Open Mouth, Insert Football: What’s that, Hank?

Ben Morrow

Sports columnist

“Why yes, I am ready for some football. Thanks for asking.”
(Disclaimer: I stole that line from my Facebook buddy, Garrett Gilkey, but it perfectly embodies my sentiments.)
For two weeks my 27-inch dummy box has been the place I get my fix of helmets cracking, crowds screaming and college kids half-destroying each other over a leather ball. On Saturday, I’ll get my fill of intercollegiate violence live.
Hank Williams, Jr. has been serenading me for a month. The sweet, pleasing tones of the critically acclaimed wordsmith known as Bocephus keep drawing me like a moth to a flame as he repeatedly asks the same question in that unique and melodious style that only he and Frank Sinatra could exemplify.
(OK, probably not.)
Still, I’m ready for live football. All I’ve been able to do up to this point is sit on my hands and wait. But Saturday is coming.
These two weeks have offered electrifying games as I watched while permanently glued to my recliner, but something was still missing.
This is fall. I should be outside, feeling an autumn breeze, climbing concrete steps, waiting in line for overpriced, over-salted popcorn, listening to a small brass band play the same tunes over and over and watching the scoreboard clock behind the south end zone tick down as I anxiously wait for the opening kickoff.
Hank, I’ve been ready for nearly a year.
On Saturday, we students finally get to fill Roy Stewart Stadium with blue and gold and squeal wildly for our boys on the Murray State gridiron. I can’t wait.
I’m ready to see what our boys can do. After giving a solid three quarters in the opener against Louisville and handing out a bare-fanny spanking of Mississippi Valley State last Saturday, I’m ready to see if they will offer the same level of play at home against Tennessee State.
I’m ready to see some guys step up. On Saturday we’ll get to see with our own eyes if the players have taken a lesson from last year and have learned to stop the run. Talk about Casey Brockman all you want, but I’ll be watching the lines.
(For the cheerleaders, that’s the offensive and defensive lines. Not the lines on the field.)
If our defensive tackles can plug that middle, and if our O-line can spring Mike Harris free into the secondary, then I’ll be a happy man.
I have confidence that Brockman will make his reads and hit his guys given enough protection. I feel safe in saying our secondary will hold its own against a Tennessee State passing attack if the Tigers are not allowed to set up their pass play with good rushing. I trust Harris’ instincts if he’s given room to run.
I’ll be watching the lines. If we can stop the run, I’ll be more optimistic about this season than I was at the end of last season. I’m ready to see how our boys have improved in the trenches.
(Thanks, Coach Morrow. Any other obvious comments?)
I’m ready for the whole experience. I’m ready to watch the crowd stand and cheer as Racer 1 sprints down the backstretch after every touchdown.
I’m ready to hear the crackly voice of the announcer make the call through our crappy, outdated sound system. I’m ready for the cold concrete seats and the picturesque view of a sunset over Cracker Barrel.
(That’s as close as I’ll ever get to writing like Nathaniel Hawthorne. That’s because Hawthorne sucks.)
I’m ready for one more thing. I’m ready for a game so intense, so unbelievable, and so fascinating, that it manages to keep the butts of ADD-plagued students in their seats for the entire game.
It was embarrassing for us to fill the seats last year, only as often as not to watch most of the students leave mid-way through the third quarter of the game.
(Sorry, but if their fans end up outnumbering ours before the night is over, we deserve to be called out.)
Stick around. This is college football. Anything can happen.
I’ve been waiting for this for a while. Saturday is almost here.
Are you ready?
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