The long-running SEC Network show “SEC Inside” program hits its 100th episode Wednesday night and in dramatic fashion.
For the first time in the history of the show and the conference, producers were allowed to mic a head coach during a game and not just any coach in any game. SEC Network had a mic on Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp throughout the week leading up to and during South Carolina’s dramatic, come-from-behind, 37-35 win over Missouri last week in Williams-Brice Stadium.
“When you see this show because of the things you hear and the things you see our show will become your memory of this event,” said Jim Jorden, “SEC Inside” producer and cinematographer. “We are not after the yelling and the screaming. We are after the comments in the between the whistles, and there are so many great instances with Will in this game.”
Jorden had a 15-year career with the NFL that included the creation and filming of the popular “Hard Knocks” show, and he has worked with every major sports in compiling behind-the-scenes footage. Jorden and his crew compiled between 100 and 125 hours of tape that they cut down into a 30-minute episode that will air Wednesday night on SEC Network. (A typical hour-long “Hard Knocks” required 500 hours of raw footage, Jorden said.)
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“To me, what’s really great about this show is everything they did during the week and how they prepared the players paid off in the game and you see that, from the punt they blocked, to the interception for a touchdown to the one-minute drill to end the game,” Jorden said.
The SEC Network chose South Carolina for its first game day shoot because of Muschamp’s willingness to work with the crew during previous practice shoots, Jorden said. Until this offseason, SEC rules forbid coaches or players from wearing a microphone during games, but that rule was eliminated by the conference.
“Over the course of the series, Will has allowed us to do really unique things with them,” Jorden said. “I thought we had a good shot with him because I knew the end product had a chance to be really good.”
They also liked his voice.
“You know how a quarterback at the line of scrimmage has a cadence? His voice, his cadence, the way he coaches I find really unique,” Jorden said. “I was just like, ‘Wow, he would be great on game day.’ He’s really intense, but he coaches you to get better. He makes us want to be better cameramen the way he coaches up his players.”
The third quarter downpour during the game made for dramatic footage but came with challenges. The SEC Network used eight cameras during the game and at some point during the game seven of them quit working, Jorden said. The same equipment was used to film the Carolina Panthers game the following day and some of it was still too soggy to function, he said.
“That weather is really tough to shoot in, but the visuals are so stunning,” Jorden said.
South Carolina officials were given final approval of the finished product.
“There is not a single one of these shows where a team doesn’t have final approval,” Jorden said “What kind of organization would ever let you in and let you portray them in a negative light? We are not journalists, we are storytellers. We are not after anything that quote bad or negative.”
Pete Watters, coordinating producer of “SEC Inside” expects even die-hard Gamecocks fans to be surprised by what they see during the show.
“People watch the game for three-and-a-half hours on Saturday and they think they know everything about the players, the coaching staff and the game plan,” he said. “A show like this really shows you how much we don’t know. We want to peel back the curtain and show you Oz.”