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East Dillon Daily: 1x02 — “Eyes Wide Open”

“So tell me, you think little Matt Saracen can get it done?”

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Last episode, we laid the foundation of Dillon High School football. Now we get into the juicy stuff. Can Matt Saracen take over as QB1 (thank you to the comment section and especially users All Charged Up and atl23 for giving insanely good descriptions of the position for me) for more than just a few minutes? Is Coach Taylor’s job on the line if Saracen can’t deliver? Let’s find out!

Quick programming note: Something I’ve learned in this episode is that when I’m trying to transcribe things, I use the closed captioning. I’m big on subtitles in general and as such, I know that they aren’t always perfect and in fact, are often downright bad. In this case, when it comes to what is essentially a language I don’t speak, I don’t have enough knowledge to correct these errors as they come. Keep that in mind if anything I say sounds exceptionally stupid.

Clear eyes, full hearts, you know the drill.

1x02 — “Eyes Wide Open”

What did I learn about football?

  • I think this opening scene with Coach Taylor, where very quickly they’re talking about how the potential best and worst case scenarios regarding Jason’s literal health will affect football, it’s supposed to come off as callous to the average person, but baby, that’s how sports work everywhere, unfortunately.
  • During the first (of three!) practice scene, Matt says he didn’t see the linebacker and Coach Taylor followed up with a bunch of stuff that I’m going to spend some time Googling later. The advice I eventually got out of it was “hit them on the breaks and play faster.” Also that Saracen needs to “know the offense,” which I’m going to go ahead and assume in context is talking about plays.
  • Second practice, issue between Tim Riggins (fullback) and Smash Williams (running back). Riggins says Williams needs to start getting “behind his blocks.”
  • Landry quizzing Saracen on plays. Not sure if he says “I right” like the caption suggests or “alright,” followed by “44 lead bronco,” which Saracen says is “open right, draw to the tailback off the right tackle.”
  • For “Pro left, motion, X-Y eagle” Matt says, “five-step drop, X-receiver runs the five-yard out, and the wide receiver runs the button,” and Landry counters with “the fullback releases under the outside linebackers.” Some of this does not make sense to me, but I think I could get it if shown visually.
  • Now I don’t know much about football, but I can’t imagine that bringing Matt Saracen to the field just to get him to be able to call the plays loud enough is like, a normal use of time.

What questions have now been raised for me about football?

  • Coach Taylor emphasizes that Saracen needs to know the offense, which I took to mean plays. Obviously, as a player, that makes sense. Do average fans know a lot of what these plays are? Is that necessary? I feel like this is one of those central barriers to me getting into football is whether or not I’m supposed to recognize every single play, or if knowing what the positions are intended to do in general terms is enough.
  • Okay seriously, someone explain the names of plays to me. I cannot make heads or tails of them ever.

Additional Thoughts

  • “Little Matt Saracen” seems like a pretty average-sized teenager boy? Perhaps even a little bit larger than the average? The way we judge athletes compared to average people is crazy enough, but I guess I don’t have much of a frame of reference for how big teenage boys should be, either.
  • Lila saying she was “on the internet” looking at spinal injury cases and genuinely bewildered that she knows something a doctor doesn’t is just so ... high school, isn’t it?
  • The funny thing about the radio show calling Saracen “Sorenson” is that there’s a Sharks player named Sorensen and yes, I fumble typing all of those names correctly now.
  • The “Now that you’re first string, you get a first string rally girl,” thing was beyond weird. I don’t love that! (Of course, Saracen basically responding with “I can’t think about girls, I have a football game” is so endearing.)
  • Why does Smash’s mom immediately say “Is this to get back at Tim Riggins?” to Tyra when she catches her with Smash? Why do the adults know so much about their teenage drama? This is wild to me.
  • Jason talking about how Matt is just a kind and creative boy ... oh, my heart is melting already.
  • I vaguely remembered that this show used “Devil Town” by Bright Eyes at some point and here we are! What a throwback.

Before we close out today, I also need to shout out my oldest brother for texting me as soon as he found out abut this project to offer his own translation services for all of the football speak, and to Cam Mellor, for already giving me a taste of what that could look like yesterday:

See you tomorrow with 1x03!