Once a week, SEC Digital Media Director Eric SanInocencio will share insights on the inner-workings of the conference office.
Birmingham, Ala. -- On the first day our SEC Digital Network intern started in the office, she asked me a simple question. "What's this job like?" Seemed easy enough, and I replied with what I thought was the proper answer. "Anything can happen....quickly." Truer words have never been spoken, especially this past Saturday night.
This job flows as the SEC news cycle does, so things can change in the blink of an eye if any of our 12 schools decide to make a move. What can appear to be a mundane weekday can turn into a panic crazed afternoon as quick as a news tweet is sent out.
I was literally eating lunch last Wednesday when buzz started to surround Urban Meyer's possible resignation. We raced back to the office, only to find that Florida's program had just made the announcement.
The standard Wednesday updates took a back seat, and before I had time to breathe we were putting up an official story
. From there, we scrambled to put together this video
, and pondered the question of Meyer's legacy with our fan base. None of that was planned. It just happened, whether we were ready or not. You roll with the punches.
Now, some stuff you can prepare for, and that was the case with this past Saturday night. All eyes were on New York City, as the Heisman Trophy was to be presented to the nation's top player. In the running was Auburn quarterback and Championship Game MVP Cam Newton, and even the biggest SEC detractor had to admit that he was the favorite to capture the honor.
So, in the week prior to this announcement, we worked ahead. The great XOS production staff in Lake Mary, Fla., started cutting video segments, and we acted as if we already knew that Newton was the winner. A risk? Perhaps, but in this instance it made sense. Our goal was to celebrate the achievement, and give our SEC fans as many of those special moments throughout the year to crown the night for the conference.
We made two special segments, each intended to remind the SEC's supporters of some of the great plays the Auburn quarterback had made throughout the year. We planned out a strategy, and were ready to roll when the time came.
Per our conference calls, we had agreed that the first video, a "Top Five Cam Newton Moments"
, was to be put out when the ceremony started, as an appetizer for the later production we'd made.
The moment he was selected as the winner (literally that instant, I was determined to be the first with the news), we had our second spot ready to play. It was a tribute video, with highlights and the honors Newton had won during the year. I had my remote control in one hand and the other on my mouse. There was no way I wasn't going to nail this moment.
The Heisman Trophy show started, and we all anxiously sat by. As with most award shows, there is tons of filler before the announcement is made. I'd previously guessed that about 50 minutes into the hour show, the choice would become public. In the meantime, I'd just sit and wait like the rest of the college football world.
But, halfway through at 7:30 pm, something happened. Florida hired Will Muschamp as its next head football coach. 30 minutes before Newton would be crowned the nation's best player. OH. MY. GOD.
I didn't really say that out loud, but it ran through my head as fast as the Muschamp headline ran across the bottom of the ESPN scroll bar. This was a big announcement for one of the top programs not only in the SEC, but in the country. And, we had no clue it was going to happen. Talk about re-arranging your plans.
So, where do you start? There is no real set of instructions on how to handle something this. Everything is moving a mile a minute, and you just focus on one task, complete it and move on. I found the official statement from Florida
, got it up and out to our masses, and got on the phone. How could we, the SEC Digital Network, bring fans some inside viewpoints for this gigantic hire?
The answer was this SEC Special Report
, were we got Traditions writer Ron Higgins
to share his thoughts on the hire. It turned out to be a pretty cool piece, considering it got done in the span of two hours. However, as that was being worked on, plans continued as Mr. Newton got his hardware.
That announcement changed a lot. In the end, I think our coverage was good, but we were once again forced to adjust on the fly as real life took place around us. Again, this is nothing new, and the best in this business to it every day in stride. That's where we need to get, and I think we are taking the steps to move in that direction.
The final tally saw a crowded carousel on our home page, with three videos in rotation along with the Muschamp story. In the end, what promised to be a night focused on the Auburn program turned out to be another whirlwind focused on the SEC as a whole.
You know how they refer to New York as the "city that never sleeps"? Well on Saturday night, you could make the same argument about the SEC.