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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

All the News Not Fit For Print

A few off-topic tidbits from Tuesday's SEC meetings in Destin…

-- First off, I was thrown off my internal clock by Memorial Day. Yesterday felt like a Sunday all day, and today has felt like a Monday. On top of that, Destin is Central Time, which also doesn't make sense since I'm used to Florida being on Eastern Time. So I'm actually off by 25 hours on everything.

-- As usual, trying to ask good questions (or really, more than one question of any sort) in a group that includes anything beyond just a few local reporters is utterly impossible. I'm hoping to have an award at week's end for the stupidest question I hear asked.

-- The music selections in the lobby at the Hilton are just brutal. I like Boyz II Men as much as any Philly guy should, but "I'll Make Love to You" isn't a song I need to hear over breakfast. And Celine Dion isn't something I need to hear ever.

-- Derek Dooley was roughly 10,000 times more entertaining than I'd anticipated. I know he's had his run-ins with some of the local media up there already in terms of how he wants media interactions organized, but there's no doubt he can be extremely personable and entertaining.

-- Of course, Dooley's still pretty old-school. He referred to the reporters' digital recorders used for the press conference as "dictaphones." I hope that type of talk continues. We've had far too few references to the Internet as "a series of tubes" since Sly Croom got canned.

-- Speaking of entertaining, it really is no wonder Steve Spurrier always has the media eating out of his hands. The guy knows how to work a room. His best line of the day: Walking out of the theater, Orlando Sentinel reporter Jeremy Fowler -- he of the Urban Meyer "you're a bad guy" fame -- stopped to introduce himself. "Jeremy," Spurrier shouted. "How come none of your buddies stuck up for you during that little incident?"

-- Another great Spurrier moment: A reporter had been asking coaches about the significance of summer conditioning, while another had asked about how difficult it is to replace a legend, as John Brantley will do at Florida this year. Spurrier saw it as a chance to combine the two by referencing Doug Johnson, who replaced Danny Wuerffel at Florida: "Doug was out playing baseball and drinking beer all summer. … Back then, that was his summer and he couldn't even make a 12-minute run. I guess we did a poor job of giving him a summer plan."

-- Hands down the single most important thing you can do as a reporter here is find a table in the lobby near an electrical outlet. Things are like gold.

-- I first noticed this during my first trip to SEC Media Days way back in 2005: The only media contingent that sports the attire of the team it covers is Florida. Now, it's not the newspaper folks, to be sure. But the Internet media covering Florida are all happily unabashed Florida homers, who happily sport their Gator gear (and occasionally Jorts) to professional events like this. But hey, who needs objectivity anyway?

-- Damon Evans is toting around a new Georgia-logo iPad. Meanwhile Mark Richt was toting around a giant suitcase full of stuff everywhere he went. This may actually be the best evidence I've seen so far that Richt actually is on the hot seat.

-- It's definitely not as fun without Lane Kiffin here this year. No fights with Spurrier outside an elevator. No horde of media drooling at the possibility of another ridiculous statement. And worst of all, no Layla Kiffin in a two-piece. Aside from the banana crepes, that was definitely the highlight of last year's meetings.

-- This conversation actually took place between myself and the Hilton Starbucks employee...

Me: "I'll have a small, plain, black coffee."
Starbucks Employee: "That'll be $3.40."

Sometimes capitalism is hard to defend.

-- I wish I was making this up, but I'm not. There were still a bunch of Tim Tebow questions. Ugh.

-- Asked if he thought it would be a good idea to add Texas to the SEC West, Les Miles quipped: "Yeah, them or the Green Bay Packers."

-- Bobby Johnson, Dan Mullen, Les Miles… they all stuck around for a while after their meetings to chat with media and were all quite cordial. Urban Meyer and Nick Saban? Eh, not so much. Meyer darted to the elevators with such enthusiasm, you might have thought Tebow was waiting for him. I managed to snag Saban and follow him to the elevator with a couple questions. He pressed the elevator button as he was answering, then continued to press the already illuminated button as he spoke, assuming -- I guess -- that the more times he pushed it, the faster the elevator would come. But I have to give props to Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald, who actually got onto the elevator with Saban. I expected they'd find his body floating off the coast sometime next week, but he reappeared a few minutes later. It was a close call, no doubt.


matt b. said...

Ah David, but you didn't have to purchase the coffee, now did you?

David Hale said...

Given my caffeine addiction... I kinda did.

Of course, it was also on the company card so... cha-ching!

JasonC said...

If you get sugar and cream or milk, is it still $3.40? If so, just get those on the side, stockpile and consider it grocery shopping.

Anonymous said...

When UF folks wear UF gear, it lets you know that they are douches from afar, rather than having to actually get up close or god forbid speak to them.

Anonymous said...

"This conversation actually took place between myself and the Hilton Starbucks employee...

Me: "I'll have a small, plain, black coffee."
Starbucks Employee: "That'll be $3.40

Sometimes capitalism is hard to defend."

Starbucks is definitely overpriced, but YOU HAVE A CHOICE. If the IRS says I owe $12,000, that is pretty much it other than taking them to tax court. Capitalism rules.

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