Durant Brooks looked, frankly, miserable. This specific brand of football unhappiness was not something I had given a lot of thought to, to be honest. I had imagined how it might feel to miss a game-winning kick or drop a game-winning pass in the moment, maybe immediately afterward, but never what it would be like the next day. Looking at Brooks sitting in the locker room on Monday, more or less left alone by the media pack, I got the distinct sense that it wasn’t a heck of a lot of fun.
“At Georgia Tech we had the 24 hour rule – you can think about your last game for 24 hours and then you’ve got to move on,” he said, and paused to look at his watch. “It’s been about 24 hours, but it’s tough.”
He did brighten minutely when I told him that Derrick Frost had reportedly sent a text message to a reporter telling the media to go easy on Brooks, but not all that much. “That’s cool,” he said.
I asked what the coaches had said to him after the game, and he gave the shrug of someone who already knew what he was going to be told before anyone had to say anything. “I’ve gotta come through. I’ve gotta have a better game – and, I mean, it can’t be much worse.” He shook his head. “I only had two punts, and I wish I could’ve had a few more to redeem myself, but that’s the way punting goes. You can have seven one game and two the next, and they’ve all gotta be good. You don’t get second chances.”