January 7th, 2012
12:49 PM - Game day has arrived in Miami! Kick-off between Notre Dame and Alabama is a little over seven hours away and fans have already been tailgating in the vicinity of Sun Life Stadium since late last night. Final preparations are being made on our end, uploading video and other content for tonight's live half-hour special "Perfectly Irish" which begins at 7 PM.
The special will have a definite Fort Wayne feel to it, with spotlights on Tyler Eifert, John Goodman and Tony Springmann - all Bishop Dwenger graduates. We'll also hear from both Brian Kelly and Nick Saban as well as their players who will help break down all the X's and O's for you.
We're going to keep this short as we prepare to head over to Sun Life Stadium, but its sure to be an exciting night - we hope you'll tune in!
January 6th, 2012
11:39 PM - My apologies for the lack of updates (on here at least) today. Combine a 5 AM wake-up call for the final coach's press conference with a lengthy trip to Miami Beach for a sit-down interview with John Goodman's parents and you're left with little time for blogging. There's also all of the content we're hard at work putting together for Monday night's "Perfectly Irish" special which will be well worth the wait.
But I digress.
As I said, today was the final media session with Brian Kelly and Nick Saban before kickoff and I'd like to share a couple of brief - but hopefully interesting - observations.
Kelly is very much at ease in the media firestorm that is BCS Championship Week. I'm sure three years as the head coach of the Irish is great practice for this, but for a man playing for his first national title, Kelly looks right at home. He's calm, collected and authoritarian without being condescending. It's a fine line to walk, but the Notre Dame coach pulls it off impressively.
My note on Saban is less about presentation and more about creation. When asked about his relationship with his father, the Alabama coach regaled the dozens of reporters with his days working at his father's gas station as a child. These were the days when a full service station meant the windows and car exterior were washed by hand, the gas pumped and the oil checked - no small task for a kid. Despite his age, Saban says he was held to a standard of perfection by his father: spotless windows, no streaks left behind on the cars hood, perfection. You see where this is going. A man with three national championships to his name credits his perfectionist approach in football to his days of working for his father at the gas station. A simple story? Perhaps - but the genesis of a fiercely driven man is always worth mulling over.
January 5th, 2012
9:34 PM - Media days at major sporting events - ala the BCS National Championship Game - are a lot like the first day of school. There's a lot of sizing up of your peers, internal assessment, confirmation or refuting of assumed truths and then its time to get to work.
For reporters - or maybe its just me - the opportunity to meet and greet others in your field, or simply watch them in their element is always a source of fascination for me. Then there's the "star factor". Events like Monday's Notre Dame/Alabama match-up draw the big timers: ESPN, Sports Illustrated, NBC Sports, etc. Seeing people like Reece Davis (ESPN anchor) or Liam McHugh (NBC Sports anchor/Notre Dame football host) is a somewhat bizarre experience simply because you've seen them so many times on television and then suddenly - there they are in the flesh. After all, at the end of the day I'm a sports fan just like anyone else, it's kind of cool seeing these people up close.
Then just as the awkward stand around becomes that - an awkward stand around - the players are ushered out in droves and the work begins. To describe an event like this for reporters like myself, think bumblebee in a petunia patch - a little from column A, a little from column B. It's an hour of crossing items off your checklist, bouncing from media scrum to media scrum, attempting to glean the quotes and bites that you need from the players that you need to speak to. Essentially - it's controlled chaos.
With that said though, sometimes the chips fall in your favor, such as was the case today. We (myself and my fearless photographer J.R. Carmichael) managed to spend five solid minutes each one-on-one with Bishop Dwenger grads and Fort Wayne natives Tyler Eifert, John Goodman and Tony Springmann and that makes it all the worthwhile. Naturally, we'll have plenty from those three to look forward to in the coming days, specifically in our live half hour special "Perfectly Irish" airing Monday night at 7. That's all for now - be sure to tune in at 11 for more live coverage from Miami and keeping checking back on wane.com. Tomorrow will be heavy on the coaches as Brian Kelly and Nick Saban will address the media for the final time before Monday night.
4:13 PM - Media day at the BCS Championship game concluded a few hours ago and NewsChannel