Coach speak is a terrible epidemic that affects countless coaches and players across the nation each year. Cases of this crippling disease pop up every day.
Symptoms include redundancy, being total uninterested in the question(s) asked and leaving those around you completely bored and frustrated.
The good news is that it's curable. All you need a little creativity and a lack of fear in having a human moment.
We experience coach speak on a daily basis in the SEC with some cases worse than others, but none have been more interesting than when Vanderbilt coach James Franklin talks about bowls, or whatever you call those things.
Last year, he refused to talk about the Commodores' possible bowl chances midseason and sarcastically acted like he didn't know what bowl games even were. Call it focus and a way to make sure players aren't looking past the immediate opponent, but you can also call it unnecessary.
It actually drew more mocking from us media folk than anything.
Well, Franklin displayed the same attitude on during the SEC coaches call on Wednesday when asked about whether he's talked about bowls or the postseason with his players.
"Yeah, again, I don't really know what you're talking about," Franklin said. "We want to be 1-0 this week. I'm not even sure what you're referencing."
Bowl games. You know, the things every college football player strives for at the beginning of the season. It's kind of a like a playoff game, but the winner just gets a trophy and doesn't advance to the next round. You took your players to one last year and if you do it again this year it'll be the first time in school history that Vanderbilt will go to one back-to-back seasons.
Ring a bell?
"Yeah, I'm not even sure what you mean when you talk about bowl games," Franklin said after the question was clarified. "We're playing this week. We're trying to beat UMass. We get a win this week, we keep doing that, at the end of the year if they tell us about these things that you describe as bowls then maybe we'll go to one. We're just focused on winning this week and that's all we're focused on."
I get it. Franklin doesn't want his team looking past 0-7 UMass. He clearly knows what bowl are, and it's a clever way to keep your team motivated in a game it has no business losing.
But his answer to a simple question was just silly. A, "No, we don't talk about bowls," or, "We're focusing on Massachusetts right now," would suffice. As boring and lazy as those responses are, they aren't as frivolous as responding like you don't know bowls exist.
Franklin should be proud to talk about his team being in the bowl mix. Vandy has only been to five and he took the Commodores to one in his first year.
I understand a robot response to a question revolving around something negative with his program, but one on something positive just does not compute.