The grass may be Bermuda but it’s hardly well-groomed and certainly isn’t striped.
That’s not a knock on Haslam Field. That’s a statement of fact in reference to this beat reporter’s lawn.
Once sweat-drenched clothes piling up in a basket. Rationing and recycling of khaki shorts underway.
Friends suggest adopting a dog but who the heck knows what would happen to such a creature during football season.
Must be August. Must be the return of football. Must be training camp.
It’s the crank of the mechanism lowering the shark cage into the habitat of the Carcharodon carcharias. Days and nights get confused. Alarm clock follows with a sense of panic. Reporters consistently ask one another what day it is, what practice number the team is on.
Juices start flowing amidst the drive from Knoxville to Hoover for SEC Media Days and the season shows the five fingers what it says to the face…SMACK…when the head coach pulls the mic to his chin the day before the helmets strap up.
Credential and parking pass requests go out. The scouring of Haslam Field for anything noteworthy begins.
Tennessee players like Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Jordan Williams discuss how they gained 20-plus pounds since last football season, consistently pointing to late-night meals. All the while I’m thinking, “Crap, I so gotta stop doing that!”
Unused belt holes make their way into each fall like the changing of the leaves. Only difference is that this extra weight isn’t shedding a Laremy Tunsil block or attempting to bring down Todd Gurley. It’s just…there.
The camaraderie amongst brothers and sisters of the beat has its twists and turns like a typical family. Narrowly missed a verbal altercation cranking up a notch last November when another reporter informed me he knew all about the redshirt rules and didn’t need my help.
It happens. We move on.
It’s been refreshing thus far. Perhaps we all logged vacation time around “Orange Carpet” events and SECMD.
An obstructed view of my vehicle nearly caused me to get an on-campus parking ticket after I poorly chose to cock-eye a curb within Gen. Robert E. Neyland’s bronze glare. But, Brent Hubbs informed me of Johnathan Law standing feet away from my car with pen and pad ready to ruin my day. Patrick Brown gracefully offered a position switch mid-interview while I attempted to video Ethan Wolf’s first chat with Knoxville media from the tight end’s 7 o’clock. Reed Carringer went out of his way to compliment the new-look InsideTennessee home page.
Something in the water?
Spats amongst our type are cyclical. It’ll get catty again before you know it but at least by then, we’ll have kickoff.
Monday brought a close to training camp. Thursday’s practice officially starts Tennessee football’s preparations for Utah State in the 2014 opener.
Radio and television stations call and text those on the beat. And, why not? Only about a dozen or so of us that have been on The Hill every opportunity possible. May as well let Big Orange Country know how their Volunteers look this summer.
Before Jeff Jarnigan takes over as the “Voice of Neyland Stadium” there’s still plenty to get to from further two-deep talk to record predictions and more.
That Sunday is sure to feel like a Saturday. Flies may swarm around some on Shields-Watkins Field. That’s OK…”It’s football time in Tennessee!”
(No dogs were harmed in the writing of this column.)
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