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Tuesday, August 28, 2001

Printer’s leadership apparent on sidelines as well as on field
by Rusty Simmons
skiff staff

With more than seven minutes remaining in the first half, TCU junior quarterback Casey Printers stood on the sidelines grimacing in agony.

For the first time during Saturday’s, 21-7, loss to Nebraska, Printers’ pain didn’t stem from his ailing quadriceps. Instead, TCU’s starting quarterback couldn’t stand the sight of someone else doing his job.

So after a quick series with the Frogs’ backup Sean Stilley at the helm, Printers obtained his rightful position as the leader of the football team.

Printers has been the starting quarterback at TCU for the better part of two seasons, but the starting quarterback title had yet to translate into a title as the team’s leader until Saturday.

In 1999, Printers beat out Patrick Batteaux as the starting quarterback. But Batteaux, who had switched from wide receiver to quarterback to fill a void in the team’s plans, remained the leader.

In 2000, Printers took the majority of the snaps again, but then, he immediately handed the ball to LaDainian Tomlinson, who ran his way into the record books and the leadership role.

In 2001, there is no one else to overshadow Printers’ leadership, and he proved he is ready for the role with his perseverance against Nebraska.

In athletics, leadership courts unselfishness. When a player is willing to sacrifice his or her own well-being for the team, the other players begin to follow.

On TCU’s only scoring play, a 67-yard pass from Printers to Matt Schobel, Printers felt a twinge in his quadriceps. As the game progressed, it became obvious that he would no longer have the mobility that he has grown to expect.

So rather than relying on his athleticism, Printers rallied his troops with his leadership.
He became more vocal, demanding that his players and coaches remain calm despite the deficit to the nation’s No. 4 team. Then he grimaced.

He twisted, turned and ran away from the Cornhuskers’ constantly-blitzing defensive line. Then he grimaced.

He cheered on the defense, willing it to halt Nebraska’s offense. Then he grimaced.
With each direction, each run and each cheer, Printers was becoming a leader. And with each grimace the team rallied around his ability to play through pain.

The defense, which was ranked No. 1 in the nation last season, was inspired by Printers, and it stifled the Nebraska rushing attack for most of the game.

The offense struggled without the complete package Printers usually offers, gaining just 186 yards, 65 after halftime. But Printers managed to complete 10 of 21 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown.

His efforts weren’t enough to win the game, but Printers’ desire to lead the Frogs through the battle was enough to capture the trust of his teammates. That trust will breed more than one victory in the future.

Printers’ teammates now know that when he is grimacing, that only means he’s about to take control.

Rusty Simmons is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Woodbridge, Va.
He may be contacted at (j.r.simmons@student.tcu.edu).

   

The TCU Daily Skiff © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001