COACH SPEAK – MAY 15
By Leo Haggerty

PAC12 FOOTBALL COACHES TELECONFERENCE – DAY 3

First of all, and I will start EVERY article with this paragraph, sports pales in comparison with what is occurring with the Coronavirus. Hopefully, the columns that I, and the rest of our correspondents, provide you is a momentary escape from the trials and tribulations that Americans, and the rest of the world’s population, are experiencing. The COVID-19 is not a video game that you can press reset and get a new life. This is real and dangerous so, above all, be prudent and stay safe.

Now, as you are probably aware if you have read any of my COACH SPEAK columns in the past, I ONLY post the answers to questions that I specifically ask.  In my opinion, I believe my readers are interested in a response a coach gives to my queries as opposed to what other scribes have inquired.  That’s my feeling and that’s how I plan to operate as I continue to move forward.

Well, I’m going to call an audible here and go against that axiom for this reason.  I was fortunate to be able to be an active participant in the first two teleconferences which were attended by over 100 media members.  I was not able to ask a question in the Day 3 version but, near the end of the teleconference, one of the correspondences asked almost the exact question that I was going to put forth which was a version of the one I had verbalized the previous day.

So, I was not overly concerned.  Why, you ask?

Two big reasons.  The first was because, as the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  By asking almost the exact question that I posed the day before, that correspondent was paying me a genuine compliment.  I’ll take those any day and twice on Sunday.

The second is that the quickest way to not be allowed to participate in a large media teleconference is to ask a question that was almost word-for-word of a previous inquiry.  That’s a cardinal rule and, in most occasions, the interviewee will call you out on it and that’s NEVER a good thing.

With those facts in mind, below is the question that was posed to Herm Edwards from Arizona State University and Jonathan Smith from Oregon State University plus Chip Kelly from UCLA not by me but, in a roundabout way, was formulated by me the previous day.  Enjoy.

THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF TALK AND COMMENTS FROM COACHES AROUND THE COUNTRY FROM DIFFERENT REGIONS REACTING DIFFERENTLY.  YESTERDAY, ONE OF YOUR COLLEAGUES SUGGESTED THAT THE NCAA SHOULD STEP IN AND MAKE SOME UNIFORMITY ACROSS THE COUNTRY AS TO WHERE AND WHEN AND HOW EVERYONE CAN START.  DO YOU GUYS ADVOCATE THE NCAA STEPPING IN AND DO YOU FEEL THAT THE NCAA HAS THAT TYPE OF JURISDICTION?

JS : Well, in my mind, it matters what you mean by start.  I think, in a safe way, if weight rooms can be open and players can work out on a volunteer basis, they should be able to do that.  I do think that there should be some uniformity when we are actually practicing across the board when it comes to the NCAA.

HE : Yeah, I think every coach, regardless of what conference he’s in right now, wants it to be an equal playing field.  That’s the concern of any coach.  That’s just how you think.  Whether they’re involved in it or how you get them involved in it.  You’re asking me, a coach, and I’m not trying to get out of answering the question,  but it’s not my role to figure that one out.  It’s really not.  My role is to continue to prepare our football team, as well as our coaching staff, to prepare to play.  When they decide for us to play, we’ll play.  We don’t have to worry about that stuff.  We don’t.  I have a hundred guys spread out all over California or Arizona or wherever they’re at.  I have to worry about that.  That’s enough.

CK : Maybe the perception is that the NCAA hasn’t but we met as a PAC12 group last week.  It was the coaches and the athletic directors and we met with a doctor from the NCAA to tell us where they are.  They’re in constant communication with our league, probably at a little higher up level.  They have spoken to us as coaches and as athletic directors and kind of told us where they see it going.  But, again, we’re not the ones making that decision.  We’re the ones, when you give us the marching orders and the plans are in place, we’ll be ready to go.  So, we’ll, again, wait for their guidance to tell us where we are going.