Rich broadcast contracts have benefits. Last week ESPN was able to fly each of the 12 SEC head coaches up to Bristol for a series of interviews, which they took to calling "the car wash."
The on-camera stuff was largely forgettable - unless you count workers walking in the shot behind Mark Richt. But the highlight seems to be a survey done by the dot-come folks: Page 2 got each coach to answer a series of questions, and the results are actually enlightening and somewhat entertaining.
Here's what stands out:
- Les Miles is as strange as you'd think. But it's an endearing strange. I like his answer on the cliche' question: "I have no idea. I am not that coach. I don't operate that way. I fight for unique and accurate ways to be descriptive." Having spent a minute with Miles a couple months ago in Destin, I can personally attest to this.
- Nick Saban can be short and prickly in other settings, but he has some pretty good, thoughtful answers here.
- Every coach - except the apparently starving Bobby Petrino - had a good answer on their favorite places to eat on the road. Richt talked about a place near his hometown of Boca Raton, Fla., as well as a place in Tallahassee. And Miles talked about getting excited anytime he can find a rib joint with great mustard sauce. Now that's kinda cool.
- One of the questions was for the most overused clich'. Mark Richt says his used to be "It is what it is", but now it's some other things. I liked Derek Dooley's answer: "'Buy in. Are the players bought in?'";It slips out every now and then and I just hit myself every time I say it."
- There was a wide range of answers on whether coaches were superstitious. Richt, as well as Gene Chizik and Will Muschamp, claimed not to have any. But Miles and Nick Saban are, and had lengthy explanations.
- Steve Spurrier couldn't resist a dig, but not at a league coach. Asked for the best-dressed coach, he answered: "Well, it used to be (Jim) Tressel." Then he laughed. Never change, Steve.
- Pretty much every coach lists their own stadium as having the league's most hostile environment. A few coaches, such as Joker Phillips and Houston Nutt, just say that every stadium in the SEC is tough. James Franklin uses the "I'm new" excuse.
- Richt's favorite athlete growing up was Joe Namath. Which leads me to wonder if Richt has ever been interviewed by Suzy Kolber ...
- Every single coach remembers not only their first job, but how much they were earning. In fact, Spurrier remembers the salaries of his first three jobs.
- Kudos to Page 2 for the survey overall, but also a subject I've always been curious about myself: Postgame handshakes. Most coaches weren't too good on this question, but Dooley, Richt, Saban and Petrino had some good stories.
- The question about favorite songs is perhaps the most revealing of each coach's personality. Franklin is young enough that he talks about growing up "in the Biggie time," which was the mid-90s. Miles says he loves Lil Wayne. (Like I said, how can you not like this guy?) Saban reveals that he's been to three or four Eagles concerts. And Chizik, in the least surprising news of the decade, says he loves Neil Diamond.
And Richt picks a song by his son David, and there's a YouTube link to it. I have to admit, I was hoping to find out a little bit more about the coach I cover on this question, but I understand why he picked that song. Of course, I have plenty of time to ask it myself, and you bet I will.