Thursday, May 23, 2013

Opening Kickoff

So what kind of conversation do you hear in the men's lockerroom in the middle of the afternoon, especially when a few football coaches are heading off to work out?

Well, if it's the Caldwell Field House lockerroom and it was yesterday, then the discussion turned to a relatively simple question: Who is the coolest animated or computer-generated character ever?

It actually started with whether or not Woody or Buzz Lightyear was cooler, though TigerBlog had them both in his top five or so. And if you don't know who Woody and Buzz are, well, TB isn't telling you.

There were some interesting choices thrown around, even when TB thinks there is only one possible answer, and it's Bugs Bunny, obviously.

When one of the assistant coaches said that Bugs wasn't really all that tough, TB reminded him of how many mob guys, pirates and Hessians Bugs had taken down by himself, not to mention the catch he made on the top of the Empire State Building.

Maybe one day in the summer TB will explore this topic in greater depth.

Today, he'd rather talk about actual humans.

It's not easy being a college football coach.

TB isn't sure what the exact ratio would be, though it has to be massively in favor of time spent recruiting over time spent coaching. It's not easy filling out a roster that size.

TigerBlog has always been amazed by the dynamic that exists for coaches, who put their final product out in public to be so easily judged. Either they win or they lose, and everyone in the building knows it.

At the same time, there's so much that goes into those moments, from identifying prospects to recruiting to off-season to preseason to practice and all.

If you're a spectator, you see the final product and go about your business to the next game. If you're the coach, it's never-ending.

And for football, it's even more pronounced, especially in the Ivy League. There are 10 Saturdays, all in a row, and then nearly 300 other days in the year to get ready for those 10 Saturdays.

Assistant coaches travel everywhere looking for players, and they seem to disappear and reappear in Jadwin as the NCAA's approved recruiting calendar dictates. It's easy to lose track of just how long they're on the road.

During yesterday's highly intellectual conversation, it dawned on TB that he hadn't even looked at Princeton's 2013 football schedule yet, so he did so after squash.

The 2013 season is a reversal of the 2012 season, with the same 10 opponents in the same order, only home is now away and away is now home.

That means a Sept. 21 opener against home against Lehigh, followed by a trip to Georgetown.

Then it's the Ivy opener at home against Columbia, followed by another home game against Lafayette.

After that, it's a two-game swing on the road at Brown and Harvard, teams that Princeton beat at home last year, the latter in somewhat dramatic fashion. The season's last four weeks go home with Cornell, at Penn, home with Yale, at Dartmouth.

The 2014 season has three different non-league opponents, with the season-opener at San Diego and the home opener against Davidson, as well as the return of Colgate.

Princeton went from 1-9 in 2010 and 2011 to 5-5 last year, including 4-3 in the Ivy League. The Tigers return key players on both sides of the ball, and of course there will be the newcomers as well.

The 2013 season figures to be a pretty good one for Princeton.

Of course, the 2012-13 academic year isn't quite over. Hey, the NCAA track and field regionals begin today, and Matija Pecotic and Kelly Shon are still competing in NCAA tennis and golf. The rowing national championships are still to come.

Still, TB couldn't help but think of the absurdity of how soon it will be before the 2013-14 one begins.

The first football game is less than four months away. It'll be here in a blink.

How wild is that?

No comments: