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Tad Boyle gave a coaching masterclass on Saturday night, and fans got a front-row seat

Henry Chisholm Avatar
February 19, 2020

Viewers were given an inside look at Colorado’s game against Oregon State, Saturday night. Both head coaches, Tad Boyle of Colorado and Wayne Tinkle of Oregon State, wore microphones all night, and the audio was shared live on FS1’s “All-Access” broadcast.

“It was kind of a neat experience for our fans but for me, our players it was just another game,” Boyle said Tuesday. “You’re just doing your job and trying to win a basketball game.”

There’s been a push recently to give viewers more access to what is happening during games. Last week, the XFL debuted with live player and coach interviews from the sidelines during games, and their coaches are also wearing microphones.

The fan reviews for FS1’s broadcast were overwhelmingly positive, and Boyle himself didn’t mind wearing a wire.

“It was okay,” Boyle said. “I just tried to be myself and be who I am. I tried not to do anything for the camera. I’ve been mic’d up before but I’ve never had a camera on me for the whole duration. It wasn’t anything unusual. I had to watch my language a little bit more than normal.”

Boyle said that wearing a microphone wasn’t a distraction and that he really didn’t think of it while the game was going on. He thinks that it was good for fans to see what Colorado basketball is like from an insider’s perspective.

“A lot of the feedback I’ve gotten from fans is they’ve enjoyed it because they saw that authenticity,” Boyle said. “They saw it from our players in the huddles they saw it from our staff. They saw it in the locker room at halftime.”

Boyle was active on the sideline from the opening possession.

Early in the game, Tyler Bey was hit as he lost the ball to Ethan Thompson, but the refs didn’t blow the whistle. Boyle yelled at the refs about the decision being “predetermined.”

This conversation continued throughout the first few possessions, with Boyle saying that the refs had decided before the game that they were going to let the teams play and stay out of the game as much as possible. Boyle thought that the no-calls early were the refs’ attempts to set that precedent for the game.

The relationship developed throughout the contest. Boyle addressed the referees by name in nearly every interaction. Boyle didn’t just yell at the refs, he conversed with them as well.

By using the refs’ names, he showed them that he knew who they were and, likely, what they were known for. When he told one ref that it was hard to coach when the whistles were changing from “game-to-game and crew-to-crew,” it carried more weight.

Typically, Boyle’s frustration is only caught by fans when it reaches a peak. Saturday’s broadcast showed the ebbs and flows of his frustration and when he was about to blow up. It all seemed more strategic.

The biggest takeaway was that Boyle was active throughout the game. While Tinkle spent much of the first 10 minutes seated and quiet, Boyle was constantly on his feet belting out plays. He got into details too, telling players when to cut and pass. He was quarterbacking everything from the sideline.

His tips weren’t always groundbreaking revelations, but they ensured that everybody was doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing.

At one point, Oregon State missed a shot and the ball was bouncing across the endline and about to go out of bounds. After it went out, Boyle told Shane Gatling that he shouldn’t have boxed out his defender and instead should have retrieved the ball.

“Always grab that,” he said.

His activity made him feel like he was as much a part of the game as any of the players, a feeling that is rare when watching a typical broadcast. At the same time, the amount of control he conceded to his players was a surprise and a stark contrast to Tinkle’s coaching style.

At halftime, and in huddles on the sideline, point guard McKinley Wright IV was talkative. He had ideas and shared what he was seeing. Evan Battey had some input as well. Boyle was conversing more than he was dictating.

That said, it was still Boyle’s team and he was in control. He ended one huddle by reminding his team that “ball pressure helps everything” and on the next possession Wright gave no breathing room to the ball-handler.

It was a masterclass in coaching and an insight that fans rarely are given. Hopefully, more is on the way.


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