Fifth Down: With Jeannette McCoy – Orlando Fantasy
Last season, Jeannette McCoy was considered to be one of the best centers in the league, qualifying for the All-Fantasy game. Her success got her noticed as one of the LFL’s premier players, and she followed that up with an appearance in “Playboy Magazine”. In the off-season, she began to learn a new position – quarterback – just in time for the conference-leading quarterback from Miami to arrive in Orlando’s camp and give the Fantasy offense a tremendous shot of adrenaline.
With Orlando entering its second year as a team, we figured we’d catch up to Jeannette and get her take on how the Fantasy look this season, whether the Miami girls are synching with the Orlando crew, and why the coaches prefer her water over their own (apparently Ponce de Leon wasn’t the only one looking for a Fountain of Youth in Florida).
1) Last season you were the starting center. In training camp you’re splitting time with Anonka Dixon at quarterback. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in learning the position?
Jeannette: There is a big difference at quarterback versus playing center. At center I set the huddle and set the pace, but I listen to the play and understand my assignment when its either a pass play or a run play. For me, even though the position of center is extremely important, playing it comes easy. Playing QB is challenging because you’re looking at the bigger picture; not only are you calling the plays in the huddle, but in essence you must know everybody’s responsibility on offense. At the same time, its important to understand and see the defensive coverage that’s being played. From there you must execute. There is a lot of responsibility at QB, but if you know me you know that I’m always up for the challenge.
2) Which do you prefer – center or quarterback?
Jeannette: Let’s not get it twisted. Playing center is an important role. If the QB can’t get the ball and get it properly, believe me, there will be problems. Trust me when I say that a lot of people can’t snap a ball properly. Plus you must protect your QB. Having a strong line is important in this league, just like the NFL. Protecting and blocking is what will give positive yardage and the line is responsible for that. But I must say I do enjoy playing QB because there is a lot more to see and experience at that position.
2b) So, in the back of your mind, are you thinking “you know, if I miss this block, maybe Anonka will get knocked out and I’ll get the offense…”?
Jeannette: Absolutely NOT. At the end of the day my mission is to WIN. In order to win, you must play like a team and win like a team. Whether its to protect, block, throw or run, W-I-N runs through my veins. So if Anonka is doing her thing at QB, credit should be given to the entire team. Everyone has a role and if we all play it right, it gives the QB time to see, read, then execute and that’s all that matters. If my mission is to take care of my QB, I don’t take that mission lightly. Nothing will get in the way of that! In order to win we must build a strong TEAM. Championships in football don’t come from one player. The goal is to build a team in which we can gel together. It’s about looking out for each other’s backs and we do that by not only playing our positions properly, but getting to know our girls off the field in environments and settings that are conducive to team growth. If you can’t gel with your teammates, what makes you think you can protect them or even play with them on the field? This year we are definitely on the right track and to see the growth as a team is inspiring to both rookies and vets.
3) You were one of the players selected to pose in the “Playboy” issue that hit the stands at the end of last season. Did you have any concerns about doing the spread, and have you had any repercussions (positive and/or negative) as a result?
Jeannette: Yes, “Playboy” lol! Though I agreed to doing it, I was hesitant. I’ve always been a “behind the scenes” type of female and I would have never imagined doing something like that; especially with the type of magazine it is. I own a personal training business – Desired Body Training – and so body image is important to me and I expect a certain look from my personal trainers. With that said, I had the support of friends who pretty much told me, “you have the body for it and it goes hand in hand to some degree with the fact that your body image is important to you, so its fine to show that you can be fit and sexy.” But I did not tell certain people in my family because I knew I would not get their support (simply because its “Playboy”). My personal experience with “Playboy” was a positive one because they were extremely professional and the pictures were tasteful. You do get your stalkers and fans, but what I do is play football and that’s ALL that matters to me. I love this game and being in it teaches you to have tough skin and I sure do! People will always hate one way or another. I’ve learned to welcome it and move forward.
4) Orlando trains outdoors, in the hot sun, for hours at a time. How do you do it?
Jeannette: Working in this type of Florida heat here is tough, but it’s also a benefit to us. When you work your body under extreme conditions, it allows the body to build additional endurance. That’s why boxers go to different altitudes to train their oxygen capacity. Some of these teams play indoors under nice, cold A/C, so their conditions may be more comfortable. So, it’s really an advantage for us because we play in the heat, the bugs, and the rain. No excuses for the Orlando Fantasy; just a reminder to keep hydrated.
4b) Speaking of hot sun and hydration, the coaches prefer your water over the store-bought brands. What’s your secret?
Jeannette: Well, my team knows that health is important to me. Eating right is what I teach, but one thing we can’t forgot is the importance of water. So, my team calls it “the special water”. I have a water machine system that takes ordinary tap water and produces water that has a pH of 9.5 and a negative ORP (Oxidation Reduction Potential) of about -750. Water molecules are made up of positive and negative ions. The machine I have splits the water molecules up; positive molecules produce acid water which is no good for drinking. The negative water molecules produce high alkaline (also known as Kangen water) which hydrates the body and your organs. You should be drinking water that is actually hydrating your organs versus water that stays in your tummy sounding like a washing machine. A lot of water bottle companies produces acidic water just like sports drinks. My motto is not only healthy eating but healthy drinking.
5) Other than winning a championship, what goal do you hope to accomplish this season?
Jeannette: My goal for this year is to be one of the league’s leading tacklers on the defensive side of the ball. With my first year under my belt, I understand so much more when it comes to this game. I can thank my coaches for that. So, for me, though my aggression has always been there, this year its about “effective” aggression. Effectiveness will produce positive results and that’s what you will see from the Orlando Fantasy this year – GUARANTEED!
While we had Jeannette’s ear, we figured LFL fans might want the inside scoop on which ride is the best out of all of the Orlando theme parks. Her answer? “I enjoy all thrill rides. I love flips and drops, so I can’t say any of them bring me fear. Actually… one ride does bring me fear. That’s my mom. Despite my seat belt and the handle at the top of the side door, I still feel like I need an extra harness. That’s the type of ride that makes me wake up screaming!”
You can watch Jeannette execute perfect snaps and work her way towards leading the league in tackles on Saturday, July 30, when she suits up to represent Orlando on the Eastern Conference All-Fantasy team. Check your cable provider for broadcast info of the all-star game LIVE on MTV2.