The legend of Orlando Pace, the most dominant lineman in college football history

At a time when all the leaves are turning to orange and some of us are throwing parties celebrating the impending arrival of fall, you may want to take a look back at the glory days of football. This past weekend marked the 40th anniversary of the 1971 Rose Bowl. And for many, that game was an occasion for celebrating the career of a certain USC lineman named Orlando Pace. That year, the Trojans won the national championship with a final score of 38-20 over Oklahoma.

While there were only two college football teams that played in the National Football League (NFL) during the period in which Orlando Pace played for them, he was the most dominant player in college football history. Pace was the only lineman in the NFL history with over 300 receptions, 3,000 rushing yards, and over 1,000 yards receiving, and he was the only player to be named All-Pro at both positions.

As it turns out, you’re probably living in a time that Orlando Pace has never occupied. The man responsible for building the most dominant offensive line in college football history is, well, a legend. From his days in high school to his success at the University of Alabama, you can’t question Pace’s dominance as a football player.. Read more about orlando pace wife and let us know what you think.

Shawn Springs had two key questions when he first saw Orlando Pace come onto the practice field at Ohio State in 1994.

“Who is feeding him?” says one.

“Who gave birth to him?” is the second question.

Springs, a future collegiate All-American and NFL All-Pro, chuckled as he recalled his first impression of Pace, who was in the same class as him.

“Isn’t he huge?” he asked.

That is correct. At 6-foot-7 and more over 300 pounds, the former high school All-American came from Sandusky, Ohio. Coach John Cooper would threaten the squad in practice, saying, “You’re going to have to run around Orlando instead of on the field.”

Former Ohio State star Archie Griffin recalls seeing a young Pace and thought he was a mountain of a guy. Griffin is the only player in college football history to win the Heisman Trophy twice.

Griffin said, “And then I observed the guy, and he moved like a running back or a tight end.”

That much athleticism in such a large physique was difficult to comprehend. Coaches, teammates, and the rest of the collegiate football world watched in amazement as Pace accomplished things he’d never seen before, such as chasing down safeties and blocking opponents with one arm during his three seasons at Ohio State.

Pace was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and went on to win the Lombardi Award as the first sophomore. He was just as adept at guarding the quarterback’s blind side (he didn’t give up a sack in back-to-back seasons) as he was at generating openings in the running game by the time he was a junior in 1996.

He popularized the “pancake” by completely blocking his opponents, knocking them off their feet and laying prone on the grass. And Pace was instrumental in changing the perception of left tackles from maulers to players that combine physical talents, finesse, and sheer strength.

These are the hidden tales of arguably the most dominating lineman in modern college football history, twenty-five years after establishing his reputation with a remarkable run at the Heisman Trophy.

Like ‘a fatter Shaq,’ a natural athlete.

Summer conditioning is when you’d be most pleased, according to Stanley Jackson, OSU quarterback. We’d run 2-2.5 miles, which all the big guys found challenging. With the exception of Orlando. For him, everything was simple. He was able to handle all of his weight and bulk with ease. He was defeating linebackers, defensive ends, and other players he shouldn’t have been beating.

OSU defensive tackle Luke Fickell: I can’t even get close to a 6-foot-8, 330-pound man who is 50 pounds bigger than me. “God is fair,” I’ve always said. But I’m not sure I believe that anymore since I’m working my tail off and yet can’t keep up with this man.

OSU defensive ends coach Bill Conley: He was never weary. It was incredible.

Jackson: When we had a break during the summer, we would go to the basketball court. We probably didn’t make the best decision, but we did it anyway. And you could see straight immediately that he was one of a kind. He could run the floor with the best of them. Around the rim, he had a gentle touch. And he’d dunk on you if you weren’t cautious.

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OSU wide receiver Dee Miller: It’s going to grab your attention to see someone 6-8 and the starting tackle placing the ball between his legs, pump-faking, spinning it around, and hitting glass.

Shawn Springs, OSU cornerback: As I have said, “You’re a lineman, Orlando. It’s against the rules for you to take the shots. It’s your job to grab the rebounds.” That didn’t sit well with him. He had the ability to dunk, grab rebounds, shoot, break [ankles], and block shots. He’d block a shot before sprinting down the floor. Orlando is a good hoop player. He was a kind guy.

Juan Porter, OSU center: He reminded me a little bit of Shaq.

OSU head coach John Cooper: He might have played basketball for the Buckeyes.

OSU defensive tackle Winfield Garrett: With ease, he could hang 400 pounds clean.

OSU strength coach Dave Kennedy says: “I bet you a Gatorade you can’t complete a set of 20 without straps,” I said. And, listen, he took it up like a circus strongman and performed 20 reps, then 10 more, all while winking at me.

Springs: Some individuals are born to be linemen.

Jackson: Years ago, I had a speculative notion that there are aliens among us. And it was because I got the opportunity to work with some really exceptional players. And he happens to be one of them. How do you describe that person, for example? No one else is quite like you. How can you explain a man of such stature? That quick? Is it really that quick? What causes this to happen?

Cooper: People often ask me who the greatest player I’ve ever coached is. And I’d have a hard time convincing you that I had someone better than Orlando Pace.

Seven days a week dominance

OSU defensive line coach Jim Heacock: I arrived to Ohio State in 1996. They were practicing while I was interviewing with John Cooper for a job. When you saw Orlando Pace, you knew he was unique simply by looking at him.

Jackson: He had better feet than you. His hands were much superior than yours. On top of that, he was very powerful. He had no flaws.

Conley: The only thing you can tell the defensive lineman facing him is, “You must attempt to work the edge. Don’t go face-to-face with the man. You’re either done or you’re not.”

Mike Vrabel is one of the most ruthless and hardworking players in the league. He was a one-of-a-kind enforcer with a mind-boggling engine. But he’d go up against Orlando’s pass rush and throw a single move. If he didn’t understand it, he just turned around and went away as if nothing had happened.

OSU defensive end Matt Finkes: If you’re attempting something and he stops it straight away, you simply pause, reload, and go on to the next rep. It is, after all, what it is.

Mike may not admit it, but we used to practice one-on-one pass rushes every day, and I don’t recall ever beating him. And here’s a man who spent 14 years in the NFL and holds the record for most sacks in Ohio State history. And you never defeat the man in that drill, which is set up a bit more for the defense? He was that talented.

Springs: You need a different question than “Who is winning the battles?” No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no With my own eyes, I’ve never seen anybody beat Orlando. Pay attention to what I’m saying. This man has never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, You may be able to discover someone through watching NFL movies. But what about in college? Nobody even came close. Vrabel isn’t one of them. That’s not even close. Listen, compared to this guy, Vrabel is a JV, f—-ing high school football player. Mike, on the other hand, is my son. Mike was also destroying the Big Ten.

Cooper: Instead of facing him, some of those experienced defensive ends would step back in line.

Jackson: Guys were attempting to make bargains with him so he wouldn’t maul them if they went against him: “Hey, buddy, don’t bother with me. Pace, I’m not going to hurry you every time you’re up there. Please don’t bother me.”

Finkes: I’m afraid I couldn’t do it. Our second- and third-string players, on the other hand, were meant to be up there when Orlando was up, and they somehow managed to tie their shoe at that time.

So, what did victory over Pace entail?

Heacock: I’m not going to be humiliated.

Porter: It’s not your family who closes their eyes and says, “That’s my kid over there being murdered.” Or your position coach turning around and shaking his head and saying, “Geez.” “OK, he didn’t murder you; you’re still alive,” says the standoff.

When you go against Orlando Pace, the rules of physics vanish. Fickell: “Low guy always wins, low man always wins, low man always wins,” my coach would constantly repeat. Then, in a board exercise, I go up to Orlando and say, “Hey, Coach, low man isn’t winning here.” “I neglected to tell you,” he continues, “that genetics trumps the rules of physics.”

Finkes: One of our backup defensive ends went up against him one day, and — I mean, it happens — Orlando took a shot and whiffed, and the guy got past him, and the whole defensive line went wild. Even the offensive linemen expressed their displeasure with the situation “Oh, no. My. Goodness.” It was a spectacle. “We’re going again,” Orlando remarked. He refused to allow the rotation to take place. “, he said “Nope, you’ll have to queue up all over again. We’re off once again.” After that, he just passed-blocked the man with one arm. He demonstrated to everyone that it was a fluke.

“Pace is very bashful,” teammate Dee Miller remarked, despite his dominance on the field. “He’ll be someplace, and despite his size, it’s almost as if he’s trying to hide.” USA TODAY Sports/Matthew Emmons

Quiet? Yes. But is it gentle? Not at all.

Pace has a commanding presence without being overbearing. He wasn’t the kind to throw his weight about in a display of force, despite his stature. That would begin to alter after enough time spent with Ohio State’s other, older offensive lineman.

Kennedy: He had a fast grin and a quick chuckle, and he didn’t take himself too seriously.

OSU running back Pepe Pearson: We used to tease him about his disproportionately large skull.

Porter: Someone transformed a garbage can into Orlando Pace’s helmet by taping a trash can to it.

Garrett: You know, the ferocity with which we made jokes used to be different. He was dubbed “The Goonies’ Big Dude” by his peers.

Miller: Pace is such a shy person. He’ll be there, and despite his size, it’s almost as if he’s trying to hide.

Jackson: If he wasn’t such a lovely person, he could have definitely improved his performance. You can’t have it all, I believe, because the Lord creates people. If Orlando Pace or Dan Wilkerson were bad people, they’d be in prison right now.

Kennedy: It’s a shame Korey Stringer isn’t still living to tell you about his business connections with Orlando.

Stringer, an All-American at Ohio State, died in 2001 as a result of exertional heatstroke complications. The Minnesota Vikings retired his No. 77 jersey.

Garrett: Korey was a snot-in-your-nose, old-school bully.

Stringer would enter the huddle and tell us what play to run. Jackson: “Run behind me,” he’d urge the coach. Pace wasn’t the one who said it. That was not in his nature. He was simply a quiet man who went to work with his lunch pail every day and took care of his business.

Miller: When you were with Korey, you began to see Orlando pull up guys and smash them on their backs and lie on them.

Porter: “Man, you know what you’re going to get,” it was like by his junior year. He’s going to get rid of the person he’s going to block. You don’t have to be concerned. It was the world’s largest security blanket.

Miller: [He was] a completely different person. Now he’ll smash your ass on the field while remaining silent.

Fickell: With the exception of Orlando Pace, I’ve never seen a great or even a very decent offensive lineman who didn’t have a chip on his shoulder and wasn’t a jerk who wanted to bury people. Korey Stringer and Orlando Pace were standing next to one other. Korey was a scumbag. He’d attempt to bury you and harm you. And Orlando was a very lovely man — maybe it was because he didn’t have to be with us — but he was. As if he didn’t have to be such a jerk. He could do it with elegance because he was so large, powerful, athletic, and talented. And I’ve never seen or played with or against any offensive lineman who can be so dominating while being elegant and deft.

Kennedy: I used to have Larry Fitzgerald, and it’s similar to Larry Fitzgerald. He may be the sweetest man in the planet, but he totally destroys your arse. After he shoved you in the hip, he’ll assist you in getting up. Orlando had a physical presence… but was he gentle? Yeah, I’m grinning as I pound your ass and know I’m going to kick your ass all day.

Jackson: I’ve seen someone try him outside of the boundaries of football, and that person made a mistake by doing so. And, now that I think about it, I don’t believe he was even furious at the time. It was just a reality that you tried him, took a test, and failed.

Miller: We were heading up to this skate party at this frat, and fraternity men and football players never got along. So someone was yelling obscenities and shoved Pace. I mean, Pace turned around and leveled this guy. Pow! I saw a little boy, approximately 5-9 years old, with his feet in the air. Pace was only enraged that one time.

Jackson: Could you tell me the president’s quote? “Walk gently while wielding a large stick.” By the way, he had the complete respect of every child in the squad, as well as every coach. As a result, when he began speaking, even the coaches became silent and listened. He deserved it.

Pearson: I took Big O off the field with me a few times, and he would come and pull me out of various situations… because he cared about his teammates.

Cooper: One thing that struck me about him was his work ethic. He was not only a gifted player, but he also improved. You didn’t need to be concerned about Orlando. We had to train the remaining ten men.

Fickell: We’d go out and declare, “Today, we’re going to start something.” However, not with him… Vrabel had a fight with virtually every offensive lineman at one point or another. Even if it was a running back or anything, I’d fight nearly every guy. But, apart from the fact that he’s so excellent, I’m not sure why Orlando isn’t on the list. He was also quite modest about it. You’d feel terrible if you fought, like, “What the heck am I doing?”

William Carr, Michigan’s All-American nose tackle: He didn’t even speak, which was one of the things I liked about him. He just whooped you, got up, and walked away. He didn’t speak to me at all. I kept my mouth shut around him. “See you next play, boss,” was all it said.

Pace’s opponents admired his calm demeanor throughout the game. William Carr, an All-American nose tackle at Michigan, recalled, “He simply whooped you, got up, and went on his way.” “He didn’t say anything to me,” says the narrator. Sports on USA TODAY

‘He simply completely wiped them off,’ says an unstoppable force.

After Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George departed for the NFL after the 1995 season, opponents were looking for a break from Ohio State’s dominant run game. With Pepe Pearson stepping into the starting lineup as a result of Pace’s injury, the Buckeyes were able to average more than 200 running yards per game in 1996.

Tarek Saleh, a Wisconsin All-American linebacker: “We can’t wait to see the movie,” we said. [Stringer] appears out of nowhere down the field. The next minute, there’s this other… offensive lineman sprinting down the field, leaping over a defender to block another player. We’re kind just like, “Oh, my goodness! Have you noticed that?” It was Orlando, by the way.

Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin’s Hall of Fame coach: When you mention the name, the first thing that comes to mind is arguably the most dominating offensive lineman we’ve ever faced. You just knew they’d throw the ball behind him anytime they needed it. There wasn’t much you could do about it.

Saleh: Isn’t it typical for an offensive lineman to have to give up one option? They’ll give up the inside if they’re going to go out and preserve your speed. You simply go outside on them if they’re going to defend their inside so they don’t get run over. There’s something you’ve had to admit. When you’re Orlando Pace, though, there are no compromises.

Alvarez: He played a lot of great games. It would nearly take your breath away as a coach. “Oh my goodness, I can’t believe that man,” you’d think. It was so routine for him to just manhandle everyone he came across.

Springs: All he did was mix his nastiness with his agility. He’d pursue a player 40 yards down the field, block them, and toss them out of bounds. Orlando has made a man weep in front of me. He made a Rice student weep. The man became enraged and began to cry. He was enraged, and he began sobbing. Then Orlando continued to drive him. Orlando had been abusing him for the whole day.

Porter: We played Notre Dame, and they were talking about pancakes in interviews throughout the week… and the kid was like, “No, we’re not being pancaked.” So it was the main deal for the whole week.

Pace, on the other hand, had a penchant for pancaking his opponents, putting them down on their backs.

Porter: They’re just standing there on the field, trying to appear tough, because there’s a timeout. Prior to that, they were yelling at Orlando. I was staring at them, and they were flexing their weapons. “Those bicep muscles aren’t going to assist you when his ball gets snapped,” I said. And then the next play, all I remember is blocking someone and seeing two bodies come across my face, and it’s Orlando taking that one guy who’s saying he’s not going to get pancaked and just dumping him and landing on top of him from the left side of my vision all the way across my face to the right side. They believed they were the largest, baddest creatures on the planet, and then he completely destroyed them the following play.

Miller: The weirdest thing I recall having to do with a block had nothing to do with a block. We were playing Notre Dame, and our running back, Pepe Pearson, was probably a 4.3-second man on the track. Pace led him all the way down the field as he ran a sweep. “Yeesh,” you think when you see Pepe sprinting and then see someone 6-8, 330 leading him.

Garrett: Are you crazy? He was a bit out of the ordinary. On the backside play, for example, he’d cut off the tackle, then reach the middle linebacker, jump up and block the safety, allowing the rushing back to cut off his ass for a score, and other insane nonsense like that. That is something I have never seen an offensive lineman accomplish. They weren’t even taught how to do it since no one else is physically capable of doing it.

Pearson: There were a few of instances when people tried to get under his skin, and he paid the price. There were a number of games, one in particular that I recall. Purdue had a highly regarded defensive player who attempted to get under Orlando’s skin. And I believe he had a record-breaking amount of pancakes that game. However, since most people dreaded Orlando, they didn’t say anything because they knew they were in for a long day.

Jackson: One play in particular sticks out for me, and it was against Iowa, when he pancaked his main defender, got up, knocked down a linebacker, and then got to the end zone before Joe Montgomery, knocking down three other guys.

Kennedy: He’s 60 yards ahead of him, and Joe doesn’t need to slow down to keep up!

Jackson: The best single effort I’ve ever seen from a football player was blocking five guys in one play.

Springs: I’ve spotted him approaching and stepped out of the path on many occasions. That’s hardly the kind of person you want charging down the field at you.

Finkes: Returning to the Indiana game, they had a… defensive tackle-size man on the outside to attempt to stop and run. And now he’s been battered by Orlando. It all comes down to technique. Orlando had more than simply physical prowess. Before you can say, “How is this 6-8 man getting beneath me when I’m 6-3?” he’ll be under your pads.

Garrett: I’ve seen a lot of guys be thrashed by Orlando and then get up and shake his hand, as if to say, “Damn, that was good.” When they came into the game, a lot of people were watching Orlando and didn’t have much hope. They didn’t want to go after him, so they would simply follow him or halt the pass rush and attempt to bat the ball down. They pretended not to want to be on the highlight reel. They just wanted to be there and pray that Orlando didn’t pancake their arse.

Carr: You didn’t want to get caught in the middle of a film being completed by Orlando Pace because it was all over the place.

Saleh: When it comes to Orlando, you’re like, “Let’s just get our bat on the ball now, shall we? On a zone play, we can’t let him push me to the first row.”

Carr: He was the real deal. He’s one of maybe five guys I’d pay to ever want to play football, and he’s one of them.

“Hey, you have to shorten that route,” or “Look at that DB’s hips,” or “Man, you have to come off of that break quicker,” Miller would say while viewing a movie. “Did you just see what Pace did to that dude?” they’ll say often. After then, it was pancakes, pancakes, pancakes.

Pace was served a big potato pancake at the Lawry’s Beef Bowl in Beverly Hills in December 1996 after Ohio State launched a campaign dubbing him the “Pancake Man” to stir up interest in his Heisman candidacy. Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The ‘Pancake Man’ goes for the Heisman Trophy.

Pace’s performance spoke for itself, but bringing him into the Heisman discussion was a different story. Pace was nicknamed the “Pancake Man” by Ohio State to draw attention to an often-overlooked position. Pace was credited with 80 such blocks by the coaching staff during his junior season.

Archie: It most likely began in practice. “Wow, he pancaked him!” someone exclaims. “Wow, he pancaked another one,” she said.

Conley: You used the word [pancake] as a former high school coach, but you didn’t fully explain it. Orlando Pace was the one who defined it. Steve Snapp, who was our SID at the time, deserves a lot of credit. He’s the one who came up with the idea. Because it was distinctive, it was an excellent recruitment tool. We had pancake magnets, which were a stack of pancakes with the name Pace written across them… It’s always nice to have a snappy phrase like that.

Garrett: Pancakes had been around for a thousand years, but Ohio State was responsible for popularizing them.

Carr: He also put some syrup to it. He intended to make you feel it.

The ad showing Pace making pancakes was much better than the magnets. It was also a frequent source of good-natured mockery for the timid large guy.

Jackson: Of course, we were harsh with him. They put him in an apron and had him flip pancakes. Are you a chef today, for example?

“Hey Pancake Man, you got this round?” Miller said. “Hey Big Pancake, this tab is on you, right?” or “Hey Big Pancake, this tab is on you, right?”

Pearson: I’m behind that knucklehead, so I’m savoring every moment.

Finkes: They had him play defense a number of times to boost his standing. And it wasn’t pretty the first couple of times. Instead of using his technique and staying low and doing all of the things an offensive lineman should do, he stood straight up and wanted to make tackles a couple of times, and all of a sudden, you see Orlando Pace come straight back, six yards deep, with a guard in his chest, looking to tackle on the guy. Our defensive coordinator called him down and told him, ” “You’re not making any tackles here, are you? That is not why you have come. We must take two blocks and return those players to the backfield. We’ll give you a tackle if you can make a pile and someone stumbles over it.”

Fickell: He was the goalkeeper’s nose guard. Yes, but what is he going to do about it? Don’t be concerned; he’s athletic enough to handle it.

Conley: He’d come out so long and hard that the offensive lineman would be knocked back off the line of scrimmage.

Jackson: He’d get the job done. He’d go in and put an end to the sprint. However, here’s the thing: no one was surprised. Nobody went overboard with their celebrations. You go into the game and put him down on fourth-and-goal, and he makes the tackle, and he remains on the field as your starting left tackle. Then you run the play behind him, and he throws the ball into the hole. Nobody was shocked, and no one was happy about it since it felt like a little achievement for someone so successful.

Finkes: He simply improved and improved. One of the things you weren’t sure how he’d manage was the media attention. He was eerily silent. You had no idea how he would respond to the entire Heisman Trophy campaign, the pancakes, and everything else. I recall the Rose Bowl and how much was made of Derrick Rogers and how good of a pass rusher he is and how quick he can get around the corner, and how he was supposed to cause issues for Orlando Pace. I recall watching a movie with Orlando and thinking to myself, “I don’t see anything this man does that leads back inside or into your body; all he seems to be doing is speeding. That isn’t going to work against you. You’re much too quick, and you have far too excellent footwork, for anything to be able to defeat you “…… Rogers never came close to any of our quarterbacks, in my opinion. It was similar to what we saw: he’d attempt to run up the field, and Orlando would take him 10 yards deep.

Danny Wuerffel of Florida earned the Heisman Trophy in the end. Pace, who earned the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year award, placed fourth in the vote, making him the final offensive lineman in the top five.

Archie: There’s no denying that linemen have been neglected throughout the years, and you wish that wasn’t the case. But it’s because of them that a person like me has won the Heisman Trophy [twice]. You won’t be able to accomplish that unless you have a fantastic line in front of you.

Carr: He was, without a doubt, the greatest player in college football. He had been robbed. That has to be the greatest Heisman Trophy heist in history.

Jackson: Isn’t it like your girlfriend is a ten, but she’s a penny, and everyone notices? And you end up marrying her. You may feel like she’s no longer a ten at some time. However, everyone is staring and asking, “What exactly are you referring to? Your wife is stunning.” But you’re so close to her that you sometimes forget. That was the situation with Orlando Pace. Because he was always there, you forgot how wonderful he was.

Finkes: There have been several award-winning players, but I don’t believe anybody has ever been as dominating and constant as Orlando. He never took a play off, after all. He never made a mistake. I mean, he’s never made a mistake. You could rely on him to show up when he said he would. After that, you can rely on taking care of that task and then taking care of someone else’s work half of the time.

Saleh: Without a doubt, he was the greatest player. He was one of the all-time great franchise left tackles in football history.

Miller: He completely transformed the situation. People began looking for 6-8 men who were large and athletic and could go after Pace. Where is the next Orlando Pace to be found? These 6-3 men that are small and stubby aren’t what we’re looking for.

Pace was instrumental in Ohio State’s Rose Bowl victory against Arizona State in 1997. “I don’t believe [Derrick] Rogers ever came close to any of our quarterbacks,” claimed teammate Matt Finkes. “If he tried to run up the field, Orlando would take him 10 yards deep.” Sports on USA TODAY

A two-time Hall of Famer

Pace was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013 as a two-time unanimous First-Team All-American and the only repeat Lombardi Award recipient in history. His NFL career, on the other hand, was as remarkable.

Rams college scout John Becker: I’m getting on in years, yet he’s a hard man to forget. And I’d never forget him because he was one of the most unique players I’d ever seen, as well as one of the greatest. I’ve seen a lot of excellent ones, but he was the whole deal, the complete package.

Director of personnel for the Rams, Charlie Armey: I saw him working out and he was just as nimble and fast as the defensive backs he smashed. He may have been the greatest athlete on the field at the moment out of all the players. His athletic abilities, especially how fast and nimble he was, how rapidly he could change directions, and how fluid and natural he was, was really amazing. Then there’s the fact that he’s very clever. So, here’s what you’re looking for in a football player.

Dick Vermeil, head coach of the Rams from 1997 to 1999: I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anybody quite like him. I usually arrived early to study game videos before watching practice. After that, I’d walk into the locker room and chat with the youngsters. And I simply felt he was the most complete product I’d ever seen in terms of an athlete, a football player, and a guy.

Becker: You’re fantasizing over how you’re going to get this man when he’s a junior in college.

Vermeil stepped down from his position as a broadcaster to become the head coach of the Rams, who had the sixth overall selection in the upcoming draft. Pace revealed, to no one’s surprise, that he would be leaving school early to join the draft.

Vermeil: I’ve just recently begun working on a method to trade up. Bill Parcells was a buddy, and he didn’t want the first selection, so we worked out a deal to acquire him. Tony Banks was believed to be the Rams’ starter franchise quarterback at the time. Then you’ll need an All-Pro left tackle with Hall of Fame potential. And I’ve never been a fan of selecting an offensive lineman in the first round unless you can emotionally and physically assess him as a future Hall of Fame candidate. You’d have to be deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly de

Becker: It’s like when you see a gorgeous lady, you don’t have to stare at her for long to realize she’s in a class by herself.

Armey: There was no doubt in my mind that he’d be one of the greatest left tackles in the game’s history. It’s not every day that someone like Orlando Pace comes along and checks all the criteria. There’s always a fault somewhere, whether it’s a personality problem, a lack of quickness, or a lack of speed, but he checked all the boxes.

Becker: You observed arms that were about 36.5 inches in length. He would envelop you if you shook hands with him. However, his pass-protection range was very limited. He looked like a friggin’ Fred Astaire or something because he was so huge and so light on his feet. It was simply his natural aptitude to get things done quickly. He was never troubled by anything. That man never seemed to struggle to me. He would have been a friggin Einstein in the classroom if he had been like that. As a scout, he’s as near to having it all as anybody I’ve ever seen.

Becker and the Rams proved to be correct. Pace started right away as a rookie and was selected to the Pro Bowl as a backup his second year. He was selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2000s after reaching the Pro Bowl seven times, being named an All-Pro four times, and winning Super Bowl XXXIV.

Armey: I’m sure he didn’t give up more than one or two sacks in a year during his time with the Rams. We had a number of very excellent players, like Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt, and Isaac Bruce, and a really strong defensive football squad. But he certainly made things a lot simpler…. When Orlando was in the game, you didn’t have to worry about backside pressure. He’d be able to take out any danger you posed.

Springs: Man, he could hide the sun. Everyone now speaks about the “Greatest Show on Turf,” Torry Holt, and all those people, but they don’t understand that the issue was that unless you really, really blitzed, you weren’t getting any pressure because Orlando was on Kurt [Warner’s] blind side, and he was so huge that you couldn’t see him.

Jackson: Isn’t he wearing a gold jacket? As a result, his performance says a lot.

For the first time since the advent of the NCAA passing game, a college football player will be selected first overall in the NFL Draft. Since the days of Ron Dayne, Florida State fans have been accustomed to seeing their blue-chip prospects drafted to play for the NFL’s top teams. But for the first time in the history of the draft, there is a consensus #1 offensive lineman, who has the skills to make an immediate impact at the next level.. Read more about o line football and let us know what you think.

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