Aug. 26, 2004
If you could open and run any kind of restaurant, what kind of food would you serve and where?
I would put the Blairsville Restaurant in downtown Atlanta. They serve the best country cooking, ever. Country fried steak, chicken and dumplings, fried chicken, lima bean, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy.
If you were elected to be the President of the U.S. tomorrow, what would be your first act?
Cut taxes. I would reform the income tax.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I ride horses a lot. I teach people to ride every once in a while. I bought my wife’s engagement ring with a horse that I sold. I sold a horse and bought her a ring. I know it’s a little country.
How difficult is it to balance school, football and a wife?
The classes’ part doesn’t bother me. The biggest part that bothers me is knowing that if I am up here at night she is at home alone. She just moved up here and really doesn’t have anyone to talk to and stuff.
What would be your ultimate Sports Center highlight?
Win the Daytona 500.
Who is your favorite driver?
Bill Elliot. You can’t be from Georgia and not cheer for Bill Elliot.
If you could communicate with any type of animal, which would you pick?
A horse. I don’t know that’s kind of boring. Maybe a sea turtle. I would like to communicate with a sea turtle because I scuba dive and I would like to know what they think when they see me down there.
If you had to exchange wardrobes with someone on the team, whose clothes would you want?
Oh definitely Reggie Ball. I would lose my khakis and collared shirt and go with the army hat every once in a while, the big shorts.
Whose clothes would you not want?
George Cooper, most definitely. It’s way too colorful, and just out of the ordinary.
Tell about one visible scar…
When David Justice hit the homerun in the ’95 World Series I jumped up and hit a light, and the light came down and hit me in the head. You can’t really see it unless you shave my head. You can see it pretty good when you fresh cut it.
If you could relive any single family outing in your life what would it be?
We used to go to Yellowstone. We would go out west when I was little. We would take two-week trips out west. We didn’t have much money. We had a $1,000 camper that didn’t work good. Man, those were some fun trips. They were some of the most fun trips I have ever taken in my life. We would take two weeks and another family would come with us. Yellowstone National Park.
How did you start riding horses?
I started riding horses when I was little. A guy my dad did business with traded him a horse. I got one so that’s how that started.
If you could have season tickets for any team, sitting in any place in the stadium, which team would it be and where would you sit?
I would sit beside D. Wayne Lucas at every Triple Crown Race. Or pit passes to every Nascar race, but Bill doesn’t race anymore so that wouldn’t be any good.
What is the nicest compliment that you have received?
My hair. Everybody likes my red hair.
When your Tech days are over, how would you like to be remembered?
That’s something you can’t really know. You can know how you would like to be remembered, but people remember you for who you were. I would like to be remembered as someone who was loyal and hard working.
Who has had the greatest influence on your athletic career?
My dad, by far. He coached me when I was little. He actually coaches now. But just as far as support, he never missed a game in any way shape or form, even if I was on the sidelines. He flew to Boise last year when I had no chance of playing. Well I did play in that one. When I was in junior college, he would fly out to Utah. He would take my schedule to work and tell them if he couldn’t go to those games, then he would have to find another job. He’s never missed a game, any sport. I played all three in high school. My mom’s the same way, can’t forget her. But as far sports goes, Dad. As far as overall support, Mom and Dad. Undying support, almost too much support sometimes.
If you could teach any subject/thing, what would it be?
I would teach history of politics with no slant, just how it happened. I had a teacher here, Dr. McMath. He taught a politics class, Politics Since 1968. When the class was over, I had no clue if he was liberal, conservative, democrat or republican. He didn’t reveal that to the class. I think it’s possible but really tough.
When I was a youth growing up, I pretended to be like…
Johnny Unitas and John Wayne. Johnny Unitas because my dad got me an autograph picture of him and of course that spurred my questions as to who he was and what he was. We watched the old videos and my dad took me to the Hall of Fame. I heard about how tough he was. He was just a tough country boy that made it. He was just a prototype quarterback. He’s what created the prototype quarterback that could stand in the pocket and take hits, which is far from what I am. He was just a tough guy and I was number 19 up until I came here, because it’s retired. As for John Wayne, my dad is a big movie buff. He has every movie John Wayne has ever made. He’s a big cowboy buff. He goes to conventions and stuff. When I was riding my horse and stuff I would try to be like John Wayne.
If you were forced to give up all of your possessions but one, what would it be?
I would have to say either my ostrich skin cowboy boots or my horse, Blaze. I got Blaze when I was nine years old for Christmas. He will never leave my pasture until he dies. He won’t leave then either; we will just bury him there. I got him when I was nine and he is awesome. I can put a little kid on him and walk him. I can walk in front of him and he will just follow me. He is a great horse. My ostrich skin cowboy boots are not like the pointy boots. They aren’t real pointy. They are smooth quill, not full quill. They are ropers. You can tell they are a little county, but they aren’t like “hey, I’m wearing cowboy boots.”
Ever take any of the guys on the team horseback riding?
Oh yeah. Brian Camp from last year. Brian and I rode several times. He went home with me and rode a several times. Dan Burnett went home with me and rode last year. Coach would probably die if he knew we did that during the season, for Dan especially. But yeah, we rode last year on off weekends, off days.
What one thing makes you smile?
My wife and I broke down on the way back from our honeymoon. And I had to run on the interstate to catch up with her, because I was in a U-haul. I was really mad. When I got to the car she was laughing so hard she was crying. It was really funny. Every time I think about it, it makes me smile.
What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned from being a college athlete?
I went to other schools before I came here, but I would say how many people in the world are actually good at doing something. I would say the biggest thing I have learned is that finding a niche at a particular thing that you are good at. I mean, I want to coach and you see a lot kids that are good at football, but finding your niche within a team of what you do whether it’s on the field or off the field. It’s all about finding your niche and doing it well.
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
I don’t play a lot here obviously, but when I did play a lot, there was a CD I had. It was a Christian CD. I would listen to real slow music to try to slow me down, because I get real excited. I listen to George Jones singing “Amazing Grace” or “Mansion on the Hilltop.” I would listen to a bunch of country gospel. That would calm me down right before I went out. I would also pray.
What is the best thing about being a college athlete at Tech?
I would say the best thing about being a college athlete here at Tech is the tradition that it has both athletically and academically. It’s just a different degree of player and person that comes here. I don’t care what anyone says, it’s true. I have been to other places, and it’s just a different degree of person.
What won’t you miss about being a college athlete?
Spring workouts. Spring runs. Morning runs. Running. Anything running in general. I’m too slow to make those times, so it almost kills me. So anything running I won’t miss.
If you could have the largest collection of one thing, what would it be?
Race horses or Ford racing cars. I have a ’71 Mock 1 Mustang, but the engine is out of it right now. It’s a work in progress. I just got married, so it will be a work in progress for a long time.
What is your all-time favorite meal?
My all-time favorite meal by far, is a steak grilled on my dad’s back porch with Dell sauce, a baked potato, loaded, a salad, and knowing that my mom didn’t have to cook it. Not because she can’t cook, but it makes me feel good when she gets to eat and she doesn’t cook it.
If you were a pro wrestler what would your name be? Would you have any special moves?
Big Red. I would have a something that was a little bit country, a little bit redneck. It would have to be something that had a country name, like “the axe” or “the saw.” I got into wrestling in 1998-99 when I was a senior in high school. All my buddies used to watch it. I would watch a little bit of it, but I was never big on the choreography thing. I thought it was kind of funny. I got to meet Bill Goldberg one time when I went to a race with Bill Elliot. So I got into it when he was in it. I guess that was late nineties. I would watch him every once in a while. My buddies were all into it, the Four Horsemen, the Undertaker. They thought it was the greatest thing ever. I got into it a little bit when I met Goldberg, but that’s it.
What was your favorite Halloween costume growing up?
My dad owned a retail store. I remember one year, he gave us what was left over and I was Tweety Bird. My brother was something. I don’t remember what he was, but they were definitely little kid outfits. My brother was Superman, and my brother was that age when it wasn’t really cool to be Superman. That was the funniest thing ever. My brother’s costume when you can tell in the pictures that he is mad that he had to wear it would be my favorite. It was pretty geeky.
If you could make one thing come true for a friend what would it be and for whom?
My brother in law is in Iraq right now, and I would give him sideline passes to the Georgia/Georgia Tech game. He is a huge Tech fan. When I was growing up I wasn’t really a big Tech fan. He was dating my sister and gave me a hard time about Tech.
What team would you add to the schedule?
Hawaii. I would say Hawaii, most definitely. We would go out there. My brother in law was stationed out there. That’s where I asked my wife to marry me. We went out there for a big family trip. We turned off at a spot that my family had picked out. It was on the beach. It was on the Marine base, so you couldn’t get on there unless you were visiting a family member so no body was out there. It was at sunset.
Name a professor that has had an impact on you here at Tech:
Bob McMath. Dr. McMath. He taught a politics class, Politics Since 1968. Obviously that is a heated class. By the end of the class, nobody knew whether he was a democrat, republican, liberal or conservative. He did not express his views. He taught the material. He expressed his views, but he taught the class unbiased. He taught me that you could do that and teach that way and not use the class as a platform. I just learned a lot in that class. I just loved him. He was a great guy.