BY DARIA BUSCHUR | Ball State Sports Link
Being able to be “behind-the-scenes” of one of the most-watched sports in the country is mind-blowing.
The amount of preparation that comes the week before a game is like a machine with hundreds of gears being set into place and game time is when the crank starts turning.
If one gear is out of place, the whole operation falls apart and doesn’t perform to the best of its ability.
Over the past five years, football has become one of the biggest staples in my life. From early morning “Red Dawn” practices at 6 a.m. to 4 a.m. arrivals back to the stadium, I live and breathe football from July through January.
As a freshman videographer for the Ball State Football team, I have only scraped the surface of the college football experience, but so far it has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
A typical week with a Thursday away game starts out on Friday with meetings over what happened the previous week and what the team can do to improve for the next contest.
Coaches and players alike watch hours upon hours of film throughout the week, studying both sides of the ball to see how they want to go about executing a drive.
Players will lift weights every day before and after practice — in the morning and at night — to make sure they are the biggest and best they can possibly be.
Sunday and Monday are the main practice days, going through drills, routes and attention to detail work mainly happens on these days. These days are the longer more rigorous practices that we as a film staff work the most on.
The film produced during these practices are a key part of the coaches and players success because it is their only way off the field to study what they intend to do on the field.
A “TEAM” period occurs at every practice, where the offense and defense will practice game-like scenarios to keep players on their toes for any new types of plays.
On Tuesday, the team will have walkthrough. This is a shorter practice where teams will run all of their plays to ensure everyone knows what they are doing and where they are going during each.
After their long week of practice, Wednesday is travel day. Players arrive bright and early in the morning for their last reps in the weight room and leave in the afternoon from the stadium to their destination.
This week, Ypsilanti, Mich., is the place for a nationally-televised game on CBS Sports Network.
Typically in the 48 hours prior to the game, one will see coaches and players alike with film pulled up on their devices studying.
For us as a film staff, we check to make sure all equipment needed for the game is in the travel trunks and ready to be loaded. Upon arrival, meetings with their designated coaches for the rest of the night along with stretching breaks occur.
Gameday. The gears are rolling.
One last team meeting with the Coach Neu’s hype video and speech and the players load onto the bus to the game. Game buses are silent before games to keep players focused and in the right headspace.
At the stadium, players are greeted — or booed — by the opponents fans as they file into the locker room. Warm-ups begin with the teams seeing each other for the first time.
One last speech from Coach Neu in the locker room before the game sets the tone for the next 60 minutes of play on the field.
It’s finally time for the gears to grind.