Decisions and opportunities define QB's career
In football, as in almost every
sport, speed is one of the great
.est gifts an athlete can possess. Junior quarterback Donald
Douglas, however, sees speed as
just another hurdle between him
and his of becoming a star quarterback.
All his life people have
praised Douglas for his tremendous athletic ability, but because
of his ability, coaches have always wanted to convert him to
receiver or defense.
"Ever since I was in high
school, I've always had to prove
that I can throw," Douglas said. "I
get upset when I look in the paper
and the only thing I read is that
I'm an athlete and I can scramble.
I can throw and read defenses."
Out of high school, Douglas had been interested in Southwest Conference schools. Seeing
the success that Andre Ware was
having at Houston influenced
him to commit to the Cougars.
"(Other) coaches were
telling me they wanted me to
play defense," said Douglas.
"They wanted me, but not as a
quarterback. They weren't going
to give me a chance."
John Jenkins, who at the
time was the Cougars' offensive
coordinator, recruited Douglas for
the speed he would lend to the
Run and Shoot. He went beyond
usual convention to sway Douglas.
Jenkins called Douglas
from the locker room at halftime
of Houston's 1988 game against
Texas. The Cougars had just
posted a 35-3 lead.
"I'm sitting at home
watching the game on TV and the
phone rings right after halftime. I
pick up and Jenkins said, 'Hey
Hoss, are you watching the game?'
I said 'yeah', and he said 'What
do you think about that?'"
"I said, 'Do you think you
can put 60 on the board?' He said,
"60 huh? You watch this, and I'll
call you after the game.'"
Douglas said Jenkins
called back not more than 15
minutes after the 66-15 win and
said, "Hey Hoss, is that good
enough for you?"
Douglas did commit to
Houston while at Liberty High
School, however, when the Cougars were put on probation in
1989 for violating NCAA regulations, Douglas opted to play at
Douglas wears a watch
from Florida's 1989 Freedom
As a true freshman, Douglas took over for injured Gators
starter Kyle Morris, starting the
final four games of the season,
and the Freedom Bowl game
against Washington State.
Out of those five games,
Florida's only win came against
Douglas entered the
Gators' 1990 spring practice as
the number one quarterback—in
front of four other scholarship
QB's. Early that spring, however,
Florida Coach Steve Spurrier
wanted to convert Douglas into a
"I was thinking, 'Oh,
God, not again,'" Douglas said. "I
told him I wanted to be quarterback, not a receiver."
Douglas said Spurrier
abandoned the idea at the time,
and told him he wanted to rotate
the five QB's in practice. "We
went through, and everyone took
their turn," said Douglas. "I went
from one to five just like that. He
never would rotate me back up."
Douglas said Spurrier
called him back into his office
and told him he would be moved
to receiver. "I told him that I
wouldn't be back in practice."
The Gators released Douglas and he headed back to Houston.
When Douglas took the
helm for the injured David Klingler in 1991, he looked to be the
Cougars' QB front-runner.
"Coming into this season, I wanted to be the number
one guy. I wanted to be a leader
and a role model. I wanted to win
However, things once
again turned out contrary to Douglas' plans. Jenkins decided to
rotate Douglas and sophomore
Jimmy Klingler in an attempt to
thwart opposing defenses.
Neither quarterback was
particularly pleased with the arrangement early on, but the two
learned to deal with it and formed
"You have to put your
ego aside when the time comes to
be ready to play. I'd like to stay in,
but if I'm pulled out I won't get
mad or anything like that."
During the season, Douglas injured his feet, making it
difficult for him to go in for more
than a few plays. Once again his
career as a top quarterback came
Douglas has one year of
eligibility left, and he spent much
of spring training studying to be
a free safety. Under the leadership of new head Coach Kim
Helton, it is unknown how Douglas will serve the Cougars in
"I'll have to go back and
re-establish my relationship with
God and put the whole thing in
his hands." -Jason Luther
Donald Douglas scrambles for the last fewyards.
The quarterback's triple threat of speed, Lntelli-
gence and accuracy made him a natural for the
Runand Shoot. Photo by Thomas Nguyen, (upper
Jeff Tail and Daniel Adams combine talents to
make this defender take the fail early. Photoby
Thomas Nguyen, (upper right)
Terrance Mouton. An Aggie. A refthal likes to
watch. No Comment. Photoby Thomas Nguyen,
Yes, that's fimmy Herndon In the back of the
jture, I'm sure ne's keeping superb* k Bryan
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chinegays.PhotobyThomas Nguyen, (lower left)
Jimmy Hemdon couldn't believe it.
He was dumbfounded by the notion
that his 6-foot-8-inch frame was on the playing
field competing in Division I-A football.
"Being outtherealot of timesljustlook
at the sideline and go, 'You know, 1 can't believe
I'mreally outhere doingthis/" said the 19-year-
old freshman from Lee High School in Baytown.
Hemdon was redshirted last year, so
"I kind of enjoyed it because I got to I
concentrate on lifting weights and getting stronger," he said. "It was kind of frustrating to watch |
the team losing and not being able to do any-
thing to help, (but) it wasn't as bad as I thought
it would be. Coming in, you figure it's going to
that bad. It went by pretty fast.
Now with the redshirt gone from his
playing status, Hemdon started on offense at left
tackle in front of senior John Morris. Hemdon
though, is still learning the ropes.
"Sometimes I do feel like a freshman
because I go back to some of the stuff that Coach |
some of the stuff that I hadn't done since last
year, just fundamental stuff, and I just have to
remember that I'm still leaming^damKin