4th and 20
It Ain’t Always Handlebars! It’s ALWAYS “Why We Work” For Moments Like This…..
Imagine playing in the BIGGEST football game of your life up to that point. Orenthal on our sideline talking football and in-game adjustments 👀. THE BIGGEST FOOTBALL GAME in program HISTORY up to that point 👀! Millions of people watching this game! ALL eyes on YOU and the other 21 on the field for THIS PLAY. FIRST EVER game that GameDay is on location. That’s how BIG this game was! ONE PLAY! Score or the game is OVER! CAN WE PUT IT ALL TOGETHER AND EXTEND THE GAME!! One of the GREATEST touchdowns in program history. One of the GREATEST touchdowns in a college football game (they replay it EVERY TIME we play Notre Dame)! And it ALL could have ended HORRIBLY!!!
Coming into this game we were SO DISRESPECTFUL!!!
I couldn’t stand Notre Dame! The ONLY SCHOOL that lost interest when I got hurt my senior year! The nerve of them (AHAHAHAHAHAHA). So I was ALL IN with the DISRESPECT!! My TEAM was at the game! TIME TO APPLY PRESSURE!!!!
They talk about the ZONE an athlete gets into. Everything slows down! All that occupies the area that your aura encompasses MOVES in slow motion. The pre-snap mindgame! You could hear every Notre Dame fan cheering. You could hear our fan base faintly tomahawk chopping with EVERYTHING they’ve got! You could feel EVERY eye on you. What are you going to do? Are you going to ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE?
EVERYTHING you do on EVERY play MATTERS. But this play is under a HUGE MICROSCOPE!! It would either result in a chance to win or an ASTOUNDING AND ABRUPT END!! EVERY millisecond counted.
I’ve got to go backwards and I’m TASKED with stopping an OVERLY AGGRESSIVE 6-4 290 pound man from coming in that same direction. He can see the ball. I CAN’T! At this point you are playing on INSTINCT especially when you are on that ISLAND! You’ve got to know you can GET THE JOB DONE or the situation alone will DEFEAT you!!
Coach Bowden Coach Holtz college football coaching ICONS. Two STORIED programs in tradition and some of the BEST players the game has EVER seen. Number 1 vs Number 2! When talking TALENT to go along with the MANY draft picks; the eventual Heisman trophy winner was on the field for this play. An NBA lottery picks father was on the field for this play. You even had a Marvel ACTOR 👀 on the field for this MOST IMPORTANT play!
I was BLOWED! I’m TIRED as hell! This isn’t just a physically exhausting game. This was a mentally draining event we were engaged in!! To add to the mental and physical exhaustion we were experiencing we were trying to win in a tough environment something we had done all season. This was DIFFERENT though! We were always playing CATCH UP in this game. What’s left in the tank? HEART!!
“LEFT TACKLE” one of the MOST DIFFICULT positions to play and perform at an optimum level in a hostile environment. They’ve got their ears pinned back! They know what we need! No guessing! No play action! No TRICK plays! It’s 4th down! FINGER TIPS WHITE! THEY ARE COMING! It’s GOAL or GO! We either score a touchdown or GO HOME! The clock was ticking TIME WAS RUNNING OUT!
All that sacrifice you put in prior (was one of Tom Shaws BEST pupils that summer)! The BigFella was running quarters at 330lbs on Mike Long Track 👀! THE BIGGEST OF MOMENTS! Everybody is glued to the TV ANXIOUSLY watching. Seminole fans fingers crossed! Seminole fans praying for a miracle. Some fans too nervous to even watch the play! The ball is snapped and REALLY DUDE!!!!!!
Let’s Go Back To My Pre Snap Read: They were rushing 3 and dropping 8 in coverage! So that meant we have got to give Charlie extra time to go through his progressions and to do that thing that he does! So many things can happen (the had 8 to cover 5). We had to give the receivers extra time to find a crease and get open! Then there was the possibility that Charlie might decide to run. If he does we have to be ready to do that too! All or NOTHING! So to do what I did in the moment that I did it when WE HAD TO SCORE was truly a “LEAN FORWARD AND CHOKE YOURSELF” moment! I mean literally this would have the BIGGEST BLUNDER OF MY FOOTBALL LIFE!
Buddy was damn near in a 7 technique he was so wide! THE ONE THING I COULDN’T DO AS A PASS BLOCKER IS STEP UP! I took a false step! I STEPPED up 👀! In my mind I’m thinking Big Fella “What Are We Doing Right Now!!
HE SAW IT TOO 👀! When I look buddy is MOVING! In his mind he is getting ready to make the “PLAY OF THE YEAR” against the number one team in the country on the soon be named OBVIOUS Heisman trophy winner in the BIGGEST GAME OF THE YEAR! THE GAME OF THE CENTURY!!
He was going to have a poster in the football facility! He was going to have a story to tell his kids and grandkids about the play he made in THE GAME OF THE CENTURY to end it! His family probably got REALLY excited in the stands! His high school coach was probably jumping up and down as the play began to unfold! His defensive line coach who was probably ANGRY because we were driving down the field probably started to crack a smile as he saw what was the beginnings of a BEAUTIFUL ENDING.
Then it happened. Everything slowed down again. Don’t freak out Fo! Never that! We Are Built Different! Muscle Memory! You see BETTER everyday! You practice with 55 and 58 EVERY DAY! Big Guy this is what you came here for. These are the moments true competitors most enjoy.
No way I can go back to Tallahassee as the guy that gave up the sack that ended the game and ended our run to the Championship. Definitely can’t go to the “Moon” tonight after giving up the play that ended the BIGGEST game EVER! THIS IS A MONEY GAME!!! These the ones the scouts want to see.
REALITY starts to set in! I’m a BETTER athlete than this guy. Time to go AGAINST the grain! Open that outside shoulder be AN ATHLETE! Do what you do LETS GO GET HIM!!!!
Quick feet (racquetball Leach Center all summer). As he is going up the field and makes his move to reach around me and touch Charlie it’s time to EXTEND that right arm and go STRETCH ARMSTRONG on buddy. MUSCLE him up and LEAN! It’s 4th and NOW OR NEVER 👀!!! LEAN, LEAN, LEAN! Get airborne if necessary but stay in-between him and Charlie.
Although we didn’t win the game because we scored on that play we were within one score which gave us a chance to tie the game on the last play! We did not fall in the polls because of that scenario, which ultimately led to us playing for the CHAMPIONSHIP! None of this happens if buddy gets the sack.
The job got done but it all could have went LEFT! Whatever it takes. This Is “Why We Work”