The Long (Stiff-)Arm Of The Law

When opposing defenders meet the stiff-arm of Chris "Beanie" Wells, there is typically only one reaction and that is one of domination. Find out when Beanie first started using the move, when he first used it at Ohio State and how the player he used it on reacted.

Chris Wells does not waste much time introducing others to his now-famous stiff-arm.

As one of 11 children growing up, the kid known as "Beanie" started playing football when he was six years old. Playing for his first team, Wells found himself playing against his brother Joey, who was one year older. Beanie was on offense, while his older brother played on defense.

History now records Joey Wells as being the first recipient of the now patented Beanie stiff-arm, and Beanie said his brother was not too happy about it.

"He came high and I shoved him out of the way," Beanie said with a laugh. "I just tried to keep him away."

Joey was the first, but he was certainly not the last. Now preparing for his team's bowl game against an as-yet undetermined foe, Beanie might be going into the last game where he can flatten would-be defenders with his outstretched arm while in a Buckeye uniform.

But when he first got to Columbus, it did not take him long to introduce his teammates to what has dubbed "The Varsity Club" and what members of's premium message boards have dubbed "Steve."

As a freshman, Beanie was going against the OSU defense in practice. Trying to turn the corner, Wells found himself heading for a collision with then-junior linebacker Curtis Terry. Reacting quickly, Wells threw a stiff-arm that drew the ire of Terry.

It also knocked Terry's helmet off.

Upset at the freshman running back who was pushing incumbent starter Antonio Pittman for playing time, Terry did the only thing he could think of: He threw a punch at Wells, and a fracas erupted that resulted in Terry being kicked out of practice

"I think he learned his lesson," Terry said this season. "He hasn't done it to me since."

Opposing defenders have not been so lucky during the last two years, as Wells' reign of terror has grown. Proving that he is ambidextrous, Wells has thrown the stiff-arm with both his right and left arms at different times during his career.

It has surfaced on the biggest stage of all (last year's national championship game against LSU) and also in non-marquee early-season games (last year's Akron game). Either way, its effects are typically devastating for would-be tacklers.

"The main thing I'm trying to do is keep the defenders off my body," Wells said. "You can't practice a stiff-arm. It's just natural."

While there are a number of descriptions and nicknames for Wells' talents, OSU quarterbacks coach Joe Daniels said the coaching staff has one word for the stiff-arm

"That's called ability," Daniels said. "We obviously don't design things that way when it's an unblocked guy, but that's one of the many things he brings to the table."

It is also an attribute Beanie grew more comfortable in using as his junior season wore on. Near the tail end of a touchdown run against Northwestern, Wells appeared to almost slow down en route to the end zone so he could deliver a stiff-arm to Wildcat cornerback Jordan Mabin.

"Honestly, I sort of was," Wells said after the game. "I thought he was going to catch me, so I had to slow down and I knew I had to get him out of the way."

This season, Wells has also demonstrated a leaping ability that has led to big yards. But for many, nothing beats seeing the powerful back tossing opponents to the ground en route to big yardage.

Just don't count Joey Wells or Curtis Terry among them.

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