Pete's Arboblog - Preparation Tuesday

As it is "competition Tuesday" with the team it is "preparation Tuesday" with me. Most of the season I have used Tuesday's as the biggest block of prep work during the course of the week. Now that I am not doing anything in terms of full time work, I have been able to work ahead, it has been easier in that regard, but I found myself going through the same motions as we got into game week today.

At 11:30 each Tuesday morning of game week, the assembled media meets at Heritage Hall for the weekly Pete Carroll luncheon. It starts with pleasantries at 11:30 a.m. Many of us have seen each other at practices, but in some cases this is one of the rare chances I have to see some of the guys I call colleagues and friends. Guys like Joe Jares, a long time SC fan and outstanding writer and historian. I sit with former KSCR play by play guy who is now over at Fox, Ike Lowenkron. Petros was there; he is not able to attend practices as his show is now on during afternoon drive time, right when practice happens. Suzy Shuster, one of our pre-game hosts. TV cameras everywhere. The always perfectly dressed Jim Hill, the beat writers, guys in from Arkansas, everyone who wants to be there is there.

Well, not so fast, as it seems the guys who run Internet sites have still been banned from receiving access to the press conference, the press box and the locker room. They have made inroads on the practice field, but so far it has been a slow process.

Certainly it would be easy to differentiate between fly-by-nighters and actual web sites simply with the number of new stories, reporters working for the sites, and the numbers of paid subscribers making it easy to see which ones are legit.

Years and years ago, when broadcast media was still in its infancy compared to the written word reporters, Tom Harmon (yeah, old 88) was a local broadcaster fed up with the treatment the electronic media got in clubhouses of the local major sports teams. Writers got first access all the time, with 'casters forced to stay outside. After the long wait they were let in quite often to find that their lead story athletes had already escaped to their cars. Harmon led a fight of several local sports announcers, who formed the nucleus as the charter members of the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Association. It's first members included Vin Scully, Hal Uplinger, Chuck Bennett, Chuck Benedict, Steve Bailey--and many more; a who's who of the sports radio and TV scene of the day. Their requests, made en masse, so impressed Dodgers management that soon they were getting the same access as writers, and soon others teams and venues followed suit.

It's hard to change with the times, it's hard to know where to draw the line. It's quite obvious these times we live in are not the same as those of even 15 years ago. With change comes a change in the way we do things and view things and the way they are done. This new frontier of Internet reporting is quite obviously the wave of the current and of the future, where everyone has the same say as a major news outlet. It might morph into something else later, and we will be asked to change again. For now, the move that ought to be made seems fairly obvious.

***

Pete came in and addressed the group with a few minutes of monologue followed by the usual questions and answers. He's excited to get going. The team is ready. Arkansas will be better. It will be interesting to see which guys step up for SC. The running back spot will be interesting. Fayetteville holds special memories for Pete and Pat Ruel. Nothing that you wouldn't already now the answers to, but it's comforting hearing them anyway, and just being there is another thing that tells us we're getting closer.

Some players are nice enough to come in and be interviewed by the hordes. They are excited. They expect a good game. It's a new team and a new era.

And the sun is warm, and the sky is blue. In other words, they don't say much, but it's fun and it gives us another chance to talk to the guys in a non-football setting. I prefer catching them just walking around. I asked Oscar Lua and some others about what movies might be showing on the plane ride. They wanted a pirated copy of "Snakes On a Plane" but weren't sure they could get it in time. The guys in the mess hall were particularly rowdy tonight. Snapper Will Collins was worried about all the extra media around on Tuesday's..he thought something bad had happened before I reminded him how it all comes down every week.

Ryan Kalil was wearing a Servite High shirt with this year's schedule on it.

The new radio outlet KSPN was there doing their first show live from HH. Sales guy Glenn Cooper, who had been at the old flagship and is now with the new, is the only regular attendee from the station at practices this summer camp so far, other than Newbury and Rideaux. Coops is top of the line in my book. His son is starting JC at Glendale College and playing football. My son KC has just started at USC (University of Santa Clarita--College of the Canyons!) and playing basketball. Did I mention that daughter Stephanie ( a third year sophomore at C.O.C.) has made it through the crowd of 30-000 at the Rose Bowl to the second round of the next American Idol auditions? She was one of only 180 to make it, and September 23 sings for the exec. producer with a shot of going to the TV show.

**

After the lunch and press conference, I hole up downstairs in the Student Academic Services Center below HH to work on my boards and prep. I finished up the Arkansas board, hugged advisor Monica Morita hello. All-American and former coach Willie Brown stops by and talks to me every single time, it's tradition. We discuss the game at hand and the season to date. We both like this team, but are curious to see how it looks on the field.

Look now, I was an 8 year old wide eyed kid watching Willie go both sides of the ball against Wisconsin to win the National Title at the Rose Bowl in '63. It took me a couple of years to get over the little kid inside of me when talking to him. Now, it's like talking to an old friend. It just happens to be Willie Brown!

Former LA City HS basketballer of the year Brandon Martin lives down there too. I called his games at SC. It's a good crew, and the student tutors are good to their athlete/cleints helping them traverse through some sometimes difficult classwork.Yes, they are students first in college, and they have to work hard to advance their course of studies to stay eligible to play, not the other way around.

I picked up all of the press guides from the Sports Info Office, recorded a few short liners for stations on our network (Hi, this is Pete and you're listening to the Voice of the Magic Valley, K-L-I-X, Twin Falls Idaho, Fight ON!), say hi to the gang in there slaving away and head upstairs to make some copies of my stats sheet we use on Saturday's, pick up my season tickets, exchange pleasantries with Melanie and Teresa and Jennifer and Jill before heading back down. It is amazing the number of people it takes to run an athletic department smoothly. I only know a medium percentage of them all. Great job everyone.

Out to practice, settle in, practice some more play by play. Paul was there today, and our exec producer Ann, who celebrated her birthday yesterday. She went over some of the new elements of our broadcast, which seem much like the old elements as far as we're concerned, and that's fine with us, as I am not much of one to have my cheese moved too far. Talked to Garry.

There's a new beat writer for the OC Register named Marcia. She's doing one game, this one, then giving way to the guy who takes over for Todd Harmonson, who has taken over their immense high school coverage. The Angels beat guy is moving to cover SC after Labor Day, giving you and idea, perhaps of how the Register views the Halos' chances of going to the playoffs. We all agreed that the new beat writer must pay for all beverages on the first trip of the season!!

After practice I took a nice run from campus over to the Coliseum and around it twice before heading back, eating at the mess hall, and spending the night in the SCV with my kids, whom I miss a lot.

And tomorrow is the final day of practice I will see in LA before leaving for Arkansas. I love Preparation Tuesday.


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