Name: Brandon Cox
Hometown: Pittsburg, PA
BS: Tell us about yourself and how you got to the University of Dallas.
BC: I moved down here when I was going into high school. I went to Irving Nimitz … I started playing football after playing basketball my whole life. I earned a couple of scholarships, but I didn’t take the SAT in time, so I couldn’t do the official visits to Arkansas, Georgia Tech and Minnesota, and had to turn down all their offers. I ended up going to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and from there, I played four years [as] a starter. My position was offensive tackle, so I protected the quarterback. So after four years, I tried to make it into the NFL. I spent some time up in Chicago with the Bears; got cut. I worked out with the Cowboys and Falcons, but could never really catch on. I came back here and started working. In 2013, I came here to work at UD. I’m in the M.B.A. program here as well.
BS: Why did you switch from basketball to football?
BC: Because Texas high school football is like religion! So I had to play. Plus, I love football, and I’ve been watching it my whole life. I’m a big Steelers fan. When the coaches convinced me to play, I just started.
BS: What was the experience of playing Division I football like?
BC: It was a fun experience, being up there. Road trips were always more fun than home games. We loved seeing the opposing team’s crowd, usually yelling at you or cursing at you. At South Carolina, we played in front of 90,000 people. Same thing when we played the Longhorns and [Louisiana State University (LSU)]. Big stadiums like that were always fun. When you run out of the locker room at LSU, they have a big tiger right in front of you, in its cage. It’s the first thing you see. It was a fun experience. Some people get nervous, but I never really did. I never really got nervous, but [for] people who were, the first moment of contact [would] take care of it. It’ll go away after that.
BS: Do you have any favorite big game memories?
BC: I remember being a freshman and hearing about a defensive end who was with the Cowboys for a while. But he was in college, and he was a senior: DeMarcus Ware. He was a beast, left and right, and he was throwing people. I was watching film and [the] coach said, “Hey, that’s your assignment for the week.” And you know, as the game starter, I wouldn’t say I was nervous, but I was anxious. I wanted to see what he had. As the game went on, I realized he’s just like anyone else. If you have the right technique, you can figure him out. I ended up holding him sackless, and I was the only offensive lineman to do that that year.
BS: Who was your favorite coach?
BC: Coach Hudson, he was probably my favorite. He’s at Penn State now. People think of football coaches traditionally as screamers. But he wasn’t like that. He would get on you, but he wouldn’t scream all the time. He liked to have fun. He would go out and throw passes to us. He liked to have fun, but his whole thing was keeping us loose before games. The looser you are, the better you play, that’s what he believed in. I do too, actually.
BS: What were some of the toughest football practices like?
BC: In our stadium, they would bring out big tractor tires, and we would flip them up the stairs in the stadium, all the way up to the top. We would take a big gator, like a big golf cart, but bigger and heavier. We would have to push it all the way around the field. We’d start at one end, and we’d make a “U” on the field and then come back and make an “L” and another “L.” That was probably the hardest. But that was more like punishment, if you did something wrong. They stayed on you about your grades, and made sure you were in study hall and class attendance. That was one thing for my coach, he graduated about 90 percent of his players, so that was key for him. That was probably more important to him than success on the field. I really appreciate it now, even though I didn’t appreciate it then. I appreciate all the academics he pushed me toward now.
BS: Do you keep in touch with any of your teammates?
BC: We’re kind of spread out, but there’s a few in Dallas and a lot in Louisiana. Some up north. Every now and then, someone will send me a text and say: “Remember that game when you did this or I did that?” And it’ll turn into a phone call, and we’ll just end up talking and reminiscing. It’s pretty cool.