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A&M’s Sumlin Gets Snippy With UF’s Muschamp

There once was a day when a coach could go speak to a booster club, poke a little good-natured fun at a rival school, and no one but the folks on hand would know about it.  But that was before talk radio, cell phones, social media and websites (not unlike this one).

Last week, Florida’s Will Muschamp — the former defensive coordinator at Texas — told a Gator fan club the following:

 

“You ever been to College Station?  It’ll be the only time you go.”

 

Ha, ha.  Big deal.  Technically, Muschamp could make that same comment regarding just about any other SEC school’s hometown, including his own.

But asked about the comment from Florida’s coach, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin took the bait and responded.  That wasn’t all he took.  His response seemed to suggest he’d also taken offense to the joke:

 

“He needs to worry about his own team.”

 

Good grief.

Technically, Muschamp’s joke wasn’t about A&M’s team, it was about a town in Southeast Texas.  And also he happened to say that A&M could boast “a very SEC-like atmosphere.”

When a coach calls another coach Ray Goof as Steve Spurrier used to do with Georgia’s Ray Goff, that’s crossing a line.  There’s a difference between funny-poke and funny-mean.  ”Ray Goof” was funny-mean.  Muschamp’s comment was of the funny-poke variety.  (Like Spurrier’s other oft-quoted dig at Tennessee: “You can’t spell Citrus without U-T.”  Funny-poke.)

Still, Aggie fans will love the fact that Sumlin won’t take any guff — not Goff or goof, either, probably — from anyone.  Even when the guff given was pretty darned tame to begin with.

And some people thought A&M wouldn’t fit in the SEC.  Please.

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VU’s Franklin Gigs UT’s Dooley On Nashville Radio Show

When it comes to throwing barbs at other coaches, the SEC has a new bad boy in its ranks.  In the ’90s, Florida’s Steve Spurrier famously tagged Georgia’s Ray Goff with the moniker “Ray Goof.”  In 2009, Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin suggested that Florida’s Urban Meyer was a cheater.

While not going to those lengths, Vanderbilt’s James Franklin took a little swipe at Tennessee’s Derek Dooley yesterday.  And he knew exactly what he was doing.  The second-year coach called into Nashville radio station WGFX-FM 104.5 to gently steer the conversation away from UT and towards VU.

According to show host Chad Withrow on Twitter, he drew a comparison between the SEC’s two Tennessee-based head football coaches.  Franklin didn’t exactly agree with the host’s assessment.

Here’s Withrow’s “paraphrasing” of the exchange via Twitter:


“Me: ‘Both you and Coach Dooley have to hire coaches and recruit.’  Franklin: ‘We aren’t similar.  How many coaches does he have to replace?’”


Zing. 

Franklin has made it clear that Vandy football no longer intends to be the punching bag of the SEC.  Getting to six wins and a bowl in his first season — when most pundits expected a two- or three-win season — was a positive first step.

Of course, Tennessee fans angered by Franklin’s dig at their coach’s struggles have already lit up Twitter by pointing out that even in a “good” season for Vandy, the Dores still lost to Tennessee and still finished with a losing record.

Ah, but here’s the thing — when was the last time Vol football fans were angered by Vandy or its coach? 

Like his methods or not, Franklin has changed the attitude in Nashville and that’s a pretty big accomplishment in a single year.

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