Talk about your change of scenery.
David Cone went from leading the Statesboro High football team to a GHSA Class AAAA state championship over Warner Robins in front of a packed-out Paulson Stadium in 2005, to standing on the sidelines of one of college football’s largest stadiums and one of the nation’s more storied programs.
“It’s fun, it’s fun coming out of the tunnel and touching that banner is quite an experience,” said Cone of playing in the University of Michigan’s ‘Big House’. “It’s the biggest stadium in the country, so that’s always exciting. It’s a little different, they’re all around you.”
Cone was redshirted this season for the Big Blue, but is excited about his chances in the fall. He says he got some good reps during the spring and is working hard to improve this summer.
“Hopefully I’ll be getting in some of the games,” he said. “I’m just trying to be the backup right now. Just competing and working hard for that.”
Putting on the maize and blue as a redshirt freshman was an unique experience according to Cone. While still a member of the team, the former Blue Devil wasn’t always dressed out for away games.
“All the players and the coaches help you along and show you the ropes,” he said. “But it’s really tough becuase you know you’re not going to get any playing time and they’re really just working you out and conditioning you. Every Friday before the games when the travel guys are getting ready to go to the hotel, you’re having to work out and run.”
One such experience was one of the more anticipated games of the early century, when undefeated, No. 2 Michigan traveled to undefeated, No 1 Ohio State in November. Cone wasn’t able to attend the contest, but lived the hype.
“It was unlike anything I’d had been around,” he said. “We had had big games before that, but I had never seen anything like the focus that we showed during the Ohio State game. We played a great game, lost by three points to a really good team.”
Now, Cone and the rest of the Wolverines are looking toawards the 2007 slate, which includes three staright home games against defending I-AA National Champion Appalachian State, the Pac-10’s Oregon and Notre Dame to open the season.
“I don’t know that much about (App State) although they have a good offense from what I hear,” said Cone of the Southern Conference member. “Obviously growing up in Statesboro I know that Appalachian State’s a powerhouse in I-AA. These other guys on the team, I don’t know how much they know about them, but we’re definetly not overlooking them.”
Cone stills keeps up with SHS football, mainly in part because his two younger brothers are in the program, and says he calls home every Friday night to see if the team he once led to glory came away with another ‘W’.
Chad Bishop can be reached at (912) 489-9408.