Followill 5: Rick, Caron And Prepping For TV

This week, Mavs TV play-by-play man Mark Followill handles five questions from DB.com readers about Rick Carlisle's personality, the behind-the-scenes folks at the AAC and Caron's rehab:

1. "Though he looks like Jim Carrey, Rick Carline seems very dour in his dealings with the media. Is he really such a sour puss all the time?'' - wKF

FOLLOWILL: No, I would definitely say Rick is not a sourpuss. One factor in what you might see on TV is that the guy is answering a lot of the same questions over and over. I'm sure if you and I had to do that for 82 games, it might wear on us a bit. But my dealings with him are always very positive. An example: He really enjoys knowing about techie stuff. He's the guy who shamed me into finally upgrading my Blackberry.

"What keeps time in there,'' he said to me, "a sundial?''

He's got a lot of interests, family and music and movies and ping pong, you name it. And in his persuits of those interests, he's not at all a dour guy.

2. "Who are two or three people that are part of the Mavs organization that no one knows but do a great job and what do they do?'' Jay

FOLLOWILL: It's a long list. Let's do two today.

The first person who comes to mind is Steve Letson, the Vice President of Operations and Arena Development. His work involves operations of arena, everything going on on and off the floor and beyond, staying in communication, you name it. Everyone in the arena, from the people doing the video-board show to security to people coordinating on-floor entertainment … He's the orchestrator of a lot of what goes on.

There's so much more involved in the process than most realize. Steve's been with the organization virtually since the beginning. He's a loyal guy, he's worked his butt off, and he deserves the accolades.

Another is Mike Shedd, the Head Video Coordinator and scout. Most don't understand the time and energy that is spend breaking down tape for the assistant coaches and tape on an opponent, all the special situations. ‘We need 10 clips of Jet and Dirk running the pick-and-roll, to study.' ‘We need 20 clips as examples of how Tyson is defending the post.' It's a job serving all the players and all the coaches. Very important.

3. "Mark, how realistic is Butler actually playing with the Dallas Mavericks before the end of the season? Either then injury or a trade make it seem like a long shot.'' -- Heyarkay

FOLLOWILL: I keep getting asked this question and even though I haven't discussed this with Caron at length … I know he's has a positive experience with having recovered from this sort of injury years ago. I know he's working hard. But to expect a lot of him, even in a deep playoff run, seems extremely optimistic to me. This is supposed to be a six-to-eight month recovery process. To think Caron could do it in four-and-half or five months? Extremely optimistic.

4. "Mark, many people in the DFW area have the opinion that the Mavs' home crowd isn't very energetic or into the game. Some also seem to think that the over-the-top bombardment of sights and sounds in the arena during games might be partially to blame. As someone who enjoys that award-winning game presentation, I disagree, but I thought I'd ask you: How does the AAC game presentation compare to other NBA arenas? How does the AAC crowd compare to other NBA crowds?'' – theKillerLeft

FOLLOWILL: I like it because so much activity going on. I like that there are a variety of things that can appeal to every fan, from the casual fan on up. I think the crowd is good at the critical moments. There is energy in the building at those times. It's not the loudest in the league, but it's a good crowd – especially when it counts.

5. "Watching the game the other night, you referenced to Brad Davis a meeting the previous day. How much time do you spend at work that we do not see?'' -- BarryMikhal

FOLLOWILL: On a home game, we're getting there at 3:30 p.m. and having a production meeting. We meet -- Harp, Skin and guys on production crew – and we're hunkered down at the arena all night. In addition to that, I'm doing three to six hours of prep time in getting notes together.

Road games are a bit more of a scramble. In prepping for road games, we might get together the day before in the hotel room, or we have to do it on the plane. But we try to have some sort of meeting for the setting up of the framework, the pregame, the open, information to use in-game if it's the right situation. It's fun work, though – and those guys in the truck show up way earlier than we do and do the real work down there.


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