- Coaches facing unique challenges of playing during an international pandemic
- College football seeing big buyouts as seasoned coaches are fired mid-season
- The two make predictions regarding Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida
Fox Sports national sports commentator Tim Brando joined Jake Crain recently on The JBoy Show to discuss the South Eastern Conference (“SEC”).
During a normal year, discussions in December would be centered on the SEC championship. Instead, Jake Crain, host of the JBoy Show, and Brando discussed recent firings and the next three weeks of a unique season extended because of the international pandemic.
As for predictions. . . well, the two football enthusiasts agreed those are hard to make in 2020.
“A lot of us who are in this business get caught up with what we see most recently, and as a result, a lot of this year is a mirage,” said Brando. “The reason I say that is because I’m out there every week going place to place, talking to coaches, mostly on Zoom. . . . These coaches are just so fearful from day to day that they are going to lose this or that guy or won’t have enough guys from a depth standpoint to play a certain position for a game because they aren’t sure about the tests and what is going to come in.”
Brando went on to explain it’s not just that team members are coming back with positive tests, but they are also ineligible to play because of contact tracing.
What is clear this season, Brando noted, is that coaches have had a unique challenge. Crain shared his sympathy for new coaches who don’t yet know their players well because they haven’t had adequate preparation for the season yet are having to guess what these players are capable of.
This season has also brought the firing of a few seasoned coaches, including Derek Mason of Vanderbilt and Will Muschamp of South Carolina.
Brando shared his thoughts that the fan base of the SEC tends to overreact to big losses. The rush to judgment and the call to pull coaches during this year is extreme when the buyout is so high and the challenges in 2020 so unique. Fans believe they can go on social media, hammer a coach, and cost that person a job because it has worked before.
“From time to time, it’s the broadcaster’s job to give the fans a little bit of a reality check,” said Brando. “God knows I’ve pissed off enough SEC fans through the years. I don’t mind giving them another reality check on your show today.”
Another coach whose position appears to be hanging in the balance is Jeremy Pruitt of Tennessee. At the moment, Tennessee is hemorrhaging money, but when the fans start turning apathetic and stop buying seats — once COVID restrictions are lifted and they once again can — a buyout may be AD Phillip Fulmer’s next move.
Right now, the Tennessee program is nowhere close to rivaling Georgia and Florida as the kingpins of the east. But Brando focused most of his comments on Alabama, noting that he thinks the team has issues that simply have not been exposed yet and that it is not as far ahead of Florida or Georgia as fans may think. Brando attributes the success of Alabama’s brand to head coach Nick Saban.
“No one,” said Brando, “has sustained success in football in the modern area as [Nick Saban].”
This conversation between Brando and Crain can be found, along with all the JBoy Show podcast episodes, on Anchor, iTunes/Apple, Spotify, Google, Breaker, Overcast, PocketCasts, RadioPublic or YouTube.
Hosted by Jake Crain, the JBoy Show burst on the podcast scene in April 2020, delivering an in-depth look at Southeastern Conference (“SEC”) sports with an emphasis on the SEC West. With topics ranging from recruiting and real-life athlete experiences to a multi-episode series honoring legendary Auburn football Coach Pat Dye, the JBoy Show has already been ranked as one of the top-10 sports news shows on Apple Podcasts.
For more information about the JBoy Show, please visit www.TheJBoyShow.com.
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