- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
"I've got five miles to go to get home, Scribe," he said. "If you've got transportation, I'd advise...."
"Whoa, Coach," I said. "What about those 'surprising good things' you said were happening with the 30/95?"
The Coach smiled lopsidedly and relaxed in his seat.
"Oh my, yes," he said. "The walk-ons!"
"Walk-ons? What's so surprising...?"
"It's the happiest, most encouraging change of all. Wherever you look these days you find young men—truly student-athletes—coming out for teams. Even the biggest teams. Coming out because they want to come out. Because they want to play for old Bankrupt Tech, with or without a scholarship, not because they got conned into it.
"It's happening everywhere—the walk-on traffic in American college football is positively booming. Bowden says he gets an 'extraordinary number' at FSU every year. Paterno has taken to holding back a few scholarships to dangle like carrots in front of the 35 walk-ons he averages every year at Penn State. Many others are doing the same. Wayne Hardin at Temple says he actually depends on walk-ons. Of the six captains Temple has had the last two years, four were walk-ons. Gordon Adams of USC is a walk-on quarterback.
"Can you imagine what this is doing for esprit de corps? Not just on the football team, but on the entire campus? Kids working their tails off for a chance to play in a jayvee game, or maybe crack the traveling roster? Kids who weren't seduced or bribed into it, who just want to be a part? I tell you, Scribe, it's positively thrilling."
He got up to leave, removing from the zippered pocket of his sweat pants a crumpled bill and depositing it beside his empty mug. He tapped his swollen jaw and grinned.
"Incidentally," he said, "this was done by a former walk-on. Quid pro quo. Like I've always told you, Scribe, the system can work."