I knew this episode was going to be cut off. College basketball’s closing minutes aren’t just exhaustively long they’re post-game DVR destructive. I went 36-hours off the grid and was welcomed to technology with this fair warning:
@pachoopsab Another reason “the drive” should be on off nights, recording last 10 mins of the USC/WSU game, something I never wanted to do
— JG (@jgisland) March 1, 2015
Alas, I quickly understood. While The Drive is grand entertainment it’s also a propaganda agent. And if half the episode is going to feature a team coached by former friend of the Networks, Ernie Kent, why not put him on extended viewing? Forget behind-the-scenes, let’s just get WSU max screen time. Basically it seems that Kent muscled Oregon out of The Drive so that I now have 3 minutes and 36 seconds of Washington State Cougar road winning basketball on my DVR and 15-minutes behind the scenes of his program.
Or maybe Oregon brass really didn’t want cameras behind the scenes of Oregon Basketball.
ANYHOW, Ernie is central to the whole episode (however you slice it up). He’s painted as the most neighborly guy around and we see him with his trainer, barber, WSU athletic department staff, and others. Which all makes sense because, according to EK, under the coach’s hat, rests the following titles: father, mentor, brother, teacher, counselor, motivator, and disciplinarian. That is a coach. And a man who needs a sabbatical.
But Ernie is cool and confident on camera, the consummate professional. Which is exactly what you expect his players to be doing on their bonding road trips, right? I mean, Ernie’s not wrong, college road trips – with teammates or classmates – are phenomenal bonding ventures. But let’s not be naïve about the content of that bonding. We can take it offline.
Into game action, we get to check in on what has become an obsession of mine: Pac-12 whiteboards. Thus far, only Tad Boyle’s whiteboard has been blurred out. Interestingly enough, this week Tad said he was sick of how his team was playing which all makes sense because now we can’t point to the fact that, perhaps, he was having them play a bad way. Digression. Inside the locker room, with coach pumping things up, DaVonte Lacy definitely gives a clandestine look at the camera. Focus, D! The tunnel onto the court of Gill Colosseum delivers a Drive first, a poem(?) and it sounded like this, “We lost last time and now we got something up our sleeves, let’s go out there take care of them Beavs.” Shakespeare.
Oregon State would beat the Cougs that night but it’s re-affirmed that Ernie is still well ingrained in Pac-12 production because amongst the less than amusing tape of a 50-55, 60 possession ball game, there is a play-by-play call noting a “great play call by Ernie Kent.” Classic.
A central theme to this episode is everything underneath that coaching hat. You’ll remember from above, all that stuff a coach is. Well Ernie, in describing life, equates to “literally writing a book.” That the young men he coaches are only in the first quarter of that book. When he’s done with them they still have so much left to write. And now coaches are Editors, too.
We do get a little bit of Dana’s program. Offense – shockingly in an Oregon bit – is the initial conversation. But when things turn to defense, the Pac-12 cut up some really awkward footage of lunging Ducks.