Q&A WITH DERRICK LOTT
Derrick Lott has had a hard-luck career at Georgia so far. No sooner did he show up from North Cobb High than he had to have ankle surgery that assured a redshirt year. Then Todd Grantham shows up with his 3-4 defense and suddenly he’s a tackle trying to become an end. After playing in just three games last season in what would have to be described as a transition year, Lott had a solid spring and was heading into camp as a legitimate player in the defensive line rotation. Then he sliced his leg open parking his scooter at the Butts-Mehre Building and Lott thought for just moment that his football career was over.
It wasn’t. After being sidellined a month following surgery to repair a 12-inch gash in his lower right leg and suffering a sprained wrist almost as soon as he returned, Lott is back competing on the football field. And, once again, this 6-foot-4, 305-pound sophomore figures in the Bulldogs’ plans on defense. Here’s what Lott had to say recently about the accident that sent his to the hospital by ambulance and his prospects now that he’s back on the field.
Q: Tell us about the accident. How did it happen?
A: “I wasn’t going very fast. As a matter of fact the scooter was off. I was just coasting and looking for somewhere to park. Next thing I know, I looked down and saw a puddle of blood.”
Q: Did you know it was bad right away?
A: “Not until I saw it. When I saw it, I was like, ‘wow.’ I hadn’t seen anything like that in my life. It was like in the he movies and Jason comes through with a knife or Michael Myers slices somebody with a knife and they’re sitting there looking at their guts and everything inside. It was hot; the sheet-metal was thin; it was a clean cut; sliced right through. I didn’t even feel it. I’m getting off the scooter and I felt the wind blowing against. So I kind of reached down and rubbed it and it felt weird. I picked my hand up and saw a pool of blood. Then I looked and it was just bone and muscle and everything.”
Q: Did you yell for help or what?
A: “That was the funniest thing about the whole story. Nobody was outside and I had to get my hand scanned to get inside the building. Then walked through there. Then I started thinking I probably shouldn’t be walking on this, so I started hopping through the building. Then I had to put my hand scan in again. [laughing] Once I got inside I couldn’t take it anymore. I was worried about losing too much blood. So I just started yelling, ‘help, help!’
“Some of the guys in the workout group came and they were like, ‘what’s that?’ Nobody could believe it. I was looking at my teammates’ faces and their eyes were wide open. I thought I was going to pass out, so I just dropped. It was definitely scary. I shed a couple of tears thinking my football career was over. I hadn’t seen anything like that anywhere.”
Q: So you’re back on the field now. Does it affect your ability to play?
A: “They said I was two centimeters away from cutting my nerve. If I had cut that nerve I would’ve had drop foot and don’t think I wouldn’t been able to play football or compete. So I’m lucky it’s not worse than it is. They gave me an Evoshield to cover it. My muscles are still recovering. It’s going to be about two months before they’re fully strong because they were cut. But otherwise I’m fine. I’m running full speed, I’m making cuts from left to right. It’s just a matter of time before everything heals. . . . I’m still getting rehab just to get it stronger and build it back up. I was out for like a month and I didn’t really do any lower body. So I’m starting back with lower body, doing squats, running more and doing more heavy stuff with my legs. But I’m full goI’m ready to go. As far as playing time, I see myself playing in every game. If I put my mind to it and my effort to it, I could see myself starting a few games.”
Q: Do you feel like you can have the same type of impact as before the accident?
A: “I feel as though this is going to be my year. Guys have bad seasons, bad luck. I would compare myself to [Auburn's] Nick Fairley as far as coming from a season where he did OK and played some and then drastically changing over to first-round draft pick defensive lineman. That’s how I see myself, having a cross-over season.
Q: Where are they working you in?
A: “I’m working some with the first team. I’m doing good. The cut was a setback but it wasn’t too big. So I see myself still moving forward. I feel like my fellow defensive line guys believe in me. Coach G [defensive line coach Rodney Garner] has talked to me and said, ‘listen, we need you play this year. You’ve got to work.’ A lot of guys on this team believe in me. They’ve seen me play; they know I can play. So I’ve just got to get out there on the game field and ball out.”