‘Why Would I Carry A Ball?’
First Ever "Stoutland U" Class Reflects On Birds OL Coach's Rise
Before his arrival in Philadelphia with the Eagles, before he was considered the NFL’s best offensive line coach, Jeff Stoutland made a stop on his journey at Cornell University.
In 1993, Stoutland earned his first offensive line coaching job at the Ivy League institute – where he once challenged one of his lineman to a rock fight, showed instructional clips of Sumo wrestlers, and would run an extra mile or two during his routine jog just to demonstrate his relentless commitment.
“He was dealing with clowns like us,” recalled Jared Konstanty, a Cornell lineman during Stoutland’s first stint coaching the position. “He was not your average coach.”
Viewed as a “maniac” when he first arrived on campus, Stoutland helped shape a different view by the time he left in 1996.
“It’s pretty easy to see he’s great at what he does,” Mike McKean, Cornell’s team captain and left tackle that season, told Derrick Gunn in the debut episode of “Gunn On One” on Inside The Birds.
“He took me to another level.”
McKean, Konstanty and two others members of the first official class at “Stoutland University” – Brian Gormley and David Weinstein – took a stroll down memory lane with Gunn to reflect on the madness of Stoutland, and the method behind it.
Weinsten recalled his first memorable interaction with Stoutland, who had only coached linebackers and served as a small-school offensive coordinator before coming to Cornell.
“They brought in Jeff and we were doing our offseason running,” Weinsten said. “We used to do, twice a week, I think at 6:30 in the morning … we used to do an hour of agility. Linemen don’t love to do an hour of agility drills.
“He actually had a little private conversation with me after the first one, alerting me to the fact that I was no longer allowed to stop during the drill, regardless of circumstances, and I was to keep going whether I puked and died or not. He was not screwing around.”
It didn’t take long, though, for Weinstein and his fellow linemates to recognize something special in Stoutland, from his unconventional teaching methods to his principles to his line-bonding approach.
“He really related to us,” McKean said. “He was great. He was the best. I love him.”
All four Stoutland U graduates reflected on Stoutland’s ability to teach them lessons that served them on and off the field and stick with them today.
Not to mention the pride he brought to playing the position.
Said Weinstein: “I felt like – why would I ever want to carry a ball when I could play offensive line?”
– Geoff Mosher (@geoffmoshernfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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