News and Commentary by HokieCentral Staff
Monday, March 20, 2000
Ookie's Excellent Adventure, Part 3
This is the transcript from the special highlight video produced and shown in honor of Michael Vick by the City of Newport News Public School System.
Greg Bicourvaris, Sportscaster for Newport News Public Television Ch. 47: We had a chance to broadcast seven of Michaelís games in high school from his freshman to his senior year in 1994 to 1997. What I noticed about Michael was, off the field, he was very confident, very poised, and very focused. And on the field he was the same way. He always had a chance and the ability to make his own calls with the help of his coach Tommy Reamon.
Tommy Reamon: The first time I actually saw him throw, I did not comment to him, but I said to myself, "wow".
Greg Bicourvaris: He was throwing the ball, running the ball, moving with the ball. Just doing everything. And his teammates could see that. His body language was excellent. It was like a track meet here at Todd Stadium, but it was a football game. He was showcasing all those abilities.
Michael played as a freshman and sophomore at Ferguson High School. Michael was very proud of the fact that he played at Ferguson. Michaelís junior year at Warwick, he was so proud of that fact that he wore a Ferguson jersey under his Warwick jersey. That was something Michael took pride in, and he had a lot of pride about himself. He will tell you he had a lot of love for Ferguson and what he accomplished over there.
Brenda Boddie, Michaelís mother: My nephew came home one day and told me that Michael was throwing with his left hand. And I knew he was right handed. I always told him it was a sign, it was Godís gift. Some days he would tell me "I want to be a wide receiver", and I would tell him "The Lord gave you that left hand. You throw with that left hand because itís a gift from the Lord."
Tommy Reamon: The thing that he did so well was release the ball so quick, he had a nice throw with the ball. When you learn to do certain things, they become a part of you and you do them well. What heís doing today is showing that quick release, and he shows that he can run, and he has that escapeability when heís in trouble back there, when he drops back. He has the whole package. Iím not surprised at what heís doing, because he did it in high school. Itís just the same oleí Michael. Heís just doing it on another level.
I saw a very raw talent, and Michael fit right into that raw talent. I think Michael is one of the greatest athletes that I have ever seen at such a young age.
Greg Bicourvaris: The big stats were his freshman year at Virginia Tech. He lead them to an 11-1 record his freshman year. He combined for 20 touchdowns either in the air or on the ground. He finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting, and the biggest thing was the people were just just overwhelmed by him, his team, and his coaches at Virginia Tech.
Lee Corso: 43 years Iíve been in college coaching and analysis. Iíve never seen a freshman football player better than Michael Vick. Iíve seen them all, and heís the best. Thereís nobody like Michael Vick, and as long as he keeps his smile and watches out who he hangs around, this guy has got the world in his hands.
Brenda Boddie: Itís really hard for me to call him Michael. I try real hard, but I call him "Ookie". That name came from my sister Tina. When he was small, he just looked like such a little man, so we started calling him "Ookie", and weíve been calling him that ever since.
Tommy Reamon: Michael worked for everything he ever got, and heís doing that today at Virginia Tech. But in his early days, the emphasis was so much academic, qualifying, doing the best you can do, and how are you going to get to the next level. It was almost like an obsession that he had to do the things, and prove that he could move on. I see that Michael Vick has been developed in two ways. His family life has been controlled, and itís been guided by his mother. She has a tremendous amount of love for him, as he does her.
Brenda Boddie: I think children need time with their parent or parents. They need that support so that they wonít go the wrong way. I always told him that his gifts and accomplishments were coming from the Lord, and without him, we wouldnít be doing what we are now. He always read his bible and prayed. Now at Virginia Tech, he still goes to bible study. He might not go to church a lot, but he knows where all of this is coming from.
Tommy Reamon: In looking at his educational and athletic career, he looked to me to help guide that, and I did. Iím obsessed with trying to develop the educational, athletic, and career opportunities for these kids. Even though that overlaps with the family, itís taking place here on the school premises, and football is the method used to help guide that student athlete.
Brenda Boddie: At the end of his tenth grade year, he started to get serious about his school work.
Tommy Reamon: In order for him to make sure that he had his grades, he was going to need the support from me to try and motivate him to be a good student, and to make sure he qualified, or he was improving as a student.
Brenda Boddie: He had like a 1.5 grade average, and he was all to pieces about that. So he started working hard, and quit basketball to work on his grades. He knew he wouldnít get into college if he didnít keep his grades up. And thatís when he started getting serious, and Coach Reamon would encourage him to start studying a little more.
Tommy Reamon: Michael listens so well. You see, the key word is "listen". Many kids hear you. How many kids listen, and try to do exactly what you want? But heís had a support cast, the right support cast. You canít say he comes from an unstable environment, because he has the family and the support on the academic and athletic sides. So heís positioned to take on the challenges.
What I see is Michaelís greatest asset is his character, his personality, and fitting that around his talents, to be successful in todayís major college environment. And thatís why heís so successful. Heís put the talents together that God gave him, and worked hard.
Brenda Boddie: Heís always been caring and giving, but he understands so much more, and is more mature.
Greg Bicourvaris: If you had a crystal ball and could look at Michael Vickís future in the next three years at Virginia Tech, possibly a Heisman Trophy candidate, possibly a Heisman Trophy winner, possibly leading Virginia Tech to the National Championship. His future is definitely bright. But heís a role model on and off the field. Heís a winner, and Virginia Tech has a tremendous advantage by having him on the field to take them to that next level.
Tommy Reamon: The sky is the limit to what Michael can accomplish. He has all of the talent that major college and professional quarterbacks have. Thereís a trend out there right now of a certain kind of quarterback thatís mobile, thatís smart, and can deliver a quick strong ball with the throw. So, the skyís the limit.
Brenda Boddie: Sometimes I just canít believe it when I hear his name "Michael Vick" on the television, itís just like a dream and makes me feel so good. And to know heís worked so hard to get where he is, it makes me extra proud of him. I just love him. To me, heís still just the same oleí "Ookie."