Babblin' Brooks - Speed can leave you behind

Posted in: Sports
By Todd Brooks
Nov 1, 2012 - 8:29:44 AM

I could not help but smile to myself when talking to Marlow native Colt McCauley last week about his college football experience at Southeast Missouri State, especially when he was talking about the speed of the game.
I had received a few accolades during my high school football career so I thought I would try my hand at college football by walking on to a Division II school.
I am right at 6-foot tall on a good day, so I knew I was not tall enough or big enough to try to even attempt to walk on at a Division I school, but I was fine to play Division II.
The first lesson I learned was sure, you may have been somewhat of a good player in high school, but guess what? So is everybody else or they would not be there.
The second lesson I learned was how fast the speed of the game was. I felt like I was moving in slow motion.
Despite what some people may say, speed is not overrated. As a lineman in a wishbone offense, it was the tackles’ responsibility to get off the line and get to linebackers to block them. My problem was, by the time I got to where they were supposed to be, the linebackers were already long gone.
In high school, a player may be able to make up for a lack of speed by technique and determination, but I learned the hard way those things don’t mean a thing if you cannot get to where you need to go fast enough.
I was too stubborn to realize this the first year, plus I had made some good friends on the team and I enjoyed being a part of the team, but shortly into my second year, reality set in on me and I realized I would never probably be good enough to get playing time no matter how many years I played.
I decided to quit, which was one of the toughest decisions I had to make in my young life, because I was not a quitter. I always stuck things out, but I knew it was the best decision to make at the time.
I remember interviewing an NFL player one time and he said it was harder to go from high school to college than from college to the pros simply because the speed of the game is so much more different.
Ironically, I went to Jacksonville State in Jacksonville, Ala., which is now the Football Championship Series (Division I-AA for us old-timers). They play in the Ohio Valley Conference, which is a conference rival to McCauley’s Southeast Missouri State team.
For those who are playing now, enjoy it while you can, time goes by a lot faster than you think and before you know it, you will be like me and so many other middle-age men reminiscing about old glory days of yesteryear.