With our first 11 AM game of the season, that means it was the radio crew’s first 8 AM air time of the season. I remember when I was engineering those Tailgate Shows back in 2009 and 2010, and exactly how long of a day it meant for me getting out to the site with the equipment at least 90 minutes before air time. Back then, we had the Ben Leard/Cole Cubelic show beforehand, so they went on at 8 AM just like the Tiger Tailgate Show does now for an early kick.
That meant I was outside Beard-Eaves with our equipment van around 6:30 AM, and thankfully we had catered Panera breakfast with the little mini-quiches to perk us up. By the time we went on the air for the network pregame show, the day was already a few hours old for me and the rest of the crew. Brad Law’s back to tell us how the first early kick of the season went from the radio side of things!
If a radio show goes on the air at eight o’clock in the morning and nobody’s around to hear it, does it really make a sound? It’s a lot to ask of fans to be in front of the stage three hours before an 11 AM game – I get that – so I wasn’t too worried when the loudest response to our first couple of segments was the echo from the east side of Jordan-Hare stadium. The crowd was electric for the start of the game, and the players fed off that energy en route to another fast start, another dominant first half, and another impressive SEC victory.
There aren’t any inside stories or revelations that came out of our crew meeting or off-air conversations this week. There were a few jokes about everyone needing the first hour of the tailgate show to completely wake up. However, I was reminded of something last weekend – each member of our crew genuinely appreciates every opportunity to interact with fans on game days. Every single home game, during commercial breaks, our guys don’t actually take breaks. Fans line up to get autographs or take pictures, and our guys try to accommodate every single one. There are times when I have to go tap Ronnie or Jason on the back and remind them, “hey, we’re back in 30,” because if I didn’t they’d never sit back down! They do it all with smiles and genuine thankfulness for the platform they have and the positions they hold. There’s over 100 years of combined broadcasting experience and 25 years of combined NFL experience on that stage every Saturday, but humility abounds.
A boy, under the age of ten, visited the show last weekend. He’s lived with, and overcome, neurological challenges from birth, and the look on his face when Stan, Rod, and the rest of the guys went out of their way to make him feel special… I may or may not be tearing up a little as I remember and write about it. We have an extraordinary group of men representing Auburn and bringing you the excitement and insights on game day.
As for the game… Auburn continued to play like one of the top ten teams in the country. Kerryon Johnson has never looked better, and his career-best stats serve as proof. The Tigers executed a tunnel screen to perfection for a 75-yard touchdown. Auburn has led its first three conference opponents at the half by an average score of 29-7. Competition is going to get better, but Auburn’s team is getting better as well. The Tigers have a terrific opportunity to break a long drought in Baton Rouge this weekend, and I’m starting to see a team on the field each week that doesn’t have to take a backseat to anyone in the country. Let’s go get LSU!