#012: The Walk-On Mentality (Part 5 - Reno, NV)
After my punt return touchdown I was on cloud nine. I finished the year strong returning kicks & even played the majority of the bowl game. I was starting to feel like everything was going to turn around. I felt like the storm ended & now it is my time to shine.
After the bowl game my dad sat me down for a talk. He told me that we can’t afford to pay for school anymore. I mean shit its $40,000 a year out of state. I can’t thank my parents enough for even hustling to give me the opportunity to live out my dreams of playing Division 1 football. I totally understood.
We came up with a plan before I head back to school to talk to my coaches about being put on scholarship.
This was one of my weaknesses. Having tough conversations with people where I have to ask for something, ask for help. It was hard for me. I just thought if I shut up & work hard, good things will happen.
First stop was Coach Nichol. My WR coach at the time. Love that man, he has had my back & we grew extremely close over the years. I just asked him where I was at with getting a scholarship & what he thought. He said, “Foss, if it was up to me, I’d have you on. It’s out of my control.”
At the end of the day it’s no one's call but the HC, but going into Leach’s office was tougher than you think. I mean he has pirates & shit in there, no telling what would happen.
I went to Coach Mele’s office, the whole reason I was there was because this man took a chance on me. He was honest. He told me there was a long line of guys in front of me, which I didn’t agree with. There are so many walk-ons that deserve scholarships, but it’s not that easy to just give out a scholarship. It’s a process & you only have a certain number of them.
So I had to make the tough decision, on the spot I said, “Well then I have to transfer.”
My release papers were printed & signed that day.
It was no hard feelings. It wasn’t personal. It was just business. I LOVED that team, that coaching staff, that city, that stadium, Pullman had my heart. You will never understand Pullman, WA & being a Coug unless you experience it yourself. This was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my entire life. Not to mention, my best friends were up there with me.
I spent every single day for 2 years with Hunter Dale, a Safety from New Orleans. My highschool QB & best friend Trey Tinsley transferred in. I had roots planted here. I DIDN’T WANT TO LEAVE, I was comfortable.
But being there, I wasn’t going to get what I felt I deserved (& I was told I was going to get a scholarship after my freshman year) & worked so hard for.
I left that office & called my dad. The most terrifying part about this was that it was so hard getting recruited the first time, I was so stressed that no one would want me a second time. I had some special teams & practice film, but it was a huge risk I took.
But man, every time I have jumped into the unknown, It has paid off.
I did what I know how, COLD DM BABY!
I went on google and looked at every school's staff page, found the coaching staff, found their twitters & started DMing like crazy.
I came across Matt Kirk, DB coach @ The University of Nevada, Reno.
The only time I have ever heard of this school was when Colin Kaepernick led the pack to beat Boise State in 2010.
I came across coach Kirk & said fuck it I’ll DM him. He replied.
Matt Mumme the OC called me and said, “We run the air-raid, you’re going to catch 70 passes a game, & WE PLAY WASHINGTON STATE WEEK 3.”
I said, “I commit.”
It was time to tap back into that mentality that got me there. I was hungry. I get to play moy old team. There was no bad blood, but I wanted to show them how wrong they were for not keeping me.
This is why Luke is my best friend. MF TRIBE!
My dude would call me every day at 5 AM while I was in Pullman to make sure I was up and going to workout. I would go to the school gym every morning and workout, do my own field work, just getting ready for next season.
I saw this YOKED ass dude training this massive human every morning so I asked him. You train guys? He said, “yes I do.”
Shoutout to my guy Ramon Sodano. He got me in the best shape of my life at that point. I was strong, more flexible than I have ever been, fast, I was ready to go. We had a whole program in the AM, then we would go roll around at jiu-jitsu at night. I did this for about 6 months.
It was a really cool experience at that point in my life. I was a normal student. I had to get out of that football buble because all my friends were at football, or meetings, or workouts, I was forced to go do my own thing. I met a lot of cool people. This when I started to get a little more open minded & curious. It showed me there was more to life than just football. I really enjoyed that spring.
I then got home for the summer before heading up to Reno. I started working out a ProActive at the Marke with my guy JT! This was awesome because I was around so many great athletes & professionals, I learned so much.
I worked out with River Cracraft almost everyday for 2 months. That guy is an absolute inspiration. Just refuses to give up, relentless in his pursuit to be great, and kicks the fuck out of adversity.
So after this training for almost 9 months, I WAS READY TO TAKE OVER.
Before I left for Reno, I got a call from coach Mele.
“Hey Foss, let me throw you a curveball. We want you back & you have a scholarship.”
At first, I was like yes, my old life back. I get to be back with my boys, BACK IN PULLMAN.
This is resistance at it’s finest. It was like the devil on my shoulder & my comfort zone attacking me all at once. That would be the easy decision. To go back to comfort, what you know, & trading in what you want now vs tomorrow.
I called Hunter & told him, “Bor! Mele just called & offered me to come back!”
Hunter, with the response I needed to hear most. He said, “That’s awesome, but don’t come back. They are just going to do the same shit they’ve been doing to you bro. Go to Reno & ballout! Go start over.”
That is why you have certain people in your tribe.
I went up to Reno for camp.
It was rough at first. I’m the new guy transferring in, I don’t know anyone except the other transfer QB that hosted me on my visit. This is a brand new coaching staff, so the returning guys already feel some type of way, and rightfully so! But, I am hanging around the new guy no one likes, I had no idea. No one knows me yet, who I truly am. So I just put my head down and go to work.
My first day of football, Jordan Simmons, the strength coach, made me & two other new guys run the conditioning test in front of THE ENTIRE TEAM. They were just on the sidelines watching. I murdered it, but it was not easy. I could barely walk the next day.
After the morning sessionI go to class and come back for 7 on 7. I got to my locker to get my gloves, I couldn't find them anywhere. I see a giant ball of tape in the corner. My gloves were in there.
Austin Corbett, our Right Guard at the time, & now LA Ram, walks by me and says, “We don’t allow red in this building,” and walks away.
I had no idea. It’s because our rivals UNLV or the guys down south, wear red. We do not wear red ever.
So I head out to 7 on 7 where I barely get any reps & every DB on the time wants to do 1 on 1’s with the new guy after. Football is so funny sometimes. That year's team sucked. There was no culture, there was no family. I already knew we were going to suck that day. Instead of getting better together as a team, it was always a big dick contest. So much ego. But anyway, I did work and went home.
After the first couple weeks I start to make some new friends, bond with my new teammates, & start to earn a role on my new team.
I head into Fall Camp the starting H receiver & had the best fall camp of my entire life. I already knew this offense like the back of my hand because Coach Mumme’s dad & Coach Leach invented the Air-Raid Offense. It’s all the same. I take pride in my football IQ. I believe that is why I was able to play at this level.
My new WR coach, TIMMY CHANG! Recording breaking legen from Hawai’i. I knew who he was & loved playing for that man. He’ll come up more throughout this journey.
SO, I had the fall camp of my life & we are heading into the season opener against Northwestern. A nationally televised game, my first real start in college I felt like, & emotions running high.
Chang told me, “Let the game come to you today. Don’t chase it.”
This has been my biggest flaw throughout my life. Trying to force things. Not letting it happen naturally or flow. I want to be successful so bad I almost try too hard. The harder you chase the further it runs. He told me this because even in practice he could see me trying to do too much.
“Just do your job.”
The rest takes care of itself.
OH, LOOK WHO IT IS! MY GOOD FRIEND ADVERSITY.
Next Stop: The carpet.