Watch closely if you want to see former Washington State Cougar Scott Sanderson play today.
He’ll be on the second line on the Tennessee Oilers’ kickoff return team and on field-goal and point-after kick units. The Seattle Seahawks aren’t anxious to see Sanderson. If he’s on the Kingdome carpet much, it means the Oilers probably just scored.
“It’s the first time since high school I’ve played special teams,” said Sanderson, a rookie offensive tackle drafted by the Oilers in the third round. “Whatever it takes to get on the field.”
Sanderson, No. 73, hasn’t played a down as a lineman. He’s an apprentice, like most NFL rookies.
“Scott’s progressing really well,” Tennessee line coach Mike Munchak said. “I’m happy he could go in and play if the starting left tackle (Brad Hopkins) got hurt. Left tackle is the toughest position to play.”
Munchak, a nine-time All-Pro, was initiated into the NFL by blocking Dallas Cowboys star Randy White. Sanderson’s debut came in preseason games, usually against second-team defensive linemen, which was difficult enough.
“It’s pretty funny because I’ve caught a couple of Cougar games, supporting my boys back home, on TV. I find myself looking at the college game and I’m amazed how slow the pace of the game is played,” he said.
“Everybody can run in the NFL - even the linemen, with the speed of their moves they use coming off the ball. You need to get off on the snap.”
Sanderson has the tools to play in the NFL, said Munchak, who played in the NFL with George Yarno, Sanderson’s line coach at WSU. “He’s got good feet and he’s a smart guy,” Munchak said. “The first year is kind of a grind, it’s almost like two college seasons. He’ll definitely gain weight being exposed to our program.”
For now, Sanderson must wait to play.
“It’s a little overwhelming at first because you’re trying to learn the system, and that hinders you when you’re going against this competition,” he said. “I have all the confidence in my ability to play in this league.”
Springs, by George
Tennessee running back Eddie George and Seattle rookie cornerback Shawn Springs are Ohio State University alums. Soon they’ll be co-owners of a house in Ohio.
The two, and numerous other OSU alums in the NFL, condition together in Columbus during the summer. In fact, George never stops his demanding workouts.
After Oilers practices, George often puts in another 2-3 hours, beginning with eight 60-yard sprints and ending in the weight room.
He is 6-foot-3 and 232 pounds with 4 percent body fat. And at Ohio State, he was nearly converted to fullback as a freshman.
“They put me in a three-point stance and said, ‘You know, you’d make a great fullback someday,”’ George said. The move was temporary. George soon became the featured back and won the Heisman Trophy in 1995.
But his OSU career wasn’t without headaches.
“Shawn, (quarterback) Stanley Jackson and I would have little meetings in our dorm room and talk about how much we hated it and how much we wanted to transfer,” George said. “We all worked together and we did a lot of things together. We helped each other through.
“Shawn didn’t really need it. You knew he was going to make it to the pro level when he came” to OSU.
Houston’s Willie Davis holds all the Davis’ family receiving records in the NFL. But brother Tyree of the Seahawks holds the college marks at Central Arkansas.
They meet today for the first time as opponents.
Willie, 29, has 223 NFL receptions. Tyree, 27, has scrambled just to make rosters and has just two career receptions. Tyree had 158 catches at Central Arkansas to Willie’s 63.
“It’s going to be weird seeing my brother across the field,” Willie told a Memphis newspaper.
Mother Betty Davis will be at the Kingdome to watch her sons.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Hawks vs. Oilers The game: 1 p.m. at Kingdome Coaches: Seattle Dennis Erickson, 17-20, third season. Tennessee Jeff Fisher, 17-25, fourth season. The records: Seattle is 2-3, Tennessee is 1-3. The series: Seattle leads 6-5. The line: Seattle by 5. On the air Television: NBC, with Don Criqui and Jim Mora. Radio: KXLY (920 AM) with Steve Thomas and Steve Raible.
Subscribe to The Spokesman-Review’s sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.