Guest Post: A Former Player’s Insight
Cory Clark won last week’s prediction contest and earned the right to guest post. Here’s his take on the 2016 Dukes from his perspective of a former JMU football player.
Well it took 5+ years and I finally got one right (although I wish I would have been off by 30 or more). I’ve talked about this day with my wife and a good friend. We talked for so long about what I would say when I won that when the moment got here I hit a writer’s block (Yeah, I checked the blog after the game on Friday and knew I had won. No, there weren’t enough adult beverages to calm my nerves after that win). I had suggestions to write about the game and break it down the way I always do. Then I thought I should write about what it’s like to be a former player and current coach sitting in the stands. But as I sat down to write this it hit me that I’m either the first or one of the few former players to earn this honor so I might as well tell you what it takes to be JMU Football player. Don’t worry, in the end I will give a little breakdown of our National Championship game that we can all argue about.
What do an airhorn, McGraw-Long Hall, the smell of turkey/dog food and humidity all have in common? They all happen to be waiting for you at 6am when two-a-days start. Well that’s just for the young guys..the vets realize early on it’s better to get up at 530am so you can get a head start at the bagel line and get away from that damn air horn (WAAAAAHHHHHH!!! Trust me it is worse than any baby’s cry).
Two-a-days are no joke, this is where the coaches really decide who is going to be a starter and who is going to be a tackling dummy (like me for the first 2 years). It is every man for himself and no one should be there to make friends (make a friend at a football party..yes there are certain implications there that I’m not going to touch because my wife will read this). Two-a-days are rife with injuries, vomiting, weight loss, weight gain, missing your family, too many meals a day to count and just an overall feeling of you are just tired of getting your ass kicked with no game to look forward to!!
Then comes that glorious first week of normal practices…except now you have to go to class first…and actually take time to feed yourself. Oh and don’t forget that we are still lifting two days a week and on Sunday. But look on the bright side, conditioning is only Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. While these practices are definitely easier it sounds like our boy Mike Houston has ratcheted up the intensity to the days of yore and I love it. Iron sharpens iron after all and that’s really what those practices are all about, getting better and getting ready for that week’s chump opponent.
What people don’t know about scholar-athletes (which a lot of us really are trying to be) is that we have to schedule our classes so they don’t conflict with our lifting or practice schedule. And God help you if you have a professor that isn’t a football supporter. If that happens you probably will have to take the exam scheduled for Friday a few days earlier than everyone else (away games travel, home games you stay in a hotel off campus).
Leave sometime Friday, share a hotel room with another player, bed check, more practice and hotel food. GAMEDAY!! Fly or bus home same day/night. Sunday is treatment and light lifting. Hope you didn’t put off writing that paper or studying for that exam.
And NONE of what I have said even touches on off season lifting/running, Spring Practice, summer 7on7 and weight training.
Sorry, it probably sounds like I am complaining that my 5 glorious years as a JMU Football player sucked. And it did at times. Here are my Top 3 times it sucked:
- When Mickey told a fellow OL “Son you are stupid and I can’t coach stupid.” (although this is one of favorite Mickey stories)
- In 1997 when Ron Prince said to me “Cory, of all the offensive lineman you were the last one I expected to last three years.” He took another job a few weeks later (Hey Ron, I made it longer at JMU than you did at KSU).
- April, 1999. Zach Annon and I are walking by the Village. There are guys openly drinking beer and throwing Frisbee. There are girls tanning in their bikinis. Meanwhile we are on the way to another ass chewing from Mickey. I REALLY wanted to join the Village crew that day.
Sure it was hard but anything worth getting is going to be that way. At least that is what I’ll teach this future JMU Duke.
And damn it, this fat kid right here deserved the ring:
I’m sure I’m past a word limit here but here are my thoughts for Jan. 7th.
JMU is the better team in all three phases of the game (four if you count coaching). They have bigger road wins than YSU and they friggin’ rolled NDSU at the Fargo Dome!! That game wouldn’t even have been close if it is at JMU or a neutral field. There won’t be that normal next week’s game let down because they have 3 weeks to prepare for YSU. The 7 suspended players didn’t play at NDSU and look what we did. This will be a HOME GAME for JMU because we are buying up tickets like crazy. So how does JMU win? Simply put they have to do what they have done all year. Run the ball at will, throw when necessary and don’t turn the ball over. On defense just listen to Bob Trott and do whatever the F*** that man says because it’s working. My way too early prediction for the Natty is JMU – 48, YSU – 21.