One that got away


First Posted: 12/30/2014

NEW ORLEANS – When Braxton Miller was a pee-wee league football phenom on a team so good that opposing teams wouldn’t believe the players weren’t older than their listed ages, Alabama linebacker Trey DePriest was right there with him.

“The Springfield Broncos. They would always ask for our birth certificates,” DePriest remembered on Tuesday at the Sugar Bowl’s media day.

“He was the quarterback. I was always the running back and I played defensive end, then I moved to linebacker in middle school. We played pee-wee football and middle school football together and then he went to a different high school than I did.”

Miller played his high school football at Huber Heights Wayne. DePriest played for Springfield High School.

They remain close friends. “We talk all the time. He does his rehab in Birmingham so I try to shoot up there and talk to him,” DePriest said.

DePriest was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection and ranks third on Alabama’s defense with 82 tackles.

His final college choice came down to Alabama and Ohio State before he chose the Crimson Tide.

“I just felt more comfortable with Alabama,” he said.

And there might have been one more factor. “I was always a Michigan fan,” DePriest said.

NOTES:

MEYER ON HARBAUGH: Some of the first questions for Ohio State coach Urban Meyer at Sugar Bowl media day were about Michigan hiring Jim Harbaugh as its football coach.

“Anytime you can add a quality coach to the Big Ten it’s good for college football and great for the Big Ten,” Meyer said.

Meyer said he doesn’t know Harbaugh but has met his brother John, who coaches the Baltimore Ravens, and his dad, Jack, who was a long-time football coach.

HEUERMAN ON MEYER: Ohio State tight end Jeff Heuerman has had more of a chance to see Urban Meyer away from his job than most Buckeyes and his description of Meyer when he relaxes is similar to what he is like on the job.

“I’m from Naples (Fla.). He vacations down in Naples. We’ve been on a few fishing trips together with coach and his family,” Heuerman said. “He’s competitive at anything he does. If you play ping-pong, he’s over there sweating.”

THROWBACK TO THE 1990s: Former OSU wide receiver Joey Galloway, who works for ESPN, talked to the Buckeyes after practice on Tuesday. Eddie George, the 1995 Heisman Trophy winner, was doing interviews (and having selfies taken) with Ohio State players at media day.

LACK OF SLEEP: Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman says he might be tired from doing double duty as OSU’s coordinator and Houston’s new head coach, but he hasn’t notice yet.

Other people have, though.

“I told my wife yesterday it looked like I had black eyes and she said, ‘No, you’re just really tired.’ Adrenaline is a great drug. I’ll probably crash at some point but not now. Hopefully after signing day,” Herman said.

CURFEW COMPARISON: Ohio State’s players were in the team hotel by 10 p.m. Monday. Alabama’s players were

allowed out until 11 p.m.

HE’S STAYING:

Maybe the dumbest question of the day was when Saban, who has won three national championships at Alabama, makes $6.9 million a year and is believed to walk on water by many of the Crimson Tide’s fans, was asked if he was interested in the New York Jets head coach’s job.

“Let’s start with the fact that I’m not really interested in any situation in the NFL,” Saban said.

“As I’ve talked about before, I think sometimes you’ve got to pick what you want your legacy to be. Where do you get the most positive self-gratification from, what you want to be and where you think you have the best impact on people. We’re extremely happy with being a college coach and what we’ve been able to do as a college coach and the challenges we have in trying to continue to do it,” he said.