Off The Hook: It’s America’s sport

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In the fall, football is king, especially in this part of the country. Not only is high school football important, but also the Buckeyes of Ohio State are very popular. Head coach Urban Meyer will be back this week.
Many football coaches in years past have not only been smart and adept at coaching, but also have had a great sense of humor. Here are a few chosen words from the good old boys.
“Gentlemen, it is better to have died a small boy than to fumble the football.” John Heisman made this statement many years ago and is the namesake for the Heisman Memorial Trophy first awarded in 1935. It is presented annually to the outstanding college football player. Heisman was a football player, a head football, basketball and baseball coach and an athletic director. He died in 1936 in New York City.
“I make my practices real hard because if a player is a quitter, I want him to quit in practice, not in a game.” Bear Bryant said this. He was the coach of Maryland, Kentucky and Texas A&M before spending 25 years at Alabama. He also said, “If you want to walk the heavenly streets of gold, you have to know the password – Roll, Tide, Roll.”
“Son, you’ve got a good engine, but your hands aren’t on the steering wheel” – Bobby Bowden, Florida State. He served as quarterback for the University of Alabama, but graduated later from Howard College. His most notable jobs were as head football coach for West Virginia and then Florida State, where he retired at 80 years old. He will be 89 this year. He also said, “After you retire, there’s only one big event left, and I ain’t ready for that.” Also, “My advice to defensive players is to take the shortest route to the ball, and arrive in a bad humor.”
“It isn’t necessary to see a good tackle, you can hear it!” Knute Rockne of Notre Dame said this. He also said, “The only qualifications for a lineman are to be big and dumb. To be a back, you only have to be dumb.”
The son of immigrant parents, Rockne played football for Notre Dame, winning All American honors in 1913. He then coached at Notre Dame for 13 years, dying in a plane crash in 1935. He also said, “If winning isn’t everything, then why bother to keep the score?”
“Football is not a contact sport, it is a collision sport; dancing is a contact sport” – Duffy Daugherty, Michigan State. Then there’s this one attributed to him, “I could have been a Rhodes Scholar except for my grades.” He played football for Syracuse University and coached at Michigan State for 18 years.
Then we have these just, plain, funny coaches:
“We didn’t tackle well today, but we made up for it by not blocking” – John McKay, University of Southern California and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach.
“They whipped us like a tied up goat” – Spike Dykes of Texas Tech.
“At Georgia Southern, we don’t cheat. That costs money, and we don’t have any” – Erskine “Erk” Russell, Georgia Southern.
“The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it” – Lou Holtz, Arkansas and Norte Dame. He also said this – “Motivation is simple. You eliminate those who are not motivated.” He also astutely said, “A lifetime contract for a coach means if you are ahead in the third quarter and moving the ball, then they can’t fire you.”
“There’s nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you – “Woody Hayes, Ohio State. Then he noted, “They couldn’t beat me with two Michigan coaches, so they had to come down here and take a coach I trained” (referring to Bo Schembechler). Also after a victory over Michigan in 1970, Hayes held up Bo’s book and said, “I read your book you SOB.” Didn’t General Patton say that, too? Hayes was a history scholar.
University of Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh is only going to dress half of his players for the game this week; the other half will have to dress themselves. This one is anonymous.
This quote has also been credited to Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer about the first game Michigan played this year. “I don’t want any more suspensions, so I’d like to report some Irish beating up those guys in the yellow and blue.”
And finally, a related football story you might like. A man is returning his Nike shoes to the store and demanding a refund. The clerk asked why? He said, “They hurt my feet when I stand for the National Anthem.”
(Melanie Behrens – melb@marysvillejt.com)



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