Knowing that he would be on that field one day wasn't enough as he watched the festivities this last Saturday. He was ready to get out there and strap it on with the rest of the big red. "It was awesome, way awesome," Justin Tomerlin said. "We got to sit in on coach Norvell's pre-game speech and I was upset, man. I wanted to go out and play."
He'll get his chance, though and probably an even better chance than he could have hoped, the person he was expected to play with if not back up, Matt Herian, still out and rehabbing over yet another surgery on his broken leg. While the idea of playing time is obviously great for Tomerlin, he's looking at the big picture and knows that the team with Herian is much better than without. "I would prefer that both of us be out there at the same time," Justin said. "It would be better for the team if we could both be playing."
"When he gets back, it's going to be fun, but as far as for me this coming year, it's a great opportunity and I can't wait to have Zac throw me the ball in front of 80,000 people."
There was no doubt a little jealousy as Tomerlin watched his former teammate at Bulter College out there, in front of a record crowd, tossing touchdowns, looking stellar and certainly appearing as if it was indeed going to be him at the helm come fall.
You might be surprised that as impressive as Taylor's performance was, Tomerlin thought he could have done better. "He's got more than that in him," he said. "I was trying to explain that to people after the game and they were like ‘aren't your expectations to high for the kid?' and I didn't think so, because I didn't think he needed to do more, I just said he CAN do more."
"He hasn't fully reached his potential yet. He's sill not comfortable and to go out and tear it up the way he did and not be completely comfortable yet, that's incredible."
"That was out of control."
Tomerlin would probably have a much better idea of where Zac is in terms of how he feels within this offense, both being former roommates along with teammates at junior college. That's the type of familiarity Justin plans on enjoying, but he'll be helping Justin this time, as opposed to trying to kill him in practice, from the rush end position.
In an interview I did with Tomerlin some months ago, his mentality didn't change so much from defense to offense, because his aggression was needed in going after the ball just as it was in going after the quarterback.
Now, he's going to be doing that in front of 80,000 people.
"To see that crowd and to know that you would be playing in front of even more than that, that's indescribable," he said. "To know that it's going to be you coming out of that tunnel when they are playing the music and you'll be doing it strapped up and ready to play, man, I mean, I can't wait."
"The way it filled me up just when I was standing their in street clothes, I can't even imagine how it's going to feel down there, strapped up and knowing I am ready to go."
"Man, it's just going to be put me in a mental state, damn, I am just ready to go."
Looking back at the decision he had and the trying one where Michigan State was at one point the automatic contender for his services and Nebraska was outside looking in, Tomerlin looks at that decision now as one of the best decisions he's made in his life.
"I wanted to make a decision where I would have no regrets," Justin said. "I did that and I am glad I did what I did and after that spring game, I know I couldn't be happier if I tried."
"I know I picked the best place for me."