A hit by Sidney Glover is part of Warren folklore.
Glover, a 2007 Warren G. Harding graduate, played with his normal smashmouth style as an eighth grader at Warren Western Reserve Junior High School. Unfortunately, an unsuspecting player from Boardman didn't know what was in store for him.
Mike Mitchell, a family friend of Glover, still talks about his famed hit which is comparable to the force of a haymaker by "Iron" Mike Tyson in his heyday.
Former Warren G. Harding football player Sidney Glover
"I was at safety and he ran a five and out," Glover said. "I just came down on him when he caught it and knocked him out. He got up a little slow, went to the sideline and collapsed. To this day Mike Mitchell and I still talk about him when we talk about football. He always brings that up.
"He tells me that's the hardest hit he's ever seen."
Some things haven't changed even though the opponents have increased in size.
In fact, the 5-foot-11, 205-pound West Virginia junior strong safety is adminant about viewing every game as a separate battle.
Take a 245-pound fullback. Some would be tenative to go full force with that weight disadvantage. Not Glover.
"I approach everything with attitude," Glover said. "I always lower my hips and keep my pads on course. To me, that's natural when you're trying to take on a block. For me, I come with more attitude than most. ... I'm a competitor, so I want to win every battle. Coaches tell me, 'If you can look in the mirror and say you gave your best on this play and that play,' that's how I try to approach things. Even if we're watching films and I felt somebody got the best of me and my coach might not point it out, but I will tell myself that.
"I take every play as a battle because I feel I should win every battle, no matter how much they outweigh me."
West Virginia's assistant/safeties coach Steve Dunlap said Glover has a knack for utilizing his God-given talents.
"He was born to be a defensive player," Dunlap said. "There's a lot of things that are very natural for him. One of his biggest attibutes is his explosiveness. He's a very powerful person. He slams into a 250-pound fullback and they just buckle. I always think something has to give somewhere - you're giving up 30-40 pounds sometimes."
West Virginia's Gator Bowl appearance on Jan. 1 in Jacksonville, Fla. is weighted a bit more than most bowl games because of the circumstances surrounding the game. Florida State longtime coach Bobby Bowden, who coached the Mountaineers earlier in his career, is preparing for his final game. Bowden, the second winningest coach in NCAA football history to Penn State's Joe Paterno, decided to retire earlier this month.
"Everybody's talking about Florida's speed. We feel we can play with anybody," said Glover, whose team is 9-3. "It's going to be a fun game to show we can compete with them.
"What better way to do it than playing Florida State (6-6) in Bobby Bowden's last game."
But will Florida State be distracted with all the Bowden hoopla?
"I'm pretty sure they're going to be amped up and giving everything they've got for coach Bobby Bowden's last game," Glover said. "I'm pretty sure they're coming to play. I don't think it's going to distract them at all."
Glover has had his fair share of distractions at West Virginia. Injuries have plagued him throughout his West Virginia career.
He sat out last year's Car Care Bowl Game after suffering a medial collateral ligament sprain in his right knee. Glover did that in the latter stages of the game against South Florida where he had four tackles, one interception, forced and recovered a fumble.
This season a shoulder injury kept Glover out for a couple of games.
"Things like that, it just effects your whole mindset," he said. "I'm a more down in the box physical saftey where if I have a shoulder injury, I'm hesitant to do that.
"It takes over my style of play and that's what I've been dealing with this season."
His style of play is modeled after Pittsburgh Steeler safety Troy Polumalu. There was a story done prior to this season where Glover said he compared himself to the Steeler great.
"I kind of regret the story and feel like it was a jinx because of the fact I was injured this season with a shoulder injury," Glover said. "I compare myself to him and I showed nothing like that this season. Even though I reget the story, it's eating at me daily. To me, that's who I am and I'm a great player like that. This season, I did not show that at all.
"If you watch my season as a junior, you wouldn't know that and you wouldn't think that at all."
However, he continues to prepare the best way he knows how.
"I think I spend more time in the weight room than anybody on our football team," Glover said. "I'm pretty sure I do. I train my body the best way I can because a lot of things happen that I can't control. I'm going to prepare my body. That's extra stretching, proper rest, eating proper.
"I had a pulled hamstring in offseason and I did more hamstring work than I've ever did before. I train my whole body because I've had injuries in so many different places that I focus on my body now than on one part."
If Glover wants to be a viable commodity in the 2011 NFL Draft, he'll have to hope for an injury-free senior season.
"He's got to prove to the NFL that's he's dependable as far as the injury thing," Dunlap said. "Depedability is the best quality to have in the NFL because it a brutal season.
"... He's an incredibly talented kid. When he has it all together, he's awful good."
Glover, who graduated Harding early so he could attend the 2007 Mountaineer spring practice, is slated for a 2010 December graduation in multidisciplinary studies. Students pick three fields to pursue an enhanced business degree. Glover is in business, entrepenuership and communications.
"I figure after the many years of football and the discipline you learn with football I can be my own boss and run my own sort of business or company," Glover said.
After the Gator Bowl, all focus is on the 2010 West Virginia season.
"If I can stay healthy my senior season, I can show things that I've never shown - just being the best player that I can be," Glover said.
Mathews, a Lakeview High School graduate, walked on to the team.
He is one of three backups for starter and redshirt senior Scott Kozlowski.