Bartlett Grad Cohen Savors Win over USC
Miazga, Mike, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Mike Miazga Daily Herald Correspondent
The way he sees it, Bartlett alum Joel Cohen has the best job in football.
"I get my education paid for and all I have to do is throw a ball between my legs," said Cohen. "That's not too bad."
No it's not, especially when the ball throwing occurred in a recent victory over one of the nation's elite college football teams.
Cohen is a senior long and short snapper for the Oregon State football team. He was perfect in 14 snaps in Oregon State's thrilling upset victory over national power USC.
"It's great anytime you can beat USC," said Cohen. "That only happens once every couple of years. The atmosphere was great with the fans running on the field. It was a surreal experience."
Cohen said the date of the USC game coincided with the exact date he played his final Bartlett game (a playoff loss to Warren).
"If you would have told me 5 years ago that I would be playing USC and we would beat them, it would have made that last high school loss a lot easier to take," said Cohen.
Cohen's journey to the Pacific Northwest, though, has been an interesting one. He played for 2 years at the College of DuPage and has also undergone a pair of knee surgeries over the last year.
"With the two knee surgeries, I think it would be a lot tougher to play a position like linebacker," said Cohen. "With what I'm doing, I can take a lot more risks than others could. My thing is to snap the ball. And if I run funny, I run funny, as long as I get the ball there. That's all they care about."
Cohen says a perquisite of his job is to have a calm demeanor.
"You have to have ice water running through your veins," said Cohen. "Nobody ever thinks about it, but we played Arizona and we had to punt with 1:45 left. If I put that ball on the ground or off to the side, they are coming in to block it. That kind of a situation happened against Arizona and Washington. You have to be able to put the ball right on them. I played basketball as a kid and I think that helped me with loosening up the wrists with good follow-through."
A little friendly wager with his dad got his snapping career started.
"We went in the backyard and I snapped it over his head into the trees," said the 6-foot, 240-pound Cohen. "I told him give me three months and I'd be good at it. Three months later I was playing at COD and then I got offers from here (OSU), South Florida and Cincinnati."
Cohen is studying history and would like to be a history teacher and a football coach. He also mentioned the NFL as a possibility.
"First I'm trying to get another year back for my knee," said Cohen, who has petitioned the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility due to his knee problems. "With the NFL, we'll see."
In the grand scheme of things, Cohen couldn't be happier how things have played out.
"I wouldn't change it for anything," said Cohen. "Even with the knee thing, it's been great. I got the opportunity to play Pac-10 football."
Cohen and Oregon State are 6-3 and need 1 more win to become eligible. They play in the Rose Bowl Saturday against UCLA.
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