Lou Benfatti was an All-American at Penn State in the early 1990s—the same period of time that QB Kerry Collins was earning the same honors. With Collins now at the helm of the 10-0 Tennessee Titans, we talked to Benfatti (currently a middle school vice principal in New Jersey) about his memories of Collins.
Mag.com: What was playing with Collins like?
Benfatti: He had a cannon of an arm. He had a really great attitude, worked hard, and he just developed himself, both as a player physically and just being a student of the game academically.
Mag.com: How about on the field?
Kerry was a leader by example. He practiced so hard during the week. During games he had fun. He would just execute, he could visualize the field, see the field, and make things happen in terms of adjustments. He was constantly in the game, encouraging the guys.
Mag.com: What did you learn from him?
'What has he learned from me?' should be the question (laughs). No seriously, it's how much he's taken with him in terms of intangibles—the never-quit attitude—and in this case, his attitude has made him really successful. He's one that is always demanding the best from every opportunity that he was given, and clearly it shows with this season.
Mag.com: What do you think about his time in the NFL?
Benfatti: He's had a very interesting career. He's had some difficulty at some points, and it just goes to show what type of character Kerry has by being able to revitalize his career, the character of being a true champion. We played against each other when he was with the Panthers actually.
Mag.com: So what was it like lining up against him?
Benfatti: It's always interesting when you're lining up, it just brought back a lot of memories from Penn State, a lot of memories—it was fun. I just think it was good because being able to get into the mind of a player I practiced against, it was a lot of fun.
Mag.com: Did you guys chill after?
Absolutely, we hung out after games. We would always have a lot of fun times. And yeah it was great, we're down in Carolina, just talking fun-loving football.
Mag.com: No trash-talking?
(laughs) 'Fun-loving.' We'll say that.
Mag.com: Been watching the Titans this season?
Very sporadically. I'll watch the highlights, the great catches, the great throws. It'll be fun to watch the Jets-Titans game this week though.
Mag.com: Former team versus former teammate. Who you got?
I'm rooting for the Jets. I'm hoping that they get in and seal off the division here, get in the playoffs.
Mag.com: Do you guys still see each other?
Just at golf tournaments that we've both been at. When we're at golf tournaments, we'll give each other a big hello.
Mag.com: Is he a good golfer?
He likes to think he is. I, on the other hand, get my money's worth.