Happy Thursday, let’s #grind.
HEY GIMME THAT.
There is probably something nagging at the back of your mind that you can’t quite let go of, something that nearly cost us the Kentucky game. And this tweet probably got stuck in your mind like bad gristle in the teeth after an otherwise perfect meal:
Football is a pretty simple game. And being a "minus-7" in turnovers in your first 6 games is a real issue for Texas A&M.— Bob Sturm (@SportsSturm) October 7, 2018
It’s true. God, is it true. Do you know how many teams have recovered zero fumbles this year at the season’s halfway point? Three: Purdue, Michigan State, and Texas A&M. The Aggies are ranked 120th in the turnover margin. That’s dead last in the SEC. Dead last among ranked teams. The only other team with half a pulse that’s worse off is TCU, and we’ve seen it contribute to their fall from the rankings. This doesn’t mean the defense isn’t playing well: the Kentucky game was their best performance this year. It just means that against the really tough SEC West teams, a little luck never hurt anyone. And luck’s been hard to come by. You see this sometimes, you’re watching a team you think is pretty good and the announcers reveal how horrible they’ve been at creating turnovers and you think “wow, they’d be really great if they could just break even.” Sometimes the floodgates open in the second half of the year. Sometimes they muddle through and still have a decent season. Whatever it is, we could sure use that karma on the back nine here with the Mississippi schools, Auburn, and LSU still waiting down the road.
Fisher, on today's media climate: "You don't have the guys who dig in and do a week-long report on a player and get the actual facts and how things go. Those days are gone. It's just the world we can live in."— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) October 11, 2018
OK. Setting aside the social media commentary about today’s society (that’s just entirely too much to tackle in one Daily Bull), let’s address this complaint, if that’s what it really is. It sounds like one. This might be Jimbo blowing off steam, or caught at a bad moment, but it comes across as confrontational to journalists: “why don’t y’all do some in-depth reporting about the football players?” Well, guess what: 90% of writers would love nothing more than to do just that. Unfortunately, their hands are tied by multiple factors:
- The shifting nature of the media landscape has demanded quantity over quality. That’s why you see so much fluff and so little substance: all of them are under mandate to produce and endless stream of banal #content that takes away time from actual investigative or insightful research and writing. More unique URLs means more ad revenue. (Yeah, we’re part of this whirlwind too: everyone is.) You won’t believe what happened next.
- Not every single beat writer’s going to be able to churn out these wonderful longreads. It’s not in their purview. There are actually very few within the college football media who can pull off these types of pieces, and the majority of them have been laid off by the major conglomerates or otherwise relegated to upstart websites. Bruce Feldman wrote this incredible, in-depth profile of the A&M program for CBS Sports in the weeks leading up to the enormous 2013 Alabama game. So why don’t we see more of that now? Well, Bruce, one of the sport’s premier reporters, after a stint with FOX beginning in 2014, now writes for the subscription-based site The Athletic. Which leads to
- The University has draconian limitations on who may or may not even attend press conferences, much less perform in-depth interviews or profile pieces on coaches, let alone student-athletes. The AD is particularly wary of “online” outlets or “blogs” or various other scary and dangerous “tech trends” that interfere with the access of the good ol’ fashioned newspapers (read: the guys who are limited to churning out 15 listicles per day, who are just trying to keep their own jobs). Well, except for that one online A&M fan site that seems to have complete immunity and unlimited access.
Anyway, this turned out a bit longer than intended, but the point remains: don’t get hung up on complaining about reporting if you are a coach. I’m sure Jimbo hates it when we tell him he needs to do better at coming out of a timeout on third down late in the fourth quarter with a tenuous lead over a very sound football team. Gotta hear both sides.