great instincts and vision—"the best I've seen in 38 years of
coaching," says Novak—with the focus and discipline he has acquired since
arriving in DeKalb. Over the summer he asked running backs coach Thomas Hammock
for, among other footage, tape of the Kansas City Chiefs. He wanted to see how
6'1", 230-pound Larry Johnson hit the holes in K.C.'s zone-blocking scheme,
which is similar to the Huskies'.
that the Heisman is a long shot. Of all the stars to emerge from the MAC in
recent seasons—quarterbacks Chad Pennington, Byron Leftwich and Ben
Roethlisberger—only Pennington received serious Heisman consideration (fifth in
the 1999 voting). Still, if Wolfe continues to lead the nation in rushing by
such a ridiculous margin, he deserves at least a trip to New York.
constituency already appreciates him. At a gathering of the Playboy preseason
All-America team in Phoenix over the summer, Wolfe mingled with players from
higher-profile conferences, such as wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett from USC and
quarterback Troy Smith and wideout Ted Ginn from Ohio State. They recognized
him from Northern Illinois's midweek appearances on national TV and told him
how much they admired his work.
Leave it to a
roomful of stars to know one of their own.
Patience Pays For
John Beck's first
three snaps as a BYU quarterback went like this: sack, fumble,
But there was an
upside to this sorry series, which occurred during the Cougars' nationally
televised game against Georgia Tech in 2003. ESPN temporarily lost its feed, so
Beck's friends back home never saw the carnage.
Those three plays
provided an appropriately tumultuous beginning to the "long, rocky
road" that Beck traveled for the next three seasons. That description comes
from Cougars second-year coach Bronco Mendenhall, who stood smiling under the
lights at TCU's Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth last Thursday night. In what
the coach described as the most significant win of his career, the Cougars
knocked off the 15th-ranked Horned Frogs 31--17, snapping the nation's longest
winning streak at 13 games. It was BYU's third win of the season—following
narrow, dagger-in-the-heart losses to Arizona and Boston College—and its first
road win over a ranked opponent in nine years.
The best player
in the stadium was Beck, now an even-keeled senior who took the field with what
appeared to be two pounds of tape on each ankle. (He has badly sprained both
this season.) Against TCU's swarming 4-2-5 defense and behind a line missing a
pair of starters, Beck was better than good, perfectly dropping balls into
spots and calmly working through his progressions. He finished with 23
completions in 37 attempts for 321 yards, with three touchdowns and no