Baylor running back Shock Linwood providing a spark for the unbeaten Bears.
By DAVID UBBEN FS Southwest
We can't get far without explaining that name. Rashodrick Antoine Linwood is the real one, but everybody just calls him "Shock." Truth is, it’s short for two different nicknames.
Baylor running back
Shock Linwood showed up to camp last fall, Bears coach Art Briles immediately saw a spark in his electric new ballcarrier.
"Shock The World" was born.
"We just knew he was going to be something special," Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty said.
The real origin of his name began much, much earlier.
Baylor is 8-0 for the first time in school history, and the Big 12's top two rushers in yards per game are both Bears. Lache Seastrunk's not far from being in the conversation for the Heisman Trophy, but Linwood soaked up 55 carries in six games of mostly mop-up duty during Baylor's first seven games. He turned them into 443 yards and seven scores.
Thursday night, a sprained knee sidelined Glasco Martin and Lache Seastrunk was left writhing in pain after suffering a groin injury against the Sooners.
It was Shock's time.
His 182 yards on 23 carries—both career highs, of course—helped Baylor walk away from one of the most hyped games in school history with a 41-12 win that legitimized a possible run at the national title.
"It's not the first time he's stepped on the field and played," Briles said. "That's why we really don’t view him as a third-string back."
So, back to that name. Briles makes a habit to stamp a nickname on pretty much every player on his roster. Kicker Aaron Jones boasts perhaps the most famous one. "Stork" caught on with the rest of the team and Jones even alludes to the name with his Twitter username, "StorkTheDork." Petty is "Pettybone."
"I don't really know where that came from," Petty said.
No. 3 quarterback Andrew Frerking is "White Freak" and Petty’s backup,
Seth Russell, is "Scotty."
"I don't really know why, maybe it's like a Scotty McCreery reference or something like that," Petty said.
Running back Glasco Martin is "Glass pack." All-American guard Cyril Richardson goes by "C-Note." Receiver Levi Norwood, who caught a touchdown pass after relieving speedster Tevin "Sweet Feet" Reese, is "Little No No."
You get the picture.
Linwood was born on Oct. 13, 1993, just before former LSU star and No. 1 pick Shaquille O’Neal's rookie season in the NBA. He became the "Shaq Attack" and Linwood’s mom, Yuwanda, decided her son would be the "Shock Attack."
"People were saying Shock Attack," Linwood said of his childhood, "but they got tired of saying the whole thing, so they just shortened it to Shock."
Anyone who watched the ugly second halves of Baylor’s beatdowns early in the season knew the Bears could survive the loss of Seastrunk and Glasco, even though few players in college football can duplicate Seastrunk’s speed and athletic ability.
"They’re an incredible 1-2 punch, but Shock's kind of been that guy in the bag that just kept making plays. I was thinking, 'Man, this kid is something else,’" Petty said. "I had all the confidence in the world in him. I knew he could do that. But could he do that for 182 yards? I didn’t know. So that was really, really impressive."
The only thing truly shocking about Linwood is his honesty. Petty lauded Linwood's ability to avoid the bug eyes and nerves that come with earning his first meaningful action on Baylor’s biggest stage of the season. More than anything, it speaks to Linwood’s ability to put on a good face despite a churning stomach.
"I was very nervous. I was like, 'Oh, my gosh. This can’t be happening.’" Linwood said. "Both of them going down, what are we going to do?"
Linwood shook a few of those nerves out after replacing Seastrunk on a second-quarter drive that ended in a missed 52-yard field goal. Linwood broke a 20-yard run on the first play of his first full drive as Baylor's featured back, and the Bears finished the possession with a touchdown. Baylor didn’t trail again.
"After that first series, things just started to roll," Linwood said. "I got my jitters out of the way and just went with the flow of the day."
When the defense was on the field, Linwood kept moving to keep his blood flowing and shoo away the soreness in his knees. There wasn’t time for anyone else to panic, uncertain of Seastrunk’s future (he’s day-to-day, along with Martin).
"It was indescribable," he said. "A lot happened and it happened fast. It was a moment to cherish."
Linwood walked on the field to pats on the back and proceeded to drop jaws.
"He does things in between the tackles where you’re just like, 'Wow.' There were several times where a linebacker or a linebacker and a safety, there were two people right in the hole and he got away from them," Petty said. "He just does things you don't expect from somebody as young as he is."
His 182-yard day was the best from a Baylor back since Seastrunk’s 185-yard breakout game against BCS No. 1 Kansas State in 2012, the first win of Baylor’s current 12-game winning streak.
"We needed somebody to step up and go there," Briles said, "and he did it."
Linwood looked like what he was: A player who had been on the field a lot more than most freshmen. Baylor routing its first seven opponents by an average of 48 points provided those opportunities.
"That was good for him, just to know, hey, it's the same game," Petty said. There's still a football, there’s laces, stripes on the field, it’s still 100 yards long, so the stage doesn’t really matter."
Shock The World? Shock Attack?
Both Briles and Linwood's mother saw something special in Shock. Thursday night, he proved they were both right.