Most Georgia fans know that the Bulldogs are playing Coastal Carolina this Saturday, but they might not know that the Chanticleers (2-0) are coached by YouTube’s latest Internet sensation.
More than a half-million people — including Georgia coach Mark Richt — have viewed coach David Bennett’s YouTube clip from a press conference in Conway, S.C., earlier this month. In it, the down-home-style coach explains the inherent differences in dogs and cats and why he wants his team and his players to be more like dogs and less like cats.
The hilarious soliloquy was picked up and played on several ESPN shows and has since gone viral online.
I got to spend a few minutes on the phone with Bennett, whose 2-0 Chanticleers visit Athens on Saturday, and asked him what he thought about all the attention he was getting.
“It’s just a true story I shared with the team on a Monday and I shared it at a press conference and it took off like wildfire,” he said with his Deep South drawl. “Must’ve been a slow media day.”
Asked what was the general motivation of his message, Bennett said: “I just told our kids on the field you need to be more like Dogs. Don’t worry how you look. Do you have a special type of cleats on? Do you have the extra sweat bands? Is your hair looking just right? So, moral of the story, we’re going to play some real Dogs this week that I think will finish Top 10 in the country when it’s all said and done.”
Is it his general style to tell such stories to make a point?
“I guess. I told our kids and they laughed about it. They said, ‘Coach, that ain’t nothing special.’ We talk like that around here every day. So, again, it must’ve been a slow day that they wanted to take that thing and put it on PTI and ‘Round the Horn and ESPN. Again, I’m just glad that thing’s about done.”
Has he gotten much feedback about it on campus?
“I haven’t gotten much feedback on our own campus except from our own players. We don’t do much but watch film, go to practice, go eat, go to bed. But you want positive coverage and attention for our university. If they want to take a little cat-and-dog story and turn it into something that the local sportscasters said 97 percent of the people liked, fine.
“People that really love cats didn’t like it. But I ain’t out to disrespect cats. There’s a couple of cats in the world I like. A couple of our friends got cats. But, on the field we need to be more like a dog than a cat. That’s just what we meant by that. But bottom line, we’re always telling stories here all the time. That’s just one of them stories that got out there. I guess it’s good exposure, as long as it isn’t anything negative.”
A little about Bennett:
He is a native of Cheraw, S.C., who has been at Coastal Carolina since it began its football program nine years ago. He was a former graduate assistant under Danny Ford at Clemson who grew up listening to the stories of former Clemson coach Frank Howard. So he gets it honestly.
“When I was a lilttle boy I watched the Bear Bryant, Vince Dooley and Frank Howard shows,” he said. “Couldn’t wait to watch them and see what they had to say. You always took the good that you wanted to use and the bad that you didn’t want to use.
“But the best stories you hear are from preachers, preachers that preached on Sundays through your life. I’ve learned more stories from preachers than anybody else.”
His thoughts on Georgia (0-2):
“I’m sitting here watching film right now as we speak of Georgia and Boise and Georgia and South Carolina,” Bennett said. “They are massive, they are very talented and I predict they’ll finish top 10 in the nation when the season’s done. I’ll tell you what, they’ve got a freshman tailback, Crowell, goodness, gracious, he might be one of the finest I’ve ever seen on film.
“So it will be a great challenge for our team to go down to Athens, Ga., Sanford Stadium, between the hedges. I think they’re mighty darn good.”
So that’s a glimpse of the coach the Bulldogs will be competing against this Saturday. What do you think?