THERE HAVE BEEN some truly interesting promotions staged by college sports information staffers, hoping to enhance the image of their players. BYU associate SID Ralph
Zobell once introduced offensive lineman Bart Oates by mailing out envelopes with oatmeal in them. BYU also helped earn defensive lineman Jason Buck an Outland Trophy by sending writers oversized dollar bills with Buck's face in the middle, and the inscription, "One Buck."From the 1989 big idea department comes the latest in high-tech promotions: MTV (Mitchell Television).
Utah SID Bruce Woodbury plans to promote quarterback Scott Mitchell through the magic of your basic user-friendly VCR. He is putting together a five-minute video of Mitchell, complete with action clips and sound bites.
Woodbury persuaded no less an authority than Dallas Cowboys V.P. for player personnel, Gil Brandt, to make a pitch for the 6-foot-6 left-hander.
"I think Scott Mitchell is one of the top college quarterbacks in the country, this year or any year," says a duly impressed Brandt. "In pro football you'd refer to him as a franchise player."
Brandt adds, "There's no reason, if he continues to improve like he has, he won't be a first round draft choice . . ."
Meanwhile, Woodbury is shipping video tapes to 150-200 newspapers and television stations. The tape will be labeled, Scott Mitchell, the Movie. A short subject about a quarterback who can throw the long pass.
Says Woodbury, "The key is to get someone to see him throw. You can write all you want in a brochure, but nobody will be impressed unless you get them to see him."
He continues, "They don't have to do these things at Miami or Nebraska or other schools that are on TV all the time. But we're where CBS doesn't make a visit every week."
THE BOSS: Some things you don't get used to overnight. New BYU basketball head coach Roger Reid, who still hasn't named any assistants, says he has been able to handle all the Cougars' recruiting, media interviews and coaching without major problems. But the biggest difference he has found between being the head coach and an assistant, is not having anyone to answer to.
"I was getting ready to leave the office the other day," says Reid, "and I started looking around to tell somebody I had to leave for awhile. I finally figured out, hey, I'm the boss. I don't have to tell anybody where I'm going. If I want to go talk to someone, I'll do it."
Reid says the second-biggest change is that people now stop him at the grocery store to ask about basketball. "Nobody used to talk to me," says Reid. "Now it's amazing how often I get stopped. I'm not sure how much more interesting I am now than I was a month ago."
LIVE AND LEARN DEPT.: Rookie USU coach Kohn Smith suffered through a 12-15 season, changed the lineup 11 times and generally didn't have a great basketball year at Utah State. But the worst thing that happened was the ruckus caused when he criticized UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian, intimating that something was fishy at the school with all the glitz.
Smith stops short of saying he was ignorant of the fuss such comments would cause, but says he did the wrong thing in verbalizing his feelings. He adds that dealing with the media wasn't anything new. After all, he was with volatile Indiana coach Bobby Knight for six years.
"I was involved with the media a lot as an assistant coach. Some things get taken out of context and it becomes a bad situation," he says.
Smith tends to take a fatalistic view of such blowups. "That came about by a comment made that was supposed to be off the record," says Smith - though he made the remarks at a weekly press gathering. "But it did get out and they (the comments) were printed. I feel bad they ever came out, but they did and they were printed, and that's it."
Smith says the next time around he'll be more careful. "It makes me want to be more cautious. It makes you not want to say anything."
WAITING GAME: Six weeks after the end of the basketball season, BYU star Michael Smith is fielding few media calls - a drastic change from his regular season routine.
But Smith, never one to avoid publicity, says the lack of media attention hasn't caused his phone to stop ringing. This time it's agents on the line, anxious to get their names on a contract along with his.
"I have agents calling me every day," says Smith. "I'm not getting a lot of calls from the press, but agents are constantly in contact with me. I haven't noticed a change with the phone ringing. Its just like being recruited again. I get four or five calls a day from agents."
Smith says his record day was when he got 20 phone calls in two hours, all from agents.
WHAT ELSE IS NEW? DEPT: Ute Coach Jim Fassel on the NFL draft: "Nobody gets drafted as high as they think they will. The Falcons told me they'd draft me in the second round; Chicago drafted me in the seventh. I probably should have gone in the 17th."