Star QB: Will streaking Schaub get the Heisman?
The sports press says he came from nowhere. He was booed and benched at UVA's season-opening game last year– and then he went on to become ACC player of the year.
Now UVA has launched a major campaign for quarterback Matt Schaub to snag the Heisman Trophy as most outstanding football player of the year. The university has even created this unsubtle hint of a website: schaub4heisman.com.
The fifth-year player– he received his degree in May– has been a pretty good sport about all the media attention, including a big write-up in the August 18 USA Today. But he admits that he's getting a little tired of being asked about the whole Heisman hype.
"At this point, I just want to go out and play," Schaub (pronounced shob) says, parroting the time-honored quote that Kevin Costner advised a star athlete to use in Bull Durham.
He's also weary of being asked what he has changed from last season's opener. "I didn't change anything," says the 6'5" three-sport standout. "Things just clicked."
As captain of the team and with UVA touting him as a football hero, there must be some cool perks, right? Women throwing themselves at him, free cars, great apartments? Schaub winces at those NCAA-frowned-upon suggestions.
"I'm still looking for a perk," he says, noting that he doesn't even get free parking, but has to buy his parking pass like everybody else.
Now that he's everywhere in the media, he gets picked on more by his teammates, but he takes that in stride, insisting that it's all just fun. As for the most ridiculous thing he's had to do in the Heisman campaign, he doesn't hesitate: "dress up in a tuxedo." (He had to look like Agent 007 because of his jersey number.)
Schaub is one of those gifted athletes who excel in football, basketball, and baseball. In college, "I always thought I'd play basketball," he says, "but I realized in my junior year of high school that the sport that would carry me through college would be football."
As for baseball, he concedes that would be a "hard road to travel."
Schaub seems so unaffected, so wholesome, so un-prima donna-like that it's unlikely fans will one day read about him getting arrested for shoplifting or the other unsavory activities that often plague high-profile athletes.
He doesn't even have a tattoo. "I don't think my parents would allow me back in the house if I had one," he says.
But as congenial as he is, Schaub warns about one misconception: "Some see me as laid back and calm. They don't realize that on the field I'm fiery and motivated. I know when to be fiery."
Those are words to warm the heart of any coach... especially with the season opener against Duke coming August 30.
What brought you here? A combination of athletics and academics
What's worst about living here? Nowhere to park
Favorite hangout? My apartment
What would people be surprised to know about you? I'm balding.
What accomplishment are you proudest of? Graduating with my degree in economics
What do people find most annoying about you? I get up too early for my roommate.
Whom do you admire? My roommate, Ryan Sawyer
Favorite book? What It Takes to Be #1 by Vince Lombardi Jr.
What subject causes you to rant? [Apparently Schaub isn't a ranter, because he left this one blank.]
What thrills you about life in the 21st century? Not knowing what lies ahead
What creeps you out about life in the 21st century? Not knowing what lies ahead
What do you drive? '99 Honda Passport
What's in your car CD player right now? 50 Cent
What's your next journey? Hopefully, the NFL
What's the most trouble you've ever gotten in? Senior week after high school graduation, I was 17 and got picked up for the noise ordinance because a party was too loud. My parents had to drive three hours to get me out.
What do you regret? I have no regrets.
Favorite comfort food? Cookies
What's always in your refrigerator? Bottled water
Must-see TV? Curb Your Enthusiasm, Sportscenter
Favorite cartoon? Duck Tales
Describe a perfect day. Get up, lie around, go to the pool, then lie around the house some more.
Walter Mitty fantasy? Playing for the NFL
Who'd play you in the movie? Ben Affleck
Best advice you ever got? No matter what happens, keep fighting.
Favorite bumper sticker? Just do it.