Opinion from OU Senior Associate Athletics Director for Communications Kenny Mossman.
NORMAN, Okla. -- Bob Stoops' willingness to allow the ESPN All-Access cameras into his program represented a departure from previously held philosophy, but there's a good reason for the change.
With its show, ESPN proved that it can provide insightful programming without getting into minute detail. Considering the amount of time the 17-person crew spent with the Sooners, the final product would have to be considered somewhat macro in nature, but not at the expense of entertainment.
And that last word is the key. All-Access isn't designed to be a hard-hitting news piece, but rather an opportunity for fans to see aspects of a football team that they don't normally see. Based on the comments I've read, the things that proved most appealing were the team camaraderie, Stoops' demeanor and the Austin Box memorial.
There has been no whining because things like X's and O's, a daily injury report or the eligibility list were missing.
Now, that's not to say that fans aren't interested in those things; it's simply to point out that it's possible to do a very good show without them.
We also didn't hear much in the way of complaining from our local media relative to the access that ESPN was granted. Perhaps it was occurring outside of my ear shot, but I would prefer to think that our reporters understand the difference between a daily beat and ESPN's approach in this matter. In any event, I appreciate the fact that they allowed us to take on this project minus a lot of local criticism.
We need to thank ESPN, too. Ben Webber and Matt Doyle honchoed the production with a deft hand. There's a fine line between an inside look at a team and disruption. Those guys and their crew knew how to walk up to that line without stepping over. Hence, the relationships remained harmonious for all five days of their stay.
I wasn't sure what to expect when we agreed to do this with ESPN, and to be sure, any time you allow someone inside the operation, there is a level of discomfort. For the most part, that discomfort was minor and any concerns I had in advance turned out to be little more than paranoia.
In retrospect, this team is so solid that I had no reason for concern. And the accuracy of the depiction is such that you can feel very confident that you saw OU football as it truly exists.
I applaud Coach Stoops for opening the door to his team. I know he had to swallow hard before making that call, but he got it right.
And so did ESPN. At a time when we can all use a healthy dose of what's right about college football, Training Days with the Oklahoma Sooners makes us laugh, cry and, most importantly, feel good.
Oh, and get psyched out of our gourd for the start of the season.