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Locker room material?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by sartrean, Oct 7, 2006.

  1. sartrean

    sartrean Member

    How many of you, especially prep writers, experience football coaches not wanting to comment on upcoming games because it might give the other team "locker room material"?

    I get this each week from somebody, from local coaches as well as out of town football gurus. Like this one team that holds some ungodly win streak that stretches back to 1877 or some crap like that. Anyway, their coach of 50 years or some shit told me over the phone that he really doesn't want to comment on any aspect of the upcoming game at Hometown High because it "might give them a little more motivation to whip us...."

    Then I ask him to tell me which kids on his team would he like for me to mention in an article as being either hard workers or main producers, senior leaders or whatnot. He responded, "I don't want to comment on any aspect of this game...that's just my policy."


    Are any players injured or not expected to play? I only want to know so I won't mention a kid's name in the article when the kid is on crutches or quit the team or anything like that. You know, I don't want to say quarterback Joe Passinghappy may go over the 2,500 yard passing mark in the upcoming game if the kid is in the freaking hospital.

    "I just can't comment on a game that hasn't been played yet and I wish you media people would understand that. Doing so gives our opponents more motivation to beat us."

    But your team hasn't lost in this century, or even in the past decade, and is like 100-3 in the past 15 years. Your team is averaging over 600 yards of offense per game, and your defense allows only 5 yards a game (on penalties) and Gerald Ford was president the last time your team was even scored on, certainly there's some kind of comment you can make, even something like "it's great to be here"?

    "I have to go now, thank you for calling."

    Prior to all this, I acquired a team roster and this guy lists his offensive line as 5-9, 180 pounds. Every one of them, seniors, juniors, freshmen. I know for a fact their two tackles are over 6-4 and over 300 pounds because a national prep magazine did a feature story on them (the coach wasn't quoted in it).

    So forgive me if this topic has been hashed out on this board before, but do any of you believe in the locker room superstition? My coaches in high school tried that in every sport, and it rarely worked. When other teams were quoted in the media saying they'd beat the hell outta us, they were usually right, whether we knew they thought that of us or not.

    And I've printed locker room material in my lifetime as a prep writer, and usually the ill comments made about Podunk or Hometown High came true.

    So is there any qualitative or quantitative research done on the mystery of "locker room material"?

    For the record, hyperbole on the team's win streak, obviously, and this coach's exact statements will be printed in the soon-to-be-defunct paper I temporarily work for.
  2. Oscar Madison

    Oscar Madison Member

    I've said this before, but if your team needs to read the Podunk Daily News to get motivated than your team has problems.
  3. sartrean

    sartrean Member

    It's the Podunk Thrice Weekly News. C'mon, let's get our facts straight.
  4. JBHawkEye

    JBHawkEye Active Member

    We get this all of the time. We'll have coaches in all sports who won't want to give us starting lineups, etc. They think that hours before the game, some coach on the other side of the state is going to get that key bit of information from reading our preview story.
  5. TwoGloves

    TwoGloves Active Member

    Tell him if he won't give you any quotes for your story you'll just have to write a column predicting his team is going to destroy the other team. That will surely end up on the bulletin board.
  6. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    Never had this happen, but I hate hearing about coaches like that.
  7. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    They'll find it anyway.
    Take Two-A-Days this week on MTV.. HOOVER coach Bubba Joe Propst kept railing on the other team popping off the the media and on the internet and not respecting them...
    Oak Mountain didnt say boo to anyone.
    They can make it up whether you provide it or not
  8. huntsie

    huntsie Active Member

    Couple of paragraphs saying they're playing so and so and they're unbeaten in a dog's age, buried on Page 4 ought to do it. then you'll get shit for not promoting their program. Once.
  9. WSKY

    WSKY Member

    WORD to that, tell them to blow it up their ass. If a team can't get ready to play, and needs some ink to do so, they're a bunch a losers anyway.
  10. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    If he was smart, he'd blow smoke about the upcoming opponent in the interest of having them overconfident.

    Can you reason with the guy? Maybe explain to him that college and NFL coaches have weekly press conferences to talk about their upcoming game. Tell him that comments make a better story that tends to get better placement in the paper.
  11. BH33

    BH33 Member

    I hate coaches like this.

    Um, coach, next week's opponent is going to get 3 or 4 game films of your team, and they had coaches in the stands tonight scouting your game, and you think something I write in my 14-inch game story is going to help them win the game?!

    There's a coach around here of an 8-man team that's won 3 of the last 4 state titles, and played in the title game the year they didn't win. This year, he tells me they're not what they used to be and they're going to take some lumps this year. His team still gets ranked around 3rd or 4th to start the year. Week 2, they pound the No. 1 team, 30-0, they're currently 4-1, and have outscored the last four opponents 134-23.

    This same coach doesn't like to turn in his stats because he doesn't want the opponents to know who to key on. Like the opposing coach needs stats to figure out who is good and who isn't?

    Couple weeks ago, I was covering a game and the starting quarterback for the local team twisted his ankle. He kept playing, but was limping throughout. Afterward, I asked the coach, "It looked like he hurt his left ankle; do you know the specific injury?" Coach says (after a pause), "Yes, he twisted his ankle, but don't put that in the paper. I don't want teams teeing off on his ankle." I said, "Coach, they're going to see it on film anyway." "Well," he said. "Let them see it on the film first."

    Seriously, between trading game film, scouting games in person, and kids having friends on opposing teams, is it even possible for us to have such an impact on the outcome of a game? I doubt it.
  12. Precious Roy

    Precious Roy Active Member

    Had this happen to me, talked to high school football players after a win and asked them how they felt about the next weeks game. They gave me good quotes, so I used them. Then the coach calls me and chews me out with the locker room material thing, and says that I should have known better.
    Then the coach doesn't allow me to talk to players for the rest of the season. It sucked, but I got through the season and moved on.
    This kind of thing just happens.
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