSU beat them up pretty good. Florida ran right by them.
      – An opposing Big Ten assistant coach.

Oklahoma: “The games they lost last year, they were a little bit bored, it looked like. When they played West Virginia, it looked like they didn’t have any juice. When those guys want to play, they’re scary.”
      – An opposing Big 12 assistant coach.

Kansas: “What Kansas did was give everybody in America hope that you can go from 6-6 to 12-1. Every program across the country is looking at them, saying, ’If they can do it, we can do it.’”
      – An opposing Big 12 assistant coach. 

I mean, seriously, Kansas! Those cornpone crackers couldn't tackle a paraplegic prairie dog!
- - -

Rutgers: “Without (Ray) Rice, it will be interesting to see how Mike Teel performs at quarterback. ... Without a huge running threat, we’ll see how good (he) really is.”
      – An opposing Big East assistant coach.

Penn State: “The thing that’s hurt them a little bit lately in recruiting is just the instability of when is Joe finally going to go. They lost some guys to other teams that they wouldn’t normally lose.”
      – An opposing Big Ten assistant coach.

UCLA: “Rick Neuheisel will get people’s attention, particularly Pete Carroll’s. They’re so alike. They’re birds of a feather. Both have the swagger. Neither one of them hurts for self esteem I guarantee you.”
      – An opposing Pac-10 assistant coach.

California: “They had a great run for a few years. Can they get back to where they’re competing for a league title? I don’t know.”
      – An opposing Pac-10 assistant coach. [Translation: “I do know. And they can’t.” – ed.]

Texas A&M: “You look at A&M, and you wonder why they haven’t gotten to the top 5. Texas has since won a national championship. LSU, USC and Florida. There’s no reason A&M is not at that level.”
      – An opposing Big 12 assistant coach.

Connecticut: “Last year’s Big East co-championship was an incredible coaching job by Randy Edsall, but I doubt you’ll see them repeat that success. ... They definitely will be bowl-bound again this year, but I think they’ll drop to the middle of the pack in the Big East.”
       – An opposing Big East assistant coach.

Vanderbilt: “They are well-coached and give people fits at times but lack the confidence to get over the top.”
      – An opposing SEC assistant coach. [I’ve always said Vandy’s problem in the SEC is ‘confidence’ – ed.]

New Mexico: “They’ve established a winning tradition with Rocky (Long). But they don’t have the same players TCU has. They don’t have the same players BYU has. They’ve almost got to play perfect and have some breaks to have a chance to win a conference championship.”
      – An opposing MWC assistant coach.

Minnesota: “Defensively, I don’t know what they were doing last year. It was a hodgepodge of a lot of things, and it showed. They gave up a lot of yardage. Their front seven wasn’t very good.”
      – An opposing Big Ten assistant coach. [To be fair, this is a completely objective quote. – ed.]

Utah State: “It is the same story with these guys – they will be good defensively but will be unable to answer all the questions all the questions on offense. They have no skill offensively.”
      – An opposing WAC assistant coach [‘Good defensively’? Say what? – ed.]

But nobody relished his chance to get in jabs like whatever staff grunt served as the magazine’s “opposing ACC assistant coach,” who let his guard down and dished on half the league. Oh, snap!:

Florida State: “I still think they’ve got the best players probably in the conference. I mean, they are really, really talented.” [i.e., the FSU coaches really, really suck]

Maryland: “Defensively they were very average last year. I don’t know if they’ve improved their team enough anything better than that this year.”

Miami: “Last year the defense was extremely vanilla. Mostly just man-free with occasional blitzes. You’ve got to mix it up once in a while.”

Boston College: “Overrated. Good coaches, and their kids play hard. But their cupboard is bare this year. They lost that edge of toughness on offense when the new coach [Jeff Jagodzinski] came in.”

Duke: “Defensively, they’ve had some kids who could hit, but you just don’t know if they can hang on for the whole game.”


...and, last but not least, the best, most direct personal shot of the lot of ‘em:

Georgia Tech: “They’ll have more continuity on the staff without guys like (Jon) Tenuta. There was a lot of backstabbing going on, and it didn’t allow them to be as successful as they might have been.”
      – An opposing ACC assistant coach.

Backstabbing? I dunno, it sounds like Tenuta completely, uh, respects the tactical smarts and autonomy of his new co-coordinator, Corwin Brown:

This is how I did it, junior. Bang bang.