The Olsen Files notebook: Day 1
Day 1: Wednesday, February 22, 2012
1:30 p.m.: Documentary Team Conference call -That was entered into my cell phone calendar:
I dial in - while Lardy (Michael Lardner), Mike Quick, Leandra Reilly, Tony D’Angelo, Scott Mackiewicz and the rest of the production staff assigned to this documentary are assembled in a conference room. I am attending via the speaker phone.
Quick introduces the cast of characters that make up the famous Olsen family to those on the production team who do not know who they are. The Olsen family consists of Chris Olsen, the father, athletic director and head football coach at Wayne Hills High School in New Jersey; Sue, the family matriarch; and three sons, Chris, Greg and Kevin. Each son has played high school football and each was coached by their father Chris at Wayne Hills.
Lardy, the Executive Producer and leader of the MSG Varsity ship has been reading up on the Olsen family. Talk show host Mike Quick brought the project to the table. And production personnel Leandra and Mark Robinson chime in about what and how we can accomplish our goals.
I am so pumped up. This is such an incredible opportunity… we get to follow around Kevin Olsen, the top quarterback prospect in the nation, and I am in the thick of it. The meeting lasts about a half hour. We talk scheduling, potential trips and the overall logistics of how this is going down.
I am in the car during the call because, coincidentally, it is also the first day of shooting on the documentary. I am at Wayne Hills getting ready to watch and document Kevin, the school’s star quarterback.
The conference call was short and sweet with promises of follow up meetings in the coming weeks. It ended… but no one said goodbye -- I was still on the phone!!! So in typical Mike Quick fashion, busting my chops, he tells me to stay on the line. Meanwhile every single person had left the conference room. Quick was the last one out the door and reminded me to please stay on the phone but, of course, no one is there!
Eventually I hung up the phone, disappointed in myself for falling for Quick’s “hold the line” prank.
Now I’m in the high school, chatting with coach Olsen, who brings me straight to the weight room where Kevin is dripping in sweat, as he is halfway into his work out.
Fortunately, he is excited to see us and ready to take the next step in this amazing journey. He finishes with power cleans, one-legged squats and incline bench press. Then we head to the field and on the way he breaks down his college choices, (remember this is February of his junior year in high school.)
Top on the list are Miami, North Carolina, Arkansas, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Florida, Florida State, and Alabama. But I think ‘Bama is a question mark for the moment because offensive coordinator Jim McElwain, who offered Kevin his initial scholarship has moved on to become the Head coach at Colorado State.
Now the New Offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, formerly of the University of Washington, has yet to evaluate Kevin and his offer to “Roll Tide” is on hold for the moment. What a crazy turn of events. We were all set to schedule Alabama for the last week of March for a visit -but now it could be South Carolina or Arkansas in that slot.
Kevin, spends the next hour, throwing with three of his wide receivers- working on timing, as well as relationships with new receivers, all while vigorously going through the pass playbook with his teammates. Three-step, five-step, seven-step and roll outs were all repeated one after another, like an energizer bunny. The entire time… I’m interviewing him as he fields questions while throwing some pretty impressive balls.
(Background alert: Steve Levy was an All-State QB at Don Bosco Prep and Player of the Year in NJ, played QB in college where he led Cal to an impressive win over Stanford and later a Las Vegas Bowl victory against BYU with an impressive 228 yard passing performance that included 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. Today he is football analyst and sportscaster at MSG Varsity.)
Kevin has a short compact delivery, strong arm, great feet and tremendous pocket presence. He looks like he was born to be there, and I guess you could say he was: Older brother Chris was also a QB at Wayne Hills, and later the team captain at Virginia. Older brother Greg, played TE at Miami, and was selected in the first round (31st overall) by the Chicago Bears in 2007. Greg is currently with the Carolina Panthers. So yes, in a sense, Kevin was born to do this.
Next up, oldest brother Chris introduces his new fiancé to the family for the first time. Chris lives in Chicago where he met his fiancé. Now he is bring her to New Jersey.
Meanwhile, Greg and his wife Kara are bringing home their new son Tate Parker Olsen (first grandchild.) While mom and coach will enjoy having their entire crew under one roof. Should be awesome! This family is hilarious and best of all--- they wear their hearts on their sleeve.