Rev. Dale Brown: Gentlemen, welcome to the first meeting of our support group for “Coaches Under Fire.”
Nolan Richardson III: I heard that!
Rev. Brown: Maybe I should say “Coaches Under Duress.” I’m going to be your facilitator. Now, our purpose today is to offer constructive sharing. Coach Richardson
Nolan Richardson: Which one?
Rev. Brown: Your son. Li’l Nolan, let’s start with you.
Nolan III: I got no support from my president.
Dave Campo: Sounds like you were working for the Jerry Jones of college basketball, except there’s no facelift.
Nolan III: I got something for his face out in my car.
Phil Fulmer: Sounds to me like you let your program get out of control.
Bobby Johnson: (laughs uncontrollably) Ding-dong-durn it, Phil, that’s a good one!
Rev. Brown: I’m sorry, Phil, but I need to remind you. We don’t allow irony during these meetings.
Fulmer: What’s irony?
Lon Kruger: At least Bobby knows what time practice is, huh Li’l Nolan?
Nolan III: Yo, Lon, I got some irony for your skinny, can’oach-in-the-NBA ass sittin’ in my glove compartment.
Rev. Brown: All right, fellas, I don’t like the Zen of this.
Fulmer: When they told you to start packin’, you could say, 'I already am.’
Rev. Brown: Does anybody have any constructive suggestions?
Richardson: I do. Son, you need to file a discrimination lawsuit.
Johnson: Godfrey Daniels! Didn’t he just violate the no-irony rule?
Nolan III: Well, I thought about that, dad. And then I thought, 'Hey, wait a minute!’ My bosses are black and, well, I’m black.
Richardson: I’m not talking about racial discrimination, dipwad!
Franchione: If you don’t mind my asking, Nolan, how many of your assistants at Arkansas did it take to change a lightbulb?
Richardson: There’s always a discrimination angle, if you look for it.
Campo: Like what?
Richardson: How about discrimination against defenders of our Second Amendment rights?
Kruger: He could claim he had a coaching disability.
Rev. Brown: That’s not helpful.
Fulmer: Would it work for me?
Richardson: Sure, Phil. You could say UT unfairly refused to give you a raise because you’relet’s seehow about 'calorically challenged’?
Fulmer: I thought it was because we got buttomped in the Peach Bowl.
Franchione: Just being at the Peach Bowl hurt your cause.
Johnson: Well, dag-nab it, at least his team got to go to a bowl.
Franchione: So did yoursback before most of your players were born.
Richardson: That’s not the issue. Phillip, they created a hostile climate for husky people, like when they started calling you The Great Pumpkin after you wore all orange on the sidelines.
Fulmer: That was my wife.
Campo: If I may make a suggestion while we’re on the subject of fashionwearing all of any color can create a distraction if the coach is a certain size.
Rev. Brown: And if anyone knows about distractions, it’s someone who worked for Jerry Jones.
Franchione: Phil wore all black for one game, and his surface area sucked in so much heat, the Weather Service thought there was an ozone hole over Knoxville.
Richardson: My red cowboy boots are cool. But if I wore the red boots and a red suit and shirt, that wouldn’t look natural.
Nolan III: But if those clothes turned red because another coach shot you, that would be different.
Rev. Brown: I’d like to move on to talk about negotiating strategies, especially since several of us are looking for jobs.
Franchione: I say, unless they offer at least $2 million, screw ’em!
Johnson: You’d be running bleachers if you used that kind of language at one of my practices.
Rev. Brown: I remember it cost only $100,000 to get Dwayne Scales to play for me at LSU. But that was the old, unself-actualized Dale Brown.
Kruger: Dale, if you learned Spanish, you could be bi-ignorant.
Rev. Brown: I don’t feel you’re in the spirit of sharing here, Lon.
Campo: None of this discussion will help me get a head coaching job.
Franchione: I’m not sure the Pope and the president could help with that.
Richardson: Just remember, Dave, if you can’t win on the court, you can still win in the court. Jerry Jones is a lawsuit waitin’ to happen.
Campo: He did make it impossible to do my job. Could that constitute unlawful termination?
Richardson: Hell yeah!
Nolan III: If you want to be taken seriously, you need a piece during your negotiations.
Fulmer: Maybe I’ll be packin’ if I talk with the Bengals. I’ve got a conceal-and-carry permit.
Franchione: And big enough pockets in those overalls to conceal an anti-tank weapon. By the way, I loved y’all’s ESPN commercial.
Fulmer: That’s it. You and me, right now!
Nolan III: Now you’re talkin’!
Rev. Brown: Guys, I’m really uncomfortable with the vibe here. NowL’il Nolan, I believe you had the floor last.
Nolan III: I was just tellin’ Dave that Jerry’d be a lot easier to work with if he thought you might pop a cap in him.
Johnson: I don’t think you need to be threatening.
Fulmer: Your football team sure isn’t.
Johnson: Just like cursing doesn’t solve anything either.
Kruger: Easy for you to say. You’re not looking for a [bleeping] job.
Franchione: He’s got a secure job, just not a secure program.
Johnson: Good googly-moogly, Dennis, what are you even doing here? You got a new job and a contract that’s fatter than Phil.
Franchione: But the people at Alabama don’t love me anymore.
Fulmer: Because you walked out on ’em without even saying goodbye!
Franchione: Yeah, you’re right. Screw ’em!
Richardson: Of course, you wound up at the Mississippi State of the Big 12. That’s enough to require a support group and therapy in itself.
Franchione: It’s not that. I’m worried about irate ’Bama fans. Some of them showed up at my press conference in College Station.
Rev. Brown: To paraphrase H.L. Menckenor maybe it was Sun Tzunobody ever went broke underestimating the sanity of ’Bama fans.
Franchione: Until things quiet down, I think I may need to go with Li’l Nolan’s strategy.
Nolan III: Preach it, brother. You never know when you’re gonna run into somebody carrying a chain in a gym bag.
How it looks from the La-Z-Boy
Raiders 27, Titans 23
Since September, when his team surrendered 52 points to the Raiders (21 in the first few minutes), Jeff Fisher has been spoiling for a rematch. Unfortunately, sometimes you get what you wish for.
There are reasons to think the outcome may be different this timeand that the Titans will reach their second Super Bowl in four years. For one thing, it will be hard for the Raiders not to lose just a little mental sharpness, knowing how they destroyed Tennessee earlier. And, both offensively and defensively, the Titans scarcely resemble the team that put up no fight in Oakland.
Still, the Raiders are as hot as the incandescent Titans. They’re also healthier and at home. And they can win every which way. Few other teams have enough offensive weapons to have thrown for over 400 yards and rushed for over 250 in separate games this year.
By now, we’ve learned not to bet against this Titan teamor against Steve McNair, whose indomitability might just carry his mates to San Diego. But, this time, there are a few more reasons to bet the other way.
Eagles 17, Buccaneers 14
The Bucs looked so formidable last Sunday, it’s hard to pick against them. But, even with the league’s best D and a tough new coach, they haven’t found a way to solve their old problem: Like most things from Florida, they don’t survive the cold.