Jeff's Journal - #6



Football fans - we did it! Made it through another off-season.

I know - the games are still a month away. But the unofficial beginning of the season is SEC Kickoff ’03 .

All 12 Southeastern Conference schools. Three talk-filled days in Birmingham (July 29-31). 600 reporters. When it’s over, you're looking for a chin strap to buckle.

Each team sends two players to Birmingham, along with the head coach. Some schools reserve this honor for seniors only. Others choose to send their team’s most well-known players, regardless of their year in school. For instance, Alabama will send seniors Shaud Williams and Cornelius Wortham to the microphone (July 30), while most reporters and fans would rather hear from quarterback Brodie Croyle.

No disrespect to Shaud. He’s a great player and a great leader. But the quarterback touches the ball every snap. Gets too much credit for the win. Too much blame for the loss. And he’s the one I'd expect to see in Birmingham.
Auburn (July 31) is doing it the other way. Jason Campbell, just a junior but the leader of AU’s offense, will speak for the Tigers, along with Karlos Dansby on defense.
The WSFA sports team will be well-represented. We're sending our whole crew - Derek Steyer, John Heckman and I will be there to capture all of the hype. Thursday (7/31), we'll find out the media’s pick for the SEC Championship. You don't have to wait until then to get mine. I'll take Georgia in the East. Auburn in the West . With the Tigers winning the rematch with the Bulldogs in December in the Georgia Dome.
What’s up at Alabama State? Talk about a "failure to communicate."

The athletic director and the football coach are not on speaking terms. The AD hires an outside attorney to investigate allegations of wrongdoing in the football program.

Coach hires well-known local attorney. Denies it all. Blue-chip recruits declared ineligible for not cooperating with investigator. I don't know how all of this is going to end, but it’s pretty clear the ASU campus is not big enough for the both of them. Either AD Richard Cosby or head coach L.C. Cole will be working somewhere else by this time next year.

Let’s not forget about high school football. Are you ready for the Fever?

Whenever people ask me about Friday Night Football Fever, they want to know, "How do you get ALL of those games on TV?"

The answer: the same quality that makes a football team successful: teamwork.

All eight Fever Photogs cover 2-3 games each week, giving us the ability to reach as many as 48 local team (24 games). Throw in our friends (NBC affiliates) in Mobile, Birmingham and Huntsville, and we're able to cover Fever Country teams whether they're playing at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on the Gulf Coast, or Grissom High School not too far from Tennessee.
Pulling it all together behind the scenes are the veteran Fever producers: DW I (David Williams) and DW II (Desmond Wingard). Then there’s the "Queen of the Score Machine " (Helen Hammons) - who spends hundreds of hours each season packing our web site ( with schedules, scores, pictures, video and other on-line goodies.
The Fever photogs are the unsung heroes . They punch in Friday morning before 9 a.m. (some of them way before 9 a.m.). By the time they get their gear packed away, it’s midnight. So to "Dr. Dre" (Andre Morgan), Steyergrass bureau chief Jeff Harrison, Feva Frank (Frank Miles), "Fic Cam" (Kevin Fichtner), Darren Gilley, Jermal Allen (who comes in on his day off to shoot the Fever) and L-Mac (Lawrence McDonald -more on him in just a second), I tip the "Fever Cap" to you.
It’s safe to say there’s only one photojournalist in the country who also creates the theme song for a local high school football television show. For the past three years, Fever fans have been blessed with the rapping skills of DJ Larry Mac (Lawrence McDonald). Photographer by day. Rapper by night . You'll hear L-Mac’s rhymes at the end of each Fever, when Aaron Lee edits the best plays of the night in what we call a "show close."
Most importantly the Fever needs You! Don't forget to call in your scores to the Fever Hotline 1-800-264-WSFA .
The 12th season of Friday Night Football Fever debuts Aug. 29.
Catch the Fe-Vah!