The Coaches Film Room is off to a good start. I only got home a few minutes before the start of the game. Still, as I hoped, they had started their analysis before the game. Almost like a fireside chat to introduce themselves and the game. Talking about keys for both teams, strengths of their squads, possible pitfalls, possible scenarios. So much more interesting to hear them, the experts of the college game, dig into . I am very glad to have it back.
Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, Boston College’s Jeff Hafley, Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason and TCU’s Gary Patterson. No ESPN employees, just the coaches. To begin, Mike Gyundy was facilitating the conversation.
Interesting storyline is that Gary Patterson and Mike Gundy will be lining up against each other next year. The nature of the current Big 12 conference; they play every team in the conference. Making that match up both inevitable and annual. That “match up” here during the game will be interesting.
Makes me wonder what these coaches’ players do? In fact, all the other 126 or so teams? Do they watch together in their facilities? Do they watch the coaches film room? Would be interesting to find out. I am guessing most watch at home or small watch parties. But would be interesting to have graduate assistants run a film study for the employees. It is probably against NCAA rules for the players to come into the facility. But what a waste. I wonder if opening it to more than just players could alleviate that? I don’t want anyone running afoul of the NCAA.
The set up for the screens was a main view in about 70% of the screen to the middle, right justified. It is wide view though. Switching to the main broadcast for a second; they have better and tighter view with a good shot of the field.
Back to the coaches, the left justified ⅓ has three screens. The top being another view of the field, usually from the defensive point of view. The middle is Mike Gundy and Jeff Hafley on one side of the table. The bottom is the other 2 coaches on the other side of the table; Gary Patterson and Derek Mason. Interesting use of space.
Clemson was going hurry up. So the coaches could commentate. But no telestrator on the screen to direct the viewer to the pointed out action. Also not able to replay or “rewind the tape” in such a short turnaround time. They did coming back from the commercials with some video analysis. But the first sequence by Clemson was so fast, the coaches had no opportunity to review plays. A foul finally allows them to go back during the game.
Tied up 7-7 at the end of the first quarter. Defense has been the highlight. Both teams have shown their stingy nature on defense. One of the great insights was the inefficiency of both teams on 3rd down early. 1 for 9 on 3rd downs with 12:10 remaining in the 2nd quarter. They talked about the talent at quarterback and wide receiver. But they left out how good and effective the defenses started out.
Also LSU has seemingly abandoned the run. Until Mike Gundy asked about what if Burrow makes a QB run. And on 3rd and goal, lone backfield, right after mentioning it, Burrow scampers for a touchdown.
A moment of commonality, Gary and Mike talking about the hit on Amari Rogers. They both knew Oklahoma State has an Sluggo (Mike corrected Gary to Inside Sluggo) that the ‘Pokes run. That is a moment you can’t get from a play-by-play and color commentator who don’t face each other. I am starting to see the genius in having 2 Big 12 coaches.
Injury at 5:54; talk about how to stop possible fake injuries. If a player is injured; they can’t return to the game until a change of position. They acknowledged not knowing of the player was faking or not. But also, this addresses player safety. Until the NFL, college rosters are deep. Not sure the rules committee is watching though they should be.
Their breakdown of a catch by Clemson at 5:01 also provides good insight. They asked for certain views. Then some good crosstalk. Especially Mike and Gary talking about what they want to see from the other next season. Jeff and Derek added plenty. Good balance of coaches. Not having an ESPN employee hasn’t slowed the commentary. They are even adept with the replays too. Need more pen/telestrator work. Maybe John Madden needs to give them a class?
As the third quarter went on, the banter was fantastic. Cross talk between the coaches was light and funny. Them ribbing and joking with one another is fun to watch. Also getting more familiar with each other too. Makes for an enjoyable experience. Talking about possible offensive sets.
Another tough targeting call. This time against James Skalski of Clemson. During the semi-final; Clemson benefited from Ohio State’s Denzel Ward being eliminated for targeting. This one may hurt Clemson as Skalski has been active for the defense. Both were technically true. But also in both, the offensive player was on the way down. I don’t think either defender in these 2 instances were trying to bang helmets. They wouldn’t know where the falling offensive player would be by the time they get there. Just hard to watch a player who is giving his all be taken out of the game.
Throughout the game, the coaches made a few predictive calls. Defensive pressures and offensive pass plays. They made a bunch of correct play choices. Questioning schemes. And warning against being 1 dimensional even when down, though I am skeptical they would/do follow that advice when they are coaching.
The coaches were also very fair as the game went on. Fair on the calls and fouls. Fair to Clemson as LSU was just better. Which became evident as the third quarter turned into the fourth. Clemson could not figure out an offense to counter LSU’s defense. And LSU was spectacular on offense. Clemson defense looked a bit overwhelmed. Clemson played a good game but just not enough. LSU won convincingly down the stretch.
LSU 42 beats Clemson 25. Congratulations to LSU=National Champs!
Coach Patterson said it best at the end: “We’re all 0-0, Good Luck next season.”
I will be watching.