Former North Carolina and Texas head coach Mack Brown will be the keynote speaker at the Football Bowl Association’s annual meeting next week in San Antonio, TX. Currently he is both a college football game and studio analyst for ESPN. As a prelude to his visit, FBA Communications, for its ‘7 On 7’ series, caught up with Brown to touch on several aspects of his former and current careers.
What goes into your preparation to work a game and be in the studio?
“I begin game preparation on Sunday prior to the next week’s game. ESPN sends me two or three videos of the upcoming teams’ prior games so I can break them down during the week. Press releases and depth charts come early in the week so I can start making my [spotting] boards with information on the game. I leave on Wednesday for a Friday game. We talk with players and coaches on Thursday, then finish getting ready for the Friday night game.”
In what ways is preparing for a game you are going to call on TV similar to preparing when you were coaching?
“Listening to the coaches’ game plans, seeing how it works, and telling the behind-the-scenes story as the game is going on makes you put your head coaching hat back on.”
When you transitioned from coaching to television, what were the biggest adjustments you had to make in terms of structuring your work week?
“My biggest transition was I was no longer the boss. You don’t control your schedule and I was scheduled a year in advance [as a coach]. TV is very spontaneous, so I’ve learned to be patient. Traveling on a commercial flight is also very different from flying with a team.”
Every head coach at one time or other has lost a big game, oftentimes late in the season. Having been there yourself, how does that experience give you a greater understanding of what a particular coach might be feeling?
“I can explain to the viewers how hard it is to win [a game] and how devastating a loss is at any time. It’s even harder late in the season when so much is on the line.”
What are the one or two things that the majority of college football followers don’t understand about the game?
“Fans can understand how hard coaches work and the pressure they are under to win. There is a lot of responsibility to win without much control.”
Due mainly to social media and its immediacy, is this the single biggest change for coaches today compared to 10 years ago?
“Social media has changed coaches’ day-to-day life in so many ways, but especially in recruiting. Now, people and coaches can go directly to prospects without going through [a recruit’s] parents or high school coaches.”
You’ll be addressing the FBA annual meeting later this month. What message will you bring to the over 300 people in attendance?
“My message with be about team building, leadership and how you win at the highest level. I look forward to seeing everyone at the annual meeting.”
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