As I mentioned in an earlier post, Mrs. ATL_eagle surprised me at Christmas with a book that I’ve been meaning to read, Every Week a Season. In it, Brian Curtis documents the ins and outs of a program during the college football season. He spent a week at nine schools, including Boston College. It was a fascinating (for me anyway) book to read during Bowl Week. So first let me give an overall review and then I’ll dive deeper into the TOB chapter.
If you are a fan of any of the schools featured (BC, Maryland, Tennessee, LSU, Arizona State, Colorado State, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Florida State) read this book. It is not an expose. Yet the Coaches gave Curtis access to everything. (This unique perspective probably required a positive treatment for the coaches.) But even diehards might learn a thing or two about their favorite team. Some of the chapters get repetitive and I would have liked more on the players and assistants. A solid effort and quick read, overall. ATL_eagle Grade: B
As mentioned in the review, all the coaches come off well. This is to be expected. Yet, reading between the lines and comparing the coaches to each other is inevitable. In this I would say TOB comes off well, yet all the BC fans’ points of aggravation with TOB were on full display. Curtis confirms TOB’s role as a “steward” of the program. Most of the planning falls on the coordinators. This is similar to some of the other coaches featured (namely the more established ones like Bowden and Alvarez). Yet, Nick Saban – who seems to do more coaching than TOB – paraphrases a Buddy Ryan concept that captures the head coaching dilemma: “when I became a head coach, I lost my best assistant…me.”
TOB is not totally detached. He approves the gameplans and adjustments. During the 2003 Miami game (the week Curtis covered) TOB was actively challenging the coordinators about breakdowns and adjustments. The lasting TOB mark on the program is probably the structure he has built. The perception of rigid, predictable order is reality. In the book, his players even admit to the occasional boredom with the way things go. Ever the Marine, Curtis describes TOB’s locker as the most orderly he saw. This order has resulted in a well coordinated recruiting system, third-tier bowls and a collection of mostly solid citizens on the field. There was no indication in the book that TOB is doing anything to make us any more than that.
And one last nitpick; all my talking points were worked in. This just confirms that Sports Information and TOB helped shape Curtis’ image of the program.
I also just finished Stewart O’Nan and Stephen King’s Faithful. It is a shared diary of the 2004 Boston Red Sox season. Another solid effort. I felt the book suffered from a little too much game-by-game recapping by O’Nan and not enough Stephen King. I am not a Sox fan, but I respect the passion these two have. The diary of a diehard helped inspire this blog. Going forward, I’ll try to avoid the recaps, since most readers can get that elsewhere and try to stick to the King style contributions (essays on the team, unique nuggets and the emotional reactions of being a fan). ATL_eagle Grade: B