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You Say It Worst When You Say Nothing At All - Why Interviews Suck

Here's what Brian from MGo said after his 2008 Big Ten Media Days experience:

These are the fruits of my labors, the sum total of information I have to bring to you based on my penetrating questions that I envisioned would stun the people I questioned into mute appreciation of my knowledge before offering clear, concise descriptions of exactly what I wanted to know:

"I'm not going to tell you."

"I'm not going to answer that question."

"We strive for balance."

I suck.

As the wonderfully overrated spectacle of Media Days envelops the SEC and the Big Ten, I want to focus on a simple concept: Interviews with college football coaches and players, as a whole, add extremely little to the football experience. The vicious combination of political correctness, lack of communicative intelligence, and "We played hard" comments have doomed 90% of interviews to the dustbin of my memory.

Sometimes, an individual will come out of the woodwork and strike that great chord between inviting and interesting, but it's a rare occasion. So I present to you the five types of interviewees:

The Stone. You cannot budge this coach or player. He repeats "We played hard" and "I'm proud of my boys" like a pre-programmed robot. Sure, he can dissect a defense in .7 seconds or draw a perfect gameplan, but discussing thoughts about a game, practice, or event? You can expect a shy smile and a shrug. See Howard Gardner's "Multiple Intelligences."

The Politician. No phasing this guy. Everything is positive or moving forward. Anger is pretty much ruled out, unless it's calculated to accomplish a goal. Oh, is that you smiling and looking dapper on the NBC set Tiki? Of course it is.

The Idiot. Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens.These are both fine examples. Occasionally interesting, some of these players/coaches recognize the stupidity of questions and fire back with inappropriate or illogical responses. Misfiring neutrons invade these minds during interviews or press conferences, causing ruckus.

The Emoticon. Think Mike Gundy's "I'm A Man." These individuals give out their thoughts and emotional responses for free. Actually entertaining, these men are best during challenging times. You actually learn something from their interviews.

The Shane Battier. I guess it's not football, but SB will give you all that's needed. Battier gives introspective insight into any game situation, with a helping of intelligence and humor. Absolutely the best of the best to interview.

*There should probably be a Joe Paterno category. Not only is Paterno such a legend that he can say anything, but his self deprecating humor, "that grampa with all the great stories" personality, and general disdain for stupid questions makes his interviews a must see. Maybe his category should be "The Elder Statesman" or "The Legend."