Tale of the Week - Former Lakeland Quarterback Chasing A Dream
Athletics - posted on 9/26/2005
In 2003, Brent Luebke closed out a fantastic career as the Lakeland Muskies' starting quarterback, placing himself second all-time on the school's career passing yardage list. He also led Lakeland to an 8-2 record, its best since 1997, while helping the offense average 40.1 points per game.
That last statistic might come in handy if his new venture pans out.
On September 10, Luebke, currently Lakeland's quarterbacks coach, attended an open tryout for the Chicago Rush of the Arena Football League, known for its fast pace and high scores.
Although the tryout was open to any athlete, Luebke was personally invited by recently-hired Rush special teams coordinator Bruce Cowdrey.
Cowdrey is the former head coach of the 2002 af2 ArenaCup champion Peoria Pirates, and had been attempting to bring Luebke to the Pirates after the two met when Luebke attended an open NFL combine last spring. Luebke declined because he wanted to finish school.
This time around, Luebke was one of four players who made the cut at the end of the day and got to stick around and run more drills. The Rush coaches needed to know that he would be available if they decided to sign him.
If he were to be signed, it would be the first Muskie in recent history to make the jump from college to the major professional ranks.
"Coaching and staying around the game is one thing," Luebke said, "but I love playing; that's where my heart is."
Luebke, 25, said it is do or die right now in his attempt at playing professionally because any more time off may cause coaches and scouts to think he's not in shape.
Even now, however, it's a waiting game for that call giving him the opportunity so few get, especially for a Division III player.
But Luebke isn't concerned about that. In fact, he's proud of it.
When he went to the tryout, he wore all Lakeland gear, a testament to not only his alma mater, but also to its coach, Jim Zebrowski, to whom Luebke attributes a lot of his success as a player and a person.
"Just look at the records," Luebke said. "We were 4-6 and 6-4 in previous years, and then we're 8-2 with him."
He also gives credit to the offensive linemen who have protected him throughout the years. Now, he's playing for them, too.
"I don't want to let them down," Luebke said. "They're more deserving than I am. I'm just throwing the ball, but they're the ones getting me the ball and blocking for me."
Luebke will find out if he will get a chance to play for the Rush within the next couple weeks. The Rush are holding another tryout in October and start training camp in January before opening the season in February.
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