If you watched BTN's 'Scarlet and Gray Days' last night hoping for new, super-insidery football nuggets, you were probably a little disappointed.
The network was keen to remind us during two separate interviews that this wasn't HBO's 'Hard Knocks', and it makes sense that Urban Meyer wasn't about to leak say, key details of the 2015 team's plans to a TV network. If you follow the OSU program's minute details with the intensity of a beat writer, there wasn't a whole lot you saw last night that would be considered 'new'. That isn't a criticism, and hey this was capturing footage of the very beginning of camp, so there might not have been many real tactical insights to impart anyway.
But not everybody who watched the show necessarily follows the specific details of the program with that intensity. I know of one person in particular who doesn't, and that's my wife, who watched the replay with me last night.
My wife Taylor, who is from Evanston, IL and was educated at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, follows college football only in the sense that avoiding it completely would be impossible if you're married to a professional college football writer. I actually love this about her, since living with somebody who isn't a football die-hard is a great reminder that hey, it's a game and a lot of this stuff isn't that important (she wasn't able to keep a straight face this summer when I tried to explain why I needed to write another article about satellite camps and why this was a thing that made people mad), and because she notices a lot of things when we watch football together that I'd never catch, because we're looking at things from totally different vantage points.
She loved 'Scarlet and Gray Days'. Here's what she (and other far more casual viewers) picked up:
Joshua Perry is hilarious
Anybody with a Twitter account knows this Ohio State team isn't short of big personalties, from Cardale Jones, to Darron Lee, to Tyvis Powell. It's possible that Joshua Perry might have flown under the radar a little bit in some fan's eyes, but he was an early star to the show, with his discussion of his beef with Cardale Jones of Ronda Rousey ("Do you see that picture with me? She's leaning in. Cardale's selfie with Ronda. Well, we haven't seen it"), to the less-than-charitable behind the scenes look at Perry's apartment, complete with moldy food. On camera, Perry claimed it wasn't his, yielding an emphatic yeah, sure, from Taylor. Questionable cleanliness habits aside, Perry showed that he's thoughtful, engaging and funny.
I found all three Ohio State athletes that attended Big Ten Media Days (Adolphus Washington, Taylor Decker, and Perry) to be smart, interesting, and very patient when yet another reporter joined the fray to ask a question about the QB battle, but Perry was probably the most funny. My wife agreed, and hoped that "Mr. Metro" (his big-brother nickname) would get more screen time.
Speaking of Perry's messy room though:
Elite college athletes are probably still cretin college kids like everybody else
From TV, it can be easy to forget that college football players are, in fact, college students (or at least, college student-aged, if you're a hyper cynical type). They're 19, 20, 21-year old men, which means they're probably going to be messy, they're going to horse around, and they're going to showcase, generally, that level of maturity. They'll just be 255 pounds and look like an NFL linebacker while doing it.
So yes, their apartments will be messy, they're going to chase each other around with fruit on a stick after practice, they're going to have a cavalier approach to packing for camp (let's just dump this basket of underclothes in a duffle bag!), and they're going to lose it when say, Damon Webb gets irredeemably clowned in front of everybody. This closer look at the specific personalities was both of our favorite part of the show, since it's hard to play out this angle in print, especially with game deadlines looming.
"Also, I don't want to hear you criticize anybody for a messy room. I saw how you lived when you were 24. I shutter to think what your apartment looked like at 20."
Wait, why does Ohio State have a waterfall again?
There were only a few cutaways to the opulence of the Ohio State football program, like the Block O ice sculpture at the dinner to reward academic excellence, or the waterfall in Ohio State's locker room, and for somebody who is familiar with the arms race in college football facilities, they don't even register. But for somebody who isn't, their existence dominated the conversation.
"Wait, why the heck does Ohio State have a waterfall in their locker room? What does it do?"
'I'm not totally sure. Recruits like it I guess, and they have the money for it."
"Do you think the players sing 'Waterfalls" by TLC when they're in front of it? Maybe taunt players who have to go to Toledo or something with it? Don't go chasing waterfalls! Stick to the normal locker rooms that you're used to!"
"Well, maybe Joshua Perry does."
Taylor called it "Ohio State's locker room Lamborghini", and it's hard to disagree. Being the best often means getting the best facilities, but to an outsider, that doesn't mean they don't seem a little strange or out of place sometimes.
Did it tell us who is going to start at quarterback? No. Did it tell us any new tactical information? Other than maybe that the transition to WR may not be seamless for Braxton Miller, not really. Was it still a completely enjoyable and fun look at the personalties and process behind Ohio State football? Absolutely, and we'll certainly be watching next Wednesday. If position battles won't be solved, perhaps the looming locker room battle over Ronda Rousey's heart will be. And that'll be appointment television.