Photo by: Katherine Kelly
Athlete close-up: Jordan Talley
March 23, 2017
Nicholls State University football tight end Jordan Talley has been splitting his time between the football field and the pitcher’s mound this spring, balancing the demands of two Division I sports.
The redshirt freshman said he always had the intentions to play both sports at the college level since it’s what he has been used to doing his whole life.
“It was always a dream to play both sports because I was raised doing both, and I always loved doing both,” Talley said. “Growing up, everyone would ask which one I liked more and I could never choose.”
Head Football Coach Tim Rebowe admitted that although he has coached dual-athletes before, the work required of the athlete sometimes proves to be too difficult to manage.
“When I was here as an assistant when I first started, we had a couple of dual-athletes,” Rebowe said. “I think coming out of high school it sounds good, wanting to play two sports. I think once you get here and you realize the time demands and the constraints that it puts on you to be a dual-sport athlete, sometimes it gets overwhelming.”
Rebowe pointed out that preparing for a different sport requires different training styles in the weight room and out on the practice field as well as keeping up with academic responsibilities.
Talley said he lost around 25 pounds from football season to the start of baseball season so he could be in better “baseball shape” and have more stamina on the mound.
Another important factor that aids in the success of a dual-sport athlete is being surrounded by coaches who care, according to Rebowe.
“You have to have coaches who understand,” Rebowe said. “We have to work together and say, ‘Hey, do you think it will work for this guy?’ and here, me and Coach Thibodeaux do. I think the coaches have to be on the same page and work together about what meetings and workouts he can do.”
Head Baseball Coach Seth Thibodeaux agreed that being able to plan ahead with Coach Rebowe about Talley’s schedule has helped him stay organized between two teams.
“Last summer, we sat down and mapped out a plan for him for the whole year so there was never any confusion,” Thibodeaux said. “It’s been baseball first in the spring, but if we have any days when we can send him over to football, we do. It’s kind of neat. Coach Rebowe is easy to work with and we’ve got a great relationship with each other, so it’s simple for us to have a plan for him.”
Having to correspond with two teams and two coaching staffs has been the hardest part of his transition from football to baseball season, Talley said.
“I think the biggest challenge has been communication,” Talley said. “I have practices for baseball and throwing and meetings, and I’m obligated to be at everything I can for football. I can’t be in two places at the same time.”
Talley said the communication is getting better. Scheduling weekly meetings with his football position coach, Russ Gisclair, has allowed Talley and his coaches to get the most out of each week on both the baseball and the football side. Talley said he was able to participate in a full-pads football practice last Saturday and then go straight to his baseball game afterwards because his schedule allowed it.
While the baseball season is still young, so is Talley. With three years of eligibility still ahead of him after this season, Thibodeaux said Talley has the potential to contribute a lot to the team.
“He’s still really young, so in time, I believe he’s going to be able to help,” Thibodeaux said. “To do both at this level takes maturity, but his heart is in it. He’s a good teammate and I think that as time goes, he’s going to be able to handle both for sure.”
Although he can’t choose between the two sports, Talley said he likes different aspects of each game. While the speed of the game of football is what drives him on the field, he thrives off the pressure he feels on the mound. Talley said getting to experience both of his passions is worth the sacrifices he must make.
“I do think it will all be worth it despite the challenges,” Talley said. “I’m here playing football and I also get to play another sport that I love. Yeah it’s challenging, but not everything is going to be easy in life.”