In your face

Whether he's nuking a safety blitz, gunning down a PlayStation enemy or merely taking a Friday morning walk across campus, Major Applewhite always seems to have a smug grin on his face, the cocksure kind of look a poker-playing teen might get after being dealt a royal flush. He knows people are constantly sizing him up, from his narrow shoulders to his mini-biceps to his celery-stick legs. He knows what they're thinking: that he looks more like the leader of the Young Republicans than the leader of the nation's most explosive offense. But what do they know? Those people don't matter anyway.

The freckle-faced redhead strolls into the room wearing a striped golf shirt, khaki shorts and a backpack twice as thick as he is. And, of course, that damn "Ha!" look on his face. Listen to him
for five minutes, and you begin to think he's
toting around a dozen years' worth of skepticism in that backpack. It's as if the thing's crammed full of snide comments from people saying how much he looks like that Opie character from The Andy Griffith Show. That he lacks the foot speed to make it in today's blitz-crazy world. That he doesn't have the physique of a college quarterback.