Bishop set the school record for pass efficiency, and his 2,844 yards through the air made him one of college football's most dynamic players. It was little wonder he was invited to the Heisman Trophy ceremony, finishing second to Texas running back Ricky Williams.
"Michael was a quality leader for that team in a far different way than Collin is," Snyder said. "Still, his teammates responded to him quite well in a positive way. People responded to him because he made plays."
Klein can make plays, too.
The wide receiver-turned quarterback has put up pass efficiency numbers similar to Bishop, and he's proven to be more elusive on the ground. The result has been record-setting touchdown totals and frontrunner status for college football's most coveted individual award.
"Collin's leadership goes beyond that," Snyder said. "They respond to him, not only by what he does, but also what he addresses them about in the areas other than just football, and Michael's thing was just on the football field."
Klein's example off the field is just as meaningful as his example on it, and it affects the behavior of his teammates in a positive way.
"Just being around him kind of makes you want to be a better person as well," said fullback Braden Wilson. "I'll find myself doing things I normally wouldn't just because I'm around him and he's influencing me for the better."
Wilson provided this example: Klein doesn't swear, so even though he doesn't police what other people on the team say, they tend to avoid cursing in an effort to follow in his footsteps.
"That relates to just doing the little things right, as far as everything's concerned, not just things when you think somebody's watching you," Wilson said.
Of course, the '98 team had similar leaders.
Aaron Lockett remembers teammates like Travis Ochs, running back Brian Goolsby, kick returner Lamar Chapman and defensive end Joe Bob Clements — currently an assistant coach — and the way they rallied the team on a week-by-week basis.
"They walked the walk," Lockett said.
Just like this year's team.
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