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OCC's Doug Smith says, no way, 'All Day'

OCC line coach Smith, who helped Dickerson rush to record in 1984, hopes Peterson's pursuit fails.

December 28, 2012|By Barry Faulkner
  • Doug Smith, Orange Coast College's offensive line coach, played as a Rams offensive lineman that helped pave the way for Eric Dickerson's NFL rushing record in 1984.
Doug Smith, Orange Coast College's offensive line… (DON LEACH, Daily…)

Doug Smith says he no longer watches the hazy VHS tape, now nearly three decades old, on which he appears as a hulking accomplice to history.

The former Los Angeles Rams center, who made the first of his six Pro Bowls in 1984 while helping then-teammate Eric Dickerson rush for an NFL single-season-record 2,105 yards, said such game video is still pushed into the throwback VHS player by his son, Cole, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound sophomore who started for the Mission Viejo High football team in 2012. It also makes its way onto the family room TV screen when some of the Orange Coast College people-movers Smith tutors as the Pirates' veteran offensive line coach, make their periodic visits to his house for an in-season meal.

But the images of Dickerson slashing through holes Smith helped create, as well as making holes where few existed, have been more frequent in Smith's 56-year-old mind's eye in recent weeks. That's because Dickerson's historic run has been approached by Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson.

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Peterson enters Sunday's game against Green Bay with 1,898 yards. He needs 208 to surpass the mark for which Smith forcefully paved the way.

"I've heard Eric doesn't want [Peterson] to break it and neither do any of the linemen [who blocked for Dickerson]," said Smith, who noted he will "keep an eye" on Peterson's progress on Sunday. "So much is made of fantasy football now. But there are no offensive linemen in fantasy football, so we've got to hold on to what little we can get. Eric made that record something special for all of us.

"As an offensive line coach, we still run the counter trey play that we ran so much with Eric that season," Smith said. "Once in a while when I'm teaching that play, one of my favorite plays in football, I tell our guys, 'Here's how Dickerson would run it.' The Washington Redskins invented the play and John Riggins would run it. Riggins [a Hall of Famer] was a real good running back. But Riggins was a Clydesdale and Eric was a thoroughbred."

Smith recalled that the counter trey play called for him to "influence" the noseguard featured by the prevailing 3-4 alignment of the day, then block back on the backside defensive end [away from the intended direction of the back]. But as defenses became more adept at diagnosing the blocking scheme, Smith said Dickerson would still make it work.

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