ESPN special shows all angles of Arizona Football

Due to family commitments I didn't get to see it live, but I rushed home Sunday night, fired up the VCR and watched Arizona football courtesy of ESPN's The Season. The documentary showcasing the Wildcat football had me worried. Would it portray the Wildcats in a poor light, or would Coach Mackovic's connections at ESPN make it a fluff piece. In the end I found it to be a fair, interesting look at Arizona football.

I was even more interested in how the documentary would look. I got to see so much of it being filmed. I was even mic'd once during an interview with Pedro Limon. That didn't make the documentary, but if you look closely you will catch glimpses of me. Some friends did.

The thing that amazed me is how they cut thousands of hours of footage into less than two hours of actual program. They had multiple cameras running all of the time, and apparently edited every night. In the end they had to fit 4 ½ months into less than 90 minutes of actual footage.

So how does it make the team look? To me it depends on your point of view. Does John Mackovic come off as confident or arrogant? To me Mackovic comes off as stern but fair. He doesn't play favorites. He rides Jason Johnson as hard as Cliff Watkins. He continually butts heads with one of his best players Clarence Farmer.

Some players will see a teacher, a leader and a man with a vision. Some other athletes may see a strict, hard nose coach who doesn't favor his star players. Will it help or hurt recruiting? Only time will tell.

I think the second hour will be key. When the season gets rougher, what will we see? The team suffered some horrible, blowout losses as well as some heartbreaks. What will we see behind the scenes when the team implodes against Oregon and Washington State? What will it look like with the coaches following costly blown calls against USC and Washington?

One interesting thing was the amount of screen time devoted to Tony Banks. Sure the reserve corner looks like Jaimee Foxx, and he is amusing, but to me there were a number of better stories. No mention was made of Eli Wnek. Banks is intriguing. Many will see him in different ways. To some he will be a funny, charming likable guy. Others will see him as a brash, goofy guy who is not making the most of his opportunity.

Another interesting thing is how themes introduced early on, come back later. Most of the problems Farmer has with Mackovic are actually foreshadowed. Following a pre-season fight in practice, Mackovic says he will bench players who lose their cool. Later on Farmer is sat down for picking up personal fouls and talking trash. We see his problems learning a pass blocking scheme affect the team later.

A full opinion can't be made until after the second hour, however I think it is a great look into college football. I think it does more good than harm for the program, but to be sure it does show some warts. If nothing else it is a great keepsake for a very up and down season.

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