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July 27, 2012Even going back to the videos and comparing Seth Doege at Media Days in 2011 and then in 2012 you can tell there's something different about the Red Raiders signal caller's confidence level.
You really had to be there to get the full feel though.
His confidence has not waivered from a 5-7 season. In fact, Doege looks better than ever in handling interviews.
In past years you'd need to talk to Doege for about 10 minutes before he really got comfortable with you.
Big 12 Media Days is an intimidating place. There are sports celebrities all over between the coaches, the hotshot players from the past season and the best TV and print reporters in the college football world.
Doege was ready for it in 2011 even if he didn't feel like it. He had a full spring of interviews under his belt and a few summer interviews. But on this day he'd be doing at least five live radio interviews, interviews with national TV networks like ESPN and FSN and interviews with the best in the business in the print media sector.
He was wide eyed though and probably thought he wasn't doing as well as he could as most of us do in public speaking engagements. A year later, he's the first to tell you he was too stiff and felt like he wasn't saying the right things.
So there was Doege in July, 2011, standing somewhere on the second floor of the Westin Galleria Hotel being called into business conference rooms that had been turned into makeshift TV studios for the day. He was looking a little nervous.
Somewhere in the middle of this one-hour process, with all the TV interview rooms currently occupied, he worked his way over to Cody Davis, a group of Texas Tech personnel and Tech beat reporters who were tailing the delegation around for the day.
The conversation turned to a weekend Doege recently had at Cedar Creek Lake in East Texas and without the recorders in his face he talked freely about hanging out there on a free day.
He really opened up after he heard the story about the counterfeit Fuddruckers in Gun Barrel City, Texas, which is the biggest city on the lake.
You don't know the counterfeit Fuddruckers story? Let's get to that first.
Restaurants come and go in Gun Barrel City. They're extremely profitable in the summer months and the best ones barely get by after Labor Day when the weekenders close up their travels.
If you're not a Chili's, a fast food joint or a long standing restaurant from the days before Cedar Creek was even dammed up to form a lake, you're going to fold sooner than later.
The story goes some genius rushed to build a Fuddruckers in Gun Barrel City for the summer months right on the main drag and was doing pretty good business despite a ton of code violations in the kitchen.
But some lady wrote into Fuddruckers' corporate office to complain about a burger she had eaten. When the office looked up the Gun Barrel City restaurant, it wasn't even on the list of operational Fuddruckers.
Essentially, there was a counterfeit Fuddruckers operating in Gun Barrel City with Fuddruckers' signs and furniture in the layout of a Fuddruckers restaurant.
Doege laughed and opened up more to the group and the relationships in the circle had a two-way foundation.
Once Doege opens up it takes about a millisecond to learn that he is a genuinely good person. He went from being Doege the quarterback to Seth.
He's a lot like us at 20-something. He likes to go to the lake, he works hard in the classroom, he has a long-time girlfriend and subsequently she is now his fianc?he's passionate about football and he's interested in community outreach.
At the time he wanted to become a football coach but those plans are now in flux.
He'd tell you that he was hungry. He'd reflect on the questions he had been asked. He told you he was getting tired from catching the first flight into town that morning and he was hoping the delegation could get an earlier flight out of town on Southwest. Because that wasn't possible he wanted to know the best restaurant to eat at around the Galleria.
But to everyone else there he was just an unknown first-year starting quarterback at Tech talking about his expectations for himself and the team.
With a year under his belt, and a rough one at that from a wins and losses perspective, he returned to Media Days in 2012 as Seth. A confident everyman who does his best and just happens to quarterback the Red Raider football team.
He told you what he really thought and almost all of it was positive. He seemed to enjoy his time more.
"I think my talking skills and being able to talk in front of people and expressing what my opinions are and how I am feeling is just so much more easier than it was last year," Doege said. "I had three years where I didn't talk to anybody but maybe the quarterbacks. Now that I've been in front of the entire team for two years it has really helped me out being in front of cameras and voicing how I feel about this football team and what I think.
"I just feel very confident in talking now."
Doege won't ever be a fiery team leader like Tim Tebow in the National Championship Game, but he has adopted his own style of leadership and with that comes more confidence. He's confident in himself and his teammates as they try to reach for at the very least bowl eligibility.
Because he's confident, everyone else is more confident.
He writes notes to inspire his receivers. He plays around on his teammates when it's appropriate to do so. He is respected enough that he can express his true opinions about the team behind closed doors and he's a good second diplomat for the program behind head coach Tommy Tuberville.
Now, if only the media outside of Lubbock could get his last name right consistently. It's pronounced 'DAY-gy' and not 'Dough-edge,' 'Dodge,' 'Doggy,' or 'DAY-Jee.'
If Doege can apply his newfound leadership skills to the same gameplay last season plus the addition of second-year experience, maybe others will commit his name pronunciation to memory.
"I remember when I was little my dad would answer the phone and it'd be a telemarketer or a sales rep or whoever it may be and they'd mispronounce it," Doege said. "He'd get mad and say, 'It's Doege!' And he'd slam the phone down and I'm thinking they're never going to get 'DAY-gy' out of D-o-e-g-e.
"Maybe now a telemarketer will call and say, 'Is Randy Doege there?' He'd probably be pretty pumped."
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