Great, great piece from Mark Schlabach about Herschel introducing himself to the world in Knoxville 35 years ago. Bill Bates describes that moment thusly:
Bill Bates: We started blitzing, because we didn’t think (Walker) would be able to pick them up. We had a blitz from one of the sides. He cut back to the left, and our coaches always told us to break down for a tackle. So I broke down.
I looked into Herschel’s eyes and realized he wasn’t going to make a move. The next thing I knew, I had footprints on my chest and turned around and saw No. 34 running into the end zone for a touchdown. It was a big deal and something I’ll always remember.
“I looked into Herschel’s eyes and realized he wasn’t going to make a move.” Talk about your “oh, shit” moment.
Best one-sentence summary you’ll ever read:
Donnie McMickens: That was the end of my running back career.
By the way, Bates’ son is a reserve linebacker for the Vols this season.