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|| News Item: Posted 2006-09-05

Covering Football: Tips from covering Tennessee football
By Patrick Murphy-Racey

Photo by Patrick Murphy-Racey

Photo by Patrick Murphy-Racey

This is the tradition of "Running through The T," which only the team and staff get to do every Saturday at home games. The Pride of the Southland Marching Band ends in a formation of a huge "T."
First, we had a tough season last year at 5-6, so things are a little different than prior years. In the SEC when things go poorly, you can expect an assistant to be fired. Last year, we had three fired. Expectations are very high for our offensive coordinator and QB, so all eyes are on them right now, as are mine.

I hang out with the strength and conditioning coaches as well as the trainers when I'm over at the complex. These people offer much insight to those they trust. Keeping a team healthy is a big job, so I stay close to them, especially on the road. This is where I pick up stories and moments.

As for gear, this is the time of year to be pressing the refresh button on all your batteries. I watched a bunch of shooters simply watch the game in the second longest game ever over in AR a few years ago. Lightning and rain delays and I think four overtimes is a memory that keeps me minding my batteries.

I'll spend a good half-day cleaning CMOS chips, blowing air inside the mirror box, and cleaning the rear filters and front elements of all my long glass. Check and download any new firmware updates for your bodies.

Editing football is a perfect way to frag your hard drives. Now that files are so big, editing a single game is like shooting a machine gun into your hard drive. Now is a good time to look over all of last
Photo by Patrick Murphy-Racey

Photo by Patrick Murphy-Racey

The jury had been out all summer regarding the effectiveness of starting QB Erik Ainge. He put a lot of people at ease in Big Orange country with his 6-11, 291 yard performance against #8th ranked Cal.
year's games carefully, edit tightly, and then defrag and burn DVD's. I actually use a separate hard drive to edit on, and then move everything onto the drive where I want to store the games. Your computer might need software updates, so stop clicking "no" when it asks you if you want to search for updates.

I have a good relationship with two high schools in my county where I can show up and shoot. I'm 41, and getting older by the minute, so I practice, practice, practice. The team's expectations are always sky high for my performance, and I just can't walk out of summer and into my first game and expect to deliver.

At the high school games, I shoot only the 600 f/4L and 200mm f/2.8L. I shoot super tight and try to manual focus as much as possible. It's easier for me to loose focus on the 200mm focal length and since that's my on goal lens, I work it pretty hard. There is nothing worse than seeing your over-the-pile-into-the-end-zone shot with razor sharp focus on the fans.

Last and most important, I pray. I thank God for not having a real job and for getting paid to get closest when 108,000 behind me bought tickets.

(Patrick Murphy-Racey is a freelance photographer based near Knoxville, TN. You can see examples of his work at his member page: and his personal website:

Related Links:
Pat's member page
Soundslides show from Cal vs. Tennessee game

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