After his ninth-ranked Clemson team was shocked by Alabama 34-10 in the season opener, Tiger coach Tommy Bowden did something even more surprising--he called Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban for some tips.
Fortunately, the 10 Spot has obtained an exclusive look at the text of said phone conversation. Here you go:
Bowden: Coach Saban? Coach Bowden here.
Saban: Is that you, Wayne? Get over it. I've already told you I honestly had no intention of taking the Alabama job until I actually took it. That's not lying.
B: Wait, Wayne who?
S: Sorry, I thought you were the Dolphins' owner, Wayne Huizenga. Who's this again?
B: Tommy Bowden at Clemson.
S: You still want a piece of me? Didn't I just drag your skull across the Georgia Dome?
B: That's why I'm calling. I'd like some advice.
S: Get out.
B: I'm serious. Anything you could tell me. They're looking to pepper me about the head with Howard's Rock if I don't turn this around fast.
S: You know what? I'm game, so long as we make this call public. There's nothing I like more than being portrayed as a genius with all the answers. So shoot.
B: Well, what do you think we did wrong in the opener?
S: First, you let expectations get all out of whack. You have to spend all your time droning on and on how it's all about the "process," not results. How these things take time, how the media is always focusing on the wrong things, how only the coach knows what goes on during closed practices, blah blah blah. That way when you lose to a nothing team like Louisiana-Monroe, you can act like it's an essential part of the building process rather than one of the most embarrassing defeats in the history of the program.
B: Good thinking.
S: Also, feel free to compare a bad loss to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor. The media will kill you, but the fans will rally to your defense because that's how they feel too.
B: Fair enough. But how do you turn things around after a loss like that?
S: Personally, I like to blame the assistants. Nothing like yelling at the top of your lungs and telling them they won't see their families for the next two months if they don't get their heads out of their posteriors to perk you right up. Why do you think half my assistants leave every year?
B: I'm not sure I can play the bad cop like that.
S: Hey, if you don't want to make $4 million a year, that's fine. More for me.
B: Money's not the most important thing.
S: You keep telling yourself that. Meanwhile, my agent will continue to leak my name to his media buddies for every NFL and top college job that comes open every season, just like he's done for the last decade. Your bosses never like you so much as when they think somebody else wants to steal you away. How long have you been at Clemson now?
B: This is my 10th season.
B: My daddy's been at Florida State 32 years, and he's doing just fine.
S: Yeah? When's the last time he landed on the covers of both SI and Forbes in the same season? How ‘bout never.
B: Maybe this call wasn't such a good idea.
S: Not as good an idea as when your defensive coordinator made that crack about our recruits driving around in Escalades. I got plenty of mileage out of that in the locker room. I told the players you guys were trying to make it illegal for us to give them sweet new rides.
B: Uh, that is illegal.
S: Such a sweet kid. Listen, I've got to get going soon. I have a few media interviews to blow off.
B: OK. Any final pieces of advice?
S: How about actually winning a national title; that always helps. Then hightail it out of there, and if the next guy is more successful than you ever were, whisper to everyone that you deserve the real credit because he's winning with "your players."
B: Coach, thanks for taking the time.S: You have no idea. I mean that literally; you don't seem to have any clue what's going on. Let's play again real soon.