Fall camp is a time of preparation for football players. They come together as a team under the scorching August sun after a long off season and they practice, train and learn. They sweat football. They bleed football. And their dedication is rewarded with success, praise and confidence.
As fans, I find it only fitting that we put ourselves through a similar training regimen. Maybe not physically, so much, but mentally.
That is why I would like to introduce to you my daily information-gathering routine, designed to stimulate the cerebellum and invigorate the football centers of the brain.
A lot of stuff happens during fall camp, so we as fans need to be extra savvy when it comes to gathering our information. The casual fan will read a story in the morning newspaper, but if you want to reach the next level of fandemonium, you need to explore deeper levels of the media; the only limit on the information available is your own imagination.
Rookies should start with Web sites like CougarFan.com or CougarChampion.com. These sites will do some of the gathering for you. They package stories from local papers like the Deseret News, Salt Lake Tribune and the Provo Daily Herald in one daily dose of Cougar-mania. They also gather news from the media outlets of BYU's opponents, which is what makes Web sites like these especially valuable. If I want to read about the Coug's pounding of the UNLV Rebels from a Las Vegas Review-Journal point of view, for instance, I can find it on Cougarfan.com. Good stuff.
The only problem is they can be a little slow to update sometimes. When the urge to read the latest news out of camp hits me, I don't want to be caught behind the whims of some computer science graduate student.
That's why I generally use an RSS feed reader instead. I personally use Google Reader, but there are certainly other options for those of you who hate the ease and convenience of Google programs. If you want more information about feed readers, click here. And here's a nice write up from one of my pals, Dan The Man.
Once you set up your reader, you'll be able to subscribe to feeds from sources like the aforementioned newspapers directly. This is where I read BYU-related stories from the major Utah newspapers, as well as other outlets like KSL, Total Blue Sports, Real Football 365, and a recent find, the ESPN Football Independents blog (which includes news from every non-BCS school, and frequently mentions BYU).
As mentioned, feed readers pick up content from blogs--notably, The Deseret News BYU blog, the Salt Lake Tribune BYU blog and KSL's "Cougar Tracks" with Greg Wrubell. Blogs tend to give the most entertaining and inside information, I find, and since I can't be there myself (thanks a lot, Jeff Reynolds. I know you're reading this), I rely on these fine reporters to bring me the news in a timely manner.
It's also a chance to get reports of the same practice from different sources. This may not sound like a big deal, but you'd be surprised how differently reporters choose to cover the same event. For instance, each of these reporters attended practice No. 2 earlier today, but Deseret News writer Jeff Call talked about how Bronco's praise may have hindered progress in practice, Salt Lake Tribune's Jay Drew wrote at length about Fui Vakapuna's disappointing rehab schedule and KSL's Greg Wrubell was the only one to mention Center Tom Sorenson's absence from practice. Reading all three reports makes me that much more interesting when I talk about practice later with my wife.
One strong recommendation: Don't miss out on Cougar Tracks (Wrubell's blog on KSL.com). Wrubell shines like the polar star during fall camp, and he's just as reliable. He gives great practice analysis and uploads several interviews with players and coaches a day.
My final destination is Cougarboard.com. This is the unofficial fan message board for BYU sports. It's mostly just filled with rumors, speculation, inflammatory remarks and Internet dorks pretending to be cool (I should know, right?), but every once in a while you'll stumble on some truly golden inside information or stimulating conversation. It's like a hostess fruit pie: mostly bad for you, but every once in a while you'll bite into a nugget of fresh fruit. Fresh, obviously, being a relative term.
So to sum up, every day during fall camp you should be getting your BYU news from these sources (in order of importance): Deseret News, Salt Lake Tribune, Provo Daily Herald, Cougar Tracks, SL Trib BYU blog, D-News BYU blog, Total Blue Sports, ESPN Independents and Cougarboard.com (And even that's not all. If you still want more, email me at AdamsSportsBlog@gmail.com and I'll tell you some other blogs I follow).
Just... try to refrain from doing it at work. You'd be surprised how much time you can waste.