A headset on his bald head and a sheepish grin on his face, Broncos defensive back Terrell Buckley is proving too reserved for Spencer Tillman's Game Broadcast class. "T-Buck, when you're on the field, you don't lack confidence," says Fox Sports Net's Tillman, an instructor at the Craig James Broadcast School for pro athletes, the 14th edition of which was held recently in Dallas. "You have to transfer that in here." So prodded, Buckley watches a tape of Ravens cornerback Duane Starks's interception return for a touchdown in Super Bowl XXXV and then crisply breaks the play down, showing that it was triggered by Starks's tapping his right leg—a signal for the safety to cover deep while Starks broke for the ball.
Buckley was one of the nine matriculants (all current or former football players) at the $4,000 two-day course that gives instruction in game announcing, studio work, field reporting and writing. The session's star pupil proved to be Dolphins wideout Lamar Thomas (above), who showed a flamboyant style and a natural ease on camera. After his playing career, Thomas says, "I want to do sideline."
CBS NFL analyst James, a former Patriots running back, established the school in 1993. Among his instructors are Tillman and ESPN's Chris Fowler. Fifteen James graduates hold national broadcasting jobs, including ESPN's Merril Hoge and CBS's Charles Mann. "These guys have experience that Al Michaels and Dick Enberg will never have," says James of his charges. "It's our job to get that across."