Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Pilgrimage to Media Day

This all started with a dream. A dream to have Doug Marrone on the Cuse Cast. It seemed like a crazy idea, and a long shot at that. But Coach Marrone had been going all around on speaking tours (none in NJ BTW, thanks) so I figured what the hell, might as well ask. What would it hurt? So I pulled a few strings to get some street cred and was told that I could speak with Coach Marrone, if I could make the Big East Media Day or the SU one. I would have loved to have gone to the BE one but my schedule didnt permit it. But the SU one I could make. Here is my story.

Since Coach Marrone is from NYC, I wanted to bring something with me. How could I come all the way up and not? Also being Italian, I knew that the best way to put an Italian guy in a good mood is through his stomach. That way I could get a good interview. So I wanted to bring some fresh mozz and cannoli. Now for me it would be easiest to go to Hoboken and then drive up to SYR. But it wouldnt mean as much since he isnt from there. It needed to be from Little Italy in the Bronx. Then I thought thats a lot of driving around for one day, I would be exhausted on the way home. Then it hit me. How great a story would it be to take public transportation (subways, bus to SYR) and Tweet my story along the way? And that is what I did.



Pre Bus Audio Log

I started the day off at 5:20am as my clock radio went off playing Nirvanas Come as You Are. Normally for work I get up at 6:45 so this was foreign to me. I figured I should look somewhat professional so I planned on wearing blacks pants and a white button down shirt with blue stripes. And I would roll up the sleeves since it was gonna be a hot day. I thought it would be a safe outfit (it more than was as most people had polo shirts and shorts). After taking out Otto, my dog, I left at 6:20 which is still earlier than I am up most days.

So I took the PATH to NYC and then took the D train from 33rd to 188th in the Bronx. Now before I left I took out my debit and credit cards as well as my large bills from my wallet and kept them in my pocket. That way should I be mugged I only lose small bills, my metro card, and my license (all easily replaceable). Hey being a white guy in the Bronx I dont exactly fit in. While on the D train I had a guy sitting across from me that looked Eastern European. He was sitting in a fem way with his legs crossed and his hands on his knees. He kept looking toward me. I wasnt sure if it was my watch or if he was eyeing me. Either way it made me uncomfortable. I finally reached the BX at about 7:30am. I now had just over a 10 min walk to Little Italy on Arthur Ave. About halfway there I realized I really stood out. Not only am I white, I am wearing dress clothes which could attract attention. I shoulda dressed down and then changed when I got off the bus in SYR. Not much I could do now. But I did take off my watch and put it in my pocket. Having a $1200 Movado watch on was not likely safe.

I get to Arthur Ave fine and head over to the retail market. There I went to Mikes Deli to get myself a roast beef w/fresh mozz sandwhich for the trip and Coach Marrone some fresh mozz. I was a little disappointed that there werent Italians behind the counter but Latinos instead. I then went next door to get some cannolis for Coach Marrone at Madonia Bros Bakery. I didnt get myself any as it was a little early. They fill the cannoli right in front of you so I hoped this would keep them from getting too soggy by the time they were eaten. But again to my disappointment no Italians behind the counter but two Russian ladies instead. Oh well. I now had the goods and left for the Port Authority around 8am.

When I got to the gate for the bus, there was a huge line there. The schedule was for NYC, Binghamton, SYR, Rochester, Buffalo, Toronto. I worried that they may change the sched and I wouldnt make it to the Cuse in time. But they ended up making two buses which is insane. Why were so many people going to these places on a Monday in August? I get on the bus and behind me sits an unkempt white guy with a fro. He was coughing in my ear the whole trip. But next to me all is clear. I was hoping I would have the seat open. My experiences on the bus have been weird. Sometimes people sit next to me right away and sometimes not at all. Which to me doesnt make sense. For instance a guy with a red bushy goatee and a camoflage hat had a black girl sit next to him before me. Finally a skinny kid sat next to me. As long as it wasnt a fat person it was cool. It also reminded me of a time where a small asian guy (looked a little like guy from Oceans 11) sat next to me on a bus and curled into a ball, like a cat. He slept the whole way like that on the seat next to me. I still to this day dont know how he did it.

The bus driver turned out to be the same guy on my last bus trip, the Northeastern game. The guy looks like Dan Aykroyd but with gray hair. And he seemed a little odd. Come to think of it maybe it is Dan. Has anyone seen him latley?

And he sounds like this

But hey the guy makes good time as he made it to the SYR bus terminal (near the mall) in only 4:25 which is good for a bus with traffic and having to stop off in Binghamton to let people off. BTW please people dont ever say it takes more than 4 hours normally ever again. The traffic was on I80 in NJ for rock blasting. They were not blasting at the time but the right lane was closed. In Binghamton, to my joy, both the guy next to me and the cougher behind me got off. I hadnt eaten much all day. I had the sandwich not long after the bus left NYC (1030ish) and finished it not long after the Binghamton stop. It was a great sandwhich. I was tempted to take a cannoli the rest of the trip but was able to hold off.

I finally got to SYR and went out for a cab. There was one there but no driver. Then an Asian guy sitting on the bench says it is his cab and away we go. The whole ride he is complaining about his stomach hurting all day, "Aw man my stomach hurt. I dunno why it hurt." I dont care buddy. I finally arrive on campus a little after 3pm and head over to the Ernie Davis statue for my first interview.

Since he wouldnt give me a comment I headed inside to the Dome. When I got there I picked up a media guide and sat down waiting for Marrones presser. It was like a sauna in there. I was dripping of sweat. Finally Marrone came out and spoke for about 15 mins and fielded some questions, one of which was mine. You can hear that on the next Cuse Cast. Just when Marrone started, it begn to storm. Thunder was rumbling and lightening made it seem like cameras where going off. And the rain hitting the roof made it sound like we were at Niagra falls. During his presser Marrone mentioned that Stewart, Tucker, and Dan Collier were no longer with the team. One can only specualte why they left. But I think it is safe to say we wont use the FB much this year since we only have one on roster. Sorry Cali. The other two were DEs. Not a huge loss since we still have 5 guys there. He also said Anderson had some clearing house issues and was not here yet.

Finally the players came out and all the reporters ran over to Paulus. You couldnt even see him with the mob surrounding him. I took this opporunity to walk over to Marrone and ask him some of my questions. I first gave him the fresh mozz and cannolis and he was excited. He made sure to have someone put it in the fridge. With the questions, I think I did ok but fumbled one really badly. I will make sure to edit that out of the Cuse Cast :). The interview can be heared when the Cuse Cast is up.

I then had time to think of questions to ask the players and coaches. The players were lined up on the yards lines, and I wasnt sure if there was any order to it. I had trouble finding soem guys. I started with McKinnon and his super strength. Then I went to Hogue and asked about going against his ex RB mates in practice. Next was Shafer on his D. Followed by Hines and his views on playing LB. Finally I got the RBs and asked about the new system. DC3 and Collier answered the questions. The recordings were a little choppy, first time using that recorder. So the beginning intro, and ending thanks were missed. Also missed was Collier saying no when I asked if I could get a question in with the RBs. And you can kinda hear the waterfall in the back ground.

As to Hines I think he is the type of kid that Shafer is looking for. When I interviewed a Mich fan last year he said this:

Yet I think his best nickel package at Michigan became his 4-2 front. Especially against spread teams.

That tells me Hines is a good fit for that LB/SS guy that Suter kinda played at times last year. I also wanted to ask Spence about his Clemson team goin from #6 in sacks allowed to #100. And if the OC can control that or if it is just talent. But he kinda kept to himself and I didnt make it over to him. I then wanted to ask Adkins the same question since Tenn went from #1 to being very poor last year. But by then it was time for the team to go change for practice. I also want to point out Derrell Smith passes the look test. And Lemon is a nice kid. I dropped a piece of paper while walking around and he picked it up for me. So if his dads reads this be proud.

TGD was there but I couldnt think of a question to ask him. During practice he sat up with the local media hamming it up. Which was interesting since the media seemed to pay no attention to practice. Why even stay?

The team came out for practice and started stretching. Mike Williams had to be told to go all the way as he was doing it half assed. Hopefully that isnt a habit in games as IMO he did the same during the Spring game. Most of team then did a punting drill. While the QBS and RBs worked with some OL with snaps. We only have 4 RBs on roster which is a little worrisome. But we had 5 QBs. Not sure who the 5th guy there was (#16). I took a look at Paulus and he was wearing those new style helmets. I hate those. During punting drills I noticed Kimmel on the punt team. Not sure if it was 1st or 2nd team but either way I think it is a good sign that his knee is fine. Fielding the punts were Davis, Henderson, and Phillips. Not sure if anything can be read by that. Off to the side was the OL. Tiller is huge. He looked like he was wearing 1970s bulky pads, except there were no pads on. He looks more suited for G than T.

Final Audio Update

They kicked us out around 5:30 and luckily the rain had stopped. I made it down to Marhsall St where a bunch of cabs were standing around with nothing to do. My cabbie was telling me that the construction on I81 was about to stop so they can have the State Fair and then would start up again after it is done. Not sure if true or just a cabbie conspiracy. Then he got a call about the electric going out a home. Poor guy. I then got off at the SYR bus terminal and bought a ticket for the 7:45 bus home. While waiting I began to flip through the media guide. Some observations:

-Meldrum is form Idaho

-Phillips from Montana

-Hicks has his family photo at the weight room

-Arob has the 2nd and 3rd best passing yard games in SU history and 5th best season

-Brohm threw for 555 yards the game we won @UL

-Wireless internet is in the Dome. Which means I may be able to bring my PSP and connect to my home TV at game to watch replays. I forgot to test it at Media day.

Because of rain and contruction it took forever to get to NYC. We finally pulled in at 12:30, but did make a stop in Binghamton and a 2nd stop for food/bathroom. The trip home the bus was pretty empty. But the ride sucked. The bus was noisy and shakey. On top of that it was hot as hell. I was sweating away and smelly by the end of the trip. And the seats were far from comfy. I tried hard to sleep the whole way but could never get more than a few mins. I even tried the cat technique but to no avail.

I got off the bus and a bunch of cabbies were outside their cars looking for customers. That time of night on a Monday there isnt much going on. Usually a cab to Jerey City for me costs at least $50, as the cabbies wont go for less. Eventhough it is a quick ride. Well last night they were offering $35 plus tolls which was a good deal. But then I thought, I came all this way, dont take the easy way out now. So I pushed on toward the PATH, even though I felt sleep drunk. By the time I got to the PATH I kinda woke up some. I then waited a good 15 mins for the next train, which was tourture. I wished I took that cab instead.

As the train pulled in I noticed a girl who stood about 5'11 in her heals. She was mid to late twenties with drak hair and a nice body. When we got onto the train I ended up sitting right next to her. I thought about not sitting as I knew I had to smell atleast a little. I put deoderant on at 6am, had been at the sweaty Dome, on a sweaty bus ride, and it was now 1:15am. But I did sit anyways since I was too tired to stand. As I sat there I thought what is a girl like this doing out this time of night? Was she coming home from work? Or a night out with friends? The whole way she was giving me the vibe like she wanted to talk. Could a hook up be instore? What a day that would be! But besides being stinky, I also had to use the bathroom at that point. And not the kind you do on the side of a building when drunk. I would have loved to have gotten off in Hoboken with her for a drink. Our maybe worked my way back to her place for a night cap. But it wasnt in the cards. Besides I was exhausted. And even if I did go back with her I would have to use the bathroom. First that is awkward and second she may have passed out by the time I was done. Oh well.

I finally got home and threw off my clothes. I then passed out around 2am. My over 20 hour journey had ended.

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