Experts Discussion ... Best/Worst Interviews
Michigan WR Braylon Edwards
Michigan WR Braylon Edwards
Posted Jul 14, 2008

The Best Interview You've Ever Done ... And The Worst

Preview 2008 - Experts Roundtable

Part 14 - The Best Interview You've Done ... And The Worst

CFN is honored to once again get the thoughts and opinions on some of the hot topics from some of the most talented, influential insiders in the college football media, while getting to know a little bit more about them.

Along with
Pete Fiutak and Richard Cirminiello from CFN in the discussion are ...

- Charles Davis, NFL Network/FOX Sports
- Dennis Dodd, - College Football Columnist

- Bruce Feldman, - College Football Columnist
- Steve Greenberg, The Sporting News - College Football Columnist
- Teddy "Mr. Media" Greenstein, Chicago Tribune - College Football Columnist, Media Columnist
- Stewart Mandel, - College Football Columnist

- Part 1 What aspect of college football should you care about, but really don't?
- Part 2 Should a two loss LSU team really have won the national title?
- Part 3 How should college football be more like the NFL?
- Part 4
Your college football guilty pleasure
- Part 5 How/why did you get into covering college football?
- Part 6 How/why is the BCS better than a playoff?
- Part 7 I'm not buying into ...
- Part 8 Just how bad is the Big Ten?
- Part 9 Do you have any problems with Tim Tebow winning two Heismans?
- Part 10 Give the 2010 Rankings for: Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska & Notre Dame
- Part 11 How much do you care about non-BCS teams?
- Part 12 When Should Players Be Eligible for the Draft?
- Part 13 The Next Really Big Superpower Will Be ...
- Part 14 The Best & Worst Interviews You've Ever Done
- Part 15 Quick Hitters, Part 1: Greatest Players & Greatest Games

- Part 16 Quick Hitters, Part 2: The National Champion & Heisman Winner

14. The best interview you’ve ever done, and ...

Teddy Greenstein: Tie between Braylon Edwards and J Leman. Now you know why I picked them as two of my five favorite players ever.

Bruce Feldman:
(Coach) Ed Orgeron. I flew down to see Ole Miss on the eve of Signing Day in 2006 for a magazine feature we were planning on running a year later. The initial idea was for me to visit four or five times over the course of the year and do a 3000-word story on being inside an SEC program throughout the course of the recruiting process. Instead, I came back to our New York office and told my editors I’ll have more stuff than we could ever run. I said I could do a book being around this guy and his staff and my editors agreed. I was blown away by what he let me see (recruiting boards, film, lists, profiles) in the first 30 minutes I was in their war room. The best part was he wasn’t afraid to say anything in front of a tape recorder or notepad. He was incredibly candid. Many times I didn’t quite understanding what he was saying, but he was such a rush to cover. The guy is on blast from 5 am till 10 pm every day.  

(Player) Lofa Tatupu: I was working on pre-Orange Bowl story about him and OU’s MLB Lance Mitchell and it wasn’t supposed to be a very long piece, but Tatupu was incredibly honest about his upbringing and how he and his father struggled even having to move into a classmate’s house because all of his family’s money

Fiu: It’s probably a three-way tie between Marshall QB Byron Leftwich, Indiana QB Antwaan Randle El, and Emmitt Smith the summer before he broke the NFL all-time rushing record. These were my three best only because Leftwich, Randle El, and Smith are three of the best interviews in football and they made it fun. I didn’t have to do anything special, and I certainly wasn't great. They were professionals in every way.

Richard Cirminiello: Miami QB Ben Roethlisberger.  Years before he won a Super Bowl or had a patty named after him, he was still the most mature and engaging college athlete I’d ever interviewed.  Even if you never saw him throw a pass, you knew he had the demeanor and the intelligence to play the position.

Charles Davis: Best interview I’ve ever done was with Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart of USC

Dennis Dodd: Had lunch with Miami's Ken Dorsey and Bret Romberg before the 2002 season. God, that was fun. We talked about everything -- school, girls, football, food. They were absolutely uninhibited which was great because it took Romberg to draw Dorsey out that afternoon.

That was a Miami team for the ages that lost that Fiesta Bowl to the Ohio State. I wish I could find that story.

... the worst interview you’ve ever done.

Dennis Dodd:
How much space do you have? I'm embarrassed to say there are several tied for last. You have to remember, often times we're are dealing with quiet, shy teenagers. It's up to us to drill down deep but it's hard sometimes.

If I had to pick one, there was a night game at Northwestern one year. Michigan won a terrible game and it rained the entire time at Ryan Field. It wasn't so much the questions or the people speaking, but everyone from the writers to the players to the coaches just wanted to be out of there.

Charles Davis: Worst interview…can’t tell you  ;)

The answer is a phone interview with former Wisconsin RB Anthony Davis, because he was watching a replay of the 2002 Alamo Bowl win over Colorado with several teammates and had no interest in talking to me, so he didn’t. I later met him in person and we joked about it.

However, the worst I've ever been was interviewing former UCLA star RB Maurice Drew, before he became Maurice Jones-Drew. I was in Los Angeles and I stopped by the UCLA campus to interview former Bruin LB Spencer Havner, but I had a wicked, wicked cold made worse by a lousy plane ride that crushed my sinuses and completely clogged up my left ear. I basically couldn’t hear. While talking to Havner, Jones-Drew came in and got in on the interview. Possibly the nicest guy ever, and a total character with his dreds, knee-high socks, and a cut-off muscle shirt, MJD just wanted to hang out and talk football. I was beyond miserable, but I really did want to talk to him. I had no real idea what MJD said until I played the tape back later, and I don’t really remember what I asked him since I spent the entire time trying not to sneeze on him.

Teddy Greenstein: Any session involving Lloyd Carr.

Richard Cirminiello: Bowling Green QB Josh Harris.  He refused to speak up and typed on his computer throughout the interview. It was a good thing I took detailed notes because I late learned that nothing on the tape was audible. 

Bruce Feldman: Tom Lemming. I’ve known Tom for a while and always got along with him. A few years back, I was working on a feature for ESPN Magazine about the chaos recruits have to deal with from not only recruiters but in some cases the people who work in the recruiting business. I’d interviewed a bunch of coaches and players who had made some strong allegations against Tom for the way he handled things, often putting down certain schools and elevating other programs when he met with the recruits. We needed to get his side of things. It was strange in that he denied doing some of those things, yet he couched it by saying he was just telling it like it is. Then he proceeded to throw everyone under the bus.

It was tough to grill someone you’ve always gotten along with, but I know it is part of the job.