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Football Wisdom: “Live One Day at a Time and Scratch Where It Itches”

My father sent an email today that seemed appropriate to share given the football glut that is the New Year’s holiday.  So here you go – some football wisdom (even if that seems like an oxymoron to baseball fans) from coaches and players of the years of my youth (and before):

“At Georgia Southern, we don’t cheat. That costs money and we don’t have any.” – Erk Russell / Georgia Southern.

“Football is only a game. Spiritual things are eternal. Nevertheless, Beat Texas.” – Seen on a church sign in Arkansas prior to the 1969 game.

“After you retire, there’s only one big event left….and I ain’t ready for that.” – Bobby Bowden / Florida State (who finally retired yesterday on January 1, 2010)

“When you win, nothing hurts.” – Joe Namath / Alabama

“Motivation is simple. You eliminate those who are not motivated.” – Lou Holtz / Arkansas

“If you want to walk the heavenly streets of gold, you gotta know the password: “Roll, tide, roll!” – Bear Bryant / Alabama

“A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall.” – Frank Leahy / Notre Dame

“There’s nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you.” – Woody Hayes / Ohio State

“I don’t expect to win enough games to be put on NCAA probation. I just want to win enough to warrant an investigation.” – Bob Devaney / Nebraska

“In Alabama, an atheist is someone who doesn’t believe in Bear Bryant.” – Wally Butts / Georgia

“You can learn more character on the two-yard line than anywhere else in life.” – Paul Dietzel / LSU

“It’s kind of hard to rally around a math class.” – Bear Bryant / Alabama

When asked if Fayetteville was the end of the world: “No, but you can see it from here.” – Lou Holtz / Arkansas

“There’s one sure way to stop us from scoring-give us the ball near the goal line.” – Matty Bell / SMU

“Lads, you’re not to miss practice unless your parents died or you died.” – Frank Leahy / Notre Dame

“I never graduated from Iowa, because I was only there for two terms – Truman’s and Eisenhower’s.” – Alex Karras / Iowa

“My advice to defensive players: Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in a bad humor.” – Bowden Wyatt / Tennessee

“I could have been a Rhodes Scholar, except for my grades.” – Duffy Daugherty / Michigan State

“I asked Darrell Royal, the coach of the Texas Longhorns, why he didn’t recruit me and he said:  “Well, Walt, we took a look at you and you weren’t any good.” – Walt Garrison / Oklahoma State and NFL star

“Son, you’ve got a good engine, but your hands aren’t on the steering wheel.” – Bobby Bowden / Florida State

“Football is not a contact sport – it is a collision sport. Dancing is a contact sport.” – Duffy Daugherty / Michigan State

After USC  lost 51-0 to Notre Dame, his postgame message to his team: “All those who need showers, take them.” – John McKay / USC

“If lessons are learned in defeat, our team is getting a great education.” – Murray Warmath / Minnesota

“The only qualifications for a lineman are to be big and dumb. To be a back, you only have to be dumb.” – Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

“Oh, we played about like three tons of buzzard puke this afternoon.” – Spike Dykes / Texas Tech

“We live one day at a time and scratch where it itches.” – Darrell Royal / Texas

“We didn’t tackle well today but we made up for it by not blocking.” – John McKay / USC

“Three things can happen when you throw the ball, and two of them are bad – Darrell Royal / University of Texas

“I’ve found that prayers work best when you have big players.” – Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

“Gentlemen, it is better to have died a small boy than to fumble this football” – John Heisman

So there you have it.  If you want to know what I really think about football quotes vs. baseball quotes take a look at Do I Love Baseball Quotes?  You Betcha! No contest.

More to come…

This entry was posted in: Random DJB Thoughts


I am David J. Brown (hence the DJB) and I originally created this personal blog more than ten years ago as a way to capture photos and memories from a family vacation. After the trip was over I simply continued writing. Over the years the blog has changed to have a more definite focus aligned with my interest in places that matter, reading well, roots music, and more. My professional background is as a national nonprofit leader with a four-decade record of growing and strengthening organizations at local, state, and national levels. This work has been driven by my passion for connecting people in thriving, sustainable, and vibrant communities.

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