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September 11, 2019 at 8:14 am

Vander Ven on LSU’s Burrow: ‘His Pulse Probably Doesn’t Change No Matter the Situation He Finds Himself In’

Tom Vander Ven sitting on sofa, arm along the back, smiling

Dr. Thomas Vander Ven

Dr. Thomas Vander Ven talks about coaching Louisiana State University quarterback Joe Burrow in an ESPN story headlined “The tales of Super Burrow, LSU’s ultra-confident breakout star QB.”

Vander Ven is Professor of Sociology at Ohio University.

Burrow played on a travel AAU basketball team when he was 9. During one state tournament in Columbus, Ohio, Burrow’s team was trailing by eight points with about 30 seconds to go.

“We kind of thought it was over,” said Tom Vander Ven, who coached the team.

But then Burrow took over, scoring nine consecutive points, including seven straight foul shots, to lead his team to an improbable comeback. The other team kept fouling him — and he kept making shots.

“I’d never seen anything like it,” Vander Ven said. “It was then that I knew he was different from everyone else. I couldn’t believe the poise under pressure and competitive drive demonstrated by a 9-year-old. The pressure didn’t seem to register with him at all. He just stood at the foul line and drained them one after the other. Most kids at that age couldn’t hit two free throws in a row, especially under pressure.”

Vander Ven is a professor of sociology at Ohio University. After that particular basketball game, he offered Burrow’s parents, Jimmy and Robin, an unsolicited diagnosis of their son.

“Because I’m a sociologist that studies crime, after the game I told his parents that Joe had the kind of qualities that you find in cops and first responders — and also serial offenders,” Vander Ven said. “The point I was making was he had the kind of qualities those people have, where his pulse probably doesn’t change no matter the situation he finds himself in. He could be mowing the lawn or pulling people from a fire and his pulse would probably stay about the same.”

Read more at ESPN.

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