TERRENCE METCALF: Making History
Outland Trophy Candidate Terrence Metcalf from Ole Miss is healthy and ready for another memorable season.
By Kim Goss
Published: Winter 2001
One of the most popular T-shirts among high school football players is one with the printed motto “The Forgotten Five!” The phrase refers to the unfortunate reality that although linemen are absolutely essential to the success of any football team, the lion’s share of the attention generally goes to the so-called “skill” players such as the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers. Although it’s true some deserving players will be recognized only by their teammates and the serious football fans, there’s one lineman living in the gridiron trenches at Ole Miss who is destined to be remembered: Terrence Metcalf.
Just as the skill players are judged on passing, running and receiving yards, Mississippi’s Metcalf is being recognized for his ability to pave the way for those smaller players who put the numbers on the scoreboard. His fame started in high school, as the talented athlete from Clarksdale, Mississippi earned Parade All-American honors in his senior season. He was selected to the SuperPrep All-Dixie team, achieving a ranking as the 18th best-ever player from the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
Now a college senior headed towards a degree in management, Metcalf was part of an iron curtain line last year that allowed only seven sacks, the fewest in the Southeastern Conference and third fewest among all Division I teams. He also has earned a rep for being a great person off the field. Along with defensive tackle Anthony Sims, Metcalf shared the 2001 J. Richard Price Courage and Compassion Award, which his coaches present to the senior lineman who “has demonstrated extraordinary courage and compassion in his dedication to this team and to Ole Miss.”
Metcalf is currently one of the frontrunners for the highest honor a college lineman can receive, the Outland Trophy. In fact, Lindy’s ranked him as college’s third best tackle in its preseason ratings, and Metcalf has made several other first team All-American lists. “Terrence can be as fine as there is in the Southeastern Conference,” says Head Coach David Cutcliffe. “He’s certainly an All-American candidate.”
As a team, Ole Miss has made the nation take notice of late by earning trips to four bowl games in the past four years, and by winning three. This year, with talented quarterback Eli Manning (Archie’s son) at the marquee position, the Rebels are looking to continue their success. Although the team is not predicted to win the conference, there are high expectations for another winning season and a shot at a bowl. Says Cutcliffe, “We are not afraid to say that we want to win a conference championship and win a national championship. If you do not intend to win a championship, you are not going to win one.”
Blocking Out Obstacles
During the third game of the 1998 season, Metcalf suffered a serious ankle injury that required the insertion of a plate in the ankle to stabilize the joint. According to strength coach Carlos Mendoza, doctors removed the plate this year after spring practice. “Terrence was hobbling around for about two months, and his squat went down to 520 from 650, but he’s a tough bud and worked hard. Entering the season he was around 95 percent healthy.”
At 6’3” and 320 pounds of solid muscle, Metcalf is very explosive, as is evidenced by his 27-inch vertical jump without a step. He also has a 385 push jerk, a 365 power clean and a 505 bench press—up 60 pounds from the start of the pre-season. One of the reasons for the increase, according to Mendoza, was an emphasis on the board press, a partial-range-of-motion exercise similar to the BFS towel bench press. “The board presses are vital for offensive linemen to develop lockout strength. In football you’re basically working six to eight inches off your chest, and board presses help us simulate that motion.”
In addition to a grueling rehab program for his ankle, the one aspect of training that is special for Metcalf in his position is balance work. Says Mendoza, “You have to have great balance to be an offensive lineman—to understand where your balance is so you’re not leaning forward on the toes or back on your ankles. To train for this we do a lot of balance-board exercises and work with medicine balls.”
His first year as a strength coach at Ole Miss, the number-one goal that Mendoza wanted to accomplish with his players was to establish a strong work ethic. Said Mendoza, “Coming into a new coaching situation you think you’re going to run into a lot of problems, but the players responded—everybody wanted to work,” especially Terrence. “When he’s in the weightroom, he gets after it. He always wants to do more, and anytime we try to do something new or challenging he’s always there trying to learn, trying to get better. He’s a go-getter.”
With his final college season underway, Metcalf is avoiding the media hype to focus on achieving his goals. He’s working hard to fulfill his degree requirements, and his coaches are impressed with his sense of responsibility. His exceptional work ethic, strength and skills assure Terrence Metcalf a bright future, and he’s one lineman who will be remembered at Ole Miss.