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    Beckman Visits ESPN Campus

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    Fighting Illini football coach Tim Beckman made the rounds at ESPN Headquarters on Thursday, doing nine interviews in three hours as part of the Big Ten "car wash" in Bristol, Conn, over the last two days.

    The day started off with a hitch, as dense fog at Champaign's Willard Airport pushed our flight to Hartford back an hour. After landing and making the short trip from Hartford to Bristol, Coach Beckman, his wife Kim and daughter Lindsay, arrived at ESPN at 11:45, about 45 minutes after the scheduled start of the "car wash" schedule. That meant we had some catching up to do.

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    Beckman started off a whirlwind three hours in building four with a digital media interview with Cole Wright for the ESPN college football app and a taped interview for ESPN Recruiting Nation. Then came a sit-down with ESPN.com Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg before a quick jaunt over to the Cafe annex for an ESPN.com SportsNation live chat and sit-down interviews with college football insiders Travis Haney and Brett McMurphy and national college football reporter Joe Schad.

    Between all the interviews, Beckman and I had a chance to hear from Jeff Bennett, senior director of stats and analytics, whose Stats & Info team is expanding its college football "storytelling and efficiency" stats for this season. As a stat geek myself, I found this topic very interesting. I can't wait to see the new numbers in use during the 2013 season.  

    Next was a quick tour of the ESPN campus with college football programming coordinator Eric Loh, our handler for the day, before heading to Studio B to tape a segment for SportsCenter with Samantha Ponder and then Studio A for a College Football Live segment with Joe Tessatore. 

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    Beckman schedule with between 11:45 am and 2:40 pm ET:
    Digital Media with Cole Wright (@ColeWrightESPN)
    ESPN Recruiting Nation taped interview (@recrutingESPN)
    ESPN.com Big Ten Blogger Adam Rittenberg (@ESPN_BigTen)
    ESPN.com SportsNation live chat (@SportsNation)
    College Football Insider Travis Haney (@TravHaneyESPN)
    National College Football Reporter Joe Schad(@SchadJoe)
    ESPN Stats & Info Sr. Director Jeff Bennett (@ESPNStatsInfo)
    College Football Insider Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN)
    SportsCenter with Samantha Ponder (@SamSteelePonder)
    College Football Live with Joe Tessatore (@Joe_Tess)

    So there you go, nine interviews in less than three hours, some planned and some on the spot, plus a tutorial from a stats expert. It was an extremely efficient - left Champaign at 7 am CT and returned by 5:30 - and worthwhile trip. Scott Chipman and Dan Mihalik from the Big Ten deserve thanks for setting the event up, as does our ESPN handler Eric Loh, for putting up with us all day. Hearing all the Illini talk certainly got me excited for the season and the start of training camp on Monday. Seriously, Monday? I can't wait!  


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