Reddit was one of the sites that I featured on our list of favorite college football sites and one of my favorite things they do is their AMA (Ask Me Anything) series. If you missed the one they did with Kliff Kingsbury, you can catch up on that here.
This week they had former LSU Tigers offensive lineman T-Bob Hebert. He was a part of the 2007 National Championship team (although he red-shirted) and he was also on the 2011 team that lost to Bama in the Championship Game. Here’s the best of his Reddit AMA (click here for the entire AMA).
Question: What really happened the night before the NCG and the day before the game? The fans want the truth.
Hebert: I don’t think your going to like what I have to say, however it is the honest truth. Nothing out of the ordinary happened the night before the game. I understand why it seems like that absolutely cannot be the case. We beat 9 ranked teams, we beat the Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl, and National Champions that year. We won every game by at least 10 points with the exception of Alabama and nine of those came against ranked teams. We set school records for largest margin of victory against multiple SEC opponents. Had we won the National Championship we could have arguably been considered the greatest team of all time. How in the WORLD do you go from this to not even crossing the 50 yard line??? I do not know. Yes, Alabama had the best defense I have ever played against (I think almost two deep played in the NFL) but that is still no excuse for not being able to do anything. There must be a reason… and on the surface there appears to be one. Because we suffered this terrible loss, combined with the drama with my Dad and Les Miles in the press conference after the game, and topped off that myself/Russell Shepard/Jarrett Lee didn’t play a single down in that game rumors started to swirl that there had been drama in the week/night before the game. None of them are true. Me and Jordan never fought. I didn’t stage a revolution to try to get anyone subbed in. I’ve heard a 100 different stories of what supposedly took place. Honestly, your guess is as good as mine. I went into that game fully expecting to play. I knew I wasn’t starting anymore (got pulled the last four games following a personal foul against western kentucky) but in the other games I was still filling in at all the three interior positions as a rotator. The fact that I didn’t play is still one of the most shameful points of my career. Everybody wanted to win the game. The coaches stood to gain nothing by losing and if I didn’t play that means that they flat out didn’t think I could help them win. That bugs the hell out of me because I think I had proven to them that wasn’t the case but that apparently I was wrong. I didn’t get to touch the field during my final college football game and I will never be able to get an opportunity like that back. It will always bug me but thats just life I guess. Losing the National Championship like we did was like watching a life time of work evaporate before my eyes. To work so hard and be so close to achieving literally every goal you had set and then to fail so spectacularly will annoy me for the rest of my life. But, all in all I take positive memories from LSU as I had some amazing and truly unforgettable experiences both at the school and in Tiger Stadium.
Question: Who did you bribe — and with what — to be LSU’s highest rated player on NCAA ’12? You were a 92.
Hebert: hahaha trust me growing up a huge fan of video games I was as surprised as anyone when those ratings came out… I think they got lazy and were just said screw it he can be good
Question: Outside of Tiger Stadium, what were some of your favorite places to play?
Hebert: So many great stadiums. Alabama post the 100,000 upgrade was probably the loudest by a hair (also that was the “Game of the Century so that might factor in). The Swamp was always tough and probably second toughest but winning there my JR year was one of the greatest memories of my life. No one talks trash like the swamp as the fans are right on top of you. Getting called a fatass all game and then winning felt good. South Carolina’s stadium had an incredible atmosphere. It felt like everyone was good friends just wanting to party. Almost like a giant rowdy high school game. UGA was also pretty great. I grew up in Ga and went to a bunch of games when I was being recruited and being an LSU fan that grew up in enemy territory it was really nice to get a win in Athens my first year starting in 09. Auburn’s is ok. It sucked losing to Cam Newton but it was never to hard to communicate. Plus, that stupid 2 bits cheer is the least intimidating thing I have ever heard. Going to West Virginia was a great experience and playing back to back games in Jerry World (Dallas Stadium? I dk the name) was great. We beat A&M in the Cotton Bowl and then opened with your Ducks the next season.
In terms of loudness 1. Bama (post upgrade) 2. Florida 3. UGA 4. South Carolina 5. Auburn
Honorable Mention: Miss St. for being the most annoying place ever with 50,000 cowbells
Question: How was the transition away from playing football?
Hebert: It was tough at first. I was with the Rams all the way up until final cuts until I played terrible in the last preseason game (which takes place the night before said cuts) and the next day I went in and as I expected got sent home. Basically I choked, but even at my peak I know that I was only ever going to be an NFL guy for a couple years. A cheap utility player that could make the right calls, but some of those guys are absolutely incredible at football. The vets are true warriors. 53 roster spots sounds like a lot but it really isn’t. After I got cut, I pouted in a dark hotel room for two days before finally shaving my beard cutting my hair and re-emerging into the world. I stayed working out seeing if any other teams would call and the phone never rang. I had a scary moment where I didn’t now what to do because I was always so focused on football and now that was gone. Thanks to some connections made at LSU I was able to start a part time radio gig for a year before landing a morning show in new orleans full time in October. I am loving life now man. Way less stressed out and having a ton of fun… however…. that NFL money would have been incredible xD
Question: Can you tell us more about the 2010 Tennessee debacle? Why were you more aware of the clock than JJ? What was his confusion? What was going on in the team’s mind down on the field before the penalty was called? How did the dynamic of the team change once the second chance was available?
Hebert: Let it be known that I got UNBELIEVABLY LUCKY that we won this game. I didn’t snap the ball because I knew they had 13 people on the field I just did it because the clock was going to run out. The craziest part is I had a true Luke Skywalker moment where I saw Will Blackwell’s head appear and yell at me to snap the ball. The reason was he had made fun of me for a year because I didn’t snap it against Ole Miss the year previously and we lost. The confusion was that we didn’t have a play called. We called a running play with zero timeouts and now way to stop the clock however normally you would have an immediately follow up play called, but we did not. After we got snapped there we’re multiple formations being signaled in and to this day I am not sure how we were in a legal formation, but sometimes its better to be lucky than good. The emotional U turn that took place was one of the most intense experiences of my life. To go from losing the game to then having a chance to win it in a winner take all 0:00 left on the clock situation, and then following through and getting in the end zone was spectacular. I had like 13 family members there too including my sisters who never got to go because they lived in California. Amazing memory will carry it with me forever.
Also, Jarrett is the real hero of that game. Came in cold on 4th and 18 and got us a first down… thats crazy
Question: What is the weirdest thing that a fan has ever tried to give you/do for you?
Hebert: I had a few people that wanted me to snap them the ball which translates into awkward testicle contact
Question: As someone who didn’t make it pro and while good in college not a top star. How do you feel about college athletes being paid? I don’t want to get personal, but I imagine your father helped with college expenses some. Did you have to take any loans to graduate?
Hebert: Yeah I’m not a good person to ask because I have been extremely blessed. I never wanted for anything and for that I am very thankful to my two parents. That said I would like to see athletes get something additional. The college game today is 100% then it was when the rules that we abide by were put in place. Just because something is the status quo for a while doesn’t make it right. The rules need to evolve and adapt just as the game and coverage of the game has. The writing is on the wall it is only a matter of time until something big happens.
Question: Did you have any emotional relationship to how well your running backs were doing on a given play, for instance would you get an adrenaline rush and start blowing people off the line after a big gain?
Hebert: This is actually a very insightful question. There is definitely an adrenaline rush when you break off a big run. In 2011 we specialized in grinding defenses down till they could no longer hang. One of the best feelings was when you break the first long run and then you start stringing em together. Absolutely demoralizing for the D and reinvigorating for the O.
Question: What was the best part/best story of being recruited?
Hebert: Getting a free pass to party while still in high school was crucial. Weekends spent in Athens on “recruiting visits” were a ton of fun. During one of my visits (not saying where) I was pole dancing while wearing a sling because I had just had shoulder surgery, I fell pin front of the whole bar dropped my beer. I tried to be cool by popping back up and chugging my beer but the broken glass cut my lips. ouch
Question: How many if any players buy into the fandom of the SEC? With such vitriol among the fans and it appears some coaches (see Bert and Gus) does this bleed over onto the field? Or do most guys see this is a business (get me to the league or get me a free education)?
Hebert: I can only speak for myself but I know that I definitely bought into the hype. I take a ton of pride in knowing that I competed in the SEC when it was as talented as it was and I truly believe it to be the best conference in college football. Some guys definitely do see it as a business however for both of the reasons you named. I was definitely way into LSU pride as well because I grew up a huge fan.