The stories you hear are just amazing. Good and bad.
I had these two boys for nine months. We get them, and oh man, they're just an absolute mess. Just cussing us right and left, every word you've ever imagined.
The boys would say, “That's what my mom says.” I said, “Well, I understand that. But those aren't the words we use in our house.” Eventually they quit doing it.
They've gone back home to their mom. We were able to minister to the mom, work with the family, work with those boys. We gave them big birthday parties. Had fun with them. Loved them.
To me, on the risk versus reward, the reward always outweighs it because you're gonna pour into someone's life. If you're pouring into people, you're gonna be blessed more than you can imagine.
The walking-on process was very difficult. Freshman year, being on scout team, I remember (offensive coordinator) Dick Winder. … The third-team center got hurt, so I got to go in. I messed it up, and he said, “Get out of there,” and he called me the other guy's name.
Everybody was like, “That's not him.” And he said, “I don't care who you are. Just get out.”
That was a pretty low moment.
I remember going through spring ball and not getting any reps. I thought, “What am I doing?” Through the course of my first spring ball, different guys shuffled around and got hurt, so I got a lot of time.
My redshirt freshman year, I was a back-up, and after that year is when I got on scholarship. I spent two years as a walk-on.
The experience I gained my first year of actually being able to play kinda whet that appetite. Really gave me confidence and determination. “I am a walk-on, yes, but you're not gonna treat me like one. I'm still gonna get after you. I'm still gonna outwork you.”
I remember the first spring with Coach Stoops, I tore my pec muscle during practice. I was backing up a guy. I started probably three-fourths of Coach (John) Blake's last season and played in every game. So coming into the next season, I was the back-up and wasn't too happy about it.
At first, Coach Mangino was like, “This guy's an ex-walk on. What am I gonna get out of him?” And there's nothing wrong with that. That's just kinda how it is. Walk-ons are expendable.
Over time, some of them can prove to have some high value.
If someone called me and said they were thinking about walking on, I would not sugarcoat it one bit. I would tell them the truth. No one sugarcoated it for me; I just went into it clueless, and I had a very unique experience that doesn't happen very often.
I'd tell them the truth. Tell them it's hard. There are so many walk-on guys who never see the field. It's not for everybody.
There's a nice little YouTube video out there of Torrance (Marshall) talking trash to (Chris) Weinke at the pregame coin toss before the Orange Bowl.
I wasn't surprised because he did that every game. He was talking smack to everybody. He and Ontei Jones were both from Florida, both from Miami, I think. At practice, they never shut up.
I'm not the greatest at on-the-fly comebacks. I wouldn't say much, but I'm gonna cheat and hold, and do the little things that offensive linemen do to mess with them and make them mad.
It was just an ongoing thing between us. He was the middle linebacker and I was the center. So we're gonna mess with each other.
After the Orange Bowl, it was kinda surreal. My brother-in-law and I went to eat at Denny's. I think it was like 3 in the morning, and were sitting down eating and the waitress is waiting on us, they had no idea what I just did. They didn't really care, probably, either.
As the years go, this year being the last year of the BCS, there's just a sense of pride that we were there and able to accomplish that.