The man many have pegged as the most likely choice to take over at Arkansas issued his first public comments since Bobby Petrino's firing--and judging by the tone of those comments, they're going to be the last ones he issues for a while.
UAB head coach Garrick McGee, hired just this offseason after four years as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at Arkansas, spoke to the media following his first spring practice in charge of the Blazers. And he made it clear that the one thing he didn't want to speak about was the Razorback job:
"When you're starting your career as a head coach, you start to set policies about the way you go about your business. The policy and the protocol that I'm going to set for myself, and this is just the first time. Hopefully we'll take care of business around here, my name is going to come up other times. I am not interested in speaking about my dealings with any other university. I really enjoy the job that I have. I trust the kids, I think they have bought into what I'm thinking about. My family loves the city and I'm not interested in talking about me or my employment with any other university."
That of course didn't stop the reporters present from asking about possible contact with Arkansas a second time, which drew this response:
"I talk to my staff a lot, and the players, about listening skills. And I tell them that in today's society, listening has really fell by the wayside. Like, I'll say something in a meeting and then five minutes later someone will ask me the same exact question. Then I go 'You need to go to my Listening 101 school.' One more time, I am not interested in talking about my employment with any university, not such this situation but for the rest of my career. That's the protocol that I'm going to follow."
"Listening 101" is a good line. But if McGee expected his statements (which, boiled down to their essence, aren't much more than a stern "no comment") to end speculation over a possible flight to Fayetteville, he needs a quick enrollment in SEC Coaching Search Rumor Mill 101, If McGee really wants to not be asked about Razorback rumors, the proper response is "I'm not taking the Arkansas job." I'm not interested in talking about me or my employment with any other university" is nice; "I'm not going to be employed by any other university, at least where the 2012 season is concerned" is nicer.
Of course, McGee's lack of a definitive statement isn't any more an indication he is speaking to the Razorbacks than Gus Malzahn's was last week. With Paul Petrino agreeing to stay through the 2012 season (if asked to once the head coaching dust settles) and the Razorbacks seemingly united behind the idea of keeping the current staff intact for at least this fall, there's little pressure for athletic director Jeff Long to make a permanent hire -- like McGee -- over letting 2012 play out under current interim coach Taver Johnson or another member of the current Hog staff. (For what it's worth, at least one Arkansas outlet has reported that McGee is not a candidate.)
But until Long makes a decision or McGee point-blank rules hiself out of the running, the UAB coach may be forced to offer remedial listening classes to a few more media members before all is said and done.
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