Behind Closed Doors
Richt closes practice to the media, much to his delight
Sept. 19, 2007
By Tom Hart
Special to CSTV.com
Tom Hart calls football play-by-play for CSTV and is a contributor to CSTV.com.
STOP THE PRESSES! MARK RICHT CLOSED HIS
What do you mean you don't really care? If you're a
If you're a
A win in front of 92,138 maniacs at Bryant-Denny Stadium, and there isn't a game left on the schedule that is un-winnable. A loss, and young psyches may be shot.
In Tuesday's press conference the local media spent more than 20 minutes asking Richt about the decision to close his practices. I'm sure they felt slighted, since it's the biggest week of the young season and their editors want inches they won't be able to provide.
But what happened over a 30 minute Q&A with Richt showed why he is one of the bright minds in college football. Richt answered every question confidently. Sometimes he responded with a laugh, and always with a smile.
About midway through I realized this was exactly the line of questioning the coach wanted. He wasn't asked about the gameplan for
Who says coaches aren't teachers? Mark Richt just taught a roomful of reporters PR 101.
Everybody closes practice at some point or another. Even with a credential, you might be able to witness some stretching at most major schools. When Watson Brown was at UAB he couldn't close practice because the school's faculty needed access to the walking track. The practice field isn't even fenced off.
Pete Carroll doesn't close his practices in
Closing practice matters to one group: the media. At
For the first time this season I realized the duty of filling out my AP Top 25 poll is hard work. Just like preparing to call a game, most of the work occurs during the week before any games are played, but that doesn't make Saturday any less busy.
Here's the timeline, central time zone:
11:00 am: Our production crew gathers for a mid-morning production meeting. The hotel bar is closed, so we sneak in to the only part of the hotel with Direct TV and put CSTV's Chick-fil-A SEC Football Tailgate on while we meet. Those guys have an RV. We're driving around
Noon: My partner Trev Alberts and I hit the
2:00-6:00 pm: My hotel TV features Florida-Tennessee for the better part of the afternoon. It seems this game is over when Britton Colquitt outkicks his coverage and
I soon opt for Washington-Ohio
6:00 pm: Time to head to Skelly Field for this Tulsa-BYU shootout. On the field before the game we're greeted by BYU linebacker Bryan Kehl. The Cougars lost to UCLA the week before, and now the team that beat them is getting smashed by the Cougars' bitter rivals. We share the score with Kehl, and he isn't sure how to react.
8:00 pm: Kickoff in
Midnight: It was a four-hour game, and the only place to eat in
We stay up late watching as many highlights as possible, but I have a flight in the morning and need to get my poll in by noon. Here's what I came up with:
LSU's win over Virginia Tech still resonates, so I keep them at the top. I'm not sure why so many experts thought
Boston College's win on the flats was impressive. I realized at about 1:00 am that I need to learn more about
I rewarded Jim Leavitt's USF team last week when they won at Auburn by putting them in my poll. What I'm seeing though, is that most teams make their debut in the polls only after a week of national media attention.
Nick Saban just guaranteed the insanity will continue in
The most difficult part of my poll this week is the final five. I'm not sure the Hokies deserve to be here, but I'm also not sure this is real ground beef in these tacos. Hesitantly, I choose to believe both.
This week I added
I promise to take a closer look at Texas A&M,
I'm coming closer to setting this thing in stone. What I mean is I feel that after this week most teams will be pretty well defined. We'll soon get to the point of judging all teams on more than the outcome of their games, but also the strength of their competition.
7. Penn State
13. South Carolina
21. Virginia Tech
22. Air Force
24. Georgia Tech