Friday, April 6, 2007

Closing time

When NU released its spring practice schedule, one thing stuck out like a sore toe on a starting quarterback: Only four practices would be open to the media, and none to the public.

Previously, about twice as many were open to the media and all of those were open to the public. On some Saturday practices, the Wildcats would run drills in Ryan Field, and a few of Evanston's die-hards would take a seat in the stands and watch.

Not this year.

But amid all the grumblings about young coach Pat Fitzgerald's strictness and paranoia (some admittedly coming from myself), the fact is this: NU still is pretty lenient. Just look no further than West Lafayette, Ind.

According to the Lafayette Journal and Courier, Purdue coach Joe Tiller became fed up Wednesday and decided to close not only his spring practices, but his fall ones as well -- both to media and the public.

Why? Tiller said there are "a lot of reasons," but mostly he appears to be blogged down by Internet postings.

"I'm tired of blogging and guys talking about our practices, and postings, and all that (B.S.)," Tiller said. "All's it is is more problems than it is value."

Tiller's hardly the first to feel this way. College coaches everywhere are just as bad -- or worse. Texas Tech's Mike Leach in 2005 decided to allow only two -- two! -- players talk to the media all season. And no, the Red Raiders weren't going native and playing six-man football, like many West Texas high schools. They were in the Big 12, thank you, with Big 12-sized rosters. Still are.

So, with Purdue, another football program's media friendliness bites the proverbial dust. Here's hoping Fitzgerald remains closer to the accessible Randy Walker than the restrictive Leach, Tiller, Nick Saban and Co.

After all, it's not as if you can't succeed with a relatively open program. Walker did.

--Patrick Dorsey

2 comments:

Coach Roy said...

NU wasn't always open - Gary Barnett closed many practices because of the internet posters revealing info on offensive sets and injuries.

Walker used to close the practices the week before the spring game, altho many folks got in anyway. NGN members can attend almost any practice, they just need to call ahead...

tbng said...

Heaven forbid the press be denied access to anything. I've never been able to figure out how not "abridging the freedom of the press" translates into a sanctification of professional busy-bodyism. Please, no lectures on the sanctity of a free press. Your knowledge of the NU football team is hardly critical to our welfare and safety, and the press's opinions on what Pat Fitzgerald does at practice are of no relevance. With a little practice secrecy, maybe Northwestern will win an extra football game or two this season, and that is all that matters.