SI Vault
John Ed Bradley
May 01, 1995
Even after leading Nebraska to the top, Tommie Frazier still has a lot to prove
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May 01, 1995

Looking For Respect

Even after leading Nebraska to the top, Tommie Frazier still has a lot to prove

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Nobody calls him Thomas. That's his rule. Tom won't work, either. And make sure you spell Tommie right. Don't go writing it T-O-M-M-Y. You'll make him mad. You'll make him look like he just smelled something dead in the woods.

"Thomas?" a teammate said to him once.

"Hey, I don't answer to that."


"Sorry. I can't hear you."

T.J. will do, and T. Fraz is all right. But who he is—who he really and truly and don't-you-damn-forget-it is—is Tommie Frazier, senior quarterback of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, and just maybe the best college football player who'll play the game this coming season.

"Thomas! Hey, Thomas! Where you been?"

It's that noisy Warren Sapp, All-America defensive lineman for the Miami Hurricanes, and, yes, he'll have to be punished. It's early in the fourth quarter of the 1995 Orange Bowl, and Sapp's squad is leading 17-9, what seemed a wide margin until now. Sapp might weigh 285 pounds, and his butt might be so big and charged with life that it resembles a couple of bulldogs fighting in a burlap sack, but now he has infuriated the wrong man.

"Being called Tom or Thomas, that's his alltime Number 1 pet peeve," says Cornhusker running back Damon Benning, Frazier's best friend. "You can change his mood right away by doing that. You can ruin his day. I never understood the significance, but try it on him and see what happens."

"Thomas! Hey, Thomas! Where you been?"

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