If it’s a Giants-Jets preseason game, then the topic of conversation is going to be Victor Cruz’s three-touchdown performance against them in 2010. I spoke to a few players about that game and what they remembered about it today, but the one with the most interesting perspective on it wasn’t even in the building that night.
He’s Julian Talley, Cruz’s teammate at UMass, who is, incidentally, now an undrafted free agent in training camp trying to make the team via the same route Cruz took.
“I remember I was in camp and we had just got done practicing and everybody rushed back to the dorms and we were watching it waiting for him to get in and I just remember him going nuts with that one hand and the whole dorms, everybody, erupting,” Talley said of that night two years ago. “It was crazy.”
“Then,” Talley continued, “I ran out of the room and came back and I see him running down the sideline again with another six and we’re just going crazy. And then I see him go for a third one. It was a real exciting time. I got goosebumps and chills seeing him go out there and do his thing. I was real excited for him at the time. It was real exciting to see him do that.
“He called me right after the game and we were on the phone,” Talley said. “He was kind of in shock after the game, we both were. We were very excited. He was excited and I was excited for him. He just said ‘Yo this is crazy! It’s crazy!’ That’s all I remember him saying. ‘This is crazy!’ And I was like ‘Yo, it is crazy! It was nuts that you did that!’ We just kind of enjoyed the moment.”
That game made Talley realize that one game can set a player on a fast track for stardom, even an obscure player like Cruz was. Or like Talley is.
“Not only that but being a free agent, going out and trying to make plays as best you can will help your chances of making a team, any team,” Talley said. “You just understand that. For me in my situation, always being compared to him and what he did during the Jets game, my goal is not to go and try to outdo what he did but just perform to the best of my abilities and if it just so happens that I have a game like he did that would be great for me and my chances to make this team. If not, my goal is to go in, know my assignments, play well, do my job and make plays.”
And maybe somewhere a dorm room will erupt in cheers for him on Saturday night.