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Oklahoma State running back, Baylor coach ready for 'family fued' in Saturday finale

Nov. 20, 1997

Oklahoma State running back, Baylor coach ready for 'family feud' in Saturday's season finale

By Kevin Allen

Sports Writer for The Baylor Lariat

The Big 12 Conference is full of rivalries -- the in-state rivalry of Texas and Texas A&M, and state-to-state rivalries between Colorado and Nebraska, and Texas versus Oklahoma. But on Saturday, when the Baylor Bears line up against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, a unique rivalry will begin.

Call this one a family feud.

Lee Fobbs, the running back coach for the Bears, will line up on the opposite side of the gridiron from his son, Jamaal, a redshirt freshman running back for the Cowboys.

'It's going to be fun, and it's going to be competitive,' Coach Fobbs said. 'That's the way it should be.'

But in Saturday's game, Coach Fobbs may see more of his son than he would like. Jamaal leads the Cowboys in rushing with 790 yards already this season. He averages 5.3 yards per carry, and has been breaking team records all season. His 790 yards set the school record for rushing yards by a freshman.

'He's very elusive,' Coach Fobbs said of his son. 'Similar to Jerod Douglas, but with a little more strength. I really compare him to Darrell Bush.'

Jamaal is currently ranked eighth in the Big 12 in rushing, and the Cowboys are the No. 11-ranked rushing offense in the nation. On Sept. 6, Jamaal broke the Oklahoma State single-game rushing record for a freshman with a 217-yard performance, moving ahead of the previous record of 206 yards, set by Thurman Thomas in 1984.

'He's gifted,' Head Coach Dave Roberts said. 'He makes things happen. He's just like his dad was.'

Coach Fobbs played collegiate football at Grambling State University, where he earned All-American honors during his senior year under Head Coach Eddie Robinson. He was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the eighth round of the NFL draft, and played professionally in the CFL and USFL. But according to Roberts, Jamaal may have an advantage over his old man.

'He's smarter than his dad,' Roberts joked at Monday's press conference.

All joking aside, this game will certainly be special for the Fobbs family. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the loser of Saturday's game will hear plenty of trash-talk from the other over the holidays.

'I've set that tone in the house,' Coach Fobbs said. 'I want the bragging rights.'

Coach Fobbs was coaching at Southern Mississippi when Jamaal signed with Oklahoma State. But when Coach Fobbs was approached about the position at Baylor, he knew the Oklahoma State game would be a special one.

'It was in the back of my mind, (knowing) we would be facing each other on the field,' Coach Fobbs said. 'It will be a competitive football game.'

Competition was always stressed in the Fobbs home, and a love of football runs in the family. But Coach Fobbs and Jamaal are not the only collegiate athletes in the family. Jamaal's older brother, Broderick, also played football at Grambling, and will graduate in May.

'When (my sons) decided on sports, especially the game of football, I sat down and talked to them about competition,' Coach Fobbs said. 'Not only in football, but in anything you do.'

While it may be hard for this father-son duo to play against each other, it may be even more difficult for two other Fobbs, Coach Fobbs' wife Shelia and their daughter Chelsea. These two must decide whether to wear the orange and black of Jamaal, or the green and gold of Lee.

'My wife and my daughter are really excited about Saturday,' Coach Fobbs said. 'She'll devise a way to be a part of both [teams].'

As expected, Coach Fobbs is getting plenty of attention from the other coaches and players on the Baylor squad. According to Coach Fobbs, several defensive players have joked with him about lining up against Jamaal.

'I told them, 'You better get after him, or I'll get after you.''

Coach Fobbs and the rest of the Baylor coaching staff hopes the Baylor defense can stop Jamaal, but if they do not, at least one Baylor coach will be happy deep inside, according to Roberts.

'I think that's natural, you want your son to do well,' Roberts said. 'I think his dad's awfully proud of him. I know he is.'

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