It became clear to Anthony Jordan he wanted his future to be in coaching when Whitehall-Yearling High School's disappointing 2006 season came to an end.
Jordan's alma mater, where he was an assistant coach, had just finished the year 0-10. And he had had a blast.
Jordan, a former All-Mid-American Conference linebacker at the University of Toledo, is learning about college coaching now as a UT football graduate assistant. Working with the secondary, he's also taking classes in recreation and leisure.
"I'm pretty sure this is what I want to do, come out here every day," Jordan said.
Jordan's last year as a Rocket was in 2005, when he led the team in tackles and was second-team All-MAC. He first thought about coaching after discussions with defensive coordinator Tim Rose, his position coach.
Jordan had a handful of NFL tryouts after finishing college but came through the experience knowing he was OK with his playing career ending. After graduating in the summer of 2006 he headed home to Whitehall, Ohio and got ready for the season.
When Jordan came back one day to visit the Rockets last fall, he talked with coach Tom Amstutz about the experience he was having in Whitehall.
"I said, 'Are you serious about being a coach?'•" Amstutz said. "He said yes, and I said, 'I think you'd be a great college coach.'•"
Amstutz's GA offer stemmed from his memories of Jordan when he was a two-time captain as a player.
"When you're a captain, you're already crossing the line from a player to a leader," Amstutz said. "He did that very well."
Jordan has enjoyed being on the other side of things, although it has opened his eyes.
"Everything you don't think about as a player, you do as a GA - practice plans, making sure the right equipment is out there," Jordan said.
After a year away from college football, Jordan is as eager as anyone to get the season started.
"There's no better feeling, no amount of money you could give me that would be better than the GMAC Bowl win, or the double-overtime victory at Bowling Green," said Jordan, referring to UT's 2005 season. "Getting back out there on the road, being with the guys again will be great. I'm having a ball learning."
BIG LEG: The new kickoff rule instituted by the NCAA this year, moving the tees back five yards to the 30-yard line, could convince teams to put in extra work on kickoff coverage in the preseason.
That might be the case with UT, but a new kicker has coaches hopeful the ball will still be reaching the end zone.
Freshman Brett Brodbeck, from Brentwood, Tenn., is the leading candidate to handle kickoffs, moving ahead of senior Michael Krispinsky. Amstutz said when the team was practicing kickoffs on Saturday Brodbeck sent one from the 30 to four yards deep into the end zone.
"He has a big leg," Amstutz said. "When we signed him we saw that, and he may have an opportunity to do the kickoffs this year."
NEW PLAYER: The Rockets have brought in Anthony King as a freshman scholarship player. A defensive back, King will give some help to the secondary.
King, 5-foot-9, 178 pounds, attended Canyon High School in southern California.
"Right now it's too early to know much about him," Amstutz said. "We needed some more depth at the defensive back position. He's a corner and a very good athlete."
Freshman signee Tamawi McGhee is ineligible, freeing up an extra scholarship.
CONCERT: The UT band will put on a "Rocket Football Kickoff Concert" at 8 p.m. Sunday on the Centennial Mall on campus. Amstutz, players, cheerleaders and the dance team will be in attendance.
Contact Maureen Fulton at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6160.