Alabama Football’s forgotten hero

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In the 70s few teams had success scoring on the Alabama Crimson Tide Defense . the Tide were loaded on the defensive side of the ball featuring stars such as E.J. Junior. Barry Krauss. Bob Baumhower. Don Mcneal. Woodrowe Lowe. and Marty Lyons.  In his two final season with the tide, Leroy Cook recorded a total of 166 tackles, 25 tackles for a loss, 15 sacks and six forced fumbles. He was named SEC Lineman of the year by the Atlanta touchdown club as a Junior in 1974 as well as SEC player of the year by the Birmingham News the following year.

 

Both Cook and his fellow Teammate Ronnie Barnes were recruited to Alabama by Pat Dye during Dye’s tenure as a Tide assistant Coach under Bear Bryant. Cook would go onto fill in the holes left by Tide Defensive ends John Mitchell and John Croyle and would also be a major contributor  in helping the Tide win a share of the national championship in 1973.

 

Cook would make a huge leap during the 1974 season emerging as one of the top players in the country finishing the season with 81 tackles, 10 tackles for loss. and six sacks. the Tide would once again go 11-0  in the regular season setting up another mmatch up with Notre Dame this time in the Orange Bowl and would again come up short falling 13-11 to the fighting irish. Cook recorded a total of 11 tackles in the loss and earned MVP honors.

 

Cooks finest hour would come during the 1975 season on The Third Saturday in October where Cook and his teammates sacked Volunteer Quarterback Randy Wallace an astounding 13 times. Cook had four of those sacks including one on the final play of the game. It was then Cook uttered one of the more legendary on-field quotes in Alabama Football history , when he told Wallace “You’re a darn good athlete with a good arm, if you just had time to use it.”

 

Cook would finish the 1975 season with a total of 81 tackles. 14 tackles for loss. nine sacks. and four forced fumbles.

 

On Nov. 29 at Legion Field Cook’s career took a horrible turn . As Alabama was finishing off a 28-0 victory over Auburn to clinch its fifth straight SEC Championship Cook and his teammates began to celebrate. but during the celebration Cook suffered an injury.

Cook said neither he nor the Alabama coaches realized the seriousness of the injury at the time. The Iron Bowl was the Crimson Tides final regular season game, and he sat out of most practices in the weeks leading up to the New Years Eve Sugar Bowl against Penn State.

 

Cook started the game in his regular defensive end spot, but soon realized something wasn’t right. Penn State ran a reverse play, pulling the right guard and tackle toward Cook’s side of the field.

 

Cook would go on to have a short NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys Cook sat out the 1976 season rehabbing his injury. Cook would later be released by the Cowboys in 1977.

 

 

 

 

You know you’re in Alabama when…

1.You take the kids out to dinner and get a few orders of chicken fingers and fries. The kids also order chicken fingers and fries.

2.You know better than to hop straight into your car on a summer day. Doing so will lead to certain death,  so you stand outside and sweat for a few minutes and wait for your seat to cool to outside temperature.

3.The legal drinking age is 21, but the real drinking age is 14

4.You can no longer drive five miles without seeing an Alexander Shunnarah billboard.

5.The roads are filled with lifted trucks with Mossy Oak decals on the back windows.

6. The sweet tea is the consistency of maple syrup

7. You wear your winter coat for fashion only

8.You see folks with tattoos of state colleges that they never attended.

9. Houndstooth is more than just a pattern its a way of life.

10. The yearly family vacation is always to the Gulf.

11. Marriage and kids are expected by age 25.

12. Your air conditioner is running ten months out of the year.

13. The only sport worth watching is college football. If you’re one of the seven people in the state who is not a football fan, you know that the best time to go grocery shopping is during the game.