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September 19, 2012
The call came during the fourth quarter of last Saturday's South Alabama game for true freshman quarterback Manny Stocker. He was being told to get ready to relieve fifth-year senior and starter Mike Glennon.
There was just one problem. Stocker, for a brief moment, could not find his helmet.
"I do signals all the time, so I do it without my helmet," Stocker began to explain. "When they called my number, I was shocked. All the adrenaline was rushing through me, and I was looking for my helmet."
Stocker said that he was not running around frantically, but he was still searching for his helmet until finding it on the bench where numerous other helmets were located. Tom O'Brien though remembered it a tad differently.
"He was running around like a chicken with his head cut off," O'Brien said.
Apparently Stocker showed enough nervousness to O'Brien that the coach felt the need to give Stocker some crucial advice.
"The only I said is, 'Just make sure you get the ball from the center," O'Brien joked. "'Don't worry about anything else. You just get the ball from the center and go from there.'"
Stocker did receive some serious words of wisdom though from Glennon.
"Mike told me to calm down, it'll be fine, it's not what you think it is, just be comfortable out there," Stocker recalled. "I took his advice and everything went well."
Once in the game Stocker was not asked to do much other than hand the ball off to the running backs. He did get one pass called, but the play was designed for a quick read and then run. When Stocker tucked the ball away to scramble, he was tripped up on a shoelace tackle.
"Actually it went by smoother than I thought it did, it really did, opened my eyes to what it really was," Stocker noted. "I got a feel for what the atmosphere was, so everything was great."
Getting into the game Saturday was especially sweet because Stocker's parents made the seven-hour drive from Coatesville, Pa., to be there.
"The first home game so they wanted to come," Stocker said. "They were pretty excited, as well as I was, too."
Although Stocker was not asked to do much against South Alabama, he feels that he is prepared to handle a larger load if need be.
"My comfort level with the offense is real comfortable," Stocker proclaimed. "I am learning new things each day. I feel like I have a full grasp of the offense and can run the plays and be comfortable running the plays Coach Bible calls."
And maybe next time he will have his helmet a little closer by as well.
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