Fort Hays State quarterback and Shawnee Mission Northwest product Mike Garrison was nice enough to chat with Sunflower Slate for a few minutes Thursday evening about a wide range of topics — from trying to get the Tigers into the MIAA discussion (might happen), getting his jaw broken (not fun) and winning a national football title at Butler Community College (where he also played basketball). Oh, and he let us take a peek into his IPod, where he’s rocking Disturbed.
SUNFLOWER SLATE: How’s summer going? Where are you living?
GARRISON: Summer’s going really well. I’m staying in Hays and working out, running, doing a little 7 on 7 and 1 on 1s. There’s a lot of us staying here this summer. I’ve got a house I share with two guys, one who used to play football here and one who still is.
SS: How do you feel after last year?
MG: It was a little struggle at first getting used to new coaches, a new style of coaching and new play calls … but I’m real comfortable now, real confident this year, ready to get out there. I think we’re looking a lot better for this season, we’ve implemented a new offense where we’re spreading it out more and our receivers are a lot better. Teams won’t be able to pack the box with nine and just focus on the run. We’ve got deep threats.
SS: You suffered a pretty gruesome injury last year when you broke your jaw against Truman State. Can you tell us what that was like?
MG: Yeah, it was horrible. I broke my right mandible. I was looking left for Anthony Smith, threw it, and the guy came from the right and hit me underneath my helmet and was leading with the top of his head. I didn’t even see him coming.
SS: Man. Did you know your jaw was broken right away?
MG: Oh yeah. I got up and my jaw was obviously out of place and I was bleeding out of my mouth pretty good. It was the middle of the second quarter and I finished the game. After we went to an oral surgeon and it was pretty obvious it was broken because when I closed my mouth the teeth on the right side touched and there was about an inch-and-a-half gap between my teeth on the left side. They wired it shut for two weeks and it was probably the worst two weeks of my life because I love eating so much. I could kind of drink some stuff but it was hard because I didn’t have any energy and it was like all I could was sleep. They gave me some liquid Lortab for the pain, which helped, but it was terrible.
SS: You had quite an odyssey at Butler, coming out of nowhere to lead the team to the national title in 2007.
MG: That was an experience that made me a lot tougher, being there. I came to Butler in fall 2005, redshirted on the football team and played basketball that year. The next year I got cut from the football team, but they said they wanted to keep me around so I played another year of basketball and got to start. The next year, the third year I was there, I made the football team then I took over as the starter early in the year and we won the national championship. Getting cut made me work a lot harder than I ever had.
SS: And now you’re at Hays and all is well in the world.
MG: (laughs) Yeah, I guess you could say that.
SS: Speaking of Hays, what’s it like living there?
MG: I like it. There’s a driving range we go to a lot, and we play a lot of golf. We swim, we barbeque, we play cards. Sometimes we play a little putt-putt or ladder golf.
SS: That doesn’t sound too bad. What’s on your IPod nowadays? What are you going to be listening to before games.
MG: I’m into classic rock, a little heavy metal. I like Disturbed, they get me going, and Black Label Society. In the locker room we have music we all listen to. Some rap, a little heavy rock thrown in. Flyleaf is somebody else we listen to. She’s a girl who … rocks. She’s pretty good.
SS: Thanks for your time. Good luck this season.
MG: Thanks. No problem.