Friday, May 30, 2008

2002 O-Line Speaks About D-Russ

Newly minted Linfield Legend David Russell was a joy to watch and to so many people embodied what Linfield football is about in regards to being hard working, humble, team focused, and a winner. 2002 was a perfect storm with a hardnosed running back and a top flight offensive line that not only had great skill but they loved putting people on their backs. There is no mistake that this offensive line LOVED blocking for David and we’re lucky enough that each of them had something to say about #25.
Left Tackle, Erik Moen:

It's hard to describe only one memorable moment about D-Russ. Of course there were the big hits, amazing runs, and earning yards the hard way. What I respected most about David was his humility. He was the kind of guy who came back to the huddle after a no-gain, and would encourage the line. He would never complain or blame us. He believed in us, and we believed in him. Together we knew we would find a way...and we did! After a big game he would place the credit with the O-line. David made plays when there was nothing there. He would be so pissed in the huddle if one guy brought him down. You love to block for a guy like that! One quick story about D-Russ, we were playing somebody in 2001 or 2002 that was running a 4-3 defense. Early in the week we were in a pre-practice meeting and Coach Hire was going over the blocking scheme for the week. We couldn't account for the Will LB on one of our run plays in which David was running. Coach Hire looked at David and said something to the effect of "I don't know if we can run this, he's unblocked." David just said"don't worry about it, I can take him." That was his attitude...100% AssKicker! ---Erik Moen #75

Left Guard, Josh Dill:

I have many fond memories of playing with D-Russ. A few characteristics come to mind when I think of him; humility, toughness, team player, but the one that stands out the most to me is respect. Everyone respected David and everything that he stood for in a player and as a person. He was the kind of guy that would break three tackles and run someone over for a touchdown then be so quick to celebrate with his Hoggies. He wouldn't say much but when he did talk we would listen. I remember a game during the 2001 or 2002 season when we needed a first down to win the game. We decided to run Fire Blazer a play that we had moderate success with at best. In this play I pull and lead up the hole for the playside linebacker. In the huddle I mentioned to DRuss to read my block. David responded with fire in his eyes and said "I'll get the first down." Sure enough he exploded through the line and just as I was getting to my linebacker DRuss was barreling through him for the first down. Game Wildcats! I remember having such confidence walking up to the line of scrimmage knowing that there was nothing stopping him of getting that first down. This was the kind of confidence that we had as lineman knowing that we had DRuss behind us. ---Catdome! Josh Dill #66

Center, Jeff York:

The best story I remember about him is watching him in the playoff game against Central. We all know what kind of field conditions that game was so passing the ball down the field was not going to happen. D-Russ went out on a screen route and caught the ball in open field and I thought to myself "he is gone." as soon as he caught the ball he turned and it was one-on-one with Central's all-american linebacker. David could of run to the outside and gained 10 more yards but instead David turned and headed right towards their linebacker. The collision was huge and everybody in the the catdome heard it. (WC11 note: This play is at the 3:20 mark of D-Russ Highlight) Come to find out that hit broke the Central player's collar bone and put him out for the rest of the game. D-Russ was the hardest hitting running back that I have ever played with and I would not chose any other running back to block. It was such a privilege to play with him. Thank you David, it was great!!! ---Jeff York #61

Right Guard, Daryl Agpalsa:

I have many fond memories about Dave on the field, but I'd rather talk about him as a person. I would really love to say Dave represents all that is Linfield Football, but to be honest, he stands for everything that ALL PROGRAMS strive to become. He's that player that all college coaches search and work so hard to find in recruiting season. A player that can grow and blossom in your program and have as a model for younger players to look up to. A player that is the best at all he puts his mind to. The best teammate, friend, student (he speaks Japanese for God's sake!), leader, role model, work ethic, attitude, and list goes on and on. But what sets him apart from the rest is through all of his accomplishments he maintained a level of humbleness unsurpassed by any player I have ever been around. He's the man, but I think we all knew that. Dave, I've said it many times before and I'll say it again, thanks for making us look so damn good!!!
---Daryl Agpalsa #69

Right Tackle, Justin Buckner:

I remember the 56 carry game, 234 yards on 56 carries. It was wet, muddy November Catdome game and Whitworth came in with the greatest offense known to mankind according to Aaron Biglin and that was going to be the difference. D-Russ just kept driving and driving I’m not sure he had a carry over 10 yards it was that kind of game. But he was never brought down by just one guy and we held the ball for 48 minutes of the game. At the end of the game he ran just as hard as he had at the start. I loved blocking for that guy. ---Buckner #64

Tight End, Luke Buchheit:

I’ve got a couple things that I’d like to say about D-russ. First of all, I’m going to take partial credit for encouraging D-russ to transfer to Linfield. I can remember working the weightroom that summer when a coach brought down a scrawny hillbilly from a fricken 1A high school that I’ve never heard of and coach mentioned that he started as a freshman for the Eastern Oregon Mountaineers. I can remember playing at Eastern and having dudes in cowboy hats thrown deceased ducks they shot from that morning on to the field of play during the game, but that’s beside the point. So we talked and he seemed genuine as I welcomed him to the Catdome. A couple of weeks later he shows up down in that tunnel of a weightroom and the next thing I know he is power cleaning an absolute house (like 290 lbs or something). I knew we might have something after that.

My second story starts right before the end of the 1st half in the second round of the play-off against Wartburg at the Catdome in 2002. As we march down the field with not much time left on the clock Ty Mathews calls a pass play. As we break the huddle around the 35 yard-line Ty recognizes where not getting the look we want so with 10 seconds left he checks to Fire Bronco (draw). It ended up being a great call as D-russ scrambled 35+ yards to dive for the pile-on breaking a few tackles on the way eventually scoring on the last play of the half. The best part was his gross/unathletic celebration as he jumps with both hands on the ball and both knees around his chest. He looked like one of 4 cheerleaders we had on the sideline. Anyway, it was one of those plays that will always stick in my mind as typical D-russ determination. There are many examples of the man, the myth, the legend of D-russ and with him in the backfield I always felt we were going to get his best (example.. Whitworth same year). Thanks for the opportunity to talk about a great football player and even better human being. ---Catdome! #89 Luke Buchheit

1 comment:

DO.C. said...

All the mud and the ducks made this a great read.
Nice new approach.