You’re the head coach of the Washington Huskies and your players have been listening to you for six months. You prod them, you motivate them, you inspire them.
But after awhile, even if you’re the most polished of speakers, their eyes are going to glaze over and they are going to start yawning.
So who do you get to provide an added spark for Monday’s Rose Bowl game against the Purdue Boilermakers?
How about Tarzan of the apes?
That’s who Washington Coach Rick Neuheisel came up with at practice Friday at USC’s Howard Jones Field.
No, this Tarzan didn’t come swinging in on a vine. But the fact that Herman Brix could walk in under his own power was impressive enough.
Brix (also known as Bruce Bennett) is 94 years old. He played Tarzan in two 1930s films. Before that, he was a silver medalist in the shotput in the 1928 Olympics.
And before that, he was a tackle on the Washington team that lost the 1926 Rose Bowl game to Alabama, 20-19.
Brix told the Huskies that, 75 years later, that game remains a well-remembered and highly treasured moment in his life.
And what did the players want to know about?
Jane, of course.
Neuheisel has been conscious of keeping the school’s rich past alive.
In that spirit, he has made sure that both of his predecessors--Don James and Jim Lambright--will be at Monday’s game.
“We may get them wired up and put a headset on each of them,” Neuheisel said, “and see if we can get some help out of them.”
So what, Husky quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo was asked, is a Boilermaker?
“I think it’s like a train’s engineer,” he said. “I think I heard it’s a drink too, but I never had one.”
Tuiasosopo and Brees spent time together last summer as counselors at a football camp.
When they said their goodbyes, Tuiasosopo told Brees, “See ya in the Rose Bowl.”
Unlike the Huskies, the Boilermakers have closed their practices this week. Has that caused Washington to rethink its policy?
“We have not closed practice all year,” Tuiasosopo said. “A lot of people want to know about the Huskies. We have no problem sharing and letting the people back home know what’s going on.”
Washington safety Hakim Akbar missed a Saturday news conference because of a nagging cold, but it is not expected to cost him any playing time Monday.