Unless you’re blind — and even then, it was probably spelled out in the braille of your chill-bumps — there was no way to miss Bo Jackson’s presence at the game Saturday. The fog billowed, the doors opened, the cameras focused, and there was Bo, at Chizik’s right hand (or vice versa?), leading the troops onto the field in pursuit of past, present, and future glory.
After the game, I tried to stalk an interview out of Bo for a story I’m writing — it didn’t work. But I did manage to stalk one out of Tony Barnhart — thanks, Tony — who I chased down through Gate 14 about an hour later.
Here’s how that went (imagine lots of heavy, italicized breathing):
So tell me about Bo. You watched him play. What did you think?
Whenever you talk about the great players in this league, it’s always Herschel and Bo. Bo was just one of these extraordinary guys who had the power to break tackles and the speed to run away once he broke them. He was like Herschel in that regard. I think those two guys set the standard for everybody else.
How has he impacted Auburn’s identity in the 25 years since he won the Heisman Trophy?
He’s identified with Auburn the way Herschel is identified with Georgia. He’s a signature player. Everybody has heard of Bo Jackson. Maybe not everybody has heard of Brent Fullwood or all of these other great Auburn players, but everybody has heard of Bo Jackson. Not just because of winning the Heisman Trophy, but because of what he did afterward, playing MLB and football.
Do you think there are more people who have heard of Bo Jackson than there are people who have heard of Auburn University?
I think there’s a very good chance of that because people have seen him play baseball, they’ve seen Bo play football, and they’ve seen Bo in all these other venues. And they go, ‘where did he play? Oh, Auburn.’
Did you see him on the sidelines?
Oh, no. Was he here?
Yeah. He led the team out of the tunnel with Chizik and they kept flashing him up on the jumbotron. My friend asked if he was here for the anointing. So yeah… do you think Cam has a shot at the trophy?
I think Cam Newton definitely has a shot. I asked Coach Chizik that a little while ago. And I’m probably going to write later on this week that you’ve got to look at this guy. This guy is playing better than anybody else in college football. Look at what he’s done for this team. I don’t think they win today without him.
How many yards did he have today?
Let’s take a look (whips out stat sheet)… 188 net yards rushing… and another 140 passing. That ain’t bad. That ain’t bad at all.
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