Edwards tackles myriad tasks in new role as bureau reporter
New bureau reporter Jeannine Edwards returns to Michigan Stadium to cover Saturday’s spring game. It’s where then-sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards covered last September’s Wolverines-Minnesota game, which she calls, “almost surreal.”
“For my first hit, I wanted to do something creative that would help the viewers visualize what the Ducks are replacing on both sides of the ball, so I asked their SID Dave Williford for a white board and I drew dots to represent starters returning and starters lost,” she explained. “It was a big hit — such a simple thing but I got a bunch of Tweets and emails about it.”
There was one more critique.
“‘You did what?’ my husband, Glenn (see main story) said that night when I told him about the board. ‘What did you draw? What formation did you have them in? How many receivers on the field? You didn’t have [then-Oregon quarterback Marcus] Mariota under center did you, ‘cause they don’t do that.’
“I was like, ‘Look babe, all I was worried about was having 11 dots on each side of the field, and having the right guys returning and lost. I wasn’t worried about having the QB in the shotgun or how deep the safeties were’. It was pretty funny. As a coach, he was very concerned about what I put on that board.”
“I’m very excited about covering Michigan’s spring game — first of all, new era, new regime, [new head coach] Jim Harbaugh, all that, but also my crew and I worked Michigan’s game last year when quarterback Shane Morris was left in with what turned out to be a concussion,” Edwards said.
“It became very controversial and made national news. But what also struck me that day at the Big House was how loudly the entire Michigan fan base was booing its own team. It was almost surreal. Never experienced anything quite like it. So it will be very interesting to see the fan reaction and atmosphere for their game Saturday.”
Saturday’s is the type of pre-scheduled assignment sideline reporter Edwards was accustomed to, particularly as an ACC basketball reporter the past four years, rather than the breaking-news calls to which bureau reporter Edwards now responds.
The Oklahoma resident – since marrying Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer in 2013 – was at Oregon’s spring practice Wednesday and will stay in Michigan for the Detroit Tigers’ Opening Day game Monday in a rare string of pre-scheduled assignments.
“The biggest change for me is not knowing when you’re going to have to work,” Edwards explained.
“With college football, you knew if you had a Saturday package, that you’d travel on Thursdays and return on Sundays. Now a lot of assignments are last-minute as news dictates, so it’s a little harder to plan stuff like getting chores done or getting new shoes on my horse [Edwards is an Eclipse Award-winning horse racing reporter] because you never know when an assignment might come your way.
“But the trade-off is working newsy stories, big events, and hot topics in the sports world, such as Georgia State beating Baylor in the NCAA tourney. That was fun.”
Also different is that as a sideline reporter, “The amount of time you actually get on the air can vary greatly depending on the flow of the game — you need to tell a story or give a strategy or injury report in 25 seconds or less,” Edwards explained.
“It’s a whole different mindset and approach than being given a minute-and-a-half or 2:30 for a SportsCenter segment. I also like the creativity [note: see sidebar] we can use in how we approach our longer live shots, and I try to bring a little something different to the viewers for each hit.”
And while much of Edwards’ reporting will come from familiar campuses next fall to capitalize on her college experience and contacts, the New Jersey native, who spent 20 years in Maryland, admits to another life change: “I’m still adjusting to the weather here in Oklahoma!”