Music City coaches downplay field conditions
Posted December 31, 2012
Nashville, Tenn. — Postseason play and pristine playing fields are an assumed pairing in modern athletics. That tandem, however, will be tested Monday as North Carolina State and Vanderbilt take to the sod at a worn, tattered and weather-beaten LP Field in Nashville.
When the Wolfpack arrived midweek, winter weather had blanketed the middle Tennessee region. By the time final walk-through had commenced Saturday, it was snowing.
Then Sunday came, and despite the sparse crowd for the NFL showcase against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Tennessee Titans clamored through a 60-minute clash in which former North Carolina linebacker Zach Brown had two defensive touchdowns.
“I do think the field will be in pretty good shape, but that is a little bit of a concern,” said Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin. “Our equipment people have called and talked to the equipment people over here and made sure we have the right plan going into it.”
In all, the snow accumulation was minimal and the multiple-day rainfall was hardly visible to the sidewalk passerby Sunday afternoon. The players, however, will still play with the weather- and professional-beaten pasture.
“We are going to make it a non-issue” said NC State interim head coach Dana Bible. “If we are out there playing in mud, we will chalk that up to a learning experience and we will adjust.”
Field conditions may or may not affect the play calling of the coaches. Each seems foremost excited with the notion of the cross-conference square-off.
“I know where we were as a program, there were certain games where we didn’t match-up well at certain positions,” Franklin said of his SEC schedule. “I think it’s going to be an exciting matchup.”
“It’s always fun as a coach and a player to play a team from another league,” Bible said. “No matter how you want to draw it up, there are different styles. It might not be obvious to everybody on TV, but the style you see in the ACC is not what James sees in week-in and week-out in his conference. “
Playing conditions for Monday’s early-day kick off call for cool but cloudy conditions with further rain expected to hold off until the afternoon hours. Still, each team has practiced all week in poor weather so alternative conditions should already be accounted for.