The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Southern slugfest
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 23, 2024

The No. 3 Texas A&M baseball team took on No. 1 Tennessee Thursday at 1 p.m. at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Alabama. Despite its...

Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
Down but not out
May 23, 2024
Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
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Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

Toast with Toates’: behind the scenes

Photo By: Sarah Lane
Jeff Toates, university studies sophomore, produces the YouTube series “Toast with Toates.”
Photo By: Sarah Lane Jeff Toates, university studies sophomore, produces the YouTube series “Toast with Toates.”

Gracie Mock, Battalion news reporter, sat down with William “Jeff” Toates, university studies sophomore, who produces the YouTube series “Toast with Toates,” which features Aggie athletes. The series releases a new episode every other Tuesday on Texas A&M Athletics’ YouTube channel.
THE BATTALION: What got you interested in starting this series?
TOATES: The original idea was basically to do a rapid-fire Q&A-type interview that would literally just take as long as toast was cooking and actually have it real time. And so that was kind of a unique idea, both with the play on words with my last name, and then using the toaster as a timing element for an interview, but then obviously it’s gotten a lot more than just that and we’ve integrated some sketch-type stuff along with just the interview and obviously it takes a lot longer than toast would actually cook. It’s something we’ve had a lot of fun with and it has really kind of evolved over time. I’m a huge Aggie sports fan, so that’s before anything. I was a huge fan of all these people, all the athletes and sports, and so getting the opportunity to do this was really fun, something I enjoy doing.
THE BATTALION: Do the athletes know what’s coming when they agree to an interview?
TOATES: No, they don’t. Most of them have no idea what they got themselves into, and so some of our best stuff has been when they think they’re doing a serious interview. It’s probably 50 percent scripted and then 50 percent reacting to what they say and going with that. A lot of the reactions are pretty genuine, and we put that in the episode. A lot of it is just them being weirded out. All the athletes have been really good sports. They think it’s funny.
THE BATTALION: What was your favorite episode to film?
TOATES: That’s tough. I really enjoyed the Connor McQueen one because he’s hilarious and it was really awkward and we were at an ice rink and we filmed it in October because we had to film it during their bye-week, when he had time, but I had to explain to him that it was going to be Christmas themed because it was coming out in December, so it was just a lot of fun. And then, probably, the Drew Kaser one, just because how that turned out. All that happened with that, it was a lot of fun.
THE BATTALION: Do you have a YouTube inspiration?
TOATES: A lot of people have said it’s like “Between Two Ferns” obviously, so we definitely get some inspiration for just general feel of the show from that. In addition to that, I would say the Comedy Central show “Nathan For You,” which a lot of people haven’t heard of, but it’s a very awkward, similar type of show.
THE BATTALION: Do people recognize you from the videos?
TOATES: I’ve had a lot of people be like, “You look familiar, like, where is it from?” And then it’s conceited to be, like, “Oh, you probably watch my series,” so I’m like, “I don’t know, maybe we had a class together.” Generally the only time people really come up and talk to me is on Northgate, that’s when people are like, “Can we take a picture?” And I’m like, “You’re going to regret this when you’re sober and you realize I’m not famous.” Random people tell me that they like it on Twitter and stuff like that and so I really enjoy that.
THE BATTALION: What can we expect in this upcoming semester?
TOATES: I think we set a pretty good precedent for this semester with the Zumba and Logan Nottebrok. We’re trying to get as crazy as possible, honestly. One of the things you’ll see is more cross-sport integration, like an athlete from one sport teaching another athlete their sport, get multiple athletes involved like that. Get crazier places — like ice rinks — where we’re filming, stuff like that. Just grow the show is essentially our main goal and to hit every sport we haven’t yet, because this is really the final semester of the show and so by the end of this, we want to have done at least every sport once and also to get Coach Sumlin. It’s the last semester and I really encourage people to check it out if they haven’t seen it.
THE BATTALION: What is the craziest thing you’ve done on the show?
TOATES: My favorite non-interview segment we’ve done has been the tennis pick-up lines on campus with tennis player Jackson Withrow. We make him use tennis-related pick-up lines on random people on campus, and we filmed for like two hours, probably, and it was hilarious. We put the best minute and a half in that video and it was funny and it was a lot of fun to do and I really like the way that one turned out. So that was probably the craziest, that was pretty weird and they told us no more material like that.
THE BATTALION: If you could have toast with any athlete, from any time, who would it be and why?
TOATES: Johnny Manziel, 100 percent. But more realistically Coach Sumlin. I’d be scared to do that but I feel like he’s awesome — I feel like he’d be really funny.

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