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SEC football: Coachspeak

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We read you loud and clear, coach Freeze. (Source: Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics) We read you loud and clear, coach Freeze. (Source: Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics)
What are you doing, 'Hot Reads?' Hey, are those snap peas? (Source: pcorreia/Flickr) What are you doing, 'Hot Reads?' Hey, are those snap peas? (Source: pcorreia/Flickr)
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(RNN) – Sometimes, it's hard to get a real answer out of an SEC football head coach.

Or any coach, for that matter. Years of 24-hour media coverage and analysis have killed nearly every chance for a moment of truth, insight or levity (with an exception here and there).

It's basically a call and response now. And one side is no less guilty than the other.

Reporter: "Coach, blah blah blah team's performance?"

Coach: "Well, yada yada yada execution. Yada yada yada improvement. Yada yada yada things to work on."

It's like Crash Davis said, "Of course it's boring; that's the point. Now write it down."

Luckily, we managed to come across one of the ultra-rare "Coachspeak to English" dictionaries. There were only three left in the world to my knowledge, and Hot Reads left his by the stove on "Stir Fry-day."

With this tool, even the blandest of clichés can be deciphered to find out what they're really saying. Here are some translations from this week's news conferences.

Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss

The first-year coach has offered a glimmer of hope in Oxford for the first time in a while. His team is coming off a narrow loss to a tough Texas A&M team.

On what the process has been like in terms of ‘changing around a culture:'

"I do think we have made some great strides in the right direction. It started with understanding personal accountability and the little things, not just football … It is a process; we try to keep our focus on that and not so much the results."

Translation: I don't think (former coach) Houston Nutt even practiced with these guys.

Gene Chizik, Auburn

Chizik has gone from hoisting trophies to hot seat in record time. He felt the need to apologize to Auburn fans after the Tigers out-downward spiraled the downward spiraling Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday.

On the team's quarterback situation:

"Well, we're going to go through tonight's practice and we'll evaluate everything. It won't be a game time decision; it'll be before that."

Translation: Next year's QB is playing high school football right now.

Steve Spurrier, South Carolina

The Ol' Ball Coach is enjoying his most successful year to date with the Gamecocks. And he's doing it despite his best efforts to distract them by threatening to "head to the beach" after a reporter said something he didn't like.

On star running back Marcus Lattimore:

"We try to give it to him as much as we can, but we know we can't give it to him every play. We gotta mix in some throws, this that and the other."

Translation: Lattimore may carry it 60 times against LSU. Or until his legs fall off, whichever comes first.

Les Miles, LSU

If anyone could relate to Chizik, it's "The Mad Hatter." Every year, Miles either plays for national championships or is on the verge of being fired, with little in-between.

On what makes South Carolina QB Connor Shaw effective:

"He's the guy that really gets the ball into the hands of those guys that make it work. He's a very, very mobile quarterback. So, it's an opportunity for him to do the things he needs to do."

Translation: (singing) Twinkle, twinkle little bat … how I wonder where you're at … Up above the world you fly … like a tea tray in the sky …

Gary Pinkel, Missouri

Pinkel's Tigers have found the times tough their first year in the SEC. This week only gets worse for Mizzou, as it faces the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.

On Alabama coming to town:

"We're excited about having them come and playing here in Columbia. We are looking forward to a great game."

Translation: Everybody buy a ticket! Come support the team! I mean, we have a chance; it's still 11-on-11 out there, right? [Wipes cold sweat from brow] Right??

Nick Saban, Alabama

Saban's strategy with the media ranges from a bored, monotone disdain while telling them as little as possible, to a more vocal, passionate, outright dislike while telling them as little as possible.

On whether he thought Pinkel, his teammate in college, would become a successful coach:

"I think when we were young and playing together, we were worried about the next game and all that kind of stuff. But Gary was always a really smart guy, really good person, had great character, was a really good competitor. And when we both became [graduate assistants], it was pretty evident to me that he could be a really, really good coach."

Translation: Ihatereportersihatereportersihatereportersthisisdumbthisisdumbthisisdumbthisisdumb …

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