On the way to the Norfork/White this weekend, I spent the morning in Harrison with the Brandon Burlsworth Football Camp. There were about 12 former Razorbacks there working the camp. It was a hoot. They had about 140 kids following those big old gridsters around. Marty Burlsworth, Grady Burlsworth and Tommy Tice did a nice job with the camp.
I visited at length with many of the former Hogs, including Clint Stoerner and Anthony Lucas. We took turns taking digs at each other. Stoerner was hilarious.
For those that haven't seen Clint in a while, he is tough to recognize. He has medium-length red hair instead of the "GI" cut that was his college trademark.
Clint came up to me after about 15 minutes. He said, "You haven't spoken to me since I've grown out my hair. You don't recognize me anymore. I was back for a basketball game, and walked right by you in the media room and you didn't say a word then, either." He was right, but I didn't want to admit that. With all of the other ex-Hogs standing around, I said, "Clint, what makes you think I want to interview you, or that anyone else would want to interview you?" Lucas, Grant Garrett, Al Herringer, Ryan Hale and Jeremiah Washburn were rolling in the grass. They know their old QB well, and that was a comment that they loved hearing me make. They gave me high fives.
Marty Burlsworth said when he met Stoerner at the Harrison airport (there is a daily flight from Dallas via Big Sky Airways) the former UA quarterback had his red locks covered with a "do rag." Marty told Storner, "Take that off here in Harrison. You can wear it in Little Rock, but people around here will look at you funny with that thing on your head." Immediately, Stoerner took it off.
Lucas doesn't like Stoerner's longer hair. It's neatly kept, just not what we remember from his college days.
"I tell Clint to get it cut," Lucas said. "I don't know what he's doing with that hair, to be frank about it. He looks alright, but it kinda looks pretty as opposed to looking like a football player's hair should look. But, you know those quarterbacks ... they are kinda primma donnas."
A little later, Lucas asked me about our QB prospects for next season. He likes what he's seen of all three of the QB candidates. Finally, I answered, "Luke, this may be the first time we've had a really talented QB since Quinn Grovey's days." The guys fell out laughing again. Stoerner said, "Okay, I'm going back to Dallas. I can see I'm not appreciated around here." It was a hoot.
I think the guys had a great time Friday. I know they were headed to Little Rock for another camp on Saturday. I bet that one went well, too.
"We got in here Thursday night and we sat up in a meeting room at the hotel until 3 a.m. telling stories," Russ Brown said. "We are having a great time. This is a wonderful cause and it's also great for a tight-knit bunch of guys to get back together for a reunion. We told stories and we laughed. We appreciate the work that Marty has done to make this happen. We wouldn't miss it."
Lucas was someone that the kids just loved. He quarterbacked a team in the touch games to end the day and kept passing his team down the field. When one fifth grader caught a long TD pass, he brought the ball back to Lucas and was told to celebrate. Lucas finally got the youngster to spike the ball.
Lucas, trying to make it with the Dallas Cowboys like Stoerner, is still rehabbing and trying to get well. He said he has good days and bad days. He said there was a day last week when his leg "hurt really bad" and then other days that it didn't hurt. He can't go out and run day after day. It's funny, but he was a lot like that in college. Rarely did he practice during the season. He'd be sore and would miss some of the drills, and then play his butt off on Saturday. In the NFL, they play an entire season (counting mini camps and preseason) before they get to the first game. I don't think his legs can take it. And, there are no teams that are going to just say, "You can sit out until we get to the regulard season." It just doesn't happen in that league. They want you to practice every day. He can't do it. I fear he'll never make it.
I asked him about all of that, and he said, "I think I have something left in these old legs, but I don't know how much. Maybe it's a few games. Maybe it's a few years. I'll take what the Good Lord gives me and be thankful." That's the way he's always been. He's trying to make it happen, but I don't know how much longer he can do it. He looked frail and skinny to me. But, I love him. He hugged me and wanted to tell me about all the stories about OH he'd read. He didn't know of my father because he really wasn't around during his time at the UA. He'd "retired" to Malvern just before Lucas arrived at the UA. But, he said he has read countless news stories about him in the last two months and wanted me to know it. Luke is a great person and will make it no matter what happens as far as football.
The players donated their time and expenses for the trip. Other former Hogs working the camps were Joe Dean Davenport, Chad Abernathy, Chris Chalmers, Marcus Elliott, David Bazzel and Jason Allen.
The Brandon Burlsworth Camp
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