DANVILLE, Kentucky (AP) —Jeff Collett wasn’t being figurative as he tried to inject some electricity into Centre College’s two-a-day football practices.
The Colonels’ defensive line coach was being literal, taking a high-voltage dose of juice for the team from a Taser last week in a morale-boosting stunt that has gone viral.
Collett, a former Centre lineman who became an assistant in 2013, wasn’t injured in the episode that has gotten a lot of TV time after days of social media buzz. School spokesman Michael Strysick said Tuesday that administrators expressed unease about the stunt to longtime coach Andy Frye and his staff, but seem ready to move on from it.
Frye said he understood their concern and conceded things could have been better thought out. He added, “Jeff thought it was a neat way to do it, and the kids thought it was a neat thing to do.”
With just a few weeks to develop continuity before football season starts, teams try to cram a lot of information and repetitions through twice-daily workouts early in camp. Pranks and rituals are common in an attempt to relieve tension and promote unity in the dog days of August.
Centre College is no exception, and one YouTube clip shows the Colonels pranking quarterback Heath Haden in an 11-on-11 drill by simultaneously falling to the turf at the snap. The flummoxed QB punts the ball before walking out of the picture.
However, Collett dropped for real after taking a shot from the police-issue Taser, which company spokesman Steve Tuttle said delivers a low-current jolt of electricity intended to disable a person for several seconds.
The current of zero to 0.004 amperes is less than a fraction of the standard 110-volt household outlet that delivers 15 amps.
Frye said precautions were taken for Collett, who signed a release form and had local law enforcement and medical personnel on hand. With an assistant on either side, Collett jerks forward slightly as he takes the juice in the half-minute video, slowly dropping to his knees and lying face down on the field.
Players roared their approval throughout, cheering with Collett.
“They saw this as his way of courageously showing toughness and sacrifice, and I’m thrilled to see this commitment by my coach,” said Frye, who added, “I want the kids to have fun.”
Frye hopes that team-building moment translates into another successful season for Centre College, which is coming off a 10-1 season and first-round playoff appearance. Favored to win the Southern Athletic Association this season, the Colonels open Sept. 5 at Hanover.
Though Collett’s stunt has brought a lot of attention to the Danville, Kentucky, program, Strysick stressed that were other ways to do it. Rest assured, the Colonels’ next activity will be more low-key.
“Though it seemed like a good idea at the time, it was a mistake in retrospect,” Strysick said by phone. “Coach Collett eats, sleeps and breathes Centre College and it demonstrates his level of dedication. But it wasn’t a good decision. ... We’re looking to move forward.”