I would give half my salary to be on the charter flights that go from major conference media days to Bristol for the ESPN car wash in late July. The conversations between coaches and their handlers, doors shut and 35,000 feet in the air, must be fascinating.
Like, for instance, the time am innocuous comment by Jim Mora turned into a recruiting war between UCLA and Cal.
As Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times tells it, as Mora boarded his cross-country charter flight from Los Angeles to the Mothership, he told whoever happened to be listening that his Bruins needed a punter. A few hours later, he landed to a text.
"I just said, 'Our punter is leaving; I need a punter,'" Mora said. "When we landed, I had a text from Matt, 'Hey, Coach, Cal just offered me [a scholarship].' I went, 'Ah man, Sonny.'"
The "Matt" Mora references is Long Beach City College punter Matt Mengel, who unwittingly found himself in a virtual dual for his services as the coaches bussed to their Bristol hotel.
"Sonny was in the seat in front of me and I'm direct messaging back and forth with Matt," Mora said. "I'm sure Sonny was doing the same thing. It was hilarious."
The story has a happy, or, more accurately, a non-disastrous, ending. Mengel chose UCLA.