Patience pays off for U's Cobb

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 27, 2013 - 5:35 AM

When Texas native David Cobb wondered aloud if he’d made a mistake by picking the Gophers and a new coaching staff that seemed to critique his every move, his father offered calm assurances.

Caesar Cobb is a retired Army lieutenant and a former professor of military science at Alcorn State University. He and his wife, Nina, raised two older sons who became college football players, so they’d seen it all before.

“I knew what the coaches were doing,” Caesar said. “I told him his time would come.”

Cobb had rushed for 2,946 yards as a three-year starter at Ellison High School in Killeen, Texas. But he rushed for only 57 yards as a freshman with the Gophers and carried only once for 8 yards as a sophomore.

Last year, when the Gophers went to Houston for the Meineke Car Care Bowl against Texas Tech, Cobb’s family held a reunion. His older brother, Daniel, was on Texas Tech’s roster but didn’t dress for the game. Cobb’s duties were limited to kickoff coverage.

“It’s not embarrassing, but that’s kind of how it felt,” David Cobb said. “You go to a college, and [family members] expect you to play, and you don’t really touch the field. In the back of your mind, you just really want that one opportunity, but it just never comes.”

The opportunity finally arrived this season, and Cobb took full advantage, becoming the Gophers first running back to top the 1,000-yard mark since Amir Pinnix in 2006. Minnesota is back in Houston for Friday’s Texas Bowl, this time against Syracuse, and Cobb is expected to play a vital role.

Of the 125 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision, Syracuse is the only team yet to allow a 100-yard rusher this season. Cobb had six such games this season, and the Gophers can’t wait to see what he can do against the Orange.

“He’s worked very hard,” Gophers coach Jerry Kill said. “It’s a great lesson for our young players that sometimes you just don’t get everything in life right now. You have to earn it and work for it.”

A foot in the door

Cobb’s determination to make his mark as a college running back stems from a childhood growing up in Texas, Mississippi and even Germany.

He was born in Killeen, Texas — about 200 miles northwest of Houston — before the family moved to Gloster, Miss. Caesar Cobb had played running back briefly at Alcorn State before enlisting in the Army, and his three sons were all drawn to football.

The oldest, Caesar Jr., went on to play at Alcorn State. The middle son, Daniel, transferred from Texas Tech to Louisiana Tech this year, and the linebacker wound up leading the Bulldogs with 82 tackles and 12 tackles for loss.

“One brother is four years older, and the other is two years older, and David always tried to keep up with them,” Caesar Cobb said. “That definitely gave him some toughness.”

When David was in elementary school, the family moved overseas while his father was stationed in Vilseck, Germany.

“The first year there, my three boys played soccer; they didn’t have any football over there,” Caesar Cobb said. “So the next year we formed a Pop Warner tackling football league.”

Eventually, the Cobbs returned to Killeen, near Fort Hood. This allowed Cobb and his brothers to play at the highest level of Texas high school football — 5A — at Ellison, and each of them thrived.

As a 5-11 running back, David Cobb wasn’t flooded with Division I scholarship offers, but Stanford was among the schools that showed interest. Kill’s staff had just been hired at Minnesota, so Cobb wound up committing eight days after national signing day.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
FIU 2 FINAL
Miami 7
Toronto 114 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Golden State 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
Phoenix 98 FINAL
Miami 115
LA Clippers 110 FINAL
Minnesota 105
New Orleans 93 FINAL
Dallas 102
Nashville 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Carolina 2 FINAL
Chicago 5
Montreal 0 FINAL
San Jose 4
Virginia 59 FINAL
Syracuse 47
Baylor 59 FINAL
Texas 61
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
Northwestern St 92
Central Arkansas 49 FINAL
Sam Houston St 76
Norfolk State 59 FINAL
Howard 61
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 75 FINAL
Delaware State 85
Lamar 69 FINAL
McNeese State 70
Nicholls 89 FINAL
New Orleans 79
Incarnate Word 62 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 83
NC Central 62 FINAL
Savannah State 49
Texas Southern 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 75
Prairie View 67 FINAL
Alabama State 65
Oklahoma 70 FINAL
Iowa State 77
Grambling St 62 FINAL
Miss Valley St 66
Boston College 66 FINAL
Virginia Tech 59
Jackson State 62 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 64
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 83 FINAL
Alabama A&M 46
Prairie View 42 FINAL
Alabama State 60
Jackson State 78 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 74
Grambling 56 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Cincinnati 58
(1) Connecticut 88 FINAL
South Florida 65
UCF 57 FINAL
East Carolina 67
Central Conn St 53 FINAL
Bryant 55
Wagner 66 FINAL
Robert Morris 60
Sacred Heart 75 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 84
St Francis-NY 73 FINAL
Long Island 49
Mount St Marys 87 FINAL
St Francis-PA 90
Temple 56 FINAL
Houston 45
Texas Tech 65 FINAL
(6) Baylor 75
Iowa State 64 FINAL
Kansas 68
SMU 60 FINAL
Memphis 53
Oklahoma 66 FINAL
Oklahoma St 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is the best center on a Twin Cities sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close