There are certain teams, coaches, and schools of thought in college football that treat any and all knowledge of their football team's operations as covert, recondite secrets to be squirreled away, put under glass, protected by lasers, buried in the Chamber of Secrets and guarded by only the fiercest of trained attack weasels. This includes information on injuries, the playbook, the sum of the training facility's waterbill, and the current brand of pants worn by the coach.
Look, I'm not going to talk about the pants. I'll talk about injuries. But I won't disclose the nature of the injury. Or whether exists. You ask me if it's raining outside? Sure it's raining. I can't see a window, right now, but sure, you say it's raining, then it's raining. I'm still not talking about the pants. Or the window. Or rain. Next question.
This philosophy stems from two schools of coaching, as far as we can see: the Hayes/Schembechler "Screw the Bastards" Academy of Codgery Coaching, and the "Fuck the Bastards" Parcells/Belichick school of coaching, where coaches often do their best "Bartelby the Scrivener" impression ("I would prefer not to") in the face of even the most innocuous of questions. The whole idea is that such information will give an edge to the opponent, even in the face of rampant evidence that being tightlipped and confrontational only gets you a.) more press for being a grumpus in the public eye, and b.) snickered at when Pete Carroll and Urban Meyer will happily fax you the entire playbook and injury list while you guard the buffet menu like the formula for aerosolized anthrax.
This week's representative of the "Screw the Bastards" PR school is Les Miles, a Carr/Schembechler disciple who will talk specifically about injuries...as long as you're using only his words in relation to said injury.
"I think if you would review your own personal stance at how you report injuries - if it comes out of my mouth you use it," Miles said. "If it doesn't, if you root for your team and if in fact this is your team, then you would choose not to report anything that doesn't come out or described by me. I know that everything is news, but sometimes news doesn't help your team. I would encourage you to see it my way. You should be respectful of the team that you cover."
Coming next: mandatory purple and gold in the booth! (We point; we snicker.) Like Colbert said about the President to the Washington Press corps: your job is to write down what the president says, and then print it! Just put "coach" in for "president," then repeat on a daily basis.
Fortunately, Miles has the gorilla with a chainsaw for a penis working for him right now. He can spray as much dumb as he likes from the pulpit, and his team will rip teams in half for him. Until they don't, his Joan Crawford posturing (SHOW ME THE RESPECT I DESERVE!!!) will go giddily unnoticed. And with what they've got...that could be a while.
ps. Paranoia---it's contagious!