It’s the first day of school in Tupelo. Having now survived the excitement/drama created by the event, I’m about to head over to Ole Miss for practice.
I’ve been walking practice fields – and game fields in the final minutes – for a long time. At practice, I’m always careful to walk around drills and stay out of the way.
The closest I’ve come to being run over was by DeAngelo Williams, the former start running back at Memphis, in 2003 when the Rebels lost 44-34 at the Liberty Bowl, the second game of Eli Manning’s senior season.
That game also included a 91-yard Memphis touchdown pass to aid a Tigers’ comeback. If memory serves me correctly, and sometimes it does not, Trumaine McBride was a freshman in coverage on that play and slipped or somehow lost his footing. The receiver went uncontested to the end zone after a 40- or 50-yard pass.
Anyway, it was toward the end of the game when Memphis had the ball, and Williams swept to his left. The pursuit ran him out of bounds right at me. I was able to meet Williams up close and personally. I never hit the ground. I managed to back pedal and stay just ahead of the momentum of the play and had enough room ahead of the retaining wall for the play to wind down.
It did show me, however, that I needed a different appraoch for the next time. Since then I’ve improved my lateral movement. It’s not enough to back pedal when the play is already coming at you. You need to move left and right, even if that makes the people beside you uncomfortable.
No close calls at Ole Miss camp so far.
I’ll have an update on the blog this afternoon.