“There’s this guy in Alabama, I think his name is Nicky Satan, you guys’ve probably heard of him before. I’m gonna outwork him. I’m gonna outwork him, and that’s kind of our plan every single day.” – James Franklin
So this is how this works: We see the above video and we ignore it, for three reasons: First, we have this pathological aversion to a particular strain of message-board speak, whose devotees find the height of humor in spelling USC with a dollar sign in the middle, or Texas with a lower-case T, or calling the former Florida and current Ohio State head coach Urban Cryer like that’s a thing. This kind of stuff has power to repulse us beyond any reasonable capacity, and we don’t really care to explore why, so we steer clear of it.
Second, there’s such a fast and obvious “SCOREBOARD BRAH” retort to this that we think even our most feverishly indoctrinated ‘Bama cousins might roll their eyes and continue about their days without bothering to make it a thing. Rivals’ stars are not crystal footballs; outworking is not outwinning; ‘Bama is ‘Bama and Vandy, however improved, remains Vandy for the moment. World without end, Amen.
Third, we know what’s coming next, before anybody in Nashville can get all pearl-clutchy about whether or not Franklin’s truly a committed Christian — although if there’s one thing we learned growing up in Tennessee, it’s that there’s nothing more Christian than telling folks what does and does not constitute evil in the world of men: “Vanderbilt football coach James Franklin said he phoned Alabama’s Nick Saban on Wednesday to apologize for referring to the four-time national championship coach as ‘Nicky Satan.’”
“I made a joke,” Franklin said to The Tennessean. “And in today’s society with all the media and social media and people with tape recorders and things like that, that doesn’t come off that way.” James Franklin has every awareness there were cameras in that room, knows that it’s difficult to misconstrue his words when we can see those words being spoken and, with the greatest of ease, executes the tired power move of shifting the blame for any offense taken onto Today’s Society and The Media.
And while Franklin cannily blames The Media, we’re over here doing exactly what he wants, which is to ask, breathlessly, “Well, IS he outworking Nick Saban?” and bring up Vanderbilt’s promising recruiting rankings just days before National Signing Day. That’ll be the story tomorrow. WMAZ has since put a pre-roll ad in front of that video. My producer tells me that a coach calling another coach the Devil makes people want to click. I am part of the problem. Sorry about that.
This is where we’d normally drop a grudging “well played” to Franklin, but lord have mercy, to do that joke when the better one’s just sitting there. Do I have to do everything around here?