1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

All-County teams

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Craig Sagers Tailor, Nov 30, 2013.

  1. Craig Sagers Tailor

    Craig Sagers Tailor Active Member

    I'm about to handle my first all-county football team as the SE of a small daily. I'm starting this thread to gauge how everyone handles theirs as far as numbers and what influences the decisions.

    In 2010, Our county (six high schools) had two state champions and the all-county team had 37 players. Last year, it had 34 players with some good teams, but no state champs. I'm thinking that should be condensed significantly. Like mid 20's or so. I talked to one guy elsewhere in the state and he said theirs is a 12-player team.

    This year we had one team have a perfect regular season and set school records so I'm figuring giving them around 10. Everyone else was kind of average so I'm thinking the other teams get no more than five.
  2. boundforboston

    boundforboston Well-Known Member

    You could send ballots out to coaches for their suggestions and then put a disclaimer that coaches helped the Podunk Press create teams. That should take some heat off you when readers get angry.
  3. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    When you say a 37-player team or a 34-player team, is that combined offense and defense, or just listing of players without regard to position?

    I get that having the big all-county/whatever teams = more happy parents/coaches and less complaints. But I think a "team" should be whatever a starting unit would be for that sport - a five-player basketball team, an 11-player offense and 11-player defense for football (with 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, etc.) and so on. Adding on a kicker, punter and returner seems reasonable. If you need to recognize more players than that, name a second-team and even a third-team.

    For a 6-school coverage area, I think a 13-player offense, plus a 12-player defense is more than acceptable.

    I've seen all-area teams where more than half of the starting players from a paper's coverage area ended up on the first team. Good for the grandparents to clip out of the paper, but doesn't seem like it means as much.
  4. ColdCat

    ColdCat Well-Known Member

    Definitely talk to coaches. Most of the time they'll be honest with you if some kid from another team is better than his. Also they can help you with o-line guys you might not be as familiar with. Be prepared for parent calls though. Even if you name 100 all-county kids, mom and dad of kid no. 101 will be pissed.
  5. dirtybird

    dirtybird Well-Known Member

    At one shop we tweaked things a bit with 12 players (QB, 3 RB, TE, 5 OL, 2 WR) on O and D (4-4-4), kicker, a punter and two "athletes" on O and D for those all-around guys. I guess that's 28, which sounds like a lot, but I thought it worked pretty well.

    I'm interested in the split on talking to coaches. I've been at places where we do talk to coaches, which sometimes has value and sometimes ends with awkward runarounds where coaches either simply won't say who's better, or try to skirt things being politically correct. I've also been in places where we ask coaches to submit nominations with full stats and just do our best, mostly without conferring with them.
  6. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    I've done it at places that had an "official" ballot sent to all coaches and officials in the local officials association, with the pledge to keep all voting confidential. The coaches often turned out to be useless, voting for their own players, their buddies' players and players in their conference exclusively, so we didn't make it a straight vote, but a "with input from" disclaimer. But the officials were great and seemed very unbiased.

    Another place, we had some coaches we respected and we'd go out for a few beers with them after the season and pick their brains about it. I think that method was more effective.
  7. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    When I was in the business, our All-County football and basketball teams were sacred. That was the two days a year we didn't care if we pissed off people. We catered to everyone and tried to be as even as possible the other 363 days a year, but those two days we went with the best players to fill out a team. If one school had two dozen players, well, then too bad. We never shut a school out, but I remember more than once a school was limited to one player because he/she was the only one worth a flip.

    Our football team was limited to 24 - 11 offense, 11 defense, punter, kicker. That number included O and D player of the year. Sometimes we'd jimmy with the positions to get kids on there (3 RBs meant maybe only 1 WR, or 4 LBs meant only three DL, for example). For boys and girls basketball, it was a firm 10 which included players of the year.

    If we had questions or concerns, we'd consult all the coaches and the local radio guys. We just refused to cheapen it by giving everyone a trophy.

    Now, the local paper has allowed its general manager to get involved, and the All-County teams are a whored out, paid special section. If someone buys an ad for you, then you are All-County.
  8. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    For football, I think we try to keep it between 25 and 30. It sort of depends on who's worthwhile and how many mugs we can fit on a page.
    We stick to a base offense and defense (5 OL, 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR/TE for offense, and 4 DBs, 3 or 4 DL and 3 or 4 LB on defense), but will add an extra player on defense, or extra running back or receiver if it's merited. We'll also do a kicker, punter, returner, and maybe an athlete or two.
    What always helps is the guys who play two ways. If you have someone who is a great quarterback and decent safety, for example, you can put him at DB and maybe get someone else's quarterback on there. Or vice versa. Or if he's a good QB, but not the best in the county, and a great punter, stick him at punter. Gets a deserving player on there and lets you give the QB honor to the better player.

    As for how we pick, the skill position guys are easy. You go by stats, and if you did your job over the course of the season you know who deserves to be there and who doesn't. For linemen and defensive guys, All-District awards are a good indicator. Talk to your coaches, ask who their best guys were and who might have been overlooked. Always maintain the final say, but those opinions are helpful.
  9. albert77

    albert77 Well-Known Member

    For our All-Area team (about 25 high schools), we have a set number of players. Over the years, it's slowly grown to 30 this year, largely because our talent has gotten sharply better (we've got some 15-18 players with D-1 offers, including five on one team and four on another). It's simply the 30 best players without regard to position. In the past, we limited it to a max of four per team, but this year that's out the window. We try to get every school at least one representative on either first team, second team of honorable mention.

    We invite nominations from area coaches, but that's more to determine second team and honorable mentions, because I've got a pretty good idea who's going to be first team, and to get a handle on players that are hard to quantify statistically (OL and DLs mostly). I also look at all-region and All-State teams, and players who have been picked for all-star games (we've got two, the Mississippi-Alabama game and a North-South game).

    We also pick a Coach of the Year and a Player of the Year. The packages run on successive days (COY on Saturday and POY/All-Area on Sunday) between Christmas and New Years.
  10. Morris816

    Morris816 Member

    The way we did our all-area team was this: We sent out nomination forms to the area coaches, asking them for their input. We asked them to nominate by position, total of 11 players on offense, 11 on defense (we went with the 4-3 format) and three special teams player (kicker, punter, return specialist). We allowed multiple nominees at certain positions (e.g., we allowed for two running backs since most teams go with a two-RB rotation on offense).

    Most coaches did go to bat for their own players, but we had one coach who nominated players from other teams.

    Then we considered our own staff input and selected a first team and second team, with anyone else who was nominated getting an honorable mention.

    None of the coaches nominated players at every single position and only a couple made nominations to recognize their seniors (one who did specifically said he was fine with honorable mention for them).

    I'm not bothered by honorable mentions as long as they don't go overboard — in other words, it's not a "recognize every player" deal but recognize those who were nominated but weren't the best overall. But if you do go with HMs, pick at least a first and second team so you keep the HM list manageable.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page