Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tweeting the SEC (Football Style)

Oh Twitter. You're the hot new (not really) social application for tech-savvy at risk youth...and now, you've got your grubby little 140 character claws into the Football Coach fraternity and the only thing we really have to show for it is giving Assistants (not Assistant coaches) something else to do and, oh, getting recruiting violations. Bravo Lane Kiffin, you are now a pioneer in recruiting violations. Maybe you can have a rule named after you too.

THE BASICS:

Here is twitter in 140 characters or less:

Microblog. "Tweet" updates(what you are doing). People can "follow" you. Update on phone/web/etc.140 characters. Quick. Easy. Short. Simple.

That magic information portal, the Wikipedia, has more here.

However, Twitter detractors will say that the posts are annoying, non informational, self-aggrandizing, over indulgent, etc, etc. And that if you actually spoke your "Tweets" out loud, you'd sound like a moron. As evidenced here:

But honestly, it’s fun, it’s harmless, it’s another App for blackberry and iphone and the “whatever-the-kids-are using-these days”. It’s not as daunting or intimidating as others make it sound. It can’t be, especially now that local television stations are getting into the act.

SO WHY SHOULD SEC COACHES CARE?

One word: Recruits. Oh recruiting. What was once a backroom, shadily-dealt, hard fact of college football has exploded into a multi-million dollar web enterprise. Now fans bicker back and forth about players who may never actually set foot on a school’s campus and even create NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS based solely on what players a team signed. It causes grown men to salivate over bench presses, 40 times, ACT scores, and put pictures of half-naked male teens as message board signatures (along with “Want Lists” and “Star Rankings”). Personally, I’ve never been big into recruiting, but hey people love that stuff.

Coaches do to. The know you need the best to beast the best (thanks Ric Flair) and anything you can do to gain an edge is a plus. Just look at last year, when webcams were all the rage (in an effort to skirt “Saban Rule”). Like Twitter, it was a new (not really) tool that could give an edge in recruiting. It can also hurt a coach down the line, showing they aren’t really relating to the future players of today. Don’t believe me? Guess who said this quote:

_____ said he plans to stick to his strategy of assembling the ____ coaching staff at his home on the first day of permitted contact and take turns chatting with each targeted player. Webcams aren't in the game plan.

"I wouldn't be interested in doing it," _____ said. He said personal contact is the method he prefers. "I've talked to them, their parents, they've been on our campus. I think that's what's important."

Besides, he added, "I've been recruiting these kids since the eighth grade. Hopefully, they know what I look like."

That would be former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville. Emphasis on the former. Also, emphasis on one of Tuberville’s louder criticisms. The fact that he was losing some of his edge on the recruiting trail. I’m not saying Tub’s was let go because he wouldn’t use a webcam, but two of the coaches mentioned in the ESPN article (Miles and Saban) have certainly used it to their best advantage.

Les Miles probably sums it up best:

“Absolutely, it's for recruiting purposes," Miles says. "It allows us to communicate, to those people that subscribe, blasts of information. … It's also an opportunity for those prospects that subscribe to communicate to us."

ROLL CALL

Not every SEC Football Coach Tweets. But a good number of them do:

COACH SCHOOL TWITTER REAL?
G. Chizik Auburn @genechizik No
N. Saban Alabama @nicksabanALA Possibly
H. Nutt Ole Miss @HoustonNuttOM Doubtful
D. Mullen Miss. St. @CoachDanMullen Yes
L. Miles LSU @LSUCoachMiles Yes
B. Petrino Arkansas @BobbyPetrino Yes (in a way)
M. Richt Georgia @MarkRicht Yes
L. Kiffin Tennessee @LaneKiffinUT Yes
S. Spurrier South Carolina @coachspurrier Yes (in a way)
R. Brooks Kentucky @UKcoachbrooks Yes
U. Meyer Florida @CoachUrbanMeyer Yes
B. Johnson Vanderbilt @VandyFootball Not really


THE FAKES

One downside of Twitter is the fact that anyone can make a twitter account in your name. So there tend to be a couple of fakes (until twitter takes it back over). So here’s some explanation of the coaches who aren’t listed a “Real”.

@genechizik – Nope. Not real. Funny? yes. But not the real Chiz. As evidenced by tweets like this:

The time for fake Chiz might be coming to an end. Auburn is slowly but surely getting into the twitter scene and there' hasn’t been a “Fake Chiz” since April (and you’re looking at it)

@nicksabanALA – It looks real. However, it’s tweetless. No posts at all. Yet it still has over 1600 followers; expertly demonstrating Alabama fans and their blind devotion to all things Saban. 1600 people waiting for a word from the new football messiah, yet no word from the mountain top just yet. Nick Saban also has his fair share of fake accounts. There is an official Bama Tweet account: @RollWithTheTide. More on that later.

@HoustonNuttOM – I’m just going to call this one fake. Based on who the Coach is following (normally a dead give away) and the content of the tweets, such as this gem:

@BobbyPetrino – Well it’s real. It’s just not Bobby Petrino. Here’s let’s have him explain:

“We got it set up so I can do it — so that you can’t get on there under my name,” Petrino said.

But it still confuses the Hog Head Man:

Petrino was asked during Thursday’s news conference about the social networking Web site Twitter, which sports figures have used to interact with fans. The Arkansas coach seemed amused by the question.

“I don’t even know what it is,” Petrino said. “What is Twittering?”

Although Arkansas fans are clamoring for him to start tweeting. That’s going to be hard. Especially since he doesn’t even know the password to the account.

@VandyFootball – It looks like it is affiliated with Vanderbilt. It’s just not Bobby Johnson doing the tweeting. It seems just to be a mouthpiece for VU athletics and their website.

@coachspurrier – Well it is Steve Spurrier and it’s a Coach at USC doing the tweeting. Sadly, it’s not Darth Visor. It’s his son, Steve Spurrier, Jr.

THE REAL DEALS (AND THE GRADING SCALE)

So now we move on to the real McCoys. They will be graded/ranked between (1 and 7) in 4 different categories:

Presentation – The background image. What a person sees if they visit the web version of the twitter page. Points given for originality and aesthetics

Followers – Basically how popular the Coach/Tweeter is

Updates- What’s the point in having a twitter if you don’t update it. Points given for most recent tweet and total number of tweets.

Content – Is it even worth reading?

Highest score wins. Let’s do this:

PRESENTATION: (5 out 7) Nice Web 2.0 designs. Simply, effective, different from the norm. Points deducted for the NIKE logo creep.

FOLLOWERS: 2657

UPDATES: 186

CONTENT (2/7): Ok, this is where it gets confusing. This isn’t Nick Saban. It is an official Alabama twitter, but it’s just the assistant coaches and it gets confusing. Hellaciously confusing. All that separates the coaches from each other is a quick by line. Also, the content isn’t very exciting. But, if you read between the lines, you can really can learn a bit about the Alabama coach staff:

Kirby Smart is a Robot:

Burton Burns loves Jazz

and Sal Suneri is lost

PRESENTATION 5
FOLLOWERS 2
UPDATES 7
CONTENT 2
TOTAL 16

PRESENTATION: (1/7) Ugh. That puppy is hard to read. Grey text on a white background. MSU Bulldog logo set to repeat and burn into the corneas.

FOLLOWERS: 1093

UPDATES: 24

CONTENT (4/7): Nothing really to see here. Mully is new to the Twitter game. However, it is a nice mix of business and fun. Oh, and I don’t even want to hear any crap from Mississippi State fans about the “Tiger Prowl”:

The Roaddawg Tour? Seriously? Wow.

PRESENTATION 1
FOLLOWERS 2
UPDATES 1
CONTENT 4
TOTAL 8

PRESENTATION: (5/7) Simple. Clean. Effective. Not too subtle with the Crystal ball in the profile pic.

FOLLOWERS: 4,150

UPDATES: 70

CONTENT: (7/7) Yep. This would be the future of Football twittering. A mix of business, work, and yes, recruiting:

So, if said recruit was reading this tweet, it might just push LSU that much more to the front (don’t ask me to explain the thinkings of teenagers). Also, nice to see that Les Miles has a black berry.

PRESENTATION 5
FOLLOWERS 3
UPDATES 5
CONTENT 7
TOTAL 20

PRESENTATION: (5/7) Solid. Subtle. Little busy at times. Still, it’s nice on the eyes. However, he’s trying a bit to hard with the “I’m a Bad Ass” Profile picture.

FOLLOWERS: 5086

UPDATES: 89

CONTENT: (2/7) Boring. It’s mainly just an extension of Richt’s Blog. Nothing exciting or new.

PRESENTATION 5
FOLLOWERS 5
UPDATES 6
CONTENT 2
TOTAL 18

PRESENTATION: (1/7) Yeah, that’s just creepy. That cold, psuedo-badass GQ scowl. Fake “dark alley” backdrop. All of it.

FOLLOWERS: 6483

UPDATES: 26

CONTENT: (4/7) About the same as the Les Miles Twitter. Recruiting, Work, etc. However, not much personal stuff, and there is still the matter of the violation. Oh, and it hasn’t been updated since early May.

PRESENTATION 1
FOLLOWERS 6
UPDATES 2
CONTENT 4
TOTAL 13

PRESENTATION (1/7): There’s simple and then there is this. Blah. Also, even coming from an Auburn fan, that’s too much orange.

FOLLOWERS: 4171

UPDATES: 53

CONTENT: (5/7) It’s ok. Nothing to exciting. Meyer has changed from the original, I’m will tweet everything I’m doing, and has become more of the normal coaching tweet. Not much about Meyer the person really (If he even is human).

PRESENTATION 1
FOLLOWERS 4
UPDATES 4
CONTENT 5
TOTAL 14

PRESENTATION (5/7): Not too bad. Nothing really exciting. However, it is nicely laid out and the picture doesn’t give off a creepy vibe like Kiffy-kins.

FOLLOWERS: 7671

UPDATES: 27

CONTENT: (7/7) This is another way to twitter as a coach. It gives the coach an outlet to talk about currently frustrating situations:

(That Jeremy would be DE Jeremy Jarmon, ruled ineligible by the NCAA for using a controlled substance. That substance? Vitamins from GNC)

That same Jarmon, who Brooks tweeted about earlier, and a little bonding time the two of them had:

But there are also, fan assuring tweets about current players, and their statuses:

Or maybe just a bit of Coach Brooks downtime:

All in all, not a bad Tweeter. I might be inclined to subscribe, even though I’m not even remotely interested in UK football.

PRESENTATION 5
FOLLOWERS 7
UPDATES 3
CONTENT 7
TOTAL 22

THE RESULTS:

TWITTER POINTS
@UKcoachbrooks 22
@LSUCoachMiles 20
@MarkRicht 18
@RollWithTheTide 16
@CoachUrbanMeyer 14
@LaneKiffinUT 13
@CoachDanMullen 8

AND THE LEADER IN THE SEC TWITTER ARMS RACE?

RICH “freaking” BROOKS. The oldest of our contestants. Any reaction coach?

Yep. That about sums it up. Well congrats anyway. Here’s to you:

1 comments:

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