published Sunday, October 6th, 2013

Gossett blog: No more traveling, swapping; it's email invitations

Polk County head coach Derrick Davis shouts plays from the sidelines during a Polk County vs. Central prep football game at the Central Stadium in Harrison, Tenn.
Polk County head coach Derrick Davis shouts plays from the sidelines during a Polk County vs. Central prep football game at the Central Stadium in Harrison, Tenn.
Photo by Maura Friedman /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

It's really a shame, at least for guys like Polk's Derrick Davis, that coaches no longer really swap game film.

Davis admits that he always spent an extra hour or two at a Hardee's somewhere close to halfway from the home of his the Wildcats' next opponent. He was one of those coaches who enjoyed sitting down over biscuits and gravy or sausage and eggs and a home-made biscuit to shoot the breeze and catch up on the latest gossip.

He endured the aggravation of the Saturday morning ride so he could enjoy the meet-and-greet and who-knows-what's-going-on-where conversations that followed.

Nowadays he just "invites" the opposing coach via email to view his last two games.

I guess now the only time many coaches communicate is to make sure they're actually going to swap "invitations" and before and after the kickoff.

Most coaches belong to an outfit called "hudl" and their film swap and subsequent reviews are done via the Internet. Another good thing about the program is that coaches can share games with college recruiters.

It's just another sign of the times, especially convincing a conservative guy like Davis he no longer has to jump in his truck so early on Saturday mornings but can simple type a few keystrokes.

• Congratulations to Brainerd. The Panthers didn't fold the tent and finally presented Bryan Gwyn with his first head-coaching victory. It seems that they've found another position for Sam Caffey, moving him back to a receiver spot after using him at quarterback.

Grundy County also ended a streak with its win over Chattanooga Christian. The Yellow Jackets had lost four straight. Now it's CCS with a four-game collar.

Boyd-Buchanan also bounced out of unfamiliar territory, the Bucs victory over Grace Academy halting a four-game losing streak that included a 26-0 shutout at home against Notre Dame.

There are but two undefeated teams in the Chattanooga area and those are Silverdale Baptist and Northwest Whitfield.

So what about teams unbeaten in district play?

Tennessee: Ooltewah (5-AAA); Rhea County (6-AAA); Polk County (5-AA); Hixson, Red Bank (6-AA); Signal Mountain, Sequatchie County (7-AA); Boyd-Buchanan (5-A); Marion County, South Pittsburg (6-A).

Georgia: Northwest Whitfield, Dalton, Southeast Whitfield (7B-AAAA); Ringgold (5-AAA); Calhoun (7-AA); and Christian Heritage (6A-A).

• Seven weeks into the season and last Friday's game at Signal Mountain was the first I had seen where there was no "getback" (sideline) warning on either team ... or any member of the media.

A welcome relief.

Of course, they did mildly reproach the coaches for meeting their players on the midfield side of the numbers and I've even seen refs tell coaches no more than one in a huddle with a player, but perhaps that has to do with injury or TV timeouts.

They were more interested in the game itself and were quite capable. Between the two teams there were a total of eight penalties assessed.

• Speaking of TV, covering high school football games when the TV guys are there isn't exactly among my favorite things to do. It wouldn't make the top 150. Put it up there with choking down spinach, weeding flower beds and scooping up after the dogs have spent a night on the back porch. It's bad enough dealing with the electric clock operator and all of his cable, but to then add a camera man or two and some "cable-handler" who doesn't know what he (or she) is doing? It makes for a long night.

Sit in the press box, you say?

How many press boxes could handle one more body once all the school stat crews and the TV guys with their changes of clothes and stat people and producers (and probably makeup folks)?

I know a media type, and he certainly wasn't affiliated with TV, that went to a press box when it started to rain and was told he'd have to leave. That happened this year and -- resounding yes here -- it was a TV game.

TV folks and their timeouts add 30-40 minutes to a game, especially when they tell people the timeouts will be three minutes and then they sneak another 60 seconds.

And why do high schools subject themselves to these momentum-killers? Is it exposure? Heaven knows they can't or don't make enough money to make it worthwhile. I'd say one should at least move the kickoff from 7:30 to 7.

Of course when I was deeply involved in college athletics -- and, yes, I started before ESPN came along -- I came to resent the phrase "prime time" along with changing predetermined game times and the rise in the number of night games. And I certainly resent the networks, despite all the dollars they pony up, dictating not only start times but even game dates.

• We're obviously more than halfway through the season and I must say that the best band I have seen to date is, and this is without question, Tyner. They rocked the house earlier this year at Signal Mountain.

And speaking of Signal, somebody tell the guy that was announcing at halftime last week that Corps is pronounced "Core" and not "corpse."

Signal itself has a good band but the Eagles and Walker Valley, at least when I've seen them, stick to more traditional, even stately music while Tyner is a get-down-and-boogie bunch.

Have you ever wondered why so few bands play from the stands before the game?

• You may not believe, especially you coaching peers of Bill Price, but he actually had a field goal kicker (Houston McLain) make not one but two field goals Friday night. Asked Price when was the last time that happened and he couldn't remember.

That kicker -- and, yep, we're talking about McLain, Signal Mountain, and Price -- also had four punts. That's almost as many as his 2010 and 2012 teams had all year.

• Knew Notre Dame had a good offense, especially with Auston Banks greatly improved from 2012 and Kareem Orr handling punts, kicks, a defensive backfield spot and a receiver spot. Defense, though, is unsung and deserving of more respect.

If not for a fumbled punt on a return, a punt that hit a blocker in the head, a short punt and an offensive interference penalty on a long pass completion, the Irish would either have forced an overtime or won the game outright. Know that's a lot of "ifs" but that's what Irish and coach Charles Fant were living with Saturday and yesterday.

Contact Ward Gossett at wgossett@timesfreepress.com or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.

about Ward Gossett...

Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...

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