With programs across the country now well into into camp, most coaches are spending a few minutes after practice with members of their local media answering questions - a good number of which are pretty routine and monotonous.
Coaches and the media operate with an often unspoken mutual respect for one another, as each one needs the other to do their job to a certain extent, but when you're fielding the same questions day, after day, after day, things have a tendency to get old in a real hurry.
That thought led me to create this list of the 5 types of questions that coaches absolutely hate fielding from the media following practice. Chances are really, really good that if these get asked, the answer that follows is going to have a really heavy dose of "coachspeak".
1 - ANYTHING that starts with "Talk about..."
Coaches rarely unanimously agree on any one topic, but this is one of them. Rephrasing this into a question isn't all that hard, yet so many reporters opt to tell a coach what they want them to "talk about" instead of intelligently forming it into a question. I am convinced that coaches sometimes keep their sunglasses on to address the media after practice to hide their eye rolls, and anything aimed at a coach that starts with "Talk about...." is very deserving of an eye roll.
2 - "How did practice go today?"
One surefire way to get coaches to speak in traditional coachspeak for a good 30-seconds is to ask them how practice went today. This is the most generic, unimaginative question ever, and every single coach fields this one every single day, after every single practice. You can almost sense the eye roll each time.
...and then there's the Head Ball Coach, who used to to shake things up with the media every once in a while, and here he pretty much makes fun of the "How did practice go today?" line of questioning.
3 - "What is the injury status of [insert player name here]"
It's mind boggling to me that some coaches have a policy on not answering questions about player injuries, and yet they still get asked about injuries regularly. Then there are the coaches who are relatively open about asking about why so-and-so wasn't practicing, but in the best interest of the player who's hurt, they often have to answer using generalities like "he tweaked his knee/ankle/hamsrting" or "it's an injury that won't need an operation."
4 - "Name a player, or two, who has really stood out in practice"
Normally this line of questioning is followed up with, "That's hard for me to tell without going in and looking at the film," followed by the coach throwing the media a bone and talking about a few guys that ALWAYS work hard and stand out. Rarely does a player who has had ONE day of good practice get mentioned here by the coach, and I feel like that's what the media is reaching for. Oftentimes coaches will use this as an opportunity to point out guys that are improving.
5 - "What is the status of [insert position battle here]?"
I almost feel sorry for the coaches (especially those at premier programs) who enter camp with a battle for the starting quarterback position, because every single time they're in front of reporters they're going to be asked about it, and even more often if the battle is to replace a record-setting type quarterback who just left / entered the NFL Draft. Along with #2 above, this one is often answered with some heavy coachspeak about how all the guys are "working hard", and how "no one has separated himself yet," before adding that "there is no timeline yet for a decision," or they'll attempt to stave off further questions with a "We'll know during week 1".
I think that we can all appreciate both sides of the fence here. Fans want to know who the starter is going to be, and how practice is going, and it's the media's job to try and deliver that, but most coaches are creatures that like to play things closer to the vest, and there's ALWAYS a solid reason behind what they choose to reveal, and what they're keeping under wraps.