Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bob Condotta on Closed Practices

Someone asked why myself and and others in the local media have been critical of Tyrone Willingham for his secrecy, yet it seems everyone at Notre Dame lauds Charlie Weis for being clever for not revealing the name of his starting QB.


Answer: Not sure if it's exactly as black-and-white as that. I don't read everything written about Notre Dame so I don't know for sure, but I'd be surprised if some of the media there haven't criticized some of Weis' policies in these areas.

But you also can't strictly compare these situations in any way. The more valid comparison here is Willingham with other UW coaches, and with the market in general. UW has always been a pretty open program --- even when past coaches closed practices, they usually kept them open during the spring and early part of fall camp, which is one of the biggest gripes of many of us who cover the team. There's no gameplanning going on then, nothing that could be revealed that's going to cost the team a game --- not that I really think it matters anyway, as I have alluded to several times here by pointing out that the most open program in the country right now may be USC. I've written on here before that while most of us would like everything open, the way it was for years, I can understand why coaches would want to close things down somewhat during games weeks. But what really doesn't seem to make as much sense is keeping us out of most of spring (there were a few more practices open this year) and fall, especially early on.

Whenever I write about this people mention Don James closing practice in 1989 after a dispute with media over what he wanted reported about an injury. That overlooks the fact that he had practices open for 15 years of his tenure. For much of his time at UW, James' home phone number was printed in the media guide and you could call him whenever you wanted. Practices were completely open during the Neuheisel era, and while Gilbertson closed some things down, spring and fall camp was open.

And unlike Notre Dame, UW is in a market place where there are three other pro teams, including a wildly popular NFL team that is about as open as could be.

UW Blogspot Opinion

Let me give my two cents...I think Ty Willingham hurts the UW program by not being more open with the local media. To me it is simply an ego move that hurts the program overall. Sure there are practices that need to be closed, but Ty has been been overly abrasive with the media since he got here.

Lorenzo Romar runs an equally high profile program, but understands the balance you need to maintain a succesful program in a major media market. I like Ty, but he really is hurting the program from a promotional standpoint. Last Thursday's debacle was just another in along line of media missteps.

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