Stewart acknowledges the benefits of Neuheisel's advice, though he contends that different games require different degrees of preparation. Next up for Colorado: Michigan. " Ann Arbor, whoa," says Stewart. "I think I'll need a beach towel for that one."
Out of the Woods
A week earlier he'd been running into trees. An hour earlier he'd been mistaken for a student trainer. And now, on Aug. 19, Hayes Rydel—who had been admitted to TCU only that day—found himself lined up against the Horned Frogs' orneriest fullback, Koi Woods, in something called "the gauntlet drill."
"He came right at me and tried to bowl me over," says Rydel. I did the best I could, and he went backward. I was like, Yeah, this is my team."
The Horned Frogs are glad he lee Is that way. After three games Rydel, a minuscule noseguard at 6'2", 235 pounds, is fifth in the Southwest Conference in tackles, with 34.
Rydel came to TCU out of nowhere. "I always wanted to play major-college football, but I was a 190-pound noseguard at [ Arlington's] Sam Houston High," says Rydel. After spending two years at Navarro Junior College in Corsicana—where he did not start—he began training to walk on at TCU. "There is no way I could afford college," he says. "I needed a scholarship, and I didn't want to sit the bench. I have my dreams."
To help make those dreams come true, Rydel would get into full pads and use the trees in a park in Arlington as tackling dummies. "I'd get a running start of about 10 yards, wrap 'em up or practice spin moves," he says. "And you know what? They're very stable."
When Horned Frog coach Pat Sullivan learned what Rydel was putting himself through, he advised the young man that he would be much more likely to make the team if he was actually enrolled at the school. The day he was admitted. Sullivan gave him a tryout. When he walked into the locker room, Rydel was asked by a future teammate, "Hey, man. can I have a towel?"
He then went out and flattened Woods (the player, not the trees) and five days later was awarded a scholarship. When first-string noseguard Brian Brooks broke his right leg in the opener against North Carolina, Rydel went in. He had 13 tackles in the 27-17 loss to the Tar Heels, nine as the starter the next week in a 44-29 win over New Mexico and 12 in Saturday's 31-21 win versus Kansas.
"I've been playing football my entire life," says Rydel. "I haven't always started, but I certainly have never quit. "