Quotes. All the quotes. Nothing but the quotes of the last 12 months of college football.
AND BY "WE," I MEAN THAT IN THE GENERAL COLLECTIVE WE SENSE -- NOT ME PERSONALLY
"We made some changes today that we think are in the best interest of the University of Nebraska, and I want you to know I support Frank Solich completely on those. We need to turn this program around and we're going to do it."
-- Nebraska athletic director Bill Byrne on the Dec. 2 firing of three Cornhuskers assistant coaches by head coach Frank Solich.
The next day Byrne accepted the Texas A&M athletic director's job.
SO MUCH FOR THAT POST-NFL CAREER AS A SCOUT
|QB Ken Dorsey and Miami top the underrrated Big East.|
"Man, we trippin'."
-- Former Miami tailback Clinton Portis on the first time he saw Hurricanes quarterback Ken Dorsey.
Dorsey is 38-1 as a starter.
LITTLE BOBBY IN THE HOSPITAL WROTE ME A LETTER. HE SAID IF HE ONLY HAD ONE WISH, IT'D BE FOR THE GATORS TO BEAT. . . WHAT THE HECK, WHERE'D EVERYBODY GO?
"We were in Knoxville getting ready to play Tennessee in 1996 and he was giving his pregame speech. One of my managers moved a trunk, and it accidentally hit a light switch in the locker room and the lights went out in middle of his delivery. When it happened, the team went crazy. The players thought it was a planned thing.
"So the team goes flying off. We had to get him out of the way because the team was bursting to get out.
"So he looks at me and says, 'Way to go, Timmy. I'm delivering a speech in the biggest game of the year and you turn the lights off. Goddang, I'm trying to get something done here. Hell of a deal, ain't it?'"
-- Former Florida equipment manager Tim Sain on Steve Spurrier's oratorical skills.
Inspired by Spurrier's "speech," the Gators jumped to a 35-0 lead in the first 20 minutes and held on to beat Tennessee, 35-29.
DID I SAY THAT? I WAS MISQUOTED. THE SUN WAS IN MY EYES. I THOUGHT IT WAS A HYPOTHETICAL QUESTION. . .
"We're going for a 3-peat. No co-champions. No co-nothing. We're going to the Fiesta Bowl."
-- Oregon offensive lineman Corey Chambers' preseason prediction.
The Ducks finished 7-5 overall, 3-5 in the Pac-10 and will play in the Seattle Bowl.
BUT ONLY IF THE QUARTERBACK DOESN'T HAVE A SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROBLEM, THE RUNNING BACK DOESN'T RUN OVER COPS, AND THE COACH DOESN'T LOSE THE TEAM
"Michigan State is a very talented football team. They probably got as good as skill and talent as there is in the league. I think they're going to be strong both offensively and defensively."
-- Opposing defensive coordinator on Spartans' chances of winning Big Ten championship.
AND, UH, WHAT HE SAID
"I'll take the hit. Put it all on me. The crowd was booing and doing all that stuff, and getting after me, so I'll take the hit."
-- Michigan State coach Bobby Williams after a 46-22 loss to Cal. Cal was 1-10 in 2001.
NFL, HERE I COME!
"OK, I'm going. I'm gone. . . I don't know who the hell Zook is or what a Zook is, so I'm gone."
-- What Florida quarterback Rex Grossman told his father after the sudden resignation of Steve Spurrier, followed by the hiring of Ron Zook as the new UF head coach.
ON SECOND THOUGHT
"Anytime there's a change, people get a little nervous. But there's no reason this year won't be like any other year."
-- Florida quarterback Rex Grossman on the post-Steve Spurrier Era.
Grossman was right. It was like any other year, just as long as the year was 1992, when the Gators also finished the regular season 8-4.
AND NOW LET'S GO DOWN TO THE FIELD, WHERE JACK ARUTE HAS A FEW QUESTIONS FOR 102-YEAR-OLD FSU COACH BOBBY BOWDEN
"This might not mean that much to you now, but maybe in 20, 30 years it will."
-- Florida State offensive tackle Brett Williams to the then 72-year-old Bowden after FSU beat Iowa State, moving Bowden past Bear Bryant on the all-time victories list.
Bowden's response to Williams: "Maybe 20 years from now you'll stop by my grave and tell me that."
FIGURATIVELY SPEAKING, OF COURSE
"I guess if you live long enough you see everything."
-- Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez on a power outage that forced the early end to the Badgers' game at UNLV. Wisconsin fans were thrilled with the win, but outraged when some of them tried cashing their betting stubs that night. Las Vegas sports books ruled that the game result was null and void.
PETE CARROLL COULDN'T HAVE AGREED MORE
"They'll win a lot of games."
-- Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville on USC after the Trojans beat the Tigers.
WHAT, WE COULDN'T PLAY ALL 12 GAMES IN A MONTH?
-- Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville, when asked to list the advantages of playing four games -- USC, Western Carolina, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State -- in 18 days.
WHERE'S THE JUSTICE? WINONA RYDER ONLY GOT COMMUNITY SERVICE
"But for the unequivocal cooperation of the university, it's very clear the death penalty most probably would have been imposed."
-- The NCAA appeals committee's chilling words on Alabama's efforts to have its sanctions reduced.
BRING THIS MAN TO VEGAS
"I wouldn't be surprised if the eventual champion did have one loss. It's tough top to bottom."
-- UCLA coach Bob Toledo on the likelihood of a one-loss winner of the Pac-10. Turned out he was absolutely right.
DON'T HOLD BACK. TELL US HOW YOU REALLY FEEL
"He's a big-time (Arizona) guy. He lives there, and has always been a big supporter of theirs. He's a big booster. I don't know what in the hell he's doing, doing the game."
-- Utah coach Ron McBride on Tucson-based Pac-10 referee Jim Fogltance, whom McBride accused of UA bias after an apparent game-tying, last-minute touchdown catch by Utah was disallowed. One problem: back judge Mike Aaronian, not Fogltance, made the controversial call.
HE WORE A VERA WANG, I WORE AN ARMANI WITH TAILS
"If anything, I'll be the groom."
-- Texas tailback -- and huge Ricky Williams fan -- Cedric Benson on the possibility of ever posing in a wedding dress (as Williams did) for an ESPN The Magazine cover.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW, THE RULING ON THE FIELD STANDS. WE THINK
"I can prove to you beyond a shadow of a doubt that a picture taken from the sidelines can be misleading where a person's foot is -- whether he's in or out. Now I don't want it to sound that we would dodge instant replay, because obviously everybody wants it right. I just don't think it's all that conclusive."
-- SEC supervisor of officials Bobby Gaston on the blind spots of instant replay technology.
KRESKIN, HE ISN'T
"I'd say without hesitation we should compete for a national championship."
-- FSU quarterback Chris Rix on the 2002 Seminoles.
Florida State finished the regular season 9-4 and never came close to mounting a serious challenge for a national title.
IF THIS COACHING GIG DOESN'T WORK OUT, YOU COULD ALWAYS APPLY FOR WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY
"Let me answer that one."
-- Texas coach Mack Brown, when a reporter asked quarterback Chris Simms about his lackluster record against top 10 teams.
AND IF THAT DOESN'T WORK OUT, THERE'S ALWAYS THAT PR JOB AT ENRON
"I'm sorry, that was his response. Thank you."
-- Texas coach Mack Brown, when a reporter asked if Simms could answer the question for himself.
Later, away from the ultra-protective Brown, Simms answered each and every question with grace and aplomb.
AT LEAST YOU HAVE YOUR HEALTH, RIGHT?
"I simply can't believe we lost the game like that again. . . I can't stand it."
-- An anguished Bobby Bowden, after Florida State missed a last-minute field goal against No. 1-ranked Miami. It marked the fourth time in Bowden's FSU career that he lost to the Hurricanes on missed kicks.
PLEASE DON'T PUT HIS COMMENTS IN MY PERMANENT DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR FILE
"Sometimes I was feeling like they blew the play dead or something."
-- Arkansas reserve running back Fred Talley on the ease of gaining 241 of his team's 426 rushing yards in the Razorbacks' 38-17 win against Auburn.
WHO SAID THAT DEGREE IN TRAVEL AND TOURISM WOULDN'T COME IN HANDY ONE DAY?
"He's dropped like a rock."
-- An NFL personnel expert on Florida quarterback Rex Grossman's 2003 draft day status. Had he left after the 2001 season, Grossman was projected as a sure first-round pick.
NEVER SAY NEVER
"It got to go through your head, man. It got to go through your head. Yo, man, I'm not saying it's something I will do, I'm not saying it's something I won't do. But when you look at your situation, and then you come into your hotel room Friday afternoon, you turn on the TV and you see Donovan McNabb sign for 12 years, for $115 million, with a $20 million signing bonus. Or you see Ray Lewis sign for 7 years, $49 million with a $19 million signing bonus, you kind of like re-evaluate your situation.
"I know it's a whole lot of things that are important about college right now. I know there's a whole lot of things a lot more important than that (the NFL) right now, but if the opportunity comes and you have a chance to take care of your family, and your family would be set for the rest of their lives, and don't have to go through things you went through, of course I'm going to take the chance. If (Ohio State Head) Coach (Jim) Tressel, if (Athletic Director) Andy Geiger or Archie Griffin, (Running Backs) Coach (Tim) Spencer, (Offensive Coordinator) Coach (Jim) Bollman. . . any of them, if they all had the chance they'd do the same thing."
-- Maurice Clarett, Ohio State's true freshman running back, on the possibility of challenging the NFL's early entry rule. Clarett later said he wouldn't leave Columbus until the end of his eligibility.
THIS IS WHY COACHES COACH, AND LEE CORSO DOES THE GAME PICKS
"I predict Virginia Tech will win the game. They will beat Miami. Virginia Tech matches up with what Miami does. I don't think (the Hurricanes) got enough in their (defensive) package to match them."
-- A prominent head coach, familiar with both programs, on the Dec. 7 meeting between Tech and Miami at the Orange Bowl.
Final score: Miami 56, Virginia Tech 45
AGAIN, THIS IS WHY PLAYERS PLAY AND LEE CORSO DOES THE GAME PICKS
"I guarantee it: we will not lose another game."
-- Virginia Tech cornerback DeAngelo Hall after the 28-21 loss to Pittsburgh. The Hokies lost their two next games, and three of their next four.
YOU SHOULD SEE HIM WHEN HE GETS REALLY ANNOYED
"That kind of season (in 2001) just seemed to be an irritant to the people who wanted to have Paul fired. Now they're jumping on the bandwagon -- 'Wow! Isn't this great! We can get him fired.' Well, he's not going to be fired. This (season) is an anomaly."
-- Syracuse athletic director Jake Crouthamel on the future of embattled Orangeman coach Paul Pasqualoni, whose team finished 4-8 this season.
PLAY CHART? CHECK. HEADPHONES WORK? CHECK. FULL SUPPLY OF KLEENEX? CHECK
"It put tears in my eyes. It was the most amazing performance, win, lose or draw I've seen. Most manly-damn thing I've ever seen. Absolutely unselfish."
-- Marshall quarterbacks coach Larry Kueck on watching injured Thundering Herd QB Byron Leftwich, who had to be carried by his linemen to the line of scrimmage during the loss at Akron.
DO CARSON, KEN AND BRAD KNOW ABOUT THIS?
"Jimminy, he might not win the Heisman, but he's the best quarterback in the country"
-- Marshall coach Bob Pruett on Byron Leftwich.
DOES THIS MEAN I'M NOT GOING TO WIN THE TEAM PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD?
"(The apology) is all a joke, a joke. It is hard for a person to change. That is his personality; that is him. He can't change his ways; he is a grown man. That is Mackovic."
-- Arizona junior cornerback Michael Jolivette on coach John Mackovic's late-season mea culpa. The apology came after more than three dozen players complained to the school president about Mackovic's coaching methods.
HERE'S HOPING YOU RUN A 3.9 40
"Maybe I should run naked through the streets of Tampa with a sign that says, 'We need to go to a bowl,'"
-- A frustrated South Florida coach Jim Leavitt on his efforts to secure the 9-2 Bulls a postseason appearance.
FOOTBALL? NO, I PREFER VIEWING A HEARTY GAME OF CRICKET
"No, I don't watch football."
-- Miami's McGahee, when asked if he'd watch the Michigan-Ohio State game.
SURE, HE CAN PICK UP A BLITZ FROM THE WIL LINEBACKER, BUT ASK HIM ABOUT JET PROPULSION AND HE NEEDS A HUG
"When I'm done with this game, I'm going to drive everywhere. If I go to the Bahamas, I will probably drive."
-- Ohio State freshman Maurice Clarett on his fear of flying.
WILL EVERYONE WHO'S COACHING TEXAS A&M PLEASE STEP FORWARD. UH, NOT SO FAST, R.C.
"I intend to coach the team in the bowl game and next season, and many seasons to come."
-- R.C. Slocum shortly after the Aggies ended their regular season with a 50-20 loss to Texas and a 6-6 record.
IT WASN'T MY IDEA. MACK BROWN SAID IT WAS OK
"Hey, this could blow up in my face, and I know that."
-- Florida's Ron Zook on the PR repercussions of his decision to impose a media gag order on his players the week of the Florida State game.
FSU won, 31-14.
I JUST DIDN'T SAY WHEN
"Best of luck to the basketball team, but football is coming back."
-- North Carolina guard Jeb Terry on his preseason appraisal of the Tar Heels football program.
Carolina finished 3-9.
THAT'S IT, RETIRE THE UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR AWARD
"Winning football games has certainly been harder than I anticipated."
-- Duke coach Carl Franks, whose team owned the longest losing streak in Division I-A at season's beginning.
PLUS, ALL YOU NC STATE GRADS WILL BE WORKING FOR US ONE DAY
"We're not losers."
-- Duke senior linebacker Jamyon Small.
The Blue Devils beat East Carolina to end their 23-game losing streak.
AND ON THE GRAVE MARKERS IT WILL SAY: BUT FOR MIAMI, AND BIG TEN REFS
"They're going to go 'til they roll the coffin on the field and take them off."
-- Clemson coach Tommy Bowden on his father, Bobby, and Penn State coach Joe Paterno.
WHAT I MEANT TO SAY IS THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE ONE OF THE WORST SEASONS IN OUR PROGRAM'S HISTORY
"I think we've got a chance. We've got a different set of expectations. But the schedule's great. We're in better shape depth wise than we've been in for two years."
-- A now-former Michigan State assistant coach on the Spartans' 2002 chances.
IF HE HAS A PULSE, CAN SAY, 'HUT!' AND DOESN'T THROW INTERCEPTIONS, WE'LL TAKE HIM
"We don't need John Elway."
-- Ohio State safety Mike Doss's preseason evaluation of the Buckeyes' quarterback needs.
Doss was right. The efficient Craig Krenzel did just fine.
I NEVER SAID, '2002'
"I want to be back for the Big Ten season."
-- Wisconsin star receiver Lee Evans on his timetable to return from knee surgery.
Poor Evans. He would have been a first round pick in the 2002 NFL draft. Instead, he returned to Madison, tore up his knee in the spring game, underwent reconstructive surgery, never played this season, and recently underwent additional surgery on the knee.
ANY WAY WE CAN PLAY IN THE SENIOR BOWL TOO?
"I'd rather have long seasons than long offseasons."
-- Ohio State coach Jim Tressel on the Buckeyes' 13-game regular season schedule.
THOSE CENTURY 21 REALTORS CAN WORK WONDERS WITH A MOTIVATED BUYER
"That my wife was able to find a house in four days."
-- New SEC commissioner Mike Slive, when asked to describe the biggest surprise of his tenure.
GEEZ, I HATE WHEN I'M RIGHT ABOUT THESE THINGS
"Defensively, one of the biggest problems is giving up big plays"
-- LSU coach Nick Saban's preseason evaluation of the Tigers' defense.
Months later, Saban would watch Arkansas cover 81 yards in three plays to beat LSU and deprive the Tigers of an SEC Championship appearance.
ARE YOU SURE HE'S NOT RELATED TO YOGI BERRA?
"If you sleep four hours fast, it's like 8 hours sleep."
-- Florida coach Ron Zook.
OR ELSE I MIGHT NEED TO GET THE NAME OF MIKE SLIVE'S REALTOR
"That's a game we will play better than we did last year."
-- Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville's preseason vow when asked about the annual Iron Bowl game against Alabama. The previous season Auburn lost, 31-7.
Final score this year: Auburn 17, Alabama 7.
SO MUCH FOR JOB SECURITY
"Coach, we on the hot seat?"
"I might not be, but you are."
-- Preseason exchange between unnamed Auburn assistant and coach Tommy Tuberville.
AND MAKE SURE WE GET A FACT-CHECKER FOR THE RESUME
"I hope this time they take a little time to search and get a coach. I think last time they maybe rushed it a bit."
-- Notre Dame safety Gerome Sapp on the post-George O'Leary, pre-Tyrone Willingham era.
SO MUCH FOR THOSE CLEVER PRESEASON SAYINGS
"Our motto this year is, 'Take Another Step.'"
-- Illinois coach Ron Turner shortly before the season opener.
The Illini took a step. . . backwards. Illinois finished 5-7.
YOU CAN STICK THOSE PROJECTIONS IN A SMALL CORN SILO
AND BEST OF ALL, I'LL ONLY HAVE TO WORK NINE GAMES
"According to the experts, probably not."
-- Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, when asked in August if the Hawkeyes could compete for the Big Ten title.
"If this season is anything like last season, then it will definitely be exciting."
-- Michigan State coach Bobby Williams long before his dismissal after a 3-6 record and 49-3 loss to Michigan.
I'D LIKE TO TAKE A MULLIGAN ON 2002, PLEASE
"We are excited about the start of the season. We think we can be a good team."
-- Northwestern coach Randy Walker.
The Wildcats won three games.
RUNNER-UP FOR UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR AWARD
"I think Larry Johnson has a chance to be a real good running back."
-- Penn State coach Joe Paterno on the Nittany Lions senior tailback.
Johnson rushed for 2,015 yards.
THEN AGAIN, MAYBE NOT
"We want to return to that dominant level of play that A&M was known for. I think if there's ever a year to do it, this would be the year."
-- Texas A&M linebacker Brian Gamble on the 2002 Aggies.
SO MUCH FOR THOSE CLEVER PRESEASON SAYINGS -- PART II
"Our motto this year is, 'Unfinished Business.' We've got something to prove."
-- Tennessee quarterback Casey Clausen on the 2002 Vols.
UT can use the same motto next season too, after an 8-4 regular season record that featured losses to Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Miami.
IF ONLY SOMEONE COULD HAVE COUNTED TO 11
"We'll be kicking ourselves for a thousand years."
-- Washington coach Rick Neuheisel on a 31-29 loss to Michigan, the result of an illegal participation penalty that allowed the Wolverines to kick a 44-yard game-winner.
A WILD AND CRAZY GUY
"They thought I was Steve Martin. They all jumped out, wanted me to sign. So I signed a few Steve Martins."
-- Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson, who resembles the famous comedian/actor, on his experiences during a preseason trip to San Francisco.
FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY
"FSU 5-1, Oklahoma 6-1, Tennessee 8-1, Miami 10-1, Nebraska 12-1, Georgia 60-1, Ohio State 200-1, USC 300-1, Notre Dame 100,000-1."
-- Oddsmaker Danny Sheridan's preseason odds against teams winning the 2002 national championship.
THEY DIDN'T TRAVEL LIKE THIS AT THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
"The Fiesta Bowl."
-- Miami president Donna Shalala, when asked during a Nov. 9th visit to Tennessee where she was going to take her next road trip with the Hurricanes.
THIS IS WHY COACHES COACH AND LEE CORSO PICKS THE HEISMAN WINNERS
"You never see a guy come out of nowhere to win the Heisman. He always has had to have the hype from the summer, the hype from the spring, ESPN has had to talk about it."
-- Colorado coach Gary Barnett on Heisman races.
Someone needs to tell Barnett that Iowa's Brad Banks, Penn State's Larry Johnson, Miami's Willis McGahee, and USC's Carson Palmer basically came out of nowhere to challenge for the Heisman this year.
YEARS? TRY THIS JANUARY
"Years from now we may look back and wonder, 'What the heck were we doing?'"
-- San Jose State coach Fitz Hill on his team playing 13 games in 13 weeks. San Jose State finished 6-7.
CONGRESSMAN TOM SPEAKS
"Just dumb luck."
-- Former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne on why he never had a losing season.
SAVE IT FOR AGGIE BOOSTER CLUB SPEECHES
"I have known that pushing through the NCAA situation would not be for the faint of heart. But I have a favorite reading that goes, 'Tough times don't last, but tough people do.'"
-- Then-Alabama coach Dennis Franchione, commenting on his commitment to the Crimson Tide program.
AND THANKS TO SOME OF THEM, I'VE GOT A NEW JOB IN COLLEGE STATION
"A lot of these guys made early commitments and never wavered. They handled the process with class and character. The decisions were made and they stood firm through a lot of challenges. They have a distinct love for the Alabama Crimson Tide."
-- Then-Alabama coach Fran Franchione, commenting on 20 signees who took Bama scholarship offers despite NCAA probation.
AT LEAST, THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT HE SAID
"Coach Fran has stated repeatedly to us and to the public he is where he wants to be."
-- Alabama athletic director Mal Moore, in an Oct. 25 letter on Franchione's web site.
AND ONCE I GET IN BED I'M GOING TO CALL COLLEGE STATION
"There's nothing to report. I'm going home and going to bed."
-- Then-Alabama coach Fran Franchione, on persistent rumors that he was going to replace R.C. Slocum at Texas A&M.
AND YOU CAN QUOTE ME
-- Dennis Franchione's farewell speech to his Alabama players before leaving to take the Texas A&M job.
Bama assistant Carl Torbush broke the news to the Tide players.
OR WHY IT DOESN'T PAY TO BE A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE
"I couldn't breathe. I was pinned at the bottom and I thought my life was going to be snuffed out."
-- Anderson (S.C.) County sheriff's deputy Homer Booth, 67, on being overrun by Clemson fans after the Tigers beat South Carolina.
THE IMPORTANT THING IS TO KEEP IT ALL IN PERSPECTIVE
AND I ALSO HAVE THE WINNING SUPER LOTTO TICKET
"Never has one game without a 1 vs 2 matchup meant so much around the country."
-- Sun Bowl executive director Bernie Olivas on the UCLA-Washington State game, which affected the pairings of 17 different bowl games.
"I am the luckiest football coach in the world."
-- Miami coach Larry Coker after the Hurricanes defeated Virginia Tech to advance to the national championship game against Ohio State. Coker is 24-0 since being named to replaced Butch Davis.
AND ON THE SEVENTH DAY HE COLLAPSED IN THE BARCALOUNGER, POPPED OPEN A BEER, AND GRABBED THE REMOTE
"Football is the greatest game God ever created."
-- Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen.
Gene Wojciechowski is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine. He can be reached at email@example.com.