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Is the Atmosphere at BSU Good Enough?

Not the atmosphere we are referencing

I know it seems like I’m suckling from the Pete Lembo teet, and buying whatever bill of goods he’s attempting to sell wholeheartedly, but it’s just that noticeable how much things are changing since Pete Lembo took over the reigns. Take for example the practice reports and Sportslink access that have been granted through spring drills and now fall camp. I’m sure that it wasn’t all Lembo’s doing, and frankly, it may have been that previous regimes hamstrung those in the media relations area to really do anything with a significant wow factor. But no matter the cause, the end results speak for themselves.

Most recently, those results are in the form of a web video posted of offensive coordinator Rich Skrosky putting the offense through the paces. We would simply embed here, but that’s not really an option, so click this little linky to check it out. Skrosky’s resume is long, as this is his 28th year as a coach, but despite his experience, he doesn’t seem like one of those “been-in-the-game-too-long” kind of fellas.. Additionally, he’s familiar with Lembo and the inner workings of the man at the top, as he spent the last five years at Elon in the same role under Lembo. Whether or not his offense is going to work in the MAC given the personnel on the roster and the defenses across the line is a different story and nothing you can glean from this web clip will tell you anything about that. However, at bare minimum it gives you a chance to see Wenning in action and gives a coach who isn’t extremely visible but arguably one of the most important on the staff the chance to ingratiate himself with the fans. All good things, and yet another example of how BSU is stepping its game up when it comes to the football program and the window into it.

Make no mistake, Lembo and the staff appear to be doing whatever they can to attract interest and fan buy-in. Perhaps this will bleed over to other aspects of the program as well it should, as the defining difference between a non-premier program and a standard-bearer is the gameday atmosphere. That sense of pride from alums, students, and fans that defines a town on gameday. The collective energies at the South Carolinas when 2001 starts. Jump Around at Madison. Enter Sandman in Blacksburg. Hell, the most notable gameday experience for me was also witnessed by the BSU staff, players, and administration.

In 2009 when Ball State played at Auburn, I was able to witness firsthand what is possible inside a stadium with technology, great music, and a committed fanbase. Auburn starts with a pregame introduction video on the giant HD jumbotron as the team is in the tunnel preparing to take the field. This was 2010’s:

That in and of itself hits the first two bullet points above, namely the technology and the music. The third bulletpoint, the committed fanbase ready to get hype? Yeah… they got that covered as well. Their reaction to said video:

That’s a two-minute example of how a football team builds a fanbase and keeps people excited. Of course, I can hear the naysayers now as people would complain about the cost of a jumbotron, the music was too current, the money wasn’t well spent, blah blah blah. My response to them? Tough. Something I noticed in person was that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE in that stadium was part of the intro. The pom-pom pumping, the hands up and down, screaming, yelling etc. and it didn’t matter whether they were an undergrad or an octogenarian. Everyone was there having fun and hyping up the team.

If Ball State wants to talk the talk of being a football program worth noticing then it’s time. It’s time to shit or get off the proverbial pot as my father used to put it when I was faced with a difficult decision. Do jumbotrons and current hip hop win you football games? Probably not, but it can certainly put asses in the seats if it’s an entertaining experience and even average football. And the ironic thing is the football stops being average when you bring in top-level recruits that are impressed with our gameday festivities. The stick in the mud type fans that would complain about the style of music are the ones that have been part of the atmosphere problems for years anyway. Don’t let the turnstyle hit you on the ass on the way out the door. We have a great marching band and I dig the Pride of MidAmerica… but give them a few minutes while no one’s on the field pregame and a bit for halftime, but outside of that, it should be nothing but the Waka Flocka’s and Wiz Khalifa’s of the world. Let the players pick. Do something different. Do something crazy. Do something un-MAC-like. Because frankly, what’s been done in the past makes us average in the most average sort of ways. And that sort of mentality seems to slowly be getting stripped out of this program. Do it for the kids, Pete. The kids that like the hoppity hoppity and are dying for a program to impress their pants off.

News From the Nest

  • The WCRD radio guys are back into the swing of blogging as they hit you with their five players poised for a breakout.
  • Thursday marked the first time for contact in the evening session of a 2-a-day practice. You can check out the recap from The Star Press here.
  • Offensive line needs to be a strength this year for the Cards, and Cam Lowry should be a big part of that. He hasn’t played since an ACL tear last year at Purdue, but he’s back in 2011 and excited to just hit someone. Anyone. This is a good thing.
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