Impressions of Big Ten Coaches

Submitted by Tim on July 28th, 2009 at 11:24 AM

Since I've discovered there isn't a whole lot to actually, like, learn at Big Ten Media Days ("I think every team is great/we're the only people who can beat ourselves/etc." are the most common things heard), here's a look at the impressions that each Big Ten coach gives either in press conference or 1-on-1 (more often, 5-on-1) format:

Pat Fitzgerald - Fitzgerald is super-enthusiastic (especially for a Northwestern coach), and he seems genuinely excited to be the coach at his alma mater. Of more interest to NU blogger Lake The Posts, he's a staunch advocate of the "Since 1995" propaganda metric. He used it 3 or 4 times during his stand at the podium.

Ron Zook - With a reputation for being intense and often hilarious, Zook was disappointingly low-key. He talked about his excitement for the upcoming season, having high expectations, and the unconventional schedule the Illini face this year. Not interesting stuff from a guy who's typically among the more quotable Big Ten coaches.

Bret Bielema - Wisconsin is on the opposite side of the trend that Northwestern is seeing, going downhill in each of Bielema's 3 seasons. Seeing the way he talks , it's not too tough to see why. He comes off as the same meathead in person that he appears to be on TV.

Rich Rodriguez - Michigan fans are well-aware of how their coach acts towards the media. He was his standard "aw, shucks" self, though his confidence about the upcoming season was refreshing.

Danny Hope - Hope is known as a near-clone of his predecessor, Joe Tiller. For my money, though, he looks more like ex-Lions GM Matt Millen. Having never heard Hope speak, I was surprised to hear a weird accent (understandable considering his Eastern Kentucky background) that brought to mind Randy Moss.

Tim Brewster - GO FIGHT Brewster is understandably excited to be the WIN Gophers' head football coach, though ROSE BOWL like Ron Zook, he was a little less excitable than FIGHT his reputation holds. Still, he GO TEAM was visibly excited by the Gophers' prospects in 2009.

Jim Tressel - Tressel was as boring as expected, which is to say very. His talking style is pretty bland (though not as unlistenable as Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany). He's sort of the opposite of Brewster, in that he can talk about how ridiculously excited he is about something, while sounding like he's boring even himself to tears.

Bill Lynch - He is a pretty anonymous guy, and he seems nice enough, I guess. It's hard to tell anything about him just from a press conference, which is probably not great at an anonymous football program like Indiana.

Mark Dantonio - Ive figured out who he reminds me of. Obviously, he's his own person, but he seems a lot like a version of Nick Saban that's not deliciously evil, and instead just kinda a dickhead. He of course has the Tressel act going as well, but he's tries to be more Saban-like I think, though he is pretty clearly obsessed with Michigan.

Joe Paterno - Everyone knows about JoePa. He's like the senile-but-fun grandparent, and he's always going to give a couple good quotes. Given his propensity for talking down on good Penn State teams, and building up mediocre ones, it seems like Penn State might be pretty good this year.

Kirk Ferentz - Ferentz is like the master of coachspeak and the meaningless quote (which might be one of the reasons he was one of the favorites to be picked as the successor to Lloyd Carr). He, like Carr, almost seems to be annoyed that talking to the media is part of his job.



July 28th, 2009 at 11:33 AM ^

Why is JoePa even there? If there is one thing that drives me crazy the last few years is that he doesn't even appear to actually COACH. He sits in the pressbox and just recently put a headset on, will sometimes "send a note" down to the team at halftime to fire them up. R U kidding me? I want to know what he actually does - I'd love to put a headset on during the game to see what the hell is going on, how can a "coach" not?
Agree - Bielema is a meathead and Dantonio is a D!ck

Other Chris

July 28th, 2009 at 11:57 AM ^

He has much more of a place at the media days than on the sidelines. He's amusing and wily and does a terrific "get off my lawn!" routine. And Tim is right -- historically, the less he has good to say about the team, the more the rest of the Big Ten should worry.


July 28th, 2009 at 11:42 AM ^

"though he is pretty clearly obsessed with Michigan."

Dantonio on UM, in response to some stupid question from the media:
"As far as the University of Michigan, great rivalry. It's what makes college football great. It's what makes living in Michigan fun. But it's intense. It should be intense. If it wasn't intense, people wouldn't look forward to it. We're just excited to have the opportunity to play."

I am quite frankly ama(i)zed that you can read "obsession" into quotes like that. You're feeding into a mindless meme here.


July 28th, 2009 at 11:47 AM ^

I agree, but he just seems to be a poor man's Tressel that just mirrors MSU's hate of Michigan. The dick impression comes from previous encounters but when you don't have a good track record, it seems as if any perceived insult becomes one, comprenez-vous?

Sgt. Wolverine

July 28th, 2009 at 12:02 PM ^

I'm not so sure this is a mindless meme. I have a friend (a State fan) who played a round of golf with Dantonio, and he said he very quickly tired of Dantonio's incessant hate for Michigan, even in the context of a friendly golf game with a State fan.


July 29th, 2009 at 11:39 AM ^

A State fan who a) played a round of golf with Dantonio, the lucky bastige, and b) got tired of Dantonio's incessant hate for Michigan? Such a State fan does not exist: the terms are mutually exclusive.

You all know Dantonio hates Michigan! Why is that a surprise? He coached/is coaching for two of Michigan's biggest rivals! I'm shocked, shocked I tell ya. I wish he'd be a little less passive-aggressive with his hatred, but that's because I'm developmentally disabled and still live in my mom's basement, wearing a beer- and urine-stained wifebeater and watching WWE Raw on my stolen cable connection. For crying out loud, can't you just enjoy that someone hates you for who you are? That's the stuff of life, kids!


July 28th, 2009 at 12:08 PM ^

There was also the talk about how he's proud that he has entire team coming back. Which was a pretty direct dig at Michigan.

He also seems to take every opportunity to take a dig at Michigan.


July 28th, 2009 at 12:06 PM ^

I am disappointed that Brewster did not Twitter his way through the press conference.

Who wants to actually hear him speak, when his Tweets are hilarious!

zoltan the destroyer

July 28th, 2009 at 12:12 PM ^

Dantonio is super-obsessed with Michigan. I know that he is obsessed because I have watched his every presser very carefully and dissected all of his quotes. There is pretty clearly some obsession there. Seriously, he's got problems.


July 28th, 2009 at 12:36 PM ^

Tim Brewster - GO FIGHT Brewster is understandably excited to be the WIN Gophers' head football coach, though ROSE BOWL like Ron Zook, he was a little less excitable than FIGHT his reputation holds. Still, he GO TEAM was visibly excited by the Gophers' prospects in 2009.

Um, how visually excited was he by the Gophers' prospects?

FWIW, people up here in Minnesota are excited about the stadium, and cautiously hopeful after 55-0 to Iowa that the team can go 6-6 this year. Something similar to what many here think about Michigan in 2009, although Michigan has far superior talent than do the Gophers.


July 28th, 2009 at 2:21 PM ^

LOLPHERS are quite DOCILE and EASILY TAMED. They can be raised in captivity in the proper environment and with proper feeding. However, when a LOLPHER gets EXCITED, the LOLPHER will momentarily FREEZE, sometimes jerking backward and pausing before slowly re-engaging. There may be some brief SPARRING in which the LOLPHER will RAISE ITS FORELEGS and PAW WHILE THE MOUTH IS HELD OPEN.

I imagine this is what Brewster did FIGHT RAISED FOREARMS WIN OPEN-MOUTH TEAM.

Fuckin' geauxfurs.


July 28th, 2009 at 1:08 PM ^

Does anyone else think the MSM is underrating Illinois a bit? I'm curious what people think they'll do this year. At the risk of stating the obvious, they seem like a team that could go 7-5 but that could also go 11-1. I look at U of M's visit to Illinois this year as one of the tougher games on their schedule.

Re: Brian calling Dantonio a dickhead, I just don't see how he can say that about such a classy guy. How do I know that he's classy? Because he says so, just like Donald Trump.


July 28th, 2009 at 1:23 PM ^

Good offense. Unproven defense, more unproven than Michigan. Outside Martez Wilson name me an Illinois defender without running a search.

Also, they went 5-7 last year. Some trepidation is warranted about this team, and, in particular, Ron Zook's viability as a head coach (his recruiting ability is beyond reproach).


July 28th, 2009 at 1:44 PM ^

This would have been a great contest. Match the description to the coach. Dantonio and RR would have been easy, but the rest would have been tough.


July 28th, 2009 at 3:02 PM ^

pretty irrelevant. There is very little pertaining to Michigan or college football, just one person calling half the coaches in the Big Ten dickheads based on how they speak to a crowd of national media, rather than their own team.


July 28th, 2009 at 3:49 PM ^

Good stuff.
I had to turn off the Big Ten Media Day. And, sadly, the desk announcers were usually worse than listening to any coach not RR.

My points have now swollen to the double digits! (11)