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ISSUE 118 VOL 9 PUBLISHED 11/19/2004

St. Olaf football's dynamic duo

By Joel Stjernholm
Contributing Writer

Friday, November 19, 2004

St. Olaf football fans this year may have noticed two deviations from previous seasons: The team finished 7-3 and, more than in years past, players from outside the Midwest were part of the effort. Messenger Sports Editor Matt Stortz interviewed two such recruits, Horace Gant '08 and Deontae Hutchins '08 of Pensacola, Fla., to get the scoop.

Stortz (S): So, guys, speed kills. True or false?

Horace (H): True.

Deontae (D): True.

S: So, how fast are you guys? What's your forty [yard dash time]?

D: Four-three [4.3 seconds].

H: Four-three.

S: Just checking. So why did you guys come all the way from Florida to play football at St. Olaf? That's quite a trip.

H: Coach Mac [Rob McCarthy]recruited us from Pensacola. He used to coach there.

D: We also heard a whole lot about it from Andre [Conner '06]. He told us a lot about how great the school is, so we checked on the internet. It's a great academic school.

H: Yeah, we found a lot of graduates get jobs. That was big. And, also, there weren't any receivers on the roster.

S: So are there many differences between playing football here at St. Olaf as opposed to playing in Florida?

H: It's a lot more loose here. I mean it's serious, but not like in Florida. Florida is die-hard football.

D: Yeah, and it's a lot faster in Florida too. Up here, speed is an asset, but in Florida everybody's fast. Nobody's slow.

S: Did you notice a big difference in culture when you got here?

H: It's a lot different culturally.

D: Yeah, there's a big difference. It was a lot different growing up. People are a lot friendlier up here. There aren't many cheap shots on the field.

S: Cheap shots?

H: Yeah, in Florida you got your eyes poked. In games, you had to be careful. People would try to poke your eyes out.

D: You'd get slapped in the face too.

H: And the fans were bad too. We'd get a lot of racial comments from the fans. But the worst is getting your eyes poked.

D: If you beat someone on the field up here, it's like, okay, you can talk to them the next day. Everyone's cool with it. In Florida, there'd be a fight after the game. There'd be a fight before the game, too.

H: It's a nice comfortable environment here. If you leave your locker unlocked here, it's no problem. Nobody's going to take your stuff. The only bad thing is the weather, but even the weather's been alright.

D: (laughing) Yeah, if you leave your room open up here, someone will stop by and leave a note. They say, "I was here."

S: So how does the competition compare between Florida and Minnesota?

D: In Division III, everyone has equal talent. No one in college football is sorry.

H: And speed here is a big advantage. In Florida, everyone is fast.

S: So, I've heard some folks use nicknames for you guys. I've heard Horace "The Man" Gant quite a bit, actually. Do you have any other nicknames?

H: Coach Meidt calls me H-bomb.

D: They just call me D.H. (smiling). They're really wearing that out.

S: So what's the best part about playing football for St. Olaf?

D: Fun.

H: Win or lose, it's lots of fun. And you never give up.

D: Yeah, in Florida, if you were down, the coach would give up on you. Coach Meidt never gives up, he still fights until that clock reads zero. We could be down by thirty points, and Coach Meidt is still saying, "Okay, this is what we have to do next."

H: Coach Meidt has a lot of faith

in everyone. Even if you don't

start, you have an important place on the team. You get lots of love, everyone gets lots of love.

S: So what other differences do you see?

H: Here, it's school first, football second.

D: Yeah, coach Meidt makes that really clear.

H: In Florida, that's not how it used to be. It was like, if you had a game that day you wouldn't be in class.

D: Yeah, or if you had a big loss or something, next time you had school the teacher would ask, "Do you really want to be in class? You can go watch game film if you want."

H: But it's much better here. School first, I like that better.

D: Me too.

S: Are you planning on running track for St. Olaf?

H: Yeah, we should.

S: Which events do you run?

D: I run the 100, 200 and the 4x100.

H: I run the 400, 200,

maybe the 100 and definitely the 4x100.

S: If you both ran the 4x100, who could beat you?

D: Nobody that I know of.

H: St. Thomas would put up a fight, but it's time for a change.

S: As you look back on the season, are there any games you wish you could have back?

H: St. Thomas. Definitely St. Thomas. [The Oles lost 24-21 at St. Thomas Oct. 2)

S: So would you ever try to get a friend to come to St. Olaf, like Andre sort of recruited you?

D: I'm trying to get my friend to come up here right now.

H: It's a good place to live, and you get a great education while you play football.

D: And the weather isn't too bad.

S: Speaking of coach Meidt, what do you think of him compared with your Florida coaches?

D: Coach Meidt is a great guy.

H: Meidt is top notch. He's great.

D: I'll take Meidt any day. He makes you want to play. He knows how to get guys ready for a game.

H: He knows that coming up here from Florida, we needed a family. You know? He knows how to make you feel at home.

D: True. Anything you need, you let him know.

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