He made us love him. Last year he played with broken ribs and a punctured lung. This year he's the kindly enforcer keeping the rugrats in line. Dallas Baker continues to be the kind of cliched story of great expectations, disappointing immaturity, hard learning, and ultimate blossoming into full potential that you'd write into exactly 14 minutes of screen time in a movie about college football. (The "tortured-by-personal-demons" qb gets the lion's share at around 25 minutes.) The best part of the story came last week versus UCF when Percy Harvin, fresh form spiking the ball after scoring, headed back to the Florida bench:
Harvin had to be anticipating at least a hug as senior wide receiver Dallas Baker came sprinting toward him in the end zone. Instead, Baker got in his ear hole and delivered a stern lesson on maturity.
"I told him, 'Don't make the same mistakes that I've made. Don't go down the same path,' " Baker said. "I said, 'I've done some stupid stuff since I've been here. Don't make the same mistakes. Next time, just hand the ball to the official.' "
Baker, if you've forgotten, earned the 15 yard personal foul that moved the 2004 Vols into scoring position in Knoxville. James Wilhoit then hit a 51 yard field goal to win the game. He's come light-years since. Our mancrush swelleth with Baker's putting on the elder statesman mantle--imagine what he could do with two lungs this year. (We hear that makes it easier.)
Dallas Baker: Should benefit from having two lungs to use this year.