Football: Talley, Nehlen Transcript
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The transcript from the Darryl Talley/coach Don Nehlen teleconference regarding Talley's induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Coach Don Nehlen
It’s great that Darryl Talley is going into the hall of fame, it’s great for the university and great for the state of West Virginia.
He was a great college football player and a great pro football player. I think what set him apart from people that played his position was that he could play up on the line of scrimmage and handle the tight ends, or he could play in space because of his great speed. We played him off sometimes, almost as a corner.
Darryl was just a great football player for us. He had enthusiasm, but was a quiet leader. On Saturdays, he came with a nasty frame of mind. He would flat-out smack you. I’m so proud of him and so happy for him. It’s such a great honor.
This probably won’t sink in for Darryl until he gets up to the Waldorf (Astoria Hotel) and sees what goes on. I know when I was inducted, it really didn’t sink in for me until I sat on that stage at the Waldorf Astoria and I went ‘wooh.’
Remember, Darryl – I saw the statistics today, and it’s 0.0001 percent of the athletes that play that get in, which means you’re in tall cotton big guy.
Wow. That’s all I can say to myself. It’s truly an honor to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. When you think about all of the millions of people that play the game, the kids that go to school that wish they could play college football and the guys that go to college and only play for one or two years, and then to be selected as the sixth player from your school to go into the hall of fame is truly an honor.
I played the game the way it should be played, and I’m just as proud as a peacock to say that I’m going into the College Football Hall of Fame.
On his wait for the invitation
It was a long wait, but my dad always told me that anything worth getting in life is worth waiting for. It took a while for me to get here, but I’ll appreciate it a whole lot more than I would probably earlier, but I looked forward to this day an awful lot.
On whether he looked at past ballots and thought he would not get in
No, I’ve never been one to look at something and say it could never happen. I’ve always been an eternal optimist and thought that if I was on the ballot then I had a chance. That’s all you can ask for is to be given an opportunity to get in to the door. Once you’re given that opportunity, it’s up to you and you have to make the best of it.
On whether it was important to him to be inducted
Yes, it’s a big deal for me! Like I said, you think about the millions of kids that play college athletics, and the small percentage that get inducted, it’s truly an honor. I want to thank Mike Dunlap for helping me out with it. I think it’s just a great, great opportunity that I’m eternally grateful for.
I know people are going to say that you don’t get the magnitude of everything until you get to the stage, but when you sit back and think about the numbers, it’s so small, and I’m just happy to be in the group.
It hasn’t really set in yet. It’s probably a little more stringent to get into the College Football Hall of Fame than it is the NFL Hall of Fame because there is criteria to get through before you can even be nominated. That speaks volumes.
Coach Don Nehlen
On the influence he has on the induction of others with WVU ties
Naturally, I’m going to push our athletes like crazy. We have a chapter here, called the Don Nehlen Chapter, for the hall of the fame, and Mike Dunlap is the president and he runs it for me. He’s really trying hard to do a good job, but let’s be honest, we really aren’t getting much cooperation. The high school coaches haven’t joined and the college coaches aren’t members. They would all be voting members if they were in, and guys like Darryl wouldn’t have to wait so dang long to get in.
Like I said, when I went in, I coached at Bowling Green and West Virginia and somehow won over 200 football games. I never dreamed I would get in the hall of fame, to be perfectly honest. I never even thought about it, but Shelly Poe told me that it was going to happen. When it did, it was a tremendous thing.
Being a member certainly helps us in trying to get other members. I’m a voting member, naturally, and any time I can help one of our athletes, I am.
On a lasting memory from his career
Two games that really stand out to me.
The game we played against Oklahoma, at Oklahoma. I played the game with a 102-degree temperature and folks on the sideline were asking me who I was and where I was. I told them, ‘I’m Darryl Talley.’ They said I was lucky to be out there. The next day I held my head up and said this would never happen to me again. I would always play no matter what.
Then, against Pitt. They beat us every year I was there. I tried to do everything in my power to beat Pitt and (Dan) Marino, and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get it done. I blocked a punt, intercepted the ball and made 25 tackles or so during the game – I tried everything, and it didn’t happen. That was one of the games that I had a lot of fun in, tried a lot of different things and it didn’t go so well for me.
On the play he made on Boomer Esiasen when he was going for a two-point conversion
Any time you get the chance to catch him, you’re going to be happy, because he had a knack for getting away from you. Any time you could keep him from getting two points on you and winning a football game, that’s a huge deal.
On matching up against other defenders during his time in college
There was Larry Kubin at Penn State, Rickey Jackson and Hugh Green at Pitt, as well as Sal Sunseri, and me being the youngest of all of them, I still knew I could compete against them all and outplay them, too. I wanted to prove to them that I could outplay them, and that’s what I tried to do each and every week. I would look at the stat line, and I would make sure I outplayed them.
I was never satisfied. Everyone knows that Hugh Green had an unbelievable college career, and I was trying to compete against that. As long as I kept competing against them, that’s all I kept thinking about, and I just kept trying.
On his draft prospects when he came out for the NFL
Lawrence Taylor came out school two years before me, and that was the proto-type linebacker they were looking for – someone who could rush the passer and cover someone. Everyone knew what a dominant pass rusher that LT was, and I had the ability to do that, too. I had the ability to rush the passer, but I could also cover wide receivers. I was a hybrid that they hadn’t seen – I was still mean and strong enough to play against the linemen, and yet still strong enough to cover the wide receivers. I was a little bit different.
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