Coaches shows are about nothing so much as image. The gopher-ball questions lobbed up by sycophantic sidekicks, the soft features about inspirational team chaplains and loyal trainers, the back-slapping visits by assistant coaches—all are designed to present the school as a magical kingdom populated by Up with People kind of folk.
At odds with that message are some of the commercial sponsors. Beer companies buy time on, among others, the shows of DiNardo, Neuheisel, Notre Dame's Bob Davie and Mississippi's Tommy Tuberville. Worse, Players Club International, a national travel outfit that packages excursions to casinos, is one of the sponsors of Blake's show. One might assume that somewhere in its 537-page rule book, the NCAA must have a provision prohibiting such relationships.
"No, there's nothing against it," says Bob Oliver, the NCAA's director of membership services. Oliver goes on to enumerate other commercial prohibitions—no member school can carry an ad for tobacco or hard alcohol in its game program, for example—but admits that the NCAA has "very little hold over coaches' shows."
WHY DANNY FORD SHOULD KEEP HIS DAY JOB
Like many other coaches, Arkansas's Danny Ford tapes his show immediately after a game or the next morning, before he has had the opportunity to pursue that most treasured pastime of all football coaches: studying the game tape. But Ford's bewildered, first-time-I've-seen-it "analysis" makes it sound as though he were pulled in cold off the street. Here's some of what viewers learned from Ford following the Razorbacks' 39-13 loss to South Carolina on Oct. 18: "Their quarterback throws it in the flat; their fullback drops it; number 11, our guy, picks it up; we got something going on." And after a Gamecocks interception: "Sudden change. We don't get sudden change. Boom! Good block by their guy. Boom! 'Nother good block by their guy."
Boom! Get this guy off the air!
It's not just losses that give Ford trouble. While discussing a 17-13 win over Louisiana Tech, Ford said, "Right now we done been on the field too long." And "here they make a third-down play. This was a big play right here. I don't know what happened." When in doubt, which is much of the time, Ford goes to an all-purpose adjective. As he watched Arkansas drive for a touchdown, his commentary during a 35-second span included "good move by our coaches," "good block by our guard," "good run," "good, hard running," "good blocking at the point of attack," "good sprint-out," "good pass," "good catch," "not good blocking on the corner" and "good catch." Good Lord!
Ford reserved his most pithy commentary for the arrival of Hogs superfan Bill Clinton at the game against Tech. As the President's limo pulled into the stadium parking lot, Ford offered this insight: "There he comes in there."
SONGS OF MYSELF
A feature about Vanderbilt coach Woody Widenhofer on The Woody Widenhofer Show included an interview with his son Ryan. ("He's an all-round good guy," Ryan said of his dad.) The Spike Dykes Show approached coaches from several of Texas Tech's upcoming opponents to get comments on—you guessed it—Spike Dykes. "Coach Dykes, he does a great job," said Baylor's Roberts. "I mean, that's one of the best coaching jobs in America."