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Can Media Exposure Hurt a Coach and Team?

Saturday, November 24, 2007 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 2:15 PM, under , , , , , , ,

Athens, GA (Nov 24, 2007) - Many schools and teams crave the exposure of national television for their programs. Sometimes, it can backfire and subject the coach to second guessing and criticism. Joe Santoro of the Lahontan Valley News and Fallon Eagle Standard writes about this, and how it bit Nevada, in a column today:

Sometimes a little extra exposure isn't a good thing. The way the Wolf Pack managed the clock in the final couple minutes a week ago against Hawaii on ESPN2 angered a radio talk show host halfway across the country.

Jesse Rogers, of WSCR-AM in Chicago, went on a five-minute rant last Saturday morning and wondered out loud why Nevada athletic director Cary Groth doesn't fire Ault. Rogers wondered why the Pack waited until there were just 15 seconds on the clock before calling timeout, prior to Hawaii kicking the game-winning field goal.

"He's clueless about clock management," bellowed Rogers. "He wasted over a minute before calling timeout. This idiot Chris Ault lets the clock wind down to 15 seconds. What a complete moron. If I'm the athletic director at Nevada, I'm firing him this morning."

Rogers also questioned why the Pack, up 26-25 at the time, called timeout on offense with 3:08 to play before a third-and-five situation at the Hawaii 36 and then just ran the ball up the middle again for a 1-yard gain.

Ault, who has been pampered for the most part by the local media during his three decades as a coach and administrator, did get a bit conservative down the stretch last Friday. He obviously doesn't have a ton of confidence in quarterback Colin Kaepernick's ability to win a game with his arm.

Ault also did waste about 30 seconds of precious time (not a minute like Rogers insists) before calling timeout before Hawaii's game-winning kick, leaving the Pack offense a mere five seconds to work with. So, yes, the Pack coaches deserve as much blame for that loss as anyone.

But calling him a moron? An idiot? Saying he's clueless and should be fired? That's a bit strong. But there are a couple things you should know about Rogers. The guy is a 1991 graduate of Northern Illinois University (yes, the same school that sent Groth to the Wolf Pack) and his radio show is called "Hit and Run." What else was he going to talk about on a Saturday morning? Notre Dame football?

We blame it on ESPN2. If the game was not on ESPN2, Ault's decisions would never have been questioned nationally. The only reason some radio guy in Chicago even cared about the game was because he found himself watching it at 1:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning. Rogers likely had never heard of Ault (or Wolf Pack football) before the game. Sometimes a big fat paycheck from television just isn't worth it in the long run, right? Who are we kidding? Of course it is worth it. If the only price you pay is some goofball radio guy in Chicago calling you a moron, well, bring on the lights, camera, action
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