Back in 2001 — right after OU won the National Championship — the Oklahoman published a commemorative book to celebrate the Sooners’ magical season. If I remember correctly, the book was hardcover and took a chronological look at the 2000 season. It included pictures of the games along with previously published Oklahoman game recaps
The book wasn’t anything too special. It was basically an easy way for the Oklahoman to make a dime on the new Renaissance of OU football hysteria that was sweeping the state, but it worked on me. I’m pretty sure I bought a copy for myself and one as a birthday present for my Grandpa. Boomer Sooner.
For some reason, I remember that Berry Tramel write a forward in the book. In his folksy, effortless prose, Berry explained the importance of OU football in our state. He wrote about how the paper prints more copies on the Sunday’s following games and how the outcome of a game can effect the psyche of the state on a Sunday morning. He also wrote that the Oklahoman’s OU football beat writer — a position that was then held by George Schroeder — may just be the most important job in the state.
Well, it looks like the OU football beat reporter is no longer the most important job in the state. Hell, it may not even be the best OU football reporting job in the state.
Jake Trotter, who has been the Oklahoman’s OU football beat writer for a couple of seasons, is leaving the Oklahoman to join some new online venture by ESPN. I’m still trying to figure out the details, but I’ve heard from semi-reliable sources that ESPN is developing some weird OU Insider meets ESPN Dallas style website dedicated to University of Oklahoma athletics. They are apparently creating these sites for OU and a few other major collegiate sports programs throughout the country.
That means OSU is probably not getting one.
Trotter is being joined by fellow Oklahoman sports reporters Brandon Chatmon (you may remember him from this epic FAIL at providing sports highlights) and Bob Przybylo (some guy with an ill-fitting sports jacket that I once wanted to get drunk with). From what I understand, Trotter will cover OU football, Chatmon will cover the assembly of players that was formerly known as the University of Oklahoma Men’s Basketball program, and Przybylo will cover the creepy spectacle known as high school recruiting.
If you ask me, this is a pretty bad deal for the Oklahoman. The Dark Tower is all too aware of the struggles of print media and how the internet continues to chip away at their power, influence and revenue. Now they lost what their flagship columnist called “the most important job in the state” to a website that hasn’t even officially launched. That has to hurt, right?
Also, the Oklahoman probably knows that Trotter and the rest of the ESPN crew will probably provide higher quality coverage than anything they’ll throw out. Hell, just look at Royce over at DailyThunder.com. During the season his blog is daily reading. The only time I ever check out what Darnell Mayberry has written is when Royce links to him.
Seriously, if this site works it means we’ll no longer have to accidentally stumble across some terrible Jenni Carlson column on the value of a quarterback (or suffer through the John Rhode doing his best Rick Reilly impersonation) while conducting a simple search for the OU football notes. That will be nice.
Anyway, as we learn more about this we’ll try to keep you informed. In the meantime, read this power lunch recap from Jenni Carlson (just kidding. don’t do that.). Instead, listen to Brandon Chatmon do the Hizzzzzzzeeeeeeee!