Daily Herald's 2017 Season Coverage
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updated: 8/23/2012 3:30 PM

Naperville North, Comcast going all out to do 'All In'

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  • Daniel White/dwhite@dailyherald.comNaperville North High School football coach Sean Drendel prepares for the upcoming season.

    Daniel White/dwhite@dailyherald.comNaperville North High School football coach Sean Drendel prepares for the upcoming season.


Comcast's Erik Anschicks and Mark Krueger had no idea what they were getting themselves into.

Neither did Naperville North football coach Sean Drendel and Huskies athletic director Jim Konrad.

But with everyone jumping in feet first, "All In" is taking on a completely different meaning this fall.

"It's all I think about," Krueger said with a laugh. "I wake up thinking about it."

The brainchild of co-producers Anschicks and Krueger, "All In" is a CN100 program similar to HBO's "Hard Knocks." But unlike "Hard Knocks," which focuses on an NFL team's preseason activities, "All In" will follow Naperville North's football team from the beginning of the season to the end.

Anschicks and Krueger began filming in early June. That means if the Huskies make a deep playoff run, this could end up being a six-month project.

"Me and Erik kind of had the same vision of a 'Hard Knocks' kind of documentary, but we'd never seen anything like that at the high school level," Krueger said. "We're three months in, we've got about 80 hours of footage, and we haven't even aired yet."

It's a tremendous commitment on both ends.

While Anschicks and Krueger are "All In" with Comcast's dedication to the project, Drendel, Konrad and the Huskies have reciprocated by offering Comcast unprecedented access to their football program. The negotiations went as high as the District 203 school board, but the prevailing opinion was that "All In" could be a tremendous benefit to all involved.

"There were probably a bunch of coaches out there wondering if I was crazy for agreeing to this," said Drendel, who regularly sits down with Krueger for extensive interviews. "My ultimate job is to do what's best for the team and the players. Deep down, an experience like this might be more important than the games."

That's a bold statement from someone who has been entrenched in Naperville North football since he played for the Huskies 20 years ago. There's a level of trust on both sides, however, that this will be nothing close to a hatchet job.

This is the first edition of "All In." If Anschicks and Krueger want to keep this series going with other football programs in the future, they certainly don't want to sully their reputations.

When the duo came to the Daily Herald's Lisle office a couple of months ago to interview yours truly for "All In," Anschicks scouted the location the day before and arrived two hours before the scheduled interview time to set up the piles of equipment.

The meticulous system shows in the final product set to debut on CN100 at 6 p.m. Sept. 6. Additional episodes will be broadcast every other week.

Anschicks and Krueger arranged an eclectic group of interview subjects beyond this year's team. In addition to yours truly, they've interviewed recruiting gurus "Edgy" Tim O'Halloran and Tom Lemming, and they've traveled to Eagle River, Wis., to interview retired Naperville North football coach Larry McKeon.

At times the process has seemed overwhelming, but as of early this week Krueger estimated the first episode was about 85 percent complete.

"I've been in front of the camera for 23 years, and this is my first time behind it," Krueger said. "I had no idea it would take up this much time. I keep thinking, 'What story can we do next ... who do we talk to next?'"

There's no doubt Comcast and Naperville North are "All In" this together. Whether they're behind the camera or in front of it, everyone's hoping for a good season.

For Drendel, the positives far outweigh the hassles.

"I'm hoping it sheds some light on some of the things we do," he said. "I say that because I think we do things the right way."

Follow me...

I'm officially immersed in the world of tweeting.

For those of you wanting to keep up on the latest goings on in high school football, I encourage you to follow me on Twitter @kevin_schmit.

In addition to preview information leading up to game day, I'll be tweeting updated scores from the games I cover (this weekend I'll be at Neuqua Valley-Naperville North and Wheaton Warrenville South-Glenbard West). I'll also tweet postgame reports.

Tell your friends, tell your enemies ... tell anyone you think might be interested in DuPage County football.

Follow Kevin's high school sports reports on Twitter @kevin_schmit

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