Injured LB Chris Orr pens inspiring message to Badgers in Players' Tribune
On the eve of the B1G Championship, Wisconsin will take any motivation it can get, even if it comes from someone who won’t be suiting up on Saturday night.
Chris Orr has been out with a knee injury since the season opener against LSU. The Wisconsin linebacker watched his defense become one of the most-dominant units in the country, despite its gauntlet schedule.
Orr wrote a piece in the Players’ Tribune that referenced Wisconsin’s expected rebuilding year. He mentioned overcoming expectations and surprising the so-called experts.
Here were some of the best excerpts from his letter to his Badger teammates:
On experts doubting Wisconsin entering 2016 season:
People will sleep on Wisconsin sometimes. Maybe it’s because we don’t play up our individual talent here the way other schools sometimes do. Even on our own team, there are no divisions. We all have each other’s phone numbers. We hang out together. In every way we’re a team, with each player understanding his role and performing it to the very best of his ability.
So even though I guess it’s fair to say we’ve surprised a lot of people in the nation with our play this season, we haven’t surprised each other. We always knew this team was going to be something special.
On his season ending in the LSU game:
So when we took the field at Lambeau on Sept. 3 against one of the best teams in the SEC, I expected us to hit them right in the mouth. I expected us to give them all they could handle.
But what I never expected was what ended up happening. My season ended after only one play.
I was starting at linebacker. On our very first defensive series, I met LSU’s fullback in the hole and then felt their center hit me from the side. My leg bent at a weird angle and that’s when I heard a really loud pop, almost like a gunshot. I looked down at my knee.
On what makes Wisconsin successful:
We aren’t a flashy team. We aren’t looking to spin around you. We want to smack you right in the face mask. From the offensive line to the defensive line to the fullbacks and tight ends, we get it done at the point of contact. People might see a linebacker shoot a gap for a TFL, or Corey exploding for 50 yards on one rush, but all that comes from every other player on the field getting the details right. I’m talking about the nose tackle taking on two players, or the offensive guard blowing up his man, then terrorizing a safety.
On the message for Saturday night:
If there is any piece of yourself that you’ve held back this year, now is the time to let it out. If there’s anyone who has ever doubted you as you’ve pursued this game, well, we’re gonna be on national TV, baby. They’re gonna be watching. Show them how wrong they were.
Finally, let’s enjoy this. Let’s soak it in. This is a game we’re all going to be talking about 30 years from now when we’re old and fat and laughing about how much damn fun we had when we were just kids playing football.
This year Jack and I have joked about my trading him a pec for one of his ACL’s. You know we’d do anything to be out there with you guys. But if I had to tear up my knee again for us to achieve what we have this year, I’d do it in a second. I’ve tried to give as much as I could to you guys this season. Now it’s up to all of you to push us that much further. We’re so close.
Will Orr’s words be the driving force behind a Wisconsin B1G Championship and even a College Football Playoff berth? That remains to be seen.
It’s probably a good thing for Penn State that Orr won’t be in action on Saturday night. But from the sound of it, he still plans on making an impact.