I’ve finished up my notebook for tomorrow’s paper. We squeezed in most of the key items of interest from media day, but there are always leftovers in terms of quotes and tidbits of interest.
And who doesn’t like leftovers?
If there is a universal truth about media day it is that coaches hate talking about the preseason coaches’ poll. Those polls are more or less a talking point for the upcoming season and not really all that relevant. We all know that. Then the coaches and media guys get together and talk about how we all know that. Then we talk about how we have to talk about the poll in the paper because people who follow programs want to hear what the coaches have to say about the poll that the coach thinks is kind of dumb.
Ok, got that?
Well, here’s what Mike Petersen had to say following the yearly conversation about the meaningless poll, at least the part I didn’t use in the paper:
“My last four years at Wake, we were plus-16 against where we were picked. Why would I care where anyone picks us? Someone told me, ‘Coach be careful, that is bulletin board material.’ The only bulletin board I care about is in our locker room. The message I am sending in our locker room is that I like our team and if we play hard we can beat anyone in the league. I am going to hold us to a standard that reflects that.”
For the record, Petersen picked UNT to win the league. UNT was picked 12th out of 16 teams.
One has to love the fact Petersen is quotable. I also respect the confidence he shows in his team and that he is willing to float the fact he voted UNT first.
As far as the UNT men go, Tony Benford talked again about playing an up-tempo style this year. Benford really likes the players he brought in and believes they will make an immediate impact. It will be interesting to say how it works out. UNT brought in Keith Coleman and P.J. Hardwick last year and saw them make minimal contributions. UNT also added T.J. Taylor, who sat out. We will see if this year’s crop makes a bigger impact. They will have to if UNT is to improve.
The other point of interest in terms of what Benford had to say is that he believes UNT will have the best guards — or at least as good a batch — as anyone in the league, which is a pretty bold statement.
“I will put our guards up against anyone in the league with Chris Jones, TJ Taylor, Jordan Williams, Brandan Walton, Alzee Williams, Maurice Aniefiok and Vertrail Vaughns. Those are quality guards. We are going to play a little small ball at times. If you look around the league, Southern Miss played like that.”
And in a final note, UNT didn’t have anyone on the Preseason All-C-USA women’s team. And in something that drives me nuts, there wasn’t a men’s poll.
I heard a couple of different stories on where the beef came from — a coach, coaches or an AD — but the bottom line is that there’s been a fear expressed that a team being picked at the bottom of the league could affect fan interest and attendance.