I will be attending the MAC Media Day for the upcoming season. There will be a lot of canned answers and coach speak. Mixed in will be plenty of little tidbits of information that us sports writers will take and run with.
In reality, though, we usually don’t learn a whole lot on media day. That said, what it does do is start the giant football machine rolling. The media is awoken from our off-season slumber, and we get football on the brain. No more weird abstracts and fanciful lists, it’s on to actual rosters and teams, and an outlook on the impending season.
As I was doing my way to early predictions on the season a few weeks ago, three questions keep swirling in my head. These answers wont come from direct questions to the coaches and players. I hope I am able to glean this information from how they are acting.
Will Akron’s Defense Suck?
Obviously, no reporter is going to come out and phrase the question like that. If they did, I can only imagine the answer.
I will be watching Coach Amato and Coach Bowden whenever any question about the defense is asked. What they say will be less important than how they say it.
Are they optimistic and excited, or are they resigned and worried? Both have coached a long time, and been around some of the best defenses ever to play college football. They know what they have. It’s highly unlikely they’ll just come out and say it.
This is an important question to me, because I think the Akron offense could be really good. A solid defense would make for a nice year. A good defense could make a for a contender.
How does Western Michigan handle the transition from the Fleck era?
My hope is that Western Michigan is trying to build upon what coach Fleck built.
I know this is going to sound bizarre, but I believe he still needs to be a bit of the focus. It could be positive, like, “Coach Fleck showed us the way, and we are working hard to continue what he built!” Or it can be negative, “Coach Fleck abandoned us, and we are going to show him!”
Either one could be a way to focus the team, even with the spectre of Fleck still ghosting around.
They could go in a completely different direction, and focus completely on the Tim Lester era. This could also work.
What I don’t want to see is a lack of focus. Some answers looking back to the Fleck era, both positive and negative, and some answers talking about the Tim Lester era being a completely different thing. If it’s not a united front from the coaches and players, it could spell disaster for the Broncos.
Did Miami learn anything from last year's miracle run?
Miami finished the season last year winners of 6 of their last 7. I am very curious to see their attitude.
Are they walking around like they are middle of the road team that has ambitions of bowl eligibility, or are they strutting around like they are they expect to win the East?
For me to believe they are a contender, I want to see that they believe they are a contender. On paper, I certainly believe but football is a game wrought with schematics and numbers. But as we all know in team sports, rarely has a team won it all with a “gee, I hope we can compete” attitude.
Miami showed on the gridiron last season they have what it takes to collect the W's. Now, they have to tale the lessons learned from that and move forward. Media day will be the first indication of how far along the RedHawks are.