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A few days ago, you asked ESPN broadcaster Joe Tessitore about his thoughts on the upcoming game between the Washington Huskies and Oregon Ducks being broadcast at 7:30pm pacific, 10:30pm eastern time on ESPN. You also asked some questions regarding his work with Friday Night Fights, interviewing styles of Chip Kelly as well as game prep and strategies. Below you will find his answers.
Special thanks to Joe for answering these questions despite his hectic schedule! We should have asked when he has time to sleep.
Joe Tessitore: First I just want all the Ducks fans to know what a thrill it is for my crew and me to be a part of the energy and excitement surrounding your team this year. This is already our third Oregon Saturday night prime time game this season. Your young men are a joy to cover -- they are a thrilling team on the field and a top notch program in every way.
Submitted By: ProbablyMonty
You've had the privilege of having game duty for a number of notable upsets of the years. Which one caught you off guard the most?
JT: There have been so many through the years but the one that still wows me the most is Iowa State's upset of Oklahoma State last year. When you sit with the head coaches, coordinators and players for production meetings the day before a game you have a great sense of how the game will play out. When we left the Iowa State meeting the furthest thing from my mind was that they would pull off that win in such dramatic fashion. To think that the entire BCS was blown up that night. To think that Alabama, the eventual national champs, wouldn't have played for the national title if it didn't happen. It was as stunning an outcome as I could have imagined.
Submitted by: Ryan Priest (via UW Dawg Pound)
The last time Washington beat Oregon was back in 2003 (the Ducks were favored), what would it take for Washington to pull out a win?
JT: The way I see it for Washington to win this game they need their defense to always make the one-on-one tackles in space -- as to not give up the big plays to Oregon. They also need their offensive line to play their best game of the season -- Keith Price can not be running around to survive -- he has to have time. They need consistent offensive play, moving the chains, and controlling the tempo of the game to keep the Oregon offense off the field. They need to limit the total number of plays in the game. They need to score touchdowns when they are in the red zone not field goals.
Submitted by: dvieira
What do you see as the key matchups for the game and what does Oregon and Washington need to do in order to exploit their respective advantages?
JT: Key matchups: Chip Kelly vs Justin Wilcox. Washington Offensive line vs. Oregon defensive front 7. Colt Lyerla vs Shaq Thompson/Travis Feeney.
Oregon should have a much easier time of exploiting their advantages because they have almost all the advantages. Price is very talented and has shown great composure this year, but putting pressure on any QB changes what an offense is capable of, this is a game when Oregon's defensive line can shine.
Submitted By: From Gekko Mojo (via UW Dawg Pound)
How would you compare and contrast Steve Sarkisian and Chip Kelly in interviews?
JT: They are two of my favorite coaches to deal with. My interaction in preparing for a national broadcast is probably different than the more formal press conference stuff you see in a lot of post-game and game week. I could see where many think they come across quite differently but to me I find both of them a joy to be with. Sark and Chip are both very helpful in getting our crew ready for our jobs. Neither guy does the fake salesman for the program coach speak we often hear. Both guys have tremendous perspective on the whole sport. They both are very knowledgeable as to scheme, recruiting, trends and understand the story lines. Chip and I are both fast paced guys from the Northeast. Our football roots are New England based so we know many people in common. This summer I was able to spend a good amount of time with Sark talking about each other's families and balancing life during the season. He is as likable a coach as I have met.
Submitted By: David Piper
When you call a game involving a fast paced team like Oregon or West Virginia, does that change your plan for how to call the game as opposed to a more traditional matchup like and Alabama or Oregon State?
JT: Very much so. It is so challenging for what we do. It is harder to get replays in. Harder to properly tell stories, to get specialty graphics or statistics in. And it's much harder to do the most basic task of going through your pre-play checklist of identifying backs and receivers, formation, etc. Those basic play-by-play duties become compromised because the Ducks are snapping the ball so fast. Broadcasting Oregon is a real challenge for not just me but the director, producer and camera crew. We just broadcast Alabama last week it was noticeable the difference -- it's the same way a defensive coordinator feels in dealing with the hurry up. You start to realize why it's so effective.
Submitted By: trumpetduck
Does your announcing change based on what region or conference your game is in? Do you play to your audience or try to stay true to your opinion and out of conference arguments?
JT: These Saturday night prime time games play to a national audience so there's never a thought of targeting my call or opinion to a specific audience or region.
Submitted By: shenanigans
How many hours do you spend prepping for a game? Do you spread it out evenly during the week or does it become a cram session on Friday and Saturday? Do you prefer to call a game with minimum notes and a whole lot of memorization or do you prefer to have as many notes as possible from which to work with only a minimum amount of memorization? Put a different way, is it better to really know a smaller amount of info or have as much data at your fingertips as possible during a game?
JT: Great question, I think fans have no idea how much work we put into these broadcasts. I spend the entire week prepping for a game. When I get on the plane Sunday morning I start working on the next game, going through depth charts, stats, reading the daily articles. It never ends. On Sunday and Monday nights I spend a good 90-minutes to 2 hours on the phone with the SIDs. I watch all the game tape Monday through Wednesday. I speak to the road teams head coach and both coordinators by Thursday. I then fly to the game on Thursday. Attend practice, meet with the home coach and coords and players. I watch film with Matt Millen and our researcher sand producers on Friday afternoons. I am on constant communication with my producer and director and crew throughout the week leading up to a 9am production meeting on game day.
Submitted By: Pelhament
What was the process like to record your voice for the Fright Night video game? Did they make you just read a bunch of random lines from a script over and over or were you able to ad lib and say things off the cuff?
JT: It is a mentally and physically exhausting task. Teddy Atlas and I spend about 2 weeks a year in an audio booth ad libbing our broadcast based on scenarios they dream up for the game. But the real chore is the other 2 weeks without Teddy when I sit there with a phone book size of scripts to read every possible name and syllable sound that could be said in the game so that they can "stitch" it all together. I have worked for EA sports for years and they are a first class group. But yes plenty of ad libbing with Teddy.
Submitted By: Bobby B. Wheel
Question from CT native. I just wanted to ask you your favorite memories of covering the Whalers. I miss those guys.
JT: I will never forget 13,000+ fans showing up every night knowing their team was being taken away from them. Those were loyal fans in Hartford who were treated unfairly.
Submitted By: dvieira
You've done a lot of work over the years to help find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. What has been the most rewarding part of that work and what has challenged you the most in fighting that fight?
JT: I am greatly disappointed that we do not have a cure for CF yet. When I was a child my younger sister died from CF. I have given endless hours to the cause and hope one day the 30,000+ young people who have this genetic killer can live without the thought of their life being cut short.
JT: I want to congratulate all he Ducks fans on making this such a special place to visit.
Special thanks to Joe for taking the time to chat with us today and to ESPN for setting this up. The only thing left for us to do is make some "Oregon Loves Joe Tess" signs for ESPN College Gameday.