Football Finds Fifth-Year Senior
Nov. 16, 2000
Position: Fullback/Special Teams
Hometown: St. Louis, MO
High School: Parkway West
'Everything boils down to how much you love the game,' says fifth-year Stanford senior fullback and special teams standout Emory Brock.
Brock will be playing in his final collegiate football game when the Cardinal visits California for the 103rd Big Game this Saturday. His love for the game of football came later than most and he finds it hard to believe that his collegiate football career is nearly over.
'Saturday was really special for me,' said Brock in reference to his final home game for the Cardinal last Saturday. 'You wouldn't believe five years could fly by so fast. Pretty soon, you look up and wonder where the time has gone. It has truly been something amazing and special. The relationships we have with each other on this football team are pretty much coming to an end as far the every day aspect, but we will still be friends for life.'
Brock's journey to collegiate football didn't begin in earnest until his sophomore season. The son of former major league baseball player Lou Brock had spent most of his youth playing hardball. That was until a football coach at Parkway West High School in St. Louis spotted Brock on the baseball practice field and persuaded him to give the gridiron a shot.
Once he got used to it, he began to love the game of football. Although he continued to play baseball through high school, football quickly became the game that captured his heart. He never seriously considered trying to play both sports at Stanford.
'My hats off to the people that can play more than one sport. I felt like I really couldn't give my best to both sports. I felt I had a better shot of actually playing and getting the most out of it in football. I had a lot more fun playing football than baseball. I think I've grown to enjoy football because it allows me an opportunity to hit a guy legally. There's a different part of me that comes out during games. Off the field, I'm not really as aggressive. I'm a quiet guy, but it's a different mentality when you're on the football field. I'm probably one of the loudest guys on the team.'
Brock has made most of his noise as one of the squad's top special teams players and is known for his hard-hitting style. He has made 30 tackles, blocked three kicks, scored a touchdown and recovered a fumble on special teams during his Stanford career. He earned First Team All-Pac-10 honors as a special teams player in his junior season. This year, he leads the Cardinal special teams with nine tackles (eight unassisted) and has Stanford's only blocked kick of the year.
Things weren't always so good for Brock on Stanford's special teams. He distinctly remembers the first time he started on special teams. He was on the front line of the kickoff return team in a game versus Oregon and was hit in the foot by a squib kick that the Ducks would recover.
|Has been one of the team's top special team players throughout his Stanford career ... Has made 30 career tackles, blocked three kicks, scored a touchdown and recovered a fumble ... Has also contributed offensively as the team's second-string fullback for the past three years, rushing 19 times for 67 yards and catching 10 passes for 173 yards ... Had a 61-yard reception versus California in the 1998 Big Game ... Earned First Team All-Pac-10 honors as a special teams player in 1999.|
'Coach Willingham gave me the look. You know that one that everyone talks about. I never want to get that again.'
In addition to his standout special teams play, Brock has been Stanford's second-string fullback for the last three seasons. Although he has spent most of his playing time on offense as a blocking back, he does have a 61-yard reception versus California in the 1998 Big Game to his credit.
Brock understands the reality that after this Big Game on Saturday, his collegiate football career will end, but he is prepared for the future.
'Life's a bunch of stages and when one stage ends you come to another one,' says Brock.
Still, he loves to reflect on his five years at Stanford and has deep feeling when he speaks of what the Cardinal football program has meant in his life. Brock is already thinking about future memories.
'Twenty years from now I can think back and say I was part of a Rose Bowl team here.'
When Brock leaves the field following this year's Big Game, his immediate memories of Stanford football will be emotional.
'Your emotions come out,' admits Brock. 'A couple of years ago, a couple of guys cried. I don't know what I'm going to do. Every year, It's like your losing a piece of yourself. This time, I'm leaving the team. It's going to be emotionally hard knowing you've worked out with these guys for four or five years. We've spent so much time together. It's like you're leaving a family. They feel like my brothers. You have this strong relationship you build up over the years and now you're going separate ways. It's a hard thing to do. These guys have really meant a lot to me.'
Before he begins to reminisce too much, Brock talks of still finding a way to extend his football career beyond his Cardinal playing days.
'I want to give it a shot. After the Cal game, I will look at my situation. I just know I don't want to be one of those guys that says 'What if?''
Brock never had to say what if about playing football at Stanford, but he still thinks about it at times.
'Half of the friends I have now and half the experiences I have had would be different,' says Brock when asked what his collegiate days may have been like without football. 'Football has been the cornerstone of my collegiate career. I never would have had interaction with that many people.'
One of those people that has had a profound effect on his life is Stanford head coach Tyrone Willingham, who Brock says plays a role as a father figure for him on the West Coast.
'Coach Willingham is really special. I get inspiration from him. He gives everyone the same respect and demands respect from you, too. I always felt that I could look up to him and talk to him and the rest of the coaches about anything.'
Willingham and the rest of the Cardinal coaching staff also provided Brock with what he considers some of the best advice he has ever received.
The coaches always say, 'You never know what tomorrow brings so why not make the best of today.'
Brock has made the best of virtually every day since he has been at Stanford and Saturday's Big Game at California should be no different.
by Kyle McRae
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