Picture preparations can forecast season records

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 21, 2008

August 21, 2008

Media Day for college football teams is a big deal. Lots of cameras. Lots of press.

For high schools, the level of spectacle is lower. We phone coaches, set up meeting times for team and individual pictures to complete our special football section, which will be issued a week from today.

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Many schools are wonderful. Warren Central has media day down to a science. Players line up by jersey number waiting on the photographer to arrive. Hinds AHS coach Michael Fields acts almost as a drill sergeant getting his team to line up swiftly and correctly. Other schools also do a fantastic job. An observation based on experience is that more often than not schools that conduct the best organized photo and interview sessions will have the best seasons.

Of course exceptions do exist, but find the schools in this area with the worst season records year-in and year-out, and likely their “media day” is a disaster, too.

One area school with a new head coach and two wins to its name in the past two seasons, scheduled media day for 4 on Monday afternoon. When the reporter arrived, the team was already practicing. No rosters or schedules could be found.

When asked about it, the new coach with the bad team responded that team pictures would be taken on Thursday and they were not ready for pictures or interviews on Monday.

So, why coach did you have us down on Monday when you knew picture day was scheduled for Thursday? Probably the same reason your team will likely win one game again this season.

A school across the river showed up for its media day with no players. None. The coach found four players, put them in practice jerseys with no numbers and had mug shots taken.

That team, not surprisingly, loses many more games each year than it wins and likely will struggle again this year.

Those two are also the schools one will rarely read about because their coaches notify the local press when they win, but forget to provide results when they don’t.

Being unprepared for something as annual as picture day means a team will be unprepared at practice and ridiculously unprepared for games.

Picture days are like elections – guaranteed to happen once a year at the same time. It speaks volumes of the way area programs are run when one sees their lack of preparedness and care for others’ schedules.

Hopefully every school in the area can win 10 games, go deep in the playoffs and make a run at a state championship, but a select few will have little shot at ever reaching those lofty goals. Those few can look forward to another one-win season because they were unprepared for, well, everything.

You think having 40 players dressed out in game jerseys on a scheduled picture day is tough? Try beating Jefferson County in the second week of the season.

I bet they’ll be prepared.

Sean P. Murphy is sports editor of The Vicksburg Post.E-mail him at smurphy@vicksburgpost.com