Preparation makes perfect – Mike Yam gears up for network’s first spring game telecast from Cal

Spring has definitely arrived on the campus of UC Berkeley and on the eve of the 2013 Cal spring game, the Cal football offices are alive with new head coach Sonny Dykes and his staff making final preparations for Saturday’s spring game, kicking off at 4:00 PM PT, live on Pac-12 Networks. The game will be called by Rich Cellini, with analysis from Glenn Parker and Mike Yam providing sideline reports and interviews.

As the only conference in which every football program will have their spring game telecast live on a linear network, preparation is also underway for Pac-12 Networks’ telecast teams and production crew who are gearing up for the first of 12 spring game telecasts. And unlike preparation for a regular football telecast, spring game telecasts vary widely from program-to-program, as coaches determine the format to best suit their needs and the needs of their teams.

“For fans, it’s the first opportunity before the season starts to see guys that are going to be household  names throughout the course of the football season and it’s your first opportunity to get a glimpse of them up close and personal,” said Yam.

On Friday, Yam and Parker met with Dykes, offensive coordinator Tony Franklin and defensive coordinator Andy Buh for about 20 minutes, gaining a valuable perspective into what each coach looks to see out of the Cal offensive, defensive and special team units that will play a large role into their broadcast approach.

“These meetings are huge for me and my preparation into tomorrow’s coverage, especially when you have a team like Cal coming off a season where there’s a new coach and new schemes and philosophies that are completely different than last season,” said Yam, who will be working as a sideline reporter during Saturday’s scrimmage. “So to sit down with Coach Dykes in particular and get a sense of what they’re going to be doing, not only offensively, but on the defensive side and get the dynamic that he has with the players is important.”

Yam is excited for the coverage, particularly due to Coach Dykes’ open approach to tomorrow’s game which includes the head coach wearing a mic and allowing live interviews with coaches, select players and prominent alumni from the sideline during live game action.

“Some coaches are very buttoned up, planning down to the second, very rigid and you could tell just by spending 25-30 minutes with Coach (Dykes) that he’s not like that,” Yam said. “He’s very relaxed and pretty open about what they’re looking for from the players. To have the accessibility that we’re going to have Saturday is unlike what I’ve seen at other schools. ”

While usually spending a college football Saturday in the climate-controlled confines of the Pac-12 Network studios providing pre, half and postgame reports alongside Rick Neuheisel and Curtis Conway, Yam will make his sideline reporting debut Saturday at Memorial Stadium. He's looking forward to experience and particularly how the format adds a unique twist in the working dynamic between him, Parker and Cellini.

“Myself and Rich will lean heavy on Glenn because like me, he’s going to be on the field, but Glenn will be able to break down a lot of the higher end football Xs and Os, maybe more so than myself or Rich,” Yam said. “From that perspective, we’ll lean on him, but the cool thing about this experience is that it’s not the typical sideline job. We’re essentially a three-man booth with Rich upstairs watching the action like he normally would, but Glenn and myself will be on the sidelines and have opportunities to talk to different players, coaches and prominent alumni while the game is going on. It’s almost like doing a talk show while you’re at a game, with the game more as a backdrop while you’re still focusing on the team.”

Following Saturday, fans will get their next glimpse of the conferences’ next crop of football talent Saturday, April 13 with coverage of five spring games over more than seven hours. The Pac-12 Spring Football Report, hosted by Yam with analysis from Rick Neuheisel and Curtis Conway from the Pac-12 Networks studios, will guide viewers through all the action beginning at 9:30 am with the University of Colorado spring game, followed by Arizona State at 11:00 am PT. Arizona (on Pac-12 Arizona) and USC (on Pac-12 Los Angeles) share the 1:00 PM PT slot, while Stanford’s spring scrimmage from Palo Alto wraps up the day at 3:00 PM PT.

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1:30 AM PT

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