Springing Forward

1 decade 1 year 2 months ago Sunday, March 25 2007 Mar 25, 2007 Sunday, March 25, 2007 11:10:59 PM CDT March 25, 2007 in Tiger Talk

Keck had the same idea for the most part.

"About a year and a half ago I decided I was going to do it," said Keck. "I was real fired up about it until the last week, and then I was like 'oh man' I don't know if I should do this or not."

But Keck couldn't cutout because he'd already linked up with Lambert on a pre-college pact.

"I decided to come down here for sure because he was counting on me," said Keck. "If he wasn't here, I wouldn't be here. I would have decided that last week I wasn't going to come."

After hurdling all their high school credits the pair is trying to pick up the pace in spring practice.

"I think they're crazy," said Martin Rucker, Missouri Sr. tight end. "It's good for our team because you know we lost a lot of linebackers. So they're in here getting a head start, but at the same time if I was them I'd be enjoying my last year."

"We were both nervous, me and Mike. We've got a lot of work to do, and it kind of showed today. We're not where we want to be. I've got a lot of work to do," said Lambert.

Work that linebacker coach Dave Steckel is reminding the rookies at every opportunity.

"He tries to coach us up every play," said Lambert. "We've got a lot of stuff to learn and he's trying to give it to us all at once. Every once in a while we don't get it all at once and he yells at us all over again."

"It's different from what I had in high school,' said Keck. "My head coach yelled at me a lot. My position coaches didn't have to yell at me a whole lot. It kind of wakes you up a little bit."

Coach Pinkel doesn't recommend the move for everyone, but he isn't complaining about a the pair getting a jump on college life.

"You have to have a level of maturity to be able to deal with it. You're thrown into an environment, weightlifting and working out at 6 in the morning. I'm sure they're probably thinking we didn't tell them about this during the recruiting process, but we did," said Pinkel.

So the freshman are in a class of their own, the only two first semester kids on the football field.

"We've gotten a lot of alone time together. We've gotten to know each other pretty well. We've gotten to be very good friends," said Lambert.

Making new friends on the football field, much better than what they'd be doing back home.

"I'd probably be sitting around playing video games or something. Trying to get a girlfriend or something," said Keck.

And Lambert?

"I'd probably be at track practice right about now," said Lambert.

Keck and Lambert still plan on going to their high school graduations, and don't forget senior prom. They might even get a special guest. Coach Pinkel says he'll be an escort.

The two freshman are getting extra play at linebacker because of injuries to starting linebackers Sean Witherspoon and Brock Christopher.

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