Friday, May 12, 2006

The Braveheart McNasty Phenomenon

One of the more enjoyable aspects of being a sports fan is having a player on your team that is unique and captures your imagination. For various and somewhat difficult to pinpoint reasons, Paul McQuistan has sparked the interest and fascination of the Raider Nation. I realize McQ hasn’t played a single down of professional football and hasn’t earned a starter’s role on our O-Line. Yet, there seems to be a sense of hopefulness and promise attached to his future. McQ seems to embody the characteristics of Art Shell’s ideal football player: A big, tough, physical offensive lineman from a small college who plays with a nasty streak and LOVES football. Paul McQuistan (aka "Braveheart McNasty") was an unknown 3rd round draft selection of the Raiders from Weber State University. In the past 2 weeks the Raider Nation has adopted Paul McQuistan as one of their new favorite sons.

Here are my 10 reasons for the interesting and curious Paul McQuistan phenomenon:

1. Appearance: 6’6”, 313 lbs, flaming red mullet, pasty white skin. One look at McNasty and you know he is unique, different, and a bit of a misfit. I would equate the fan’s curiosity of McQ with Clipper fan favorite Chris Kaman (see photo). Fans see these guys as an everyday person and as the underdog.

2. The hiring of Art Shell as Head Coach: Shell wants to re-make the Raiders into a physically and mentally tough football team with an intimidating presence.
"I expect to be a tough football team," Shell said. "When you walk out there, when you walk into that stadium, you walk out there with a presence. Mr. Davis (Al, managing general partner) called it a swagger. Yeah, a swagger."

"If there is one thing the Raiders learned during their mini-camp over the weekend it is that their new coach seeks toughness. He values it, admires it and believes it lights the path to building a more competitive team."

"With the points that Art Shell and (offensive line coaches) Jackie Slater and Irv Eatman are getting across," defensive tackle Warren Sapp said after the last practice on Sunday, "I can tell you our offensive line will be a lot meaner about what they're doing." "If we're going to make a run, it's gotta be an O-line and D-line dominated team." Sapp said. "We're only going to go as far as those two lines can take us. And that's where the toughness starts."

"Shell spoke highly of McQuistan's tenacity and suggested the club will look at him at guard, as well as tackle."

3. Scouting Report and video:
"Paul McQuistan has a great deal of experience, having started the past four seasons at left tackle for Weber State. He is a good leader and a hard worker who always strives for continuous improvement. He has the "mean streak" you like to see in an offensive lineman. He has good size with long arms that allow him to keep defenders away from his body. He is a strong, physical player who can be a dominating run blocker at times." (Watch the play at the :29 mark on the video as McNasty cleans off the pile)

4. Twins: Paul McQuistan has a twin brother (Pat) who played side-by-side with him at Weber State. Pat was drafted in the 7th round by the Dallas Cowboys. This picture (click here) is a classic!

5. Mini-Camp: Earning the Raider veterans respect and attention, here are a few quotes derived from mini-camp:
"Two days ago, third-round draft pick Paul McQuistan was known as "the goofy looking big dude with the red-headed mullet," according to one teammate. Now, he is the offensive lineman defenders are most wary of after two days of watching McQuistan throw around defensive linemen as if they were blocking dummies.

"Obviously, he has a long ways to go, but he and all the rookies on the line have done a good job," veteran offensive lineman Barry Sims said Saturday. "They seem to be further ahead of the game than the other groups we've had."

"He gets better every time you take a snap," Raiders coach Art Shell said. "He has a chance to be a pretty good football player. That's why we took him in the third round.

6. Nicknames: The numerous nicknames assigned to Paul McQuistan is staggering but here is a short list so far;

McNasty: This nickname is based on Paul’s nasty streak and physical style of play

McQ: (reference to the John Wayne movie character McQ; click here for image)

Malachai: (courtesy of Stickem; reference to the character from the movie Children of the Corn; view image here)

Quiz: (courtesy of Stickem; reference to Steve Wisniewski aka “Wiz”; image here)

Shrek: (reference to movie character; image here)

Braveheart: (reference to Sir William Wallace; image here)

The image at the top of this page is also of William Wallace (1270-1305), one of Scotland's greatest national heroes. William Wallace was the undisputed leader of the Scottish resistance forces during the struggle to free Scotland from English rule. William Wallace represented the spirit of the common man striving for freedom against oppression.

Here is a short passage describing William Wallace: “His stature was lofty and majestic, rising head and shoulders above the tallest of men in the country. Yet his form, though gigantic, possessed the most perfect symmetry, and with a degree of strength almost incredible, there was combined such an agility of body and fleetness in running that no-one, except when mounted on horseback, could outstrip or escape from him when he happened to persue.”

7. The New Wiz: Here is a an excerpt from Stickem’s article:
"Legend has it, the name "McQuistan" comes from “Mac Uist” meaning "Sons of the Isle of Uist" an island to the northwest of Scotland. The legend goes "Nothing good comes from Uist, just a pack of wild men." Picture the Highland Games with helmets and pads.

For everyone who thought Art Shell was having an On Golden Pond moment going on and on about the way the Raiders USED to be nasty and tough...Art ain't just talkin'. He's DOING something about it.

When Shell talks about linin' up, smiling, punchin' 'em in the mouth, askin' 'em how their wife is doing...then linin' up, smiling, and smackin' 'em in the kisser again...

This is how he played. We saw it, over and over again. This is how the Raider O-linemen will play or they will be replaced by someone who will. McQuistan is just the first example of this philosophy under the ‘new’ Shell Raiders."

8. Autumn Wind is a Pirate: Here is an excerpt from a recent Football365 article
"The Autumn Wind is a pirate, blustering in from sea. With a rollicking song he sweeps along, swaggering boisterously. His face is weather beaten. He wears a hooded sash. With his silver hat about his head...

And a bristly mullet of fiery red.

He growls as he storms the country, a villain big and bold. And the trees all shake and quiver and quake...

As Paul McQuistan tallies another pancake.

When Paul McQuistan was selected in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft, he was one of those "I'll have to look him up players." Then, a couple days later, when he entered the Oakland Raiders ' minicamp, he was "the goofy-looking big dude with the red-headed mullet.

But after a few days down in the trenches, he is a Raider."

9. 1st Annual Paul McQuistan Haiku Fest was launched by Raider Take. I bet most of you didn't realize just how many soulful poets existed in the Raider Nation!

10. The Paul McQuistan Fan Club (click here): You know that you are in the midst of something special when a 3rd round draft choice from a small college has a fan club in less than 1 week after being drafted.

Yes Raider fans. It is a dawning of a new era. I raise my pint of McEwan Ale to our new rising red son, Paul McQuistan. Cheers!


Anonymous memdf said...

My wife keeps yelling from the other room, "What is so funny?"

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Stick'Em said...

CJ: Here's a take on McQuistan passed on from a reporter in Lebanon, Oregon, home of the McQuistans, for your enjoyment:

"No one had to tell Pat and Paul McQuistan from Lebanon, Oregon to work hard on the football field. They learned their work ethic hustling through childhood next to a hard working man in the Willamette Valley ryegrass fields. McQuistans’ uncle, Tony Wahl, a sheep rancher with seven children, employed the twins, to work weekends, breaks, and summer vacations since they were eight years old. A wiry piston who never walks when he can run, Wahl bounced back from an auto accident twenty years ago, that left him with a broken neck and back, and the prognosis he would never walk again.

But there was too much work to do, so Wahl got right back to it. It is hard to shuffle while someone else trots, and the McQuistans were trained to tackle the job in front of them with a swift tenacity. Building fences, welding corrals, stacking straw, filling feeders, and chasing after the flocks built core strength and agile speed maintained by four years of weight lifting, and football coaching under Lebanon Union High School head coach, Brad Bauer.

Now, when they come home to visit, they will see the green grass of the Willamette Valley a little differently. It is secure place to rest between travels and football work on shorter turf. Paul was drafted in the third round to play guard for the Oakland Raiders. Pat was chosen in the seventh round to play offensive tackle for the Dallas Cowboys.

While they now enjoy long hair to look like savage Scotsmen under their football helmets, they graduated high school extremely clean cut and considerably lighter. Both have worked hard to put on enough weight to make them heavy hitters and NFL hopefuls, adding nearly one hundred pounds apiece in the past four years.

Two weeks before the draft at Easter dinner, Pat was asking for another helping of food and said, “I need some sustenance; I’m going to the league! I keep telling myself that,” he added with a smile, “because if I’m not, 14 days from now, I’m just obese!”

Although they are the youngest of seven children, with a combined birth weight of 15 pounds, “Frick and Frack” (so dubbed by their delivery nurse) have never made a small impression. They are ‘mirrored twins’ resulting from an egg splitting so late in maturation it could have stayed connected producing Siamese twins. Pat is the left-handed fast talker; Paul is the right-handed deep thinker. Both make each other (and everyone else) laugh.

The family chuckles about choosing life without a television, “With seven kids, there was always enough going on to keep us entertained,” says older sister Tracie Davenport. The twins, (self titled “Bat” and “Ball” until they learned to pronounce the ‘P’ sound) kept the house amused with even matched wrestling since before they could walk. Eventually, they got big enough the rounds had to be moved outside to save the furniture.

Since Pat’s name was announced on Sunday, stunned fans all over have been trying to figure out where he came from. Paul was a known draft option, while Pat was a complete sleeper not listed on any mock drafts or picks lists. The Cowboys own live broadcast believed there was an NFL error, and Paul was ‘double drafted’ until they got Paul on the phone and he gave it to Pat for an interview.

The mix up hilarity continues with the Raiders bio page on Paul saying he played next to his brother, Paul (which puts him next to himself); and the MSNBC page listed Paul as drafted for both teams. In absence of any real story on Pat, most draft sites just paste the same bio and picture they already have for Paul. Few sources have anything close to the story of how they are so physically alike but have such a difference in experience.

Both Pat and Paul signed football scholarship contracts with Weber State University in Ogden, Utah but were unable to start their college career together. Pat took a communications class his senior year which counted for English high school graduation credit, but did not pass the clearinghouse requirements. Paul went to Weber ahead of Pat who started taking classes at Edmonds Community College in Washington.

Still connected by close birth bonds, brotherhood, and a love of football, Pat drove 1600 miles round trip for each home game, and managed to make many of the away games as well. He was Paul’s personal Weber mascot.

After two years apart, Pat moved to Ogden to live with Paul and establish Utah residency so he could join the team. He worked out with the team, and Paul coached him in all the plays and patterns. He got to see the home games without driving, and he made the away games as well.

Finally, during Paul’s senior year, he enrolled on a scholarship and they got to play football together again on the offensive line as left tackle and left guard. The Weber State coaching staff fell apart that year and the entire coaching staff was fired at the close of a dismal season. New head coach, Ron Mac Bride brought a lot of changes, and the McQuistans felt the thrill of a turnaround their fifth year.

But the Weber Wildcats were not the only team on their minds. Paul was stirring NFL attention and began meeting with various scouts coming through Weber to look at game tape. He was most often described as ‘raw’ and ‘the big nasty’ for his love of contact and follow through to finish off the opponent.

Scouts recognized that what he lacked in offensive coaching (Weber’s offensive coach previously played and coached defense) he compensated for in strength. Interested agents began approaching family members at games to demonstrate their willingness to represent Paul at the close of his amateur career.

Earliest predictions for Paul projected him a fifth of sixth round draft choice. The more NFL teams came through to look at his film, the more exposure Pat got playing strong right next to him, and scouts agreed Pat was a candidate for free agent bargaining at the close of the draft. Paul got invited to play in the American Classic and the East-West Shrine Game before attending the NFL combine.

Returning to Weber, Paul ramped up again with Pat for Pro Day and met to work out for representatives from 20 teams. Shortly after, Paul was invited to fly out and meet with the Jets, Cowboys, and Falcons while Pat traveled to the Jets, Rams, Chiefs, and 49ers.

Several teams recognized that Pat represented a less expensive Paul. He had all the same potential and intangibles; he was just behind in experience. Interestingly, Paul will say that Pat is actually the better athlete. When Paul drafted to Oakland early in the third round, the whole family started wondering how far that would slide Pat’s stock up, and if a late round draft for Pat was actually possible.

The second day got much more intense after Pat received a morning call from the Cowboys asking if he would come to Dallas, or if he was holding out for a free agent offer from Oakland to go play with Paul. He assured them he would love Dallas if they picked him, and siblings in Oregon, California, Utah, and Baghdad slid closer to their screens.

After Pat was named the Cowboys seventh pick, oldest sister Tammie McQuistan exhaled as the five-year-old knot in her stomach, that started when Pat was declared ineligible, finally unraveled. Helping her mother raise the youngest five children in absence of a father, she served as a second parent and often pondered the parental wish to go back, to that one measured moment in time, and help Pat pick a different English class.

She feels free to let go of her burden knowing, “Pat and Paul are mature enough to prove themselves worthy of a contract at the close of their training camps. They both respond so well to good coaching and hard work demands. I’m gratified to know they will get the opportunity to find and demonstrate their true potential,” said Tammie.

When the twins settled down to celebrate on draft Sunday, with Mike and Julie Fosmark, (who fed them Sunday dinners all through college and attended every Weber game), the Fosmarks gave them Raiders and Cowboys sweatshirts to wear while they blew out the candles on a football cake to celebrate their memorable 23rd birthday.

Mother, Terrie McQuistan, presented them with two brand new wallets. It wasn’t just a symbol of new economic opportunities; it was a necessary end to separating two lives moving towards different futures. Until now, Pat and Paul have even shared the same wallet."

6:45 PM  
Blogger Whitey said...


"I need sustenance.
I am going to the league."
Said the tough redhead.

Madden loves the kid,
All hail the red avenger,
Chief down, Charger out.

3:02 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:07 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Thanks Stick'em. A strong work ethic, good role models, humility, and a passion for football sounds like a winning recipe.

Nice haiku Whitey. Very soulful!

7:03 PM  
Anonymous Stick'Em said...

CJ: Here's one for your Shrek photo file - LMAO!!!

9:05 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Stick'Em: Great McShrek photo! Thanks. It will be interesting to see if Badger can hold on to the starting RG position.

6:40 AM  
Blogger Jed said...

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How great that both of the twins made it to the NFL!! Cudos to their single mother and older sisters for helping them along the way. Terrie is an incredible woman to have raised the five younger children alone!!

5:51 PM  

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