Thursday, 3 a.m.
I imagine them meeting in a quarterback's living room. I imagine there isn't enough of mom's chicken wings to go around.
Jimbo Fisher is at the table. Jim McElwain is at the door. Mark Richt is in the quarterback's room. Charlie Strong is coming up the driveway. The family has put Scott Frost in the den. Butch Davis is in the rocking chair in the side room. Lane Kiffin is outside on his cell phone, perhaps talking to another college.
And there you have it. The Magnificent Seven, all matching egos in one household. Five more coaches, and you could do the 12 Days of Christmas.
Has there ever been a state with college coaches like this? Most states have one
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school, some have two. But seven, with this kind of history? The state of Texas can't match up, despite Tom Hermann and Kevin Sumlin. You still have Kliff Kingsbury. Hermann is just unpacking. Major Applewhite is new.
How about California? Well, not quite. Clay Helton? Really. David Shaw has a name, and Jim Mora. Sonny Dykes, maybe. But who else?
No, if you're a college football coach, this is the place for you. You have a guy who has won a national championship (Fisher), and an SEC coach of the year (McElwain). You have the guy who came home (Richt). You have the impressive first-year coach (Frost). You have a guy who has gone from Longhorns to Bulls (that Strong likes beef, evidently). You like the wandering soul of Kiffin. You have the old guy on his last chance (Davis).
Gee, won't you come play for me?
Fisher: “You should come play for me at FSU. The best players do, you know.”
McElwain: “Are you kidding me? The guy had a talented freshman quarterback! You should come to Florida, where we haven't had a quarterback sighting since Tim Tebow walked across the lake.”
Richt: “We need another Brad Kaaya. Lord knows, you don't want me to play quarterback, do you?”
Strong: “Hi. I'm a defensive guy in an offensive program. Can you play safety?”
Frost: “We'll play freshman. We did this year.”
Kiffin: “I'd love you to play for me at Florida Atlantic. Or anywhere else I end up.”
And so it goes. You can have the SEC or the ACC or the American or Conference USA. Together, they've had 442 wins … and a lot of headlines.
Richt: “I like chicken. I also like shrimp. Do you like shrimp, Jimbo. Like you get in Baton Rouge. Where you're always applying for work.”
McElwain (singing): Jambalaya, and crawfish pie, me-o-my-o.”
Fisher: Very funny, guys. Everybody here has changed jobs since I have. I'm not sure Lane hasn't changed since noon.”
Frost: “I didn't chase the Oregon job.”
Strong: “That's because it didn't chase you, Frosty. Pretty easy to pull out of job where they don't want you.”
Davis: (waking up): Like Texas? Man, I've heard of the eyes of Texas being upon you. But the cleats and shoulder pads of Texas Christian?
Strong: “I just didn't have enough time. My first recruits were sophomores and juniors. I was canceled faster than Walker, Texas Ranger.”
Kiffin: “Nick didn't have time, either. But he won. You've never seen Nick unless you've been chewed out by him at sunset.”
Fisher: “I remember.”
McElwain: “Me, too.”
Frost: “You must not have loved it all that much. You took a 30 percent pay cut to coach FAU. That's calling wanting a job in the worst way.”
Davis: “It isn't all about money. Sometimes, you get free food if you go to the early-bird special.”
Fisher: "I knew I recognized you. You're one of those codgers on the Steak and Shake commercials."
Fisher: “It's about winning. You guys remember those days.”
Richt: “Hey, I've won 153 times. Just none than anyone remembers. I've been to bowls.”
McElwain: “I've been to bowls, too. They ought to make me mayor of Orlando.”
Frost: “Can't. It's in my contract.”
Kiffin: “What's a contract?”
McElwain: “It's like a scholarship. Like the one we're all offering Johnny General.”
The player looks around. He clears his throat.
“Well, guys, I have to tell you. I really like fight songs.”
Davis: “Fight songs?”
Player: “Boolah boolah.”
Strong: “You mean like Elvis?”
Frost: “Or Springsteen?”
Davis: "Or Rudy Vallee. He played at my prom."
Fisher: "I like Born on the Bayou."
McElwain: "Of course you do."
Kiffin (singing): “Once I had a girl on Rocky Top, half bear the other half cat. Wait. That's from my last job.”
Davis: "Actually, it's a couple of jobs ago."
Strong: "Some gotta win, some gotta lose."
Kiffin: "Good time Butchie's got the blues."
McElwain: "Anyway, I gotta go. There's a linebacker in Orlando. You guys want to share a cab?"
Davis: "And maybe some oatmeal?"