Oregon Quarterly Magazine

Autumn 2012

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Like a Good Leader . . . Risks and rewards for one player in his post-collegiate football career '05 says with all modesty and only because he's asked, "only 300 pounds. in a 6-foot-3, 230-pound State Farm insur- ance agent who loves to crash full-speed into other guys on the football field. And Vossmeyer loves football. If afforded the opportunity, he'd be behind center, read- ing the opponent's secondary, motioning his tight end, shouting an audible, barking a hard count as 50,000 fans cheer. He'd be the leader, the guy everyone trusted. But you don't always end up where you I There's also a certain amount of irony " expected. The former University of Oregon quar- terback and linebacker got serious about football in his junior year at Crescenta Val- ley High School in La Crescenta, Califor- nia, not far from the Rose Bowl. Physically gifted, with both size and speed to go with a rocket launcher for an arm, the versatile prep player impressed his coaches on both offense as quarterback and defense as a linebacker. He was soon dreaming of play- ing football at the next level. His first goal–egad–was USC, the alma mater of many of Vossmeyer's relatives. "When you grow up in Southern Califor- nia, USC was one of those things. It's where people wanted to go," recalls Vossmeyer from his office in La Cañada, California. In his first game as starting quarterback t's a safe bet that not many insurance agents can bench press 300 pounds. Or, as Scott Vossmeyer ally tough. He's a big guy. He certainly looks like [a linebacker]." A torn knee ligament sidelined Vossmeyer his junior year, but it all came together when he was a senior. Finally. "The biggest thing about Scott is he loved being on the field," Pellum says. "Whatever role it was. The team took trips to places like Lake Shasta every summer, and the players were very close, he says, like family. After he graduated with a degree in Vossmeyer loved his time at Oregon. " public relations, Vossmeyer knew that playing in the NFL wasn't realistic. Despite his physical gifts, his lack of playing time meant he wasn't getting much attention. There are, however, other options for a collegiate player looking to play profession- ally. He talked to former Ducks who had played in Germany and decided he wasn't ready to hang up the cleats. "After I heard Scott's story, about his Scott Vossmeyer '05 for La Crescenta, he had a great first half. He broke his leg in the second half. His recruitment got put on hold. He returned his senior season and set the school record for passing yards. But USC fired Vossmeyer's recruiting coach and the university stopped calling. Dreams of Trojan glory were not to be. Vossmeyer fell in love with Oregon and picked the Ducks over schools that would have offered him a chance to start imme- diately. And that was a problem: the Ducks were stacked at quarterback. There was Joey Harrington '01, a future first-round draft pick and Heisman Trophy finalist. Harrington's backup was eventual NFL 52 quarterback A.J. Feeley '00. Then Jason Fife (who played in the NFL) and Kellen Clemens '05 (you guessed it: NFL) split time as starter before Clemens took over. Vossmeyer languished on the bench while logging time on special teams. Going into his redshirt junior season, he knew he wouldn't get a chance to start. Frustration set in, and Vossmeyer realized he would have to switch positions for a chance to play. And hey, he liked hitting guys. "That's kind of what got me in trouble as a quarterback," says Vossmeyer, now thirty. "Because I'd take off with the ball and go heads-up with the linebackers. He asked linebackers coach Don " Pellum '85, MS '87, for an opportunity. "I just wanted to play, wanted to give it a shot." " Vossmeyer says. "I just "That's not to say that quarterbacks aren't tough, but it's to say that Scott was unusu- He got a shot. "Scott was a tough guy, " Pellum says. O R E G O N Q UA R T E R LY | A U T UMN 2 0 12 transfer from quarterback to linebacker, I was excited," says Andreas Mees, who coached the Saarland Hurricanes in the German Football League in 2006. "That's the kind of player I like, [someone] who does everything for the team, even change position." The one season Vossmeyer spent in Germany, alas, didn't go as planned. He returned to quarterback, but before the season even started the team's entire start- ing offensive line had been sidelined with injuries. He often found himself at the mercy of defensive linemen who seemed hell bent on killing him. "I was running for my life," he says. The team finished with a three-and- nine record; Vossmeyer finished with a separated shoulder. "In the beginning, it was all about foot- ball," Vossmeyer says. "I wasn't satisfied about how everything ended at Oregon. I wanted another chance to go out there and throw the ball and prove to myself that I could still do it. "But once I was there and I started to get beat up, it became more about being there and appreciating it. UO ATHLETICS

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