Every sport has their own media zoo which whet the collective appetite of a fan base. NFL tosses their fans Training Camp. The NBA has the first weekend of Summer League for everyone to lose their mind. MLB fans get Spring Training. But for college football, the offseason antics seem almost endless.
As the season slides from conference battles to bowl games, the recruiting season starts to kick into high gear (it never really stops, but it takes more control as the weather turns sour). After bowl season, recruiting grabs hold of the spotlight for months, relenting its grasp on the media for March Madness. Following spring games, the Power Five conferences seize attention again with media days devoted to each conference.
Most of this is just what one would expect: hype for a season still weeks away. Yes, most of this is just hype. Yes, a lot of nonsense that has nothing to do with football takes place. But there is meat on the bones of media day to be gleaned.
1 - Stanford Found Another Safety Blanket
David Shaw had some glowing comments to say about Kaden Smith, drawing comparisons to Zach Ertz. Of the 208 completions that Stanford quarterbacks threw in 2017, 58 of them went to tight ends. Four tight ends recorded receptions in comparison to the three receivers who snagged passes.
But where tight ends made waves was in the red zone, reeling in 12 touchdowns to the wide receivers 11. And now Smith is getting the buzz. Last season, running backs (you know who) stole the show as Costello fully took over the reins. Stanford’s offense last averaged over 200 yards per game through the air when Michael Rector or Ertz suited up for the squad. If Smith is all Shaw hopes he can be, it is only natural to assume an impending boom for the Cardinal passing attack.
2 - Love Missed The Show
Angry me - How does Stanford not fly the star of their program to media day? A great opportunity to not only help the brand of Stanford but also Bryce Love’s personal brand was left idle.
Rational me - Does this really matter? It is just a media circus which should take a back seat to the studies he placed in the forefront.
The truth is Love is studying at summer school. Love and the Cardinal athletic department could have made it happen, but his absence in no way hurts the program.
3 - Enjoying The Holder Confidence
”My nickname was Bambi, but now I’m a buck,” said Alijah Holder at media day.
The comment made in passing during the conversation of team nicknames could be glossed over, but that would be a mistake. Holder has been heavily in the cornerback rotation when healthy, groomed under Quenton Meeks. In 2017, Holder had a career-high three forced fumbles, while dragging down 26 tackles. He has been making a case to take the “Buck” role on the team. Expect Holder to amp up the aggression, after revving it up last season.
4 - All Eyes On UCLA
For obvious reasons, UCLA and new head coach Chip Kelly stole the show at PAC-12 media day. The hype around Kelly has been stewing for months, the storm heads of excitement building over the conference. As Kelly prepares the new look Bruins, college football salivates at the chance to watch him work with the fresh clay that is his quarterback crop.
All this anticipation will carry well through the season, making the final game of the season for Stanford possibly the PAC-12 game of the year. Wednesday marked day one on the road to UCLA.