Basketball is slowly winding down, so that means that spring football is in the air. In the era of early recruiting, midterm graduates, scholarship limitations, and strict practice time allowances, spring football has become more important than ever. We sent correspondents to every Big 12 school to get each coach’s expectations for spring ball and the upcoming season.
Unfortunately, the interviews consisted of mostly boring coachspeak. We were given uninteresting nuggets like these:
“We expect to compete for the north title every year.”
“We go after character first when recruiting.”
“My family and I are happy to be in Lubbock.”
Not only were the answers boring, a lot of them were straight out lies. We regrouped and sent correspondents back to interview each of the coaches. This time, we took with us a syringe filled with sodium thiopental, better known as truth serum. We actually had to take a third trip to Kansas after obtaining a large syringe from a veterinarian at the Fort Worth Zoo. With the truth serum in their systems, the coaches seemed to talk in a stream of consciousness dialogue.
Here is a brief rundown of what each coach is really thinking about going into spring practice:
Gary Pinkel, Head Coach of the Missouri Tigers since 2001
We need to replace the quarterback. You know, the guy we had last year, he was good most of the time, but in big games he would get nervous and pick his nose in the huddle. It grossed everyone out and we would fall apart. One game he wore number twenty-five and he looked fat. I don’t think we’ll be picked to win any big games this year. The pressure is off me for another few years. I’m happy.
Mark Mangino, Head Coach of the Kansas Jayhawks since 2002
With the basketball team still in the tournament, no one is really talking about football right now. I’m trying to delay spring practice until we know our basketball team has been eliminated. We’re trying to market football practice and are encouraging people to come watch us every day. If we can get enough people out here watching us, we’ll be able to open concession stands, and that will be real convenient for me. You know, I eat a lot, but I have to. I’m trying to lose weight. For breakfast, I make these healthy shakes in my blender, but they taste awful. I have to throw a hamburger in there just to make them taste right.
Bill Snyder, Head Coach of the Kansas State Wildcats, 1989-2005, Rehired in 2009
I’m already scouring the JUCO’s for my next team. I’ll have this thing back on track in two years. Look, I’m a mean SOB, and I don’t care who knows it. I hate most people, even my own team. I want dumb players. I don’t care if they can’t read, as long as they can play. I’ll get these guys, guys that have no business being in college in the first place, and we’ll play dirty and we’ll win a bunch of games. I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again. This isn’t rocket science. Get good players, place no academic expectations on them, and tell them to kill the other team. We’ll be fine, but that Prince guy didn’t leave me with much.
Bo Pelini, Head Coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers since 2008
Man, the SEC was rough. We try to have some standards over here in the Big 12. My only goal this spring is get kids out of Texas. I want Texas kids on my team. We offered 11 running backs in Texas last year. I need a new QB, too. I know what we did last year was with smoke and mirrors. We aren’t that good. We’ll never be the football power we were in the nineties. But people up here love me. If we can go to a minor bowl each of the next few years, I think I can hang around here for a while. We got lucky last season. We played a team without a coach in the bowl game.
Dan Hawkins, Head Coach of the Colorado Buffaloes since 2006
Sure, I’m going to get this program going again, starting this spring. I’ve already told my son there’s no way he’s getting anymore playing time. He sucks. I’ve looked through Gary Barnett’s notes, and we’re going to throw some recruiting raves this fall. They seemed to work out pretty well for him. I’ve been scouring the girl high school soccer leagues in Southern California for several months looking for a kicker. I’d say things are looking up for us this spring.
Paul Rhoads, Head Coach of the Iowa State Cyclones – First Season
You know, I really don’t want to be a head coach. I’m a defensive guy. I just like to coach defense. But for a million a year, I couldn’t pass it up. My strategy will be to put all my money in a safe investment, like CD’s or something like that. I might even buy some gold. Hopefully, the market will start to rebound. When I think it’s bottomed out, which it might have already done, I’ll put a sizable chunk back in. These guys are paying me a ridiculous amount of money. I figure I have two years where I can blame everything on Gene Chizik. Hopefully, he fails at Auburn so that will make me look like I’m telling the truth. When I get fired from here after my third season, I should have a nice nest egg for my retirement. I can go back to coaching on the defensive side of the ball until I retire.
Next week, we’ll take a look at the coaches from the Big 12 South.