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

Texas - WP: N. Martinez 7 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 2
Boston - LP: B. Workman 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole 3
Toronto - LP: A. Sanchez 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 3
Washington - WP: G. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Hand 2
Los Angeles - WP: P. Rodriguez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: N. Ramirez 4
Cleveland - WP: K. Crockett 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: S. Deduno 1
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Freeman 3
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 6 FINAL
Colorado - WP: L. Hawkins 7
Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick 3 FINAL
San Diego - WP: R. Erlin 7
Seattle 0 Top 9th Inning
LA Angels 0
Tampa Bay 14 FINAL
Atlanta 56
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close